Here they come - the G-Sync monitors are finally arriving at our doors! A little over a month ago we got to review the ASUS ROG Swift PG278Q, a 2560x1440 144 Hz monitor that was the first retail-ready display to bring NVIDIA's variable refresh technology to consumers. It was a great first option with a high refresh rate along with support for ULMB (ultra low motion blur) technology, giving users a shot at either option.
Today we are taking a look at our second G-Sync monitor that will hit streets sometime in mid-October with an identical $799 price point. The Acer XB280HK is a 28-in 4K monitor with a maximum refresh rate of 60 Hz and of course, support for NVIDIA G-Sync.
The Acer XB280HK, first announced at Computex in June, is the first 4K monitor on the market to be announced with support for variable refresh. It isn't that far behind the first low-cost 4K monitors to hit the market, period: the ASUS PB287Q and the Samsung U28D590D both shipped in May of 2014 with very similar feature sets, minus G-Sync. I discussed much of the general usability benefits (and issues) that arose when using a consumer 4K panel with Windows 8.1 in those reviews, so you'll want to be sure you read up on that in addition to the discussion of 4K + G-Sync we'll have today.
While we dive into the specifics on the Acer XB280HK monitor today, I will skip over most of the discussion about G-Sync, how it works and why we want it. In our ASUS PG278Q review I had a good, concise discussion on the technical background of NVIDIA G-Sync technology and how it improves gaming.
The idea of G-Sync is pretty easy to understand, though the implementation method can get a bit more hairy. G-Sync introduces a variable refresh rate to a monitor, allowing the display to refresh at wide range of rates rather than at fixed intervals. More importantly, rather than the monitor dictating what rate this refresh occurs at to the PC, the graphics now tells the monitor when to refresh in a properly configured G-Sync setup. This allows a monitor to match the refresh rate of the screen to the draw rate of the game being played (frames per second) and that simple change drastically improves the gaming experience for several reasons.
Subject: Displays | June 24, 2014 - 12:05 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: UHD, seiki, 4k, 40U4SEP-G02, 3840x2160, 32U4SEP-G02, 28U4SEP-G02
An interesting press release found its way into my inbox just now that announces a new competitor to the world of 4K monitors. Seiki, made famous recently for its line of incredibly low cost 4K TVs that really started the 4K trend for consumers and PC gamers, is building a set of three professional series 4K monitors for release early next year with some damned impressive specifications.
Though you can find the 50-in Seiki SE50UY04 for just $799 on Amazon and the 39-in SE39UY04 for only $469, these are televisions with somewhat limited 30 Hz refresh rates. The new products that Seiki is showing for the first time at CE Week Exhibits and Conferences in New York City do not have any of these limitations though and instead boast one of the most complete list of specifications I have seen on a monitor.
Seiki SE39UY04 4K Television
Seiki will introduce three different sizes including a 28-in (28U4SEP-G02), 32-in (32U4SEP-G02) and 40-in (40U4SEP-G02) offering with the following specs:
- Vertical Alignment (VA) LED panel technology with 3,840 by 2,160 4K Ultra HD
- 12-bit color processing and 14-bit gamma mode
- HDMI 2.0, DisplayPort 1.3, MHL 3.0, DVI and VGA standards display connections
- Picture-by-picture (x4) and daisy chain mode
- USB 3.0 hub (1 upstream and 2 downstream)
- VESA-compliant adjustable monitor stand with quick release
I am still waiting for confirmation on the panel
type quality (more like TN or more like IPS, etc.) but the list of specifications here offers a glimpse of what to expect. (Vetical Aligned panels should be pretty damned good.) 12-bit color and 14-bit gamma indicate that this display will be built for the professional and creative designer at heart. Support for upcoming standards like HDMI 2.0 and Displayport 1.3 should tell you that the monitors won't be shipping for a while (Q1 2015 I'm told) but when you have them they will be able to push 4K at 60 Hz without issue.
The quad PiP mode could be really cool if it works as I suspect - four different HDMI inputs allow for four unique unscaled images on the panel at the same time. This could be great for multi-display uses where consumers can utilize a set of four 20-in (effective) 1080p panels without a bezel. We are already drooling over the possibilities of that here for our test setups...
So while I am excited about the prospect of these monitors, we don't yet know the pricing. If these are high quality IPS displays you can expect them to be quite expensive. But Seiki is known for building great displays at a low cost, so perhaps the company will be able to do so once again and surprise us all in time for CES next year.
4K for $649
The growth and adoption of 4K resolution panels (most commonly 3840x2160) has really been the biggest story of the past year or so in the world of PC gaming. After a couple of TVs that ran at 3840x2160 over HDMI at 30 Hz found there way into our offices, the first real 60 Hz 4K monitor that I got some hands on time with was the ASUS PQ321Q. This monitor was definitely targeted at the profressional market with its IGZO display (near IPS quality) and somewhat high price tag of $3500. It has since dropped to $2400 or so but it remains somewhat complicated by the use of MST technology (multi-stream transport) that was required to hit 60 Hz.
Earlier this month I took a look at the Samsung U28D590D 28-in 4K panel that was capable of 60 Hz refresh rates for just $699. This display used a single-stream transport DisplayPort connection to keep setup simple but used a TN panel rather than IPS/IGZO. This meant viewing angles were not as strong (though better than most TN screens you have seen before) but...that price!
Today we have our second low cost, SST 4K monitor to evaluate, the ASUS PB287Q. We saw it at CES back in January and with a launch date of June 10th and an MSRP $649, ASUS is setting itself up for an impressive release.
So what can you expect if you purchase the ASUS PB287Q 4K monitor? In short you get an adequate screen that won't live up to IPS standards but is just good enough for the PC gamer and productivity user in all of us. You'll also get a form factor that well exceeds that of the Samsung U28D590D with fully moveable stand and VESA mounting. And a price of $649 for a 3840x2160 screen doesn't hurt either.
Read on the next pages for more details on the user experience in Windows 8.1 as well as while gaming to see if this is the right monitor for you to buy this summer!
3840x2160 for Cheap!!
It has been just over a year ago when we first got our hands on a 4K display. At the time, we were using a 50-in Seiki 3840x2160 HDTV that ran at a 30 Hz refresh rate and was disappointing in terms of its gaming experience, but impressive in image quality and price ($1500 at the time). Of course, we had to benchmark graphics cards at 4K resolutions and the results proved what we expected - you are going to need some impressive hardware to run at 4K with acceptable frame rates.
Since that story was published, we saw progress in the world of 4K displays with the ASUS PQ321Q, a 4K monitor (not a TV) that was built to handle 60 Hz refresh rates. The problem, of course, was the requirement for a multi-stream connection that essentially pushes two distinct streams over a single DisplayPort cable to the monitor, each at 1920x2160. While in theory that wasn't a problem, we saw a lot configuration and installation headaches as we worked through the growing pains of drivers and firmware. Also, it was priced at $3200 when we first reviewed it, though that number has fallen to $2400 recently.
Today we are looking at the Samsung U28D590D, the first 4K panel we have seen that supports a 60 Hz refresh rate with a single stream (single tile) implementation. That means that not only do you get the better experiences associated with a 60 Hz refresh rate over a 30 Hz, you also gain a much more simple and compatible installation and setup. No tricky driver issues to be found here! If you have a DisplayPort 1.2-capable graphics card, it's just plug and play.
The Samsung U28D590D uses a 28-in TN panel, which is obviously of a lower quality in terms of colors and viewing angles than the IGZO screen used on the ASUS PQ321Q, but it's not as bad as you might expect based on previous TN panel implementations. We'll talk a bit more about that below. The best part of course is the price - you can find the Samsung 4K panel for as low as $690!
Subject: General Tech, Displays | July 20, 2013 - 08:36 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: video, seiki, SE39UY04, hdtv, displays, 4k, 3840x2160
After the interest in our overview of the SEIKI 50-in 4K HDTV last April, we got word that SEIKI was making a smaller version of the same television. The SE39UY04 is now available and sells for just under $700 at various online retailers and is surely piquing the interest of many PC users and enthusiasts with the combination of a 3840x2160 resolution and 39-in screen size.
In nearly every way, this 39-in model is identical to the 50-in version with the exception of size and pixel density. Having just recently published a review of the ASUS PQ321Q 4K monitor on PC Perspective I can now report that the move from 60 Hz screens to 30 Hz screens, even at this kind of resolution and screen size, is very apparent.
Below is our initial video unboxing and overview of the new SEIKI SE39UY04. Check it out and leave us any questions or ideas below!
Our 4K Testing Methods
You may have recently seen a story and video on PC Perspective about a new TV that made its way into the office. Of particular interest is the fact that the SEIKI SE50UY04 50-in TV is a 4K television; it has a native resolution of 3840x2160. For those that are unfamiliar with the new upcoming TV and display standards, 3840x2160 is exactly four times the resolution of current 1080p TVs and displays. Oh, and this TV only cost us $1300.
In that short preview we validated that both NVIDIA and AMD current generation graphics cards support output to this TV at 3840x2160 using an HDMI cable. You might be surprised to find that HDMI 1.4 can support 4K resolutions, but it can do so only at 30 Hz (60 Hz 4K TVs won't be available until 2014 most likely), half the refresh rate of most TVs and monitors at 60 Hz. That doesn't mean we are limited to 30 FPS of performance though, far from it. As you'll see in our testing on the coming pages we were able to push out much higher frame rates using some very high end graphics solutions.
I should point out that I am not a TV reviewer and I don't claim to be one, so I'll leave the technical merits of the monitor itself to others. Instead I will only report on my experiences with it while using Windows and playing games - it's pretty freaking awesome. The only downside I have found in my time with the TV as a gaming monitor thus far is with the 30 Hz refresh rate and Vsync disabled situations. Because you are seeing fewer screen refreshes over the same amount of time than you would with a 60 Hz panel, all else being equal, you are getting twice as many "frames" of the game being pushed to the monitor each refresh cycle. This means that the horizontal tearing associated with Vsync will likely be more apparent than it would otherwise.
I would likely recommend enabling Vsync for a tear-free experience on this TV once you are happy with performance levels, but obviously for our testing we wanted to keep it off to gauge performance of these graphics cards.
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards, Displays | April 18, 2013 - 05:52 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: video, seiki, se50UY04, hdtv, hdmi 1.4, displays, 4k, 3840x2160
This just in! We have a 4K TV in the PC Perspective Offices!
While we are still working on the ability to test graphics card performance at this resolution with our Frame Rating capture system, we decided to do a live stream earlier today as we unboxed, almost dropped and then eventually configured our new 4K TV.
The TV in question? A brand new SEIKI SE50UY04 50-in 3840x2160 ready display. Haven't heard of it? Neither have we. I picked it up over the weekend from TigerDirect for $1299, though it actually a bit higher now at $1499.
The TV itself is pretty unassuming and other than looking for the 4K label on the box you'd be hard pressed to discern it from other displays. It DID come with a blue, braided UHD-ready HDMI cable, so there's that.
One point worth noting is that the stand on the TV is pretty flimsy; there was definitely wobble after installation and setup.
Connecting the TV to our test system was pretty easy - only a single HDMI cable was required and the GeForce GTX 680s in SLI we happened to have on our test bed recognized it as a 3840x2160 capable display. Keep in mind that you are limited to a refresh rate of 30 Hz though due to current limitations of HDMI 1.4. The desktop was clear and sharper and if you like screen real estate...this has it.
The first thing we wanted to try was some 4K video playback and we tried YouTube videos, some downloaded clips we found scattered across the Internet and a couple of specific examples I had been saving. Isn't that puppy cute? It was by far the best picture I had seen on a TV that close up - no other way to say it.
We did have issues with video playback in some cases due to high bit rates. In one case we had a YUV uncompressed file that was hitting our SSD so hard on read speeds that we saw choppiness. H.265 save us!
And of course we demoed some games as well - Battlefield 3, Crysis 3, Skyrim and Tomb Raider. Each was able to run at 3840x2160 without any complaints or INI hacks. They all looked BEAUTIFUL when in a still position but we did notice some flickering on the TV that might be the result of the 120 Hz interpolation and possibly the "dynamic luminance control" feature that SEIKI has.
We'll definitely test some more on this in the coming days to see if we can find a solution as I know many PC gamers are going to be excited about the possibility of using this as a gaming display! We are working on a collection of benchmarks on some of the higher end graphics solutions like the GeForce TITAN, GTX 680s, HD 7990 and HD 7970s!
If you want to check out the full experience of our unboxing and first testing, check out the full live stream archived below!!