IDF 2016: Intel Project Alloy Promises Untethered VR and AR Experiences

Subject: General Tech, Processors, Displays, Shows and Expos | August 16, 2016 - 01:50 PM |
Tagged: VR, virtual reality, project alloy, Intel, augmented reality, AR

At the opening keynote to this summer’s Intel Developer Forum, CEO Brian Krzanich announced a new initiative to enable a completely untether VR platform called Project Alloy. Using Intel processors and sensors the goal of Project Alloy is to move all of the necessary compute into the headset itself, including enough battery to power the device for a typical session, removing the need for a high powered PC and a truly cordless experience.

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This is indeed the obvious end-game for VR and AR, though Intel isn’t the first to demonstrate a working prototype. AMD showed the Sulon Q, an AMD FX-based system that was a wireless VR headset. It had real specs too, including a 2560x1440 OLED 90Hz display, 8GB of DDR3 memory, an AMD FX-8800P APU with R7 graphics embedded. Intel’s Project Alloy is currently using unknown hardware and won’t have a true prototype release until the second half of 2017.

There is one key advantage that Intel has implemented with Alloy: RealSense cameras. The idea is simple but the implications are powerful. Intel demonstrated using your hands and even other real-world items to interact with the virtual world. RealSense cameras use depth sensing to tracking hands and fingers very accurately and with a device integrated into the headset and pointed out and down, Project Alloy prototypes will be able to “see” and track your hands, integrating them into the game and VR world in real-time.

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The demo that Intel put on during the keynote definitely showed the promise, but the implementation was clunky and less than what I expected from the company. Real hands just showed up in the game, rather than representing the hands with rendered hands that track accurately, and it definitely put a schism in the experience. Obviously it’s up to the application developer to determine how your hands would actually be represented, but it would have been better to show case that capability in the live demo.  

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Better than just tracking your hands, Project Alloy was able to track a dollar bill (why not a Benjamin Intel??!?) and use it to interact with a spinning lathe in the VR world. It interacted very accurately and with minimal latency – the potential for this kind of AR integration is expansive.

Those same RealSense cameras and data is used to map the space around you, preventing you from running into things or people or cats in the room. This enables the first “multi-room” tracking capability, giving VR/AR users a new range of flexibility and usability.

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Though I did not get hands on with the Alloy prototype itself, the unit on-stage looked pretty heavy, pretty bulky. Comfort will obviously be important for any kind of head mounted display, and Intel has plenty of time to iterate on the design for the next year to get it right. Both AMD and NVIDIA have been talking up the importance of GPU compute to provide high quality VR experiences, so Intel has an uphill battle to prove that its solution, without the need for external power or additional processing, can truly provide the untethered experience we all desire.

Dell Releases the SE2717H Display: 27-inch IPS and FreeSync for $249

Subject: Displays | August 4, 2016 - 09:20 PM |
Tagged: vrr, variable refresh rate, SE2717H, monitor, ips, freesync, display, dell, 27-inch

Dell's newest monitor is the SE2717H, a 27-inch display with AMD's FreeSync technology and an IPS panel - all for just $249.

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The matte-finish display offers 1920x1080 resolution, with a variable refresh-rate range from 48 Hz - 75 Hz, with a 6 ms response time. The 6-bit panel achieves 16.7 million colors via FRC (frame rate control, A.K.A. dithering), so it perhaps wouldn't be appropriate for color-accurate work, but just fine for gaming.

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Dell SE2717H Specifications:

  • Display Size: 27 Inches
  • Aspect Ratio: (16:9)
  • Backlight Technology: LED
  • Display Screen Coating: Antiglare with 3H hardness
  • Panel Type: In-Plane switching Technology
  • Panel Bits: 6-bits + FRC panel
  • Maximum Resolution: 1920 x 1080
  • Viewing Angle: 178° vertical / 178° horizontal
  • Contrast Ratio: 1000: 1 (typical), 8 Million: 1 (Dynamic)
  • Pixel Pitch: 0.3114 mm
  • Pixel Per Inch (PPI): 82
  • Brightness: 300 cd/m2 (typical)
  • Response Time: 6ms (gray to gray)
  • Free Sync support frame frequency: Yes, 48-75Hz
  • Color Support:
    • Color Gamut (typical): 84% (CIE 1976), 72% (CIE 1931)
    • Color Depth: 16.7 Million colors
  • Narrow Bezel (Edge of Monitor to Edge of viewable screen) 11mm
  • Stand
    • Tilt (-5° to 21°)
    • Built in cable-management

The Dell SE2717H montitor is priced at $249.99 and available now on Dell's website, with the Amazon listing live, but not in stock yet.

Source: Dell

Dell's New 30" 4K 120Hz UP3017Q OLED Monitor Coming Soon

Subject: Displays | July 14, 2016 - 12:43 PM |
Tagged: USB 3 Type-C, up3017q, oled, DisplayPort, Dell 4K, dell, 4K 120

Initially teased at CES earlier this year, Dell’s UP3017Q is an amazing 30-inch 4K monitor with an OLED panel capable of running at 120Hz. The thin bezeled UltraSharp is also extremely thin at less than 0.5” at the edges. Running a resolution of 3840 x 2160, the 30” monitor comes in at 146 PPI (pixels per inch). The UP3017Q was originally slated for a March release, but it ended up not being available. Reportedly, Dell is still fine tuning the monitor and it will be available soon though the company has not given a new specific launch date when you will actually be able to buy it.

It has some rather impressive specifications, and I am really interested in seeing it in person! The panel manufacturer is still unknown (though many have guessed it is one from LG), but it offers up a resolution of 3840 x 2160, refresh rate of up to 120Hz, 0.1ms response time, and 400,000:1 contrast ratio. Being OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode), the monitor will be able to deliver true blacks and excellent colors in a very thin profile thanks to not needing a separate backlight (the pixels themselves emit light). Dell claims that the UP3017Q 4K monitor fully supports 100% of the Adobe RGB and 97.8% DCI-P3 color spaces. At a claimed 1.07 billion colors this is a 10-bit color monitor which will be useful in professional applications where color accuracy is paramount.

Dell has further claimed that it has mitigated burn in on this monitor by implementing a “pixel shifting algorithm” as well as placing a sensor on the monitor that can detect when you are looking at it and turn off when no one is watching anything on it (which some might find a bit creepy but it can likely be turned off heh). There are five buttons on this monitor, four on the bottom edge for OSD controls and one on the back to release the monitor from its stand.

Dell UP3017Q.jpg

One interesting hang up lies in the video inputs on this monitor. It only has HDMI 2.0, Mini DisplayPort 1.2, and USB Type-C. As posters over at [H] pointed out, the HDMI 2.0 and DP 1.2 connections do not have enough bandwidth to support the panels 3840 x 2160 resolution at 120Hz. Fortunately the refresh rate is not a lie. There is a a way to do it, but users will need to use the USB Type-C connector and it’s DisplayPort Alternate Mode feature to do it. At DisplayPort 1.2, the DisplayPort Alt Mode can give you 5.4 Gbps per lanes and using all four available lanes can hit a total of 21.6 Gbps which would be enough to support 4096x2160@60Hz. However, the DisplayPort 1.3 standard (which this monitor and it’s USB Type-C port seems to support) can give up to 8.1 Gbps for up to 32.4 Gbps of bandwidth (25.92 Gbps after 8b/10b encoding overhead) which should allow the full 3840x2160@120Hz to be used. It is unfortunate that Dell opted to go with this odd port arrangement and not include a direct DP 1.3+ port though!

This monitor has a lot of potential, but this massive OLED comes at a price: when it comes to market it will have a MSRP of $4,999! As much as many would want this to be their new gaming PC monitor, I think it will be mainly for commercial and design applications especially with the input lag being unknown and no support for the various variable refresh rate technologies (AMD FreeSync and NVIDIA G-Sync) If that is what you are looking for there are much cheaper options, but if you want an all out OLED monitor for work and media and price is no object I would be very eagerly waiting for reviews on this!

What are your thoughts on this monitor and OLED?

Source: HardOCP

Oculus Backs Down on Hardware Check

Subject: Displays | June 25, 2016 - 02:23 AM |
Tagged: valve, oculus rift, Oculus, htc vive

Facebook has disabled their software check that prevents Oculus Store games from running without an Oculus Rift being connected. Further, Motherboard has directly quoted an Oculus spokesperson as saying “We won't use hardware checks as part of DRM on PC in the future”. This check prevented these games from running on the HTC Vive using the user-created tool, Revive, until the creator of Revive disabled the DRM in response.

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Oculus will continue to develop their DRM itself, of course. They have also been approaching developers to make Oculus-exclusive content, and I expect that will continue. This is where we get into a little bit of a debate that has been brewing online. Some believe that, due to the size of the potential market, exclusivity could bring content to life that otherwise would not be viable. While that does have some merit to muse over, I cannot see how that would be any better (for society) than all the platform holders pitching in to an open incubation fund. This way, art will not locked away unless it absolutely requires a specific feature that some platforms cannot provide, and consumers will have a larger pool of content to justify the initial purchase.

That topic aside, Oculus has not pledged that they won't interfere with third-parties that want to support Oculus-exclusive titles on other headsets. A hardware check will not be involved, now or in the future, though.

Source: Motherboard

ASUS Plans a 27-Inch, 144Hz, 4K, IPS Gaming Monitor

Subject: Displays | June 9, 2016 - 02:55 AM |
Tagged: asus, 4k 144hz, ips

Well this will be an impressive set of features some day. People have been asking for high-refresh, 4K panels with good colors for quite a while. It was almost a running joke in some of our comments. Apparently, ASUS took it seriously, and they are looking to release a 144Hz, 4K, IPS Gaming monitor, and they had a prototype on the show floor at Computex 2016.

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Image Credit: VR-Zone

Okay then. That checks off just about every box on the enthusiast wishlist, except maybe OLED (depending on whether the specific enthusiast loves its contrast or fears it color accuracy). Also, it is unclear whether they will support the FreeSync or G-Sync, but either could happen -- or both! Or neither.

We won't know until they make an official announcement... again, some day.

Source: VR-Zone

Computex 2016: ASUS Announces ROG Swift PG248Q 180Hz G-Sync Monitor

Subject: Displays | May 30, 2016 - 07:12 AM |
Tagged: computex, asus, ROG, swift, pg248q

During the company's Republic of Gamers event at Computex 2016, ASUS officially announced the release of the ROG Swift PG248Q monitor. Though we have seen it teased previously, today's information release has some interesting new details.

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Based on a 24-inch 1920x1080 TN panel, the PG248Q was specifically built for gamers that desire a smaller display, to avoid being forced to move their head to find a specific target. The idea here is that eSports players, and those aspiring, need to have the entire monitor in their field of view at all times. 

The small size and 1080p resolution don't mean the display is devoid of impressive features though. It is a G-Sync monitor, so gamers can enjoy tear-free, smooth gaming with GeForce graphics cards as well as a 180Hz refresh rate! Add to that combination a rated response time of 1ms (grey to grey) and you have an incredibly high performance gaming panel.

The PG248Q will be the official display of some impressive gaming events including the ESL One 2016 and The International 2016, so I expect ASUS to have a ground swell of interest in this model.

No specifics on pricing or availability quite yet, but I've put in the requests accordingly.

Source: ASUS

Soon to be observed - AOC Bringing Quantum Dot Monitors to North America

Subject: Displays | May 25, 2016 - 05:20 PM |
Tagged: quantum dots, QD Vision, AOC

AOC is partnering with QD Vision to bring QLED displays to market in the near future.  If the term does not seem familiar you can revisit our older coverage, but essentially they are tiny particulates which radiate colour when excited based on size with larger dots fluoresce red, mid-sized dots green and the smallest blue.  This property allows a much wider colour gamut to be produced and requires a lot less energy to do so.  AOC will be launching a series of PLS/PLS-ADS displays in the near future which will provide up to 98% Adobe RGB colour reproduction, the first generation will be 1080p but expect to see this change as the technology matures.  We don't have set dates or prices as of yet but we do have the PR which you can read below.

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San Francisco, California – May 25, 2016 – Today AOC, one of the world’s leading monitor brands, announced that their latest quantum dot-based monitors will be available in North America this year. The new monitors, which were introduced in China last month, integrate QD Vision’s Color IQ™ technology to deliver the most vivid color viewing experience commercially available today, enabling 50 percent better color performance than a typical LCD monitor, at a competitive price point.

AOC will sell its 27-inch and quantum dot displays, which deliver 98 percent Adobe RGB color, making them ideal for entertainment, photography and gaming. The new AOC Quantum Dot monitors will be available later this year online and at AOC retailers.

“Given the overwhelming positive feedback we’ve received from customers and reviewers alike, we are thrilled to expand our distribution to North America,” said Mr. Lidong Yan, general manager of monitor BU, OBM China, TPV Group. “QD Vision has helped us deliver the widest color gamut displays available today with their leading-edge quantum dot technology, and we can now bring the latest product innovations and display technology to a broader global audience.”

QD Vision’s Color IQ solution enables the widest, more accurate color gamut across screens by utilizing semiconductor nanocrystals, called quantum dots, to precisely and efficiently convert light emissions and create virtually any color of the visible spectrum. Color IQ Optics lead in green chemistry nano-material innovation and deliver the most brilliant, full gamut color displays, providing a superior viewing experience over any other commercial technology, including OLED, but at a much lower overall cost.

“Quantum dot technology provides far more natural and vivid viewing, and these new monitors from AOC will enhance performance, accuracy and user experience for consumers worldwide,” said John Volkmann, chief marketing officer at QD Vision. “AOC is one of the leaders in delivering the most accurate, wide color gamut experience and by integrating QD Vision’s Color IQ optics, these monitors deliver incredible performance at affordable price points.”

Today, most high-end monitors can only display 95 percent of the Adobe RGB color gamut while many mainstream models are limited to illustrating, at most, 70 percent of the Adobe spectrum. Using QD Vision's Color IQ solution, AOC quantum dot displays deliver nearly 100 percent of the full Adobe RGB spectrum, resulting in remarkably crisp images with vivid, life-like colors, making them ideally suited for binge-watching television shows, online gaming, personal photography or other activities that would benefit from the highest degree of color accuracy and brightness consistency.

The PLS/PLS-ADS wide view angle panel offers perfect image performance and real color uniformity at an extremely large viewing angle of 178°, and flicker-free technology provides critical eye support for photographers who are used to long-time photo editing, providing a more comfortable viewing experience that promotes greater eye health. The AOC 27” quantum dot monitors features 1920 x 1080 resolution, ?E<3 color deviation, 50 million:1 dynamic contrast and support for multiple I/O ports including VGA, DVI-D, HDMI and an audio line output. The series is compatible with Blu-ray players and most gaming consoles, including PS3/PS4 and Xbox 360.

Source: AOC

AMD adds panel types and frequency ranges to their FreeSync page

Subject: Displays | May 2, 2016 - 05:53 PM |
Tagged: freesync, amd, about damn time

Better late than never, our friend Robert Hallock has informed the world that AMD has updated their FreeSync display list with response ranges and panel types.  Having the physical size of the display, the resolution and the accepted inputs are necessary but this update offers a much better look at the displays you will be getting.  If you are unwilling to give up the colour reproduction of a IPS panel for the speed of an TN this is invaluable to you, as is pointing out the few VA based monitors.

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Listing the top and bottom frequencies of the variable refresh displays is arguably even more important.  We now know that currently only the Acer XR341CK and BX340CK, the Nixeus NX-VUE24 and the Viewsonic XG2701 are capable of dropping to 30Hz and that a total of 17 models can reach 144Hz.  Check out the list for the available 4K displays as well as regular 1440p and ultra-wide 1440p displays in the list and refer back to it regularly as there are a few monitors awaiting final specifications and more coming out in the near future.

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Source: AMD

LG Display Further Invests in OLED

Subject: Displays | April 30, 2016 - 01:33 AM |
Tagged: LG, lg display, oled

According to a spokeswoman for LG Display, via Reuters, the display panel company will increase their investment in OLED production by $395.99 million USD. Back in November, we reported on their plans to produce an $8.7 billion USD facility that was expected to manufacture panel sizes that range between smart watch and large TV.

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Just displaying an LG Display display.

Okay then.

It's awesome that OLED is getting even more attention. The display technology is better suited than LCD/LED in terms of both real contrast and high refresh rate / low persistence, with the former good for deep blacks and saturated colors, and the latter for VR, 3D, and generated content like games. We've seen a few professional monitors announced at CES, but they are still in the “decent used car” price range. That's a welcome change from “decent new car” however, but availability is still basically non-existent. This is before LG Display's production facility wakes up in 2018, and LG is known to push lower prices into markets. Just a couple years!

Source: Reuters

ASUS Announces a Trio of Adaptive-Sync Gaming Monitors

Subject: Displays | April 14, 2016 - 12:13 PM |
Tagged: Republic of Gamers, mg28uq, mg24uq, MG248Q, ASUS ROG, asus, adaptive sync

ASUS has announced three new monitors from their Republic of Gamers division, all of which feature Adaptive-Sync variable refresh rate displays.

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ASUS ROG MG28UQ

The monitors include a 28-inch model (MG28UQ), and a pair of 24-inch displays (MG248Q, MG24UQ). Looking first at the MG28UQ, which is a 28-inch, UHD/4K (3840x2160) display featuring a 1ms response time. Inputs include DisplayPort (1.2), one HDMI 2.0, and two HDMI 1.4 ports.

One of the 24-inch displays, the MG24UQ, is also UHD/4K but features an IPS display (and consequently loses the 1ms response time of the 28-inch version).

MG24UQ.jpg

ASUS ROG MG24UQ

Finally there is the 24-inch MG248Q, which offers a high 144 Hz refresh rate and 1ms response from its TN panel, but this model offers only FHD (1920x1080) resolution - though still adequate for gaming (especially at higher detail settings) depending on your preferences.

MG248Q.jpg

ASUS ROG MG248Q

As far as availability goes, ASUS states "ASUS MG28UQ and MG24UQ are available immediately worldwide. MG248Q will be available in April 2016", though pricing was not announced.

Full PR after the break.

Source: ASUS ROG

Acer Predator Z850 Gaming Projector, a real mobile monitor

Subject: Displays | March 30, 2016 - 04:10 PM |
Tagged: Predator Z850 Gaming Projector, acer

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Yes, the resolution of the Predator Z850 Gaming Projector is only 1920 x 720 but that is a small sacrifice for what this projector is capable of.  The minimum throw of the projector is 18.5" (47 cm) or about the same distance as you are sitting from the monitor you are reading this on, if not shorter, and at that distance it projects a 120" screen.  That means you can set up a gaming session anywhere with power and a large display surface with ridiculous ease and since your laptop might not handle 4K gaming, it is not like you are missing out on that higher pixel count; leaving aside the fact that with a projector you are not dealing with pixels.

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There is an optional Wireless HD-Kit you can pick up if you have enough wires cluttering your home or bag already, or use the two HDMI or VGA ports available in addition to the usual sound inputs.  The projector is also DLP 3D ready if you are one of the few who enjoy that feature and it can also project in 1080p if you plan on watching movies.  The laser diode used in this projector provides a 100,000:1 contrast ratio and 3,000 lumens so even in bright lighting you will still see a great picture.  The diode does not create the same amount of heat as a bulb and so the unit can be packed up immediately without needing a cool off period and will last significantly longer, up to 30,000 hours according to the PR.  There is one bit of bad news though, the projector will cost you $5,000 which does put it out of range of most peoples budgets.

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You can see the full PR here.

Source: Acer

The Acer Predator Z35 G_SYNC display can hit 200Hz

Subject: Displays | March 22, 2016 - 03:32 PM |
Tagged: acer, Predator Z35, 200hz, g-sync

The Acer Predator Z35 is a big display, 35" of A-MVA panel with a resolution of 2560x1080, an 11ms response rate, 4ms GTG, the ability to display 72% of standard colour gamut and a W-LED backlight.  With an MSRP of $1050 it will not come cheap and Hardware Canucks are on the job to determine if it is worth the investment.  The virtual On Screen Display is similar to the Predator X34, a menu button brings up shortcuts to the various controls which you can then navigate to change your desired settings.  When they tested performance it was obvious that they have stretched the DP 1.2 connection to the maximum, which is why that particular resolution was chosen and unfortunately the 0.32mm dot pitch is painfully obvious.  Hardware Canucks did like this monitor but overall felt that a higher resolution with a lower refresh rate of 100-144Hz is a better choice for gamers.

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"Acer's Z35 is the father of all gaming monitors; it has a ridiculous 200Hz refresh rate, G-SYNC compatibility and A-MVA panel and a respectable 2560x1080 resolution. "

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2016 will be the year of the display, such as the first ever QLED display, the Philips 276E6ADSS

Subject: Displays | March 15, 2016 - 05:57 PM |
Tagged: quantum dots, philips, ips, epi, E-line 276E6ADSS

For a mere $300 you can see for yourself what the Quantum Dot displays we have been hearing rumours about for a few years now.  It remains an IPS panel and offers an impressive 99% Adobe RGB, or more than 100% of the standard sRGB colour gamut but at a price far below many professional grade monitors.  It delivers a brightness of 300 cd/m2 and a dynamic contrast ratio of 20,000,000.  It is a 16:9, 1080p display with a response time of 5ms, perhaps not as impressive as the variable refresh rate or a 4K monitor but if accurate colour reproduction is what you need then this display will certainly be worth consideration.

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Fremont, California – March 15, 2016 – Today EPI (North America brand license partner for Philips Monitors) announces the world’s first quantum dot-based monitor (E-line 276E6ADSS) is now available in North America. The new 27-inch monitor delivers 99% Adobe RGB color - 50 percent more color than traditional LED displays - thanks to Color IQ™ technology from QD Vision. The new E6 is ideal for entertainment, gaming, professional photography and design. It combines Color IQ optics with full HD resolution, resulting in a professional quality display at the price of mainstream monitors. The Philips 27-inch Quantum Dot display is now available on Amazon for $299.

QD Vision's Color IQ™ solution uses an innovative new semiconductor technology called quantum dots to precisely and efficiently convert light, delivering bluer blues, greener greens and redder reds. The result — vibrant, dynamic, “you-gotta-see-it-to-believe-it” color.

Most of today's high-end monitors are capable of displaying only 95% of the Adobe RGB color gamut, while mainstream models are often limited to showing 70% of the Adobe spectrum. Using QD Vision's Color IQ solution, the Philips 27-inch Quantum Dot Display will deliver over 99% of the Adobe RGB spectrum - more than 100% of the standard sRGB color gamut - but at a fraction of the price of commercial displays.

The IPS-ADS display offers 1920 x 1080 resolution, 60Hz refresh rate, 1000:1 static contrast, 5ms response time and 178°/178° viewing angles, making it possible to view the display from almost any angle. Unlike standard TN panels, IPS-ADS displays give you remarkably crisp images with vivid colors, making them ideal not only for photos, movies and web browsing, but also for professional applications that demand color accuracy and consistent brightness at all times. Ports include; VGA, DVI-D, HDMI (with MHL) and a 3.5mm audio output jack.

Source: Phillips

Samsung Curved 1080p Monitors First with AMD FreeSync over HDMI

Subject: Displays | March 2, 2016 - 05:17 PM |
Tagged: amd, freesync, hdmi, Samsung

Earlier this week Samsung formally made a couple of announcements for new monitors due out this spring. The CF591 and CF390 range in size from 23 to 27 inches, mating a 1920x1080 resolution with an 1800R curvature and an attractive design. Even better news for gamers, all of the monitors in these two series will offer AMD's variable refresh rate technology known as FreeSync over HDMI.

cf1.jpg

The specifications of the monitors are interesting in their own light. The CF390 will be available in both 23.5-in and 27-in varieties, with a 1920x1080 resolution on a VA panel, a 4ms response time rating and a maximum brightness of 250 nits. The VA technology allows for solid viewing angles and color reproduction though all of them are limited to a 60Hz maximum refresh rate. The CF591 monitor is only available in a 27-in variety, shares almost all of the same traits, but sheds the glossy black design for a silver and white color option. 

cf2.jpg

Samsung CF390

The CF390 features only VGA (D-Sub) and HDMI inputs while the CF591 overs VGA, dual HDMI and a single DisplayPort connection as well. Only the CF591 allows for audio input through a 3.5mm connection.

cf3.jpg

Samsung CF591

The supposed value of HDMI-based FreeSync is ubiquity and lower cost. Unfortunately, we don't have any pricing information from Samsung on either the CF390 or CF591 monitors, leaving a big question mark for AMD Radeon gamers that might be looking for a new display. Also, while the CF390 directly benefits from the addition of HDMI support on FreeSync, the CF591 still has a DisplayPort connection, meaning the value of HDMI-based FreeSync is lessened.

cf4.jpg

They 60Hz maximum refresh rate is disappointing in a world where 75Hz, 90Hz, even 165Hz monitors are being released left and right. Will the AMD driver-based frame doubling technology work on these displays? I have an inquiry in to AMD to verify but it might be difficult with the VA panels' minimum refresh rate. To be fair to AMD and Samsung though, this isn't marketed as a gaming monitor, just a monitor that happens to have a very gaming friendly option.

Both of these monitors look pretty sexy though; we need to see and test them in person to see if the image quality and FreeSync performance meet our expectations. Hopefully we'll be able to do so soon, but until then, let's hope that Samsung is able to release these at very competitive prices to help drive down the cost of VRR. 

Source: Samsung

MWC 16: HTC Vive Launches in April for $799 USD

Subject: Displays, Shows and Expos | February 21, 2016 - 08:27 PM |
Tagged: MWC, mwc 16, valve, htc, vive, Oculus

Valve and HTC announced that the Vive consumer edition will be available in April for $799 USD, with pre-orders beginning on February 29th. Leave it to Valve to launch a product on a date that doesn't always exist. The system comes with the headset, two VR controllers, and two sensors. The unit will have “full commercial availability” when it launches in April, but that means little if it sells out instantly. There's no way to predict that.

The announcement blog post drops a subtle jab at Oculus. “Vive will be delivered as a complete kit” seems to refer to the Oculus Touch controllers being delayed (and thus not in the hands of every user). This also makes me think about the price. The HTC Vive costs $200 more than the Oculus Rift. That said, it also has the touch controllers, which could shrink that gap. It also does not come with a standard gamepad, like Oculus does, although that's just wasted money if you already have one.

htc-valve-2016-viveset.png

Unlike the Oculus, which has its own SDK, the Vive is powered by SteamVR. Most engines and middleware that support one seem to support both, so I'm not sure if this will matter. It could end up blocking content in an HD-DVD vs BluRay fashion. Hopefully Valve/HTC and Oculus/Facebook, or every software vendor on an individual basis, works through these interoperability concerns and create an open platform. Settling on a standard tends to commoditize industries, but that will eventually happen to VR at some point anyway. Hopefully, if it doesn't happen sooner, cross-compatibility at least happens then.

Acer's Predator X34; it's a 21:9 curved 1440p display with G-SYNC

Subject: Displays | February 15, 2016 - 03:46 PM |
Tagged: Predator X34, ips, gsync, curved lcd, acer, 1440p

On paper it looks brilliant, a 3440x1440 IPS curved display with a a refresh rate that can be overclocked to 100Hz, with G-SYNC handling the adaptive sync duties.  It will cost you a bit to pick up of course, currently Amazon has it priced at $1350 so it does have a lot to live up to.  Techgage tested it out and found a lot to love, from physical control buttons instead of virtual controls, HDMI and DisplayPort connectors as well as four USB 3.0 ports speak well of the physical design. On the other hand the monitor has a serious case of IPS glow and some may not be able to hit 100Hz, then again neither can most GPUs even when in SLI.  Techgage offers advice on adjusting your display if you have issues and overall loved everything about the display ... excepting the price.

Ryan and the crew took a look at this display a while back.

Acer-X34-Predator-G-SYNC-Ultra-wide-Monitor-Overview-2.jpg

"On the lookout for a gaming monitor that can do it all? If price isn’t a concern, Acer's Predator X34 is the one to look at. It comes in at 34 inches, boasts a 3440×1440 ultra-wide resolution, makes images pop with an IPS panel, takes advantage of NVIDIA’s G-SYNC frame-smoothing technology, and if that’s not enough: it’s curved."

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Source: Techgage

Monoprice Graphics Tablets Are Available

Subject: Displays | February 6, 2016 - 10:41 PM |
Tagged: monoprice, pen display, touch screen, drawing

A couple of CESes ago, Monoprice launched a couple of 22-inch pen displays to compete with the Wacom Cintiq 22HD. Shortly afterward, the products disappeared from their website and line-up, so I assumed, at the time, that they changed their mind or otherwise refocused.

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Turns out, it was only temporary. There are now two models on their product list, one for $499.99 and another for $599.99, although I have a feeling that the cheaper model might be discontinued. The only real, concrete difference that I can see is the $599.99 model uses “battery-free” pens, which I'm assuming is powered by induction from the display surface. The cheaper model is out-of-stock with an estimated availability of “TBD”. That one uses rechargeable pens. The $599.99 model also lists Linux drivers. The $599.99 version also has a slower response time (12ms vs 5ms) and higher viewing angles, although both are listed as IPS.

Whether or not the $499.99 model will become available again, the $599.99 one is still about a third of the price of the Wacom Cintiq 22HD. Also, unlike the Wacom, it supports Linux as mentioned above. They used to offer a pen display with a ten-finger capacitive touchscreen, which competes with the Wacom Cintiq 22HD Touch, but that has not been relaunched, at least not yet.

Source: Monoprice

A big beautiful curvy MVA display with some omissions, the BenQ XR3501

Subject: Displays | January 19, 2016 - 04:44 PM |
Tagged: XR3501, mva, benq, 2560x1080, 144hz

Benq made some interesting design choices on the XR3501 which some will love and some will absolutely despise.  A 35" MVA panel at 144Hz is impressive to behold and one with "2000R Ultra Curve Technology"  is even more so as it is a significantly higher curve than most other monitors.  The 2000R is actually an industry standard and denotes the radius, in millimetres, of the circle this monitor would describe which in this case is 2 metres.  Most other curved monitors are 4000-4500R, as in 4 to 4.5 metres radius. 

On the other hand, the monitor does not have adaptive sync technology and the resolution of 2560x1080 will cause some disappointment, as may the ~$1000 price tag.  You can either check out Hardware Canucks' full review here or just scroll on in disgust.

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"Massive curved gaming monitors seem to be the flavor of the day and BenQ's XR3501 may be one of the most insane. It boasts a 35" curved MVA panel with a 144Hz refresh rate."

Here are some more Display articles from around the web:

Displays

CES 2016: Dell UltraSharp U3017Q 4K OLED Pro Display

Subject: Displays, Shows and Expos | January 9, 2016 - 02:59 AM |
Tagged: CES, CES 2016, dell, ultrasharp, oled

For the longest time, display technology was stagnant. Professional monitors were 1440p, IPS panels (or 2560x1600 for 16:10 models) and high-90% Adobe RGB color, which is useful for both video and print gamuts. Consumer monitors were based on TN technology that could maybe cover the smaller sRGB color space, which covers video. Mobile devices, due to their small size, relatively high viewing angle requirements, and eventually high PPI, started introducing higher-end technologies to consumers. G-Sync, and later FreeSync, continued to differentiate high-end panels. Still, apart from the shift to 4K 60Hz, professional panels didn't go through an astonishing upgrade.

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Image Credit: Engadget

OLED was always on the horizon though, and are now being integrated into consumer, and professional, monitors. The Dell UltraSharp U3017Q is one such display, with a 30-inch size and 4K resolution. It completely covers Adobe RGB and 97.8% of DCI-P3. DCI-P3 is not a superset of Adobe RGB, it's just a bit more shifted into the reds, and it is designed for digital cinema projects. Because it's not blocking white light, it can get deeper blacks and more saturated colors.

For accessories, it has a USB Type-C connector that can provide 100W of power, as well as high-speed data and apparently video.

Its pricing and availability is where we get to its downside. It will ship March 31st, which is great news for the new technology, but it will cost $4,999, which is not so amazing. That said, if companies get their hands on it, it might eventually trickle into the prosumer and consumer space, like the 4K IGZO panels did a couple of years ago.

What do our readers think?

Did it launch too early? Or does this make you interested when the price drops? Or, alternatively, are you planning on dropping a huge chunk of cash as soon as they'll take it?

Coverage of CES 2016 is brought to you by Logitech!

PC Perspective's CES 2016 coverage is sponsored by Logitech.

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

Source: Engadget

CES 2016: AMD Shows Polaris Architecture and HDMI FreeSync Displays

Subject: Graphics Cards, Displays | January 8, 2016 - 02:56 PM |
Tagged: video, Polaris, hdmi, freesync, CES 2016, CES, amd

At its suite at CES this year, AMD was showing off a couple of new technologies. First, we got to see the upcoming Polaris GPU architecture in action running Star Wars Battlefront with some power meters hooked up. This is a similar demo to what I saw in Sonoma back in December, and it compares an upcoming Polaris GPU against the NVIDIA GTX 950. The result: total system power of just 86 watts on the AMD GPU and over 150 watts on the NVIDIA GPU.

Another new development from AMD on the FreeSync side of things was HDMI integration. The company took time at CES to showcase a pair of new HDMI-enabled monitors working with FreeSync variable refresh rate technology. 

Coverage of CES 2016 is brought to you by Logitech!

PC Perspective's CES 2016 coverage is sponsored by Logitech.

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

Source: AMD