Podcast #360 - Intel XPoint Memory, Windows 10 and DX12, FreeSync displays and more!

Subject: General Tech | July 30, 2015 - 02:45 PM |
Tagged: podcast, video, Intel, XPoint, nand, DRAM, windows 10, DirectX 12, freesync, g-sync, amd, nvidia, benq, uhd420, wasabi mango, X99, giveaway

PC Perspective Podcast #360 - 07/30/2015

Join us this week as we discuss Intel XPoint Memory, Windows 10 and DX12, FreeSync displays and more!

You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

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Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, and Sebastian Peak

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Subject: Displays
Manufacturer: BenQ

Overdrive initialized

We have been tracking the differences between AMD’s FreeSync and Nvidia’s G-Sync for some time now. The launch of FreeSync-capable displays started out a bit shaky, as some features we took for granted went missing. The first round of FreeSync displays we reviewed came with non-functional overdrive when the display / GPU pipeline was operating in FreeSync mode.


Comparison of overdrive response in first round FreeSync displays. Images should look like the ROG Swift (left), which was correctly applying overdrive.

While AMD apparently fixed a portion of this problem in a subsequent driver update, getting overdrive to function in these early displays would require a firmware update. Unlike what you may be used to with a motherboard or SSD firmware, displays are not typically end-user upgradeable. This meant that even if manufacturers produced a fix, owners would have to send in their display to be updated (and be without it for several weeks).

The only manufacturer to step forward and retroactively support overdrive in their first gen FreeSync panel was BenQ. In a statement issued via TFTCentral:

BenQ have confirmed that the FreeSync/AMA issue which affected their XL2730Z display has now been fixed. This issue caused the overdrive (AMA) feature to not function when the screen was connected to a FreeSync capable system. As a result, users could not make use of the AMA feature and benefit from the improved response times that the 'normal' AMA mode offered, as compared with AMA Off. See our review for more information.

A driver update from AMD is already available and should be downloaded from their website. In addition BenQ will be releasing a firmware update for the monitor itself to fix this issue. Current stocks in distribution are being recalled and updated with retailers so future purchases should already carry this new firmware. This is expected to apply for stock purchased AFTER 1st July, as V002 firmware screens should be shipped by BenQ to distributors in late June.

For those who already have an XL2730Z if you want to, you can return it to BenQ for them to carry out the firmware update for you. This only applies if the user is experiencing issues with the performance of the screen. There is no simple way for the end user to update the firmware themselves and it is not encouraged. Users should contact BenQ support through their relevant country website for more information on how to return their screen for the update.

The catch with the above is that the statement came from BenQ PR for Europe, and we nor TFTCentral have been able to confirm any equivalent upgrade process in place for the USA. We did note in various online reviews that those receiving their BenQ XL2730Z in the last week of June confirmed having the new V002 firmware.

If you have one of these panels, verifying your firmware is simple. Hold down the menu button while powering up the display (you will have to hold the power button for a few seconds before you hear a beep).


The display will power up and appear as normal, except that now pressing the menu button again will bring up the above service menu. Those with the update will have “V002” as the starting text of the ‘F/W Version’ result.


Overdrive functioning on the ASUS MG279Q IPS FreeSync display, showing an odd simultaneous ‘negative ghost’ outline of a slightly ghosted image.

We have been eager to retest the BenQ since hearing of this updated firmware revision. While we have seen overdrive functioning in the recent ASUS MG279Q, it was not a perfect implementation, and we were curious to know if BenQ’s implementation fared any better.


Continue reading for the results of our testing!

Stop by for the BenQ XL2730Z FreeSync display, stay for the conversations

Subject: Displays | May 21, 2015 - 01:44 PM |
Tagged: XL2730Z, freesync, benq, amd

Ryan wasn't the only one to test BenQ's XL2730Z 27-in 2560x1440 144 Hz FreeSync Monitor, The Tech Report also had a chance to test one, as well as talk to NVIDIA's Tom Petersen about their competing technology.  They also had a chance to discuss FreeSync in general with AMD's David Glen who is one of the engineers behind FreeSync.  Their benchmarks and overall impression of the displays capabilities and FreeSync in general are a major portion of the review but the discussion with the two company representatives makes for even more interesting reading.


"AMD's FreeSync is here, personified in BenQ's XL2730Z monitor. We've gone deep into the display's performance and smoothness, with direct comparisons to G-Sync using 240-fps video. Here's what we found."

Here are some more Display articles from around the web:


Subject: Displays
Manufacturer: AMD

What is FreeSync?

FreeSync: What began as merely a term for AMD’s plans to counter NVIDIA’s launch of G-Sync (and mocking play on NVIDIA’s trade name) has finally come to fruition, keeping the name - and the attitude. As we have discussed, AMD’s Mantle API was crucial to pushing the industry in the correct and necessary direction for lower level APIs, though NVIDIA’s G-Sync deserves the same credit for recognizing and imparting the necessity of a move to a variable refresh display technology. Variable refresh displays can fundamentally change the way that PC gaming looks and feels when they are built correctly and implemented with care, and we have seen that time and time again with many different G-Sync enabled monitors at our offices. It might finally be time to make the same claims about FreeSync.

But what exactly is FreeSync? AMD has been discussing it since CES in early 2014, claiming that they would bypass the idea of a custom module that needs to be used by a monitor to support VRR, and instead go the route of open standards using a modification to DisplayPort 1.2a from VESA. FreeSync is based on AdaptiveSync, an optional portion of the DP standard that enables a variable refresh rate courtesy of expanding the vBlank timings of a display, and it also provides a way to updating EDID (display ID information) to facilitate communication of these settings to the graphics card. FreeSync itself is simply the AMD brand for this implementation, combining the monitors with correctly implemented drivers and GPUs that support the variable refresh technology.


A set of three new FreeSync monitors from Acer, LG and BenQ.

Fundamentally, FreeSync works in a very similar fashion to G-Sync, utilizing the idea of the vBlank timings of a monitor to change how and when it updates the screen. The vBlank signal is what tells the monitor to begin drawing the next frame, representing the end of the current data set and marking the beginning of a new one. By varying the length of time this vBlank signal is set to, you can force the monitor to wait any amount of time necessary, allowing the GPU to end the vBlank instance exactly when a new frame is done drawing. The result is a variable refresh rate monitor, one that is in tune with the GPU render rate, rather than opposed to it. Why is that important? I wrote in great detail about this previously, and it still applies in this case:

The idea of G-Sync (and FreeSync) is pretty easy to understand, though the implementation method can get a bit more hairy. G-Sync (and FreeSync) 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 (and FreeSync) 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.


Gamers today are likely to be very familiar with V-Sync, short for vertical sync, which is an option in your graphics card’s control panel and in your game options menu. When enabled, it forces the monitor to draw a new image on the screen at a fixed interval. In theory, this would work well and the image is presented to the gamer without artifacts. The problem is that games that are played and rendered in real time rarely fall into a very specific frame rate. With only a couple of exceptions, games frame rates will fluctuate based on the activity happening on the screen: a rush of enemies, a changed camera angle, an explosion or falling building. Instantaneous frame rates can vary drastically, from 30, to 60, to 90, and force the image to be displayed only at set fractions of the monitor's refresh rate, which causes problems.

Continue reading our first impressions of the newly released AMD FreeSync technology!!

BenQ's 24" XL2420G; affordable G-SYNC?

Subject: Displays | February 6, 2015 - 03:49 PM |
Tagged: XL2420G, NVIDA, g-sync, benq, 24

On Amazon the BenQ XL2420G is $540, or $529 from B&H Photo, not inexpensive but within the grasp of more people than some of the larger and more expensive G-SYNC monitors.  It has a maximum refresh rate of 144Hz as you expect from this style of monitor and it does indeed support Nvidia's 3D Vision, although some may be deterred by the 1080p resolution and the fact that it is a TN panel.  Some features do need to be sacrificed to bring the price down and the simple fact is that there are no IPS G-SYNC monitors currently for sale and TN is the faster type of monitor and this display is all about speed.  The Tech Report tried it out and were very impressed, check the full review to see why.


"Today, we're turning our attention to BenQ's XL2420G, a 24" G-Sync monitor that's currently selling for about $580 at Newegg. This display is a little smaller and more affordable than some of the other G-Sync offerings we've looked at, but it's not lacking in functionality or connectivity. Quite the opposite."

Here are some more Display articles from around the web:


CES 2015: AMD Announces World's First Shipping FreeSync Monitors

Subject: Displays | January 5, 2015 - 02:17 PM |
Tagged: viewsonic, Samsung, Nixeus, monitor, LG Electronics, freesync, display, ces 2015, CES, benq, amd

Today AMD announced that they will be shipping 7 new Freesync displays in 2015 with their partners, BenQ, LG Electronics, Nixeus, Samsung, and Viewsonic.


As we learn more about these individual FreeSync-enabled models we will provide updates, and AMD has stated that there will be models shipping this month.

The full PR announcement from AMD appears below:

AMD today announced the expansion of the FreeSync ecosystem as technology partners including BenQ, LG Electronics, Nixeus, Samsung, and Viewsonic showcased their upcoming commercially available FreeSync-enabled displays at the 2015 International CES. The unveiling of new FreeSync-enabled displays demonstrates the industry's commitment to open standards-based technology that enables improved gaming by synchronizing dynamic refresh rates of the displays to the frame rate of AMD Radeon™ R-Series graphics cards and current generation APUs. The result greatly reduces input latency and helps reduce or eliminate visual defects during gaming and video playback. The new displays range in size between 24" to 34", supporting refresh rates of 30 to 144 Hz, and resolutions of 1080p up to Ultra HD, offering a variety of options for every gamer's needs and at virtually every price point.

"The broad adoption of FreeSync technology from our partners shows how the industry strongly values the same open ecosystem and quality that AMD strives for," said Roy Taylor, corporate vice president, ISV/IHV Partner Group, AMD. "Gamers who use FreeSync technology with AMD Radeon™ R-Series graphics and AMD latest generation of APUs can rest assured that they're enjoying the best possible experience."

Monitors from BenQ, LG Electronics, Nixeus, and Samsung are on display at AMD's booth, San Polo rooms 3402 - 3404 at The Venetian at CES Tech West. Displays are expected to be available in market starting this month with additional models set to launch in early 2015.

List of Announced Displays

Manufacturer Model # Size Resolution Refresh Rate
BenQ XL2730Z 27" QHD (2560x1440) 144Hz
LG Electronics 29UM67 29" 2560x1080 75Hz
LG Electronics 34UM67 34" 2560x1080 75Hz
Nixeus NX-VUE24 24" 1080p 144Hz
Samsung UE590 23.6", 28" 4K 60Hz
Samsung UE850 23.6", 28", 31.5" 4K 60Hz
Viewsonic VX2701mh 27" 1080p 144Hz



The BenQ XL2730Z (image credit: BenQ)

Coverage of CES 2015 is brought to you by Logitech!

PC Perspective's CES 2015 coverage is sponsored by Logitech.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Source: AMD

A professional class monitor on a reasonable budget, BenQ BL3200PT

Subject: Displays | November 24, 2014 - 01:53 PM |
Tagged: 2560x1440, mva, benq, BL3200PT, 32, professional monitor

Displays using Multi-domain Vertical Alignment, aka MVA, offer better response times than standard IPS panels and better viewing angle and colour than ones using TN, sitting somewhat in the middle of these two standards in quality and price. BenQ has released an 32", LED backlit 2560x1440 A-MVA display called the BL3200PT with a 100% colour gamut and 1.07 billion colours, aimed at the professional designer on a bit of a budget.  The MSRP of $800 makes it far more affordable than many of the 4K monitors on the market and the use of MVA instead of IPS also helps lower the price without sacrificing too much quality.  The connectivity options are impressive, HDMI, DisplayPort, dual-link DVI, and D-Sub, along with audio, two USB plugs and a card reader should ensure that you can connect this display to the necessary resources and it can be adjusted vertically as well as tilt and swivel and is capable of portrait mode.  Check out Hardware Canucks full review here.


"BenQ's BL3200PT combines a massive screen size with an Advanced-MVA panel to create a monitor that's a perfect fit for optimizing workflow while delivering good color reproduction."

Here are some more Display articles from around the web:


Podcast #283 - AMD Kaveri APU Launch, Gigabyte's New Slim Gaming Notebook, and CES 2014 Wrapup!

Subject: General Tech | January 16, 2014 - 12:26 AM |
Tagged: video, R9 290X, podcast, msi, Kaveri, gsync, gigabyte, freesync, benq, amd, a8-7600, 290x

PC Perspective Podcast #283 - 01/16/2014

Join us this week as we discuss the AMD Kaveri APU Launch, Gigabyte's New Slim Gaming Notebook, and CES 2014 Wrapup!

You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

  • iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the iTunes Store
  • RSS - Subscribe through your regular RSS reader
  • MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file

Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath and Allyn Malventano

Program length: 1:13:50

CES 2014: BenQ Announces 24-Inch and 27-Inch Monitors With NVIDIA G-Sync Technology

Subject: General Tech | January 9, 2014 - 07:46 PM |
Tagged: monitor, g-sync, CES 2014, CES, benq, 3d vision

BenQ has announced two new monitors that will incorporate NVIDIA's G-Sync technology. The 24-inch XL2420G and 27-inch XL2720G will both be available in Q1 2014. Both monitors have 144 Hz refresh rates and will support three display modes: G-Sync, Low Motion Blur, and 3D Vision. In addition to G-Sync technology, the monitors support ResolutionEyes technology which is a set of features designed to make prolonged gaming sessions easier on the eyes.

BenQ XL2720G G-Sync Monitor.jpg

BenQ's 27-inch G-Sync gaming monitor.

According to NVIDIA, the 24-inch and 27-inch BenQ monitors will sport a 1920x1080 resolution on an uspecificed panel time. Unfortunately, BenQ has not revealed whether it is using TN, IPS, or some other panel technology nor what the response time is beyond stating that it is "ultra fast" (which may imply a TN panel...). We do know that the monitors are hieght adjustable.

Both G-Sync capable monitors will be available in Q1 2014 at not-yet-released prices. It is promising to see other monitor manufacturers supporting G-Sync out of the box.

Coverage of CES 2014 is brought to you by AMD!

PC Perspective's CES 2014 coverage is sponsored by AMD.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Source: BenQ