Spending hundreds of dollars on the latest graphics card will be useless if you don’t support it with a good enough monitor. Pretty similar to a television, a gaming display will be the physical place where all the rendered graphics are shown and even if it is sometimes undervalued, it can be as crucial as the other parts of a system.
The first spec you need to check is the maximum resolution: to this day all gaming monitors have a ratio of 16:9 (the almost squared 4:3 are relics of past generations) so vertical height and horizontal width will be constraint by this proportion.
The most common resolutions are HD Ready (1080x720p), Full HD (1920x1080p), Wide HD (2560x1440p) and finally the infamous 4k (3840x2160p). The more the visual dimensions grow, the more pixels will be displayed and you’ll gradually get sharper images, of course asking your GPU a higher effort.
Physical dimensions do not correspond directly to the native resolution and come in various formats: 24” and 27” are great for small rooms where the player is sitting pretty close to it, but there are also several models of 30”, 34” and even bigger sizes. We’re also beginning to see the dawn of curved panels, which give a light illusion of three dimensions.
Another important aspect of any screen is its refresh rate or the time that it takes to redraw the entire screen. The majority of LCD displays have a 60Hz refresh rate, which is a good value but not enough for the fastest animations that may appear blurred or cause a typical effect called tearing.
GPU manufacturers try to fix such issues with a software sync between the graphics card and the monitor, but it’s not always supported. High-end models that clock at 120Hz do not have these problems, appear much smoother and support active 3D technology.
Lastly it’s important to check what kind of connection are available on the back of your device. HDMI ports are extremely widespread, putting the old VGA to rest, but great alternatives would be DisplayPort and DVI connectors. Some even offer additional USB ports or doubled inputs.