Best Monitor for CS:GO - The Ultimate Guide
It used to be that a monitor wasn't an often spoken about piece of equipment at all. Sure, there were monitors made specifically for gaming and all of that, but you were perfectly fine getting by with a regular old monitor either way. Pro gamers even swore by their old CRT monitors because new (at the time) flatscreen panels couldn't reach the framerates that CRTs could reach.
That all changed around ten years ago when the first the LCD computer monitor capable of pushing 120Hz was released. As the technology got better and better it also got more and more mainstream, and today we have dozens of 144Hz monitors on the market, as well as models capable of pushing 240 frames (and even 360 frames) per second.
It goes without saying that having a monitor with a higher refresh rate can not only greatly increase the fluidity of your games but also your performance, as fast moving objects become much easier to track. If this all sounds new to you feel free to check out our article on framerate (and why it matters) by clicking here. If you're already up to speed and looking for what monitors are favored by our analyzed CS:GO pros then read straight ahead!
What makes a monitor good for CS:GO?
CS:GO is a very pure shooter. There's deep mind games and a ton of strategy involved in high level matches, but in essence CS:GO is all about 'point, click, and win' in the sense that there are no abilities, shields, extra lives, or anything like that involved in the game. You get shot in the dome by an AK and you're out of the round. It needs no explanation, then, that having great aim and the ability to spot players in an instant can really enhance your gameplay. The monitor, in a sense, should become your window into the world of the game and it should display whatever is happening in that world with the utmost fluidity and precision, as well as seamlessly translate whatever you do on your desk to the game.
You can play for hours upon hours (and you'll need to if you want to get to the highest ranks) but if you're playing on a slow, washed out monitor you're going to be at a disadvantage in a game where a split second can mean the difference between a round that's won and a round that's lost.
According to our analyzed professionals (and our CS:GO analysts) you're going to need a monitor that's capable of pushing at least 144 frames per second. If you have the cash, however, it's even better to go for a 240Hz or 360Hz monitor as that is the de facto standard refresh rate in CS:GO these days. CS:GO isn't a very heavy game to run at all so it's quite easy to reach the required amount of frames to get the best out of a higher refresh rate panel.
The monitors in our top 5 will offer a variety of different features at different price points, so it's up to you to decide what fits your needs best, but rest assured that every single product in this article is objectively a great monitor for CS:GO.
All of the monitors in this list have a max resolution of 1920x1080, since a higher resolution isn't needed for CS:GO and almost no pro uses a resolution that's higher than that. A lot of pros are even still playing at 4:3 resolutions, for example.
We realize that people also like to game on higher resolution monitors, or even curved or ultrawide displays, but those are usually not ideal for high tier competitive gaming for a variety of reasons. If you want to play FPS games at the highest level you want the fastest response times and most fluid gameplay, so eye candy isn't of importance when we talk about competitive gaming.
BenQ Zowie: The Kings Of CS:GO
Zowie has always been a favorite of serious CS:GO players, and that's because their products are aimed heavily towards the CS:GO world. The Zowie EC model is by far the most used mouse by professional Counter-Strike players, for example, and that's in no small part due to the fact that it was built specifically for that game.
As is the case with their mice, Zowie also invited professional CS:GO players to help them develop their XL line of gaming monitors. Emil 'HeatoN' Christensen (of the EC line of mice) and Abdisamad 'SpawN' Mohamed were brought on board to help develop their line of gaming monitors, and it shows. The XL line offers extra features which seem to be tailor-made for CS:GO, such as Black eQualizer, Dynamic Accuracy, and the ability to adjust color vibrance (something that's recommended a lot for CS:GO) on the monitor itself.
Due to this 'made for CS:GO' aspect we see that Zowie almost completely dominates the monitor market for this game. That doesn't mean that the other monitors aren't worth their money (they are) but it's rare to see such widespread adoption of one brand in these lists.
Most used manufacturer
1. BenQ Zowie XL2546 / XL2540
Note: we counted the XL2546 and the XL2540 together since they are basically the same monitor. The only difference is that one (the XL2546) comes with DyAc and the other (the XL2540) does not.
A top of the line gaming monitor
When the people over at BenQ Zowie made this monitor they set out to make the ultimate gaming monitor for CS:GO and according to our reviewer they did that perfectly.
The XL2546 packs a mean punch and with its 240Hz refresh rate, 1ms response time and perfect 'sweet spot' size it already sounds like a top product, but BenQ Zowie decided to really go all out on this one.
Built for competitive gaming
It's not only the horsepower under the hood that matters. The XL2546 features a host of extra additions which are meant to make the life of any (travelling or non-travelling) serious gamer easier. The stand is super sturdy and easy to manipulate and features little markings all throughout the body so that you immediately set up your monitor exactly how you like it.
Aside from that there's the fantastic S-Switch, which makes navigating the OSD a breeze and helps you navigate between up to three different profiles with the touch of just one button, which is very handy to switch between a more neutral productivity setting and a brighter, more colorful gaming setting, for example. It also has on-board memory so you can plug your personal S-Switch into any compatible monitor and just load up your own personal settings with the touch of a button.
These things might not mean much to the average user, but for gamers who often travel to and from LANs or practice houses and so on little additions like this are absolutely great.
Great for CS:GO
The XL2546 is a great monitor for overall gaming but it has a number of features that are going to sound really good to CS:GO players in particular. There is the possibility to tweak the color vibrance on the monitor itself so you no longer have to download additional software to get your game to look a little less drab, for example. That's important, since a lot of players artificially raise the color vibrance of the game in order to make enemies stand our clearer. The fact that you can just do this on your monitor is an excellent addition.
There's also the Black eQualizer function which lights up darker areas of the map without overexposing the brighter areas to help you spot enemies hiding under palace on Mirage, for example. Then there's also the unique selling point of the XL2546, which is BenQ Zowie's proprietary DyAc (Dynamic Accuracy) technology. It's a form of motion blur reduction, and DyAc combined with the unbelievably smooth 240Hz refresh rate makes for a super crisp and clear image when you're trying to (for example) control your AK's spray.
Why this one?
The XL2546 is made from the ground up for CS:GO. As a consequence it's a great monitor for pretty much every shooter game but it is almost uniquely qualified as a gaming monitor if Counter-Strike is your main game. This is without a doubt one of the first monitors you should check out if you're going to be serious about CS:GO.
If you like the premise of this monitor but you don't feel like you really want or need DyAc then you can always take a look at the BenQ Zowie XL2450.
2. BenQ Zowie XL2546K / XL2540K
Note: we counted the XL2546K and the XL2540K together since they are basically the same monitor. The XL2546K comes with DyAc while the XL2540K does not but other than that they're very similar.
The latest version
The XL2546K is the latest version of Zowie's well-loved line of premium 240Hz monitors. It has a bit of a story behind it, though. It has a number of upgrades over its older siblings in order to make it more modern an future proof. This newest XL2546 looks more modern than its predecessor, and also has a thinner panel and stand so that the overall footprint of the monitor is smaller.
On top of that Zowie has also made changes to the panel (which looks really good for a TN monitor) and to the hardware controls. You now get a joystick to control the OSD, and all controls are located at the back of the monitor in order to minimize distractions.
All in all this is a worthy upgrade if you're asking us, but perhaps the most exciting feature is the fact that you can now directly share your monitor settings online. This means that you can very easily use the settings of anyone else without having to go through the process of manually copying settings.
Why this one?
This is the latest version of Zowie's well loved XL2546 monitor, and if you're asking us this is the one to get if you're interested in a performance-oriented 240Hz monitor for CS:GO. If you already have the XL2546 then perhaps it's not immediately worth it to upgrade but if you're looking for a new 240Hz monitor this is basically perfect for CS:GO.
3. ASUS ROG Swift PG259QN
The 360 Hz revolution
If you really want to go all out (and you have the PC to match your ambitions) then you've got to take a look at the ASUS ROG Swift PG259QN. This is one of the first 360Hz monitors to hit the market, and it definitely packs a mean punch.
This monitor is G-Sync compatible, has a 360Hz IPS panel, a response time of 1 ms and has HDR packed into it as well. You'll pay a very pretty penny for this monitor, but if you get it you can rest assured that you're on the bleeding edge of technology.
Made for gaming
As is the case with other ROG monitors, this PG259QN does not make a secret of the fact that it's a gaming monitor. You can already tell by the way it looks, and while the aesthetics might not be for everyone you'll be hard pressed to find someone who finds it lacking in features.
Aside from the aforementioned super fast panel it has and response time it has ROG's GamePlus technology, allowing you to do things such as place a crosshair or a timer directly on your screen. On top of that it has seven built in settings profiles for a variety of different games and use cases. Features such as the anti-glare bezel, the joystick to control the OSD and the indicator LED being on the bottom of the bezel (to minimize distractions) shows that ASUS have really been thinking this product through.
Why this one?
If you want the latest tech (and you've got the budget for it) this is probably the one to get. There is the argument that there are diminishing returns when it comes to framerates (the jump from 60Hz to 144Hz is way more noticeable than the jump from 240Hz to 360Hz, for example) but if you're keen on squeezing out every last drop of performance you should take a look at the PG259QN.
Be wary that not many games can even reach 360 frames per second reliably; of course this is relatively easy with a game such as CS:GO but if you're only casually playing and you play a variety of other (heavier) games you might want to consider this too.
Aside from that this is a fantastic piece of technology and a really impressive monitor.
4. AlienWare AW2521H
More 360Hz action
The AW2521H is AlienWare's take on a 360Hz monitor, and it seems like their take is a good one. This G-Sync compatible IPS monitor is also NVIDIA Reflex ready (that's not as impressive for CS:GO since that game isn't currently Reflex-compatible but it can be handy if you play other games as well) and is definitely another one to consider if you want to go all out with your monitor.
As we've come to expect from AlienWare it isn't the most subtle looking piece of equipment out there, but it's all about performance with these products and beauty is in the eye of the beholder anyway. The IPS display also gives it a leg up over visually less impressive TN panels, so if you are someone who wants to get as many frames as possible while making little sacrifices in the way of color accuracy then this could very well be the one for you.
Why this one?
AlienWare monitors have a good reputation in the competitive gaming market. Their AW2518H is a monitor that we often see popping up in our 'most used' lists, and this AW2521H is yet more proof that the brand knows how to make a good gaming monitor.
5. AOC AG251FZ
More premium action
AOC might be a relatively unknown brand to most casual gamers, but they do know how to make their gear and have been in the business since 1967. In recent times the brand has been focusing on high end gaming monitors, and with the AG251FZ they’ve shown that they can certainly roll with the big boys.
The AG251FZ has a 240Hz refresh rate, a 1ms reponse time TN panel, and it’s not too large or too small at 24.5″.
The AG251FZ not only has a great response time and very low input lag but it’s also sporting a number of features that are tailor-made for gamers. There’s AOC Shadow Control, which adjusts the lighter and darker colors on the screen to help make enemies in darker areas stand out, for example. The monitor can also be adjusted in every way possible, has audio ports, USB ports, and even a headphone hanger.
Oh, and it also supports FreeSync. There really is plenty to love here.
Why this one?
AOC has been making some really nice gaming monitors for a while now, and while they do fly under the radar of most casual gamers there’s no real reason for that to be the case. The AG251FZ is an excellent choice if you’re looking for a 240Hz gaming monitor that also offers FreeSync.
Conclusion: The best monitor for CS:GO
There's one conclusion that's clear as day if we're following the pros on this: you'll need a monitor capable of pushing at least 240Hz in order to compete at the highest levels. That's going to be an investment, and you can certainly get by with a 144Hz monitor if you're not that serious about competing, but if you truly want to be the best you can be you'll need a high refresh rate monitor, and with the entry level options becoming better and cheaper each day there are plenty of possibilities for gamers to step into the realm of high refresh rate gaming.
We hope that you found this article useful, but as always we encourage you to do your own research (feel free to browse around the website, we do a lot of research ourselves) in order to find what best suits you and your budget.
Thank you for reading!