From a professional eSports player to a full-time streamer, Shroud has gained millions of followers that admired his skill, so much so that people wonder what kind of peripherals he’s using to stay as competitive at all times.
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Who is Shroud?
Michael Grzesiek, popularly known as Shroud (formerly mEclipse), was a professional Counter-Strike: Global Offensive player turned full-time streamer on Twitch, then Mixer. At the time of this writing, Shroud has over 7 million followers on Twitch and almost 1.2 million on Mixer.
Shroud started his career playing CS:GO with several ESEA teams, particularly, Exertus and Manajuma. He was later acquired by Cloud9 (formerly CompLexity Gaming) as a stand-in, before he officially signed with Cloud9 in August 2014.
Shroud played professionally and helped Cloud9 to place in various Leagues worldwide until he officially announced that he would step down from Cloud9 on August 16, 2017. About a year later, on April 18, 2018, Shroud stepped down as a member of Cloud9 and left professional CS:GO entirely.
— Michael Grzesiek (@shroud) October 24, 2019
After spending thousands of hours on Twitch, Shroud announced he would be streaming exclusively on Mixer on October 24, 2019. Mixer is a live streaming platform similar to Twitch owned by Microsoft. He does so well that he hit the 1-million follower milestone just four months since he transferred.
What Games Does Shroud Play Nowadays?
After playing professionally in CS:GO, Shroud transitioned to a full-time streamer and played PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds on Twitch. He even participated in tournaments from time to time.
According to TwitchTracker, PUBG, CS:GO, Apex Legends, Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, and Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Siege, are the top 5 games Shroud has played the most. But just recently, he has started playing some Valorant.
Looking at his top 10 most played games on Twitch, 8 out of 10 are first-person shooter games. And this makes it safe to assume that whatever monitor shroud is using played an essential role in keeping him competitive.
With that in mind, let’s look at Shroud’s gaming monitor.
What Monitor does Shroud Use?
For his monitor, Shroud uses the BenQ ZOWIE 240Hz XL2540. It has features like the two “paddles” that will put competitive gamers at a considerable advantage.
Shroud’s Previous Monitor: Acer Predator XB252Q
Size: 24.5 inches | Refresh Rate: 240Hz | Response Time: 1ms | Panel Type: TN | Max Resolution: 1920×1080 pixels
Shroud always aims to stay competitive when playing. No wonder shroud went for the Acer Predator XB252Q. This monitor has been mentioned many times as one of the best TN panels in many tech websites.
Acer is a reputable brand that doesn’t fail, and the Predator line is among the premium line of monitors.
With a 240Hz refresh rate, things will look silky smooth, putting you at a considerable advantage if you’re a dedicated FPS gamer like Shroud. But be reminded that this many frames will require a very powerful graphics card. If you’re planning on pairing this monitor with a lower-end graphics card or even a mid-range graphics card like a GTX 1060, you might want to reconsider and get a more powerful graphics card.
But to be fair, you can still rock a GTX 1060 on this one, but you’ll have to cut some of the graphical settings in the game to get a steady 240 frames. While you may experience VIP treatment with this monitor, it’s not as close as his current monitor (covered in detail below).
This monitor is a TN panel with a max resolution of 1920×1080. Playing on this monitor does help you as it lets you see enemies faster and better.
A monitor with a 1ms response rate ensures you get real-time changes in the screen. Paired with the G-Sync technology and games will look really smooth without screen tearing messing around when you’re in the heat of a battle.
As far as adjustments go, you can do more than just height adjustment. You can tilt, pivot, and swivel the monitor. Ergonomically, this ensures you always have a good view of the monitor comfortably from almost every angle.
Unlike the other monitors you’d find in the market, this has an OSD feature that makes it unique. There are four buttons and a joystick that runs horizontally along the back. You can calibrate the colors and adjust plenty of stuff. But Acer’s GameView is an excellent addition as it lets you customize profiles to your gaming preference.
If you’re looking for a 240Hz monitor that’s more affordable than what Shroud is using now, this will be one of the best out there.
Shroud’s Current Monitor: BenQ ZOWIE XL2540
Size: 24.5 inches | Refresh Rate: 240Hz | Response Time: 1ms | Panel Type: TN | Max Resolution: 1920×1080 pixels
With all the specifications and features this monitor has, I can see why Shroud loves this! This gaming monitor is the best monitor for competitive gaming— hands down.
These aren’t just for aesthetics. This functions in a way that will make your gaming experience more immersive than it already is. These paddles are called “Shield,” which helps you focus on your game by blocking or “shielding” light sources or glares from interfering with the screen.
But don’t worry, because you can take these panels off anytime. If you live in a man cave where natural sunlight won’t interfere on your screen– or if you’re planning to use this in a 3-monitor setup (like Shroud did), the panels should not be an issue.
The ZOWIE XL2540 can display up to 240 frames per second, making everything look silky smooth. But do note that you’ll need a powerful graphics card like the RTX 2080 Ti that Shroud uses to get that many frames.
This monitor also has a lightning-fast response time of 1ms that ensures everything you see moving is where they should be. Moreover, it’s G-Sync compatible, so if you are using an Nvidia graphics card, you can turn this feature on and enjoy gaming without screen tearing.
But that’s not it as the BenQ ZOWIE XL2540 has other features that can make your gaming experience super comfortable. For example, the monitor has plenty of adjustment feature that allows you to swivel, tilt, pivot, and make some height adjustments.
You can also customize monitor modes and switch between settings with the S-switch feature. Moreover, the ZOWIE XL2540 lets you stay sharp and competitive no matter what game you’ll be playing. Having customized monitor settings allows you to see your enemies faster. Since games are known to have different brightness settings and output, this surely will come handy.
Overall, it performs outstandingly as a gaming monitor, and you can assure your investment is spent well.
The Most Expensive Monitor Isn’t Always the Best
Some of you may be wondering, “why didn’t should get a 4K monitor instead when he could afford it?”
That’s true. But you don’t need the best color reproduction or accurate color displays if you want to stay competitive. Instead, it’s about seeing the enemies first before they see you, and the best way to achieve this is to pick a monitor that goes well with the games you’re playing.
It can be easy to get overwhelmed with the features you have to consider. And if you’re unsure which type of monitor is perfect for the games you play, refer to our detailed buying guide below.
Essential Factors that Matter When Buying a Monitor
Shroud can afford any monitor he wishes to use, but he specifically picked the abovementioned as this puts him at a considerable advantage. There’s nothing wrong if you buy what he buys as long as money isn’t an issue.
But if you’re on a budget and want to make sure your investment will give you what you deserve, refer to the following and take note of what matters to you.
The diagonal measurement of the screen is an essential factor you should consider when buying a monitor. Different monitor sizes in the market can go as small as 18-inch monitors to as big as 30-inch monitors.
While it’s true that bigger screen size allows you to see more detail, it also comes at a higher price tag. However, streamers and even professional eSports gamers don’t need the biggest to stay competitive.
You see, there are consequences when playing competitively on a large monitor. Users may be able to see more details on the screen, but this also means their eyes will have to travel vast distances and put them at a disadvantage.
Ideally, you’d want to get a 24-inch monitor regardless if you’re a casual gamer or someone who just wants to stay competitive on the battlefield. But do note that this doesn’t restrict you from getting 27-inch wide monitors as it still boils down to personal preference.
As long as it fits comfortably on your desk, you should be fine.
The resolution is the total pixel count of a monitor. It consists of two numbers (width x height), where the first number represents the horizontal pixel count while the second represents the vertical pixel count.
The higher the number, the more details can be displayed on your screen. But remember that this has to be paired with the actual monitor size to get the best output. While there’s nothing wrong with aiming for a monitor with a higher resolution count, it doesn’t always mean it’s right for you.
Take professional streamers and eSports players as an example. They can get monitors with 4K displays, but they decided to use a 1920×1080 resolution monitors as this doesn’t put as much effort on the graphics card. More FPS or frames per second in gaming will put you at an advantage, and going 4K reduces FPS significantly in exchange for better quality display.
If you want to invest in a monitor for gaming purposes, a 1920x 1080 resolution monitor on a 24-inch display will be ideal. But at the end of the day, there’s nothing wrong with going 4K if you so wish to, especially if you do professional content creation on the sides.
Widescreen (16:9) or Ultrawide(21:9)? Aside from the features mentioned above, the aspect ratio is yet another feature that can make or break your investment. Although it won’t give you a competitive edge, it sure will make your games look picturesque.
Most games are designed by default to work on a 16:9 aspect ratio monitor, and 24-inch 1080p resolution monitors are usually compatible with this aspect ratio. Larger screens with wider screen real-estate have a 21:9 aspect ratio.
Unfortunately, there aren’t that many games that can support this display. To be safe, a 1080p 24-inch monitor with a 16:9 aspect ratio should give you everything you need to play competitively and casually.
There are three types of screen panel can choose from:
TN (Twisted Nematic) – are perfect for competitive and casual gamers. It has lower latency than IPS panels, supports higher refresh rates, and is cheaper overall.
IPS (In-Plane Switching) – these are great for gamers who also do content creation. It has outstanding color accuracy and has better viewing angles than any other panel.
VA (Vertical Alignment) – this panel type may have both features of TN and IPS panels. Still, we don’t necessarily recommend this for either gaming or content creation unless you’re looking for an affordable monitor with a slightly faster refresh rate and a slightly better color reproduction altogether.
FreeSync or G-Sync?
Screen tearing is a notorious problem that will ruin any gaming experience caused when the graphics processor and the display are not in sync with each other. Screen tearing is the horizontal line that appears on your screen, separating the top and the bottom section of the screen.
With G-Sync and FreeSync feature, screen tearing won’t be a problem. These are eliminated without putting too much load on the graphics card. Both Nvidia and AMD provide these features.
Overall, they have very identical technologies, but they have key differences that make each feature unique. The general rule of thumb is to get a FreeSync compatible monitor if you have an AMD graphics card, and a G-Sync compatible monitor if you own an Nvidia graphics card.
Of all the features you should look into, the refresh rate is probably the most important, especially if you’re the competitive type like Shroud. Even though we are talking milliseconds, it makes a huge difference.
The refresh rate of a monitor is the number of times a monitor refreshes the image. The faster the monitor refreshes, the smoother the game will look and feel. Additionally, this also makes the game more responsive.
Here are the different monitor refresh rates and what they’re best for:
60Hz – The “baseline” requirement for the average gaming experience.
75Hz – Minimal difference but refreshes more often than 60Hz monitors.
120Hz – Huge and noticeable difference. With how technology is changing, this may well be the next “baseline” in the coming years.
144Hz – the more popular high-end monitor and the most-preferred by competitive gamers.
240Hz – The fastest in the market. However, the massive leap in performance isn’t as massive as the leap from 60Hz to 144Hz. Unless you have a powerful graphics card that can deal with this much power, we don’t necessarily recommend it.
Response time is how long it takes for your monitor to shift from one color to another.
Shorter is better for competitive gaming, but it’s not always required, especially if you’re going to use the monitor for professional content creation.
If you’re going to play competitively, you shouldn’t settle anything more than 1ms. For content creation, 5ms should be the minimum you should get.
Should You Get a Curved Gaming Monitor? [Optional]
Not everyone likes the idea of playing competitively on curved gaming monitors. Sure, it does make your game look more immersive. However, most gamers don’t like it because they’re used to seeing pictures on a flat monitor.
Between a curved and a flat widescreen, the latter is the more preferred option. As mentioned above, most games are programmed to work on a 16:9 aspect ratio monitor, so there’s no logical reason to get a curved monitor for gaming. But if you do content creation for a living, by all means, get a curved one.
The idea here is to choose according to what you’re going to use the monitor for. So if you’re going to play FPS games exclusively, stay with the flat one.
What Features are Most Important?
That depends. What are your priorities?
Are you going to be playing competitively like Shroud? Then this is your order of priority.
Refresh rate – Aim for at least 120Hz. While 1080p resolution is excellent, 144Hz will net you a significantly better, smoother gaming experience.
Response time – 1ms is ideal, but you can get a monitor with a 3ms response time if you’re a casual gamer.
Size – Choose a monitor that would fit comfortably on your desk.
G-Sync or FreeSync – If the monitor offers this feature, it will be an excellent investment.
If you’re a casual gamer looking for a monitor that can also handle content creation on the sides, this is your order of priority.
IPS – Better color reproduction allows you to see more details. Viewing angles also provide a more immersive gaming experience.
4K – 4K display will net you exceptional clarity when working professionally.
Response Time – While fast response time doesn’t make any significant difference, you’ll want no more than 5ms.
After reading this guide, we hope you’ll know which monitor is great for you. Regardless if you’re going to use the monitor for fighting games or for competitive FPS gameplay, picking the right monitor is very important.
We hope these should make you fit enough to be able to choose the right monitor for you. Do note that it’s also as vital that you choose a monitor according to your graphics card so you can pair them perfectly.
Are you looking to get what monitor shroud is using? Or are you looking for a similar but cheaper alternative?