Buying a monitor that best suits your setup is an important investment. It is one of the most essential parts of any sim racing setup. However, which one to invest your money into can be a difficult choice if you don’t know what size monitor is best for sim racing.
What size of monitor is best for sim racing depends on the type of setup you’re using. For a single-screen setup, 30-42” is best, while 27” per monitor is best for triple screen setups. If you have an ultrawide monitor setup, somewhere in the range of 34” to 49” is usually best for sim racing.
However, there are still many nuances when it comes to monitors to consider such as its refresh rate, pixel density, and the dimensions of your sim racing setup. Below, we discuss these features and why they are so important.
Does Monitor Size Matter For Sim Racing?
Monitor size does matter for sim racing. To an extent, a larger monitor will often improve your overall experience of the game. Not only that, but a bigger monitor can actually give you a competitive advantage by allowing you to utilize the wider field of view in sim racing games without distortion.
A small monitor can make the experience of sim racing a little lackluster as you are far less immersed in the game and are more aware that you’re staring at a tiny screen with a wheel blocking a third of it.
Bigger Can Be Better
A bigger monitor doesn’t just make you more immersed, it also improves your posture as a large monitor will be more likely to sit at eye level where you can relax in your chair without the need to strain your eyes. A bigger monitor also allows you to comfortably adjust your field of view in game to a higher value without being unable to see the environment in the center of your screen clearly.
120 degrees of vision can make you strain your eyes when looking at a standard 22–24” display and often produces a fisheye lens effect on screen. This effect is lessened on a monitor of our recommended 30 inches or more and you get to utilize that extra field of view for a competitive advantage.
It Depends On Your Setup
However, how big a monitor you need for sim racing largely depends on the rest of your setup. If you’re using a single monitor, it’s probably best to go for something between 30-42 inches, but it depends on how close you are to your screen. If you’re using a 42” flatscreen TV for example, this is only really going to be suitable if you’re sitting a bit further away from your screen.
Sitting too close to a screen this size is not just going to be uncomfortable, but you’re also not going to be able to see everything around you – this is because they usually have aspect ratios of 16:9. This means they’re not just wide but also very tall, and so you’ll find yourself moving your eyes a lot to switch between cars around you and the corner up ahead.
This can make it tricky to select the right sim racing FOV, as when you’re sitting further away from the screen your sense of speed and the way things look compared to how it would be if you were sitting in a real car can be distorted by the distance you are sitting from the screen. However, many sim racers will say large single-monitor setups are perfect for sim racing – it’s all personal preference!
Ultrawide & Triple Monitor Setups
Now, where wider is usually better is with ultrawide and triple screen setups. Because of their layout, the bigger they are the wider the viewing angle, and the more accurate you can make the experience.
If you have an ultrawide setup, 34-49 inches is what you want. This will allow you to sit close up to the screen while also getting a good field of view around you. The same goes for triple screen setups, where 27-32 inches is a good size for each monitor. Because the screens are ‘shaped’ around your setup, you can see more while being closer to the screen for a more realistic FOV.
What To Look For In A Monitor For Sim Racing
1. Desk Space
The very first thing to prioritize when looking for a monitor is whether your desk or rig can accommodate the monitor. While you can benefit greatly from a larger monitor with more screen real-estate, if you can’t accommodate the large size of the monitor you may have to settle with a smaller screen or adjust your setup to fit it in.
I recommend you measure your desk as well as the distance from where your wheel is installed to the place where you would like to place the monitor down so as to avoid the need to drastically rearrange your setup when your new monitor arrives.
2. Pixel Density
An important aspect to take note of when considering a monitor is the resolution of the screen. A monitor with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 at 24” will produce a far sharper image compared to a larger monitor at the same resolution due to the higher pixel density on the smaller display.
At 32” it’s recommended you get a monitor with at least a resolution of 2560 x 1440. This will produce a sharper image at larger sizes. 4K monitors will offer you some of the best visuals you can get at very high pixel densities.
The advantage of this isthat if you were to sit quite close to your monitor, the individual pixels would be near impossible to see with the naked eye. This allows a variety of possible cockpit configurations and even larger monitor sizes.
A larger monitor running at a higher resolution requires a more powerful graphics card to get consistent framerates. This is mostly game dependent. Check a sim racers store page for its minimum requirements. You can also look at online forums for some information on how your particular PC will run that game at that specific resolution.
There are whole communities dedicated to discussing these kinds of things, so you won’t be short on answers. You can still use a large high-res monitor, but if your hardware isn’t up to the task you may have to lower the in-game resolution, sacrificing some visual quality for a smoother experience.
4. Refresh Rate
A high refresh rate monitor will provide a much smoother experience and will do a better job simulating speed. Not only will this heighten your immersion, but the high refresh rate of the display will also give you a competitive advantage as information is received and displayed faster than on a standard 60 Hz monitor.
For instance, a 60 Hz screen will display a new frame every 16.6 milliseconds whereas a 144 Hz display will display that frame to you in just 6.94 milliseconds. While this may not seem like much, every millisecond matters in sim racing. This can make inputs feel more responsive and your reactions that bit snappier.
5. Bezel Width
If you choose to get a single monitor or an ultrawide monitor, this matters less. However, if you plan on using a triple monitor setup to give you a wider FOV, a thinner bezel on the monitor’s edge is ideal. A triple monitor setup with large bezels will leave large black borders where the monitors meet. This can hinder visibility and will be very distracting, therefore breaking the immersion.
This issue isn’t apparent on an ultrawide display. Regardless of how thin the bezels are on your monitors, it will be near impossible to completely eliminate the visible black borders where the monitors meet. A large ultrawide monitor with an aggressive curve does a good job at covering your peripheral similar to a triple monitor setup.
Is A 32 Inch Monitor Good For Sim Racing?
A 32-inch monitor is good for sim racing. For a single monitor setup, 32” is big enough to give you that fully immersive experience without having to deconstruct your whole setup to fit it in. However, at this size, a higher resolution is advised to ensure images look crisp when sitting close to it.
It’s recommended to get a 32” display with a resolution of at least 2560 x 1440 for improved clarity and a higher pixel density. However, larger monitors are often more expensive due to the higher resolutions they offer.
While getting a larger monitor might be ideal due to the higher resolutions available and more immersive experience they can provide, the price of these monitors significantly increases with their size and resolution.
A 1440p 32” display can offer a great balance of cost to available screen space and in some cases, it may actually be more practical to settle for a 32-inch display rather than an ultrawide. Of course, this depends on your setup and whether you will be mounting the display onto a rig.
Should You Buy An Ultrawide Monitor For Sim Racing?
You should buy an ultrawide monitor for sim racing as it can be far more appealing than a triple monitor setup. It removes the issues of screen bezels, making it the most immersive option. One ultrawide high-res display is also far easier to place and run than 3 separate 1440p 32-inch displays.
Ultrawide monitors are usually curved, and depending on where you purchase your monitor from, more aggressive curves are available so that the monitor wraps around your peripheral. This offers an incredibly immersive experience with no bezel obstructing your view. Sadly, ultrawide monitors are often more expensive than a standard 32-inch monitor.
Another thing to consider is that ultrawide monitors are still considered a niche product while some even consider it a novelty. I disagree with it being a novelty as there are certainly advantages to having an ultrawide monitor such as the immersive field of view without obnoxious bezels like in triple monitor setups.
Is Ultrawide Supported?
While most sim racing titles will support the odd resolutions that ultrawide demands, games of other genres often don’t support ultrawide resolutions and instead settle with having black bars on the sides of the screen, essentially making the extra screen space worthless.
If you are planning on only using an ultrawide monitor for sim racing, then you shouldn’t have any issues as most sim racers accommodate ultrawide and triple screen setups. Online forums often have guides on how to force games to support ultrawide resolutions, so even if you are playing an incompatible title, the sim racing community has got you covered.
Can You Use 3 Ultrawide Monitors For Sim Racing?
A triple monitor setup using ultrawide monitors can be advantageous as the curves on all 3 will offer a more immersive experience than 3 flat panel displays. However, the issue of having bezels obstructing parts of your view remains.
It is also difficult to align 3 curved monitors in such a way that the display does not curve towards you from the sides of the front display, warping your view of the game. My suggestion would be to use an ultra-wide monitor as your front and center while using 2 flat panel monitors for your left and right.
The ultrawide monitor at the front will provide the most critical and relevant information that you require, while the left and right flat-panel monitors will act as your left and right Windows giving you full control of how you see the world within the sim racer. However, the way you want to arrange your monitors is solely up to you and subjective as what may work for me, may not work for you.
There are plenty of guides and online videos with suggestions on how to arrange your monitors and ideal ways of mounting them to your rig, so don’t feel discouraged if you don’t yet know how exactly to utilize an ultrawide setup.
What Is the Best Sim Racing Monitor Size?
The best sim racing monitor size is 34 to 49” with a high refresh rate and an aggressive curve so that it wraps around you providing a great unobstructed and immersive field of view. This is also often cheaper than buying 3 monitors. However, if you use triple monitors, 27” per screen is best.
It’s very subjective and it mostly depends on what you’re needs are and what your sim racing setup or rig can accommodate. With a triple monitor setup, you can completely immerse yourself on all sides, maybe giving you a full 180 degrees of vision. However, you’re then stuck with bezels partially obstructing your view and this can sometimes break immersion.
An ultrawide monitor on the other hand can provide a similar experience without the bezels. Something else to consider is whether or not your GPU can support a triple monitor setup. If you don’t have a way to hook up 3 monitors at once to your PC then that leaves only ultrawide or a single widescreen monitor as your 2 options.
Is Less Than 32 Inches Viable?
A 32-inch widescreen monitor is a great option for sim racing, especially if you are mounting it to the front of a rig. It’s large enough to give you that extra screen space necessary for an immersive experience. Field-of-view settings can be comfortably raised at 32 inches to give you that competitive edge.
Anything smaller than a 32-inch monitor may harm your experience while sim racing. It would be very difficult to see the track ahead of you and after upgrading to a larger monitor my own performance has greatly increased. I imagine this is a result of the large display blocking out distractions and the larger uncompromised field of view allowing me to focus solely on the race.
A 32-inch display or larger is the best size monitor for sim racing. Ultrawide seems to be the most appealing of all the options available. A triple monitor setup can also be an excellent choice if your GPU can support it, but if you are using a single-monitor setup, 30-42” is best.