Specifications and Overview
Talk to most PC enthusiasts today, be they gamers or developers, and ask them what technology they are most interested in for the next year or so and you will most likely hear about 4K somewhere in the discussion. While the world of consumer electronics and HDTV has been stuck in the rut of 1080p for quite some time now, computers, smartphones and tablets are racing in the direction of higher resolutions and higher pixel densities. 4K is a developing standard that pushes screen resolutions to 4K x 2K pixels and if you remove the competing options discussion (3840x2160 versus 4096x2160 are the most prominent) this move is all good news for the industry.
I first dove into the area of 4K displays when I purchased the SEIKI SE50UY04 50-in 4K TV in April for $1300 when it popped up online. The TV showed up days later and we did an unboxing and preview of the experience and I was blown away by the quality difference by moving to a 3840x2160 screen, even with other caveats to be had. It was a 30 Hz panel, half a typical LCD computer display today, it had limited functionality and it honestly wasn't the best quality TV I had ever used. But it was 4K, it was inexpensive and it was available.
It was hard to beat at the time but the biggest drawback was the lack of 60 Hz support, the ability for the screen to truly push 60 frames per second to the panel. This caused some less than desirable results with Windows usage and even in gaming where visual tearing was more prominent when Vsync was disabled. But a strength of this design was that it only required a single HDMI connection and would work with basically any current graphics systems. I did some Frame Rating game performance testing at 4K and found that GPU horsepower was definitely a limiting factor.
Today I follow up our initial unboxing and preview of the ASUS PQ321Q 4K monitor with a more thorough review and summary of our usage results. There is quite a bit that differs between our experience with the SEIKI and the ASUS panels and it is more than just the screen sizes.
Subject: Graphics Cards, Displays | July 19, 2013 - 12:16 AM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: pq321q, PQ321, nvidia, drivers, asus, 4k
It would appear that NVIDIA was paying attention to our recent live stream where we unboxed and setup our new ASUS PQ321Q 4K 3840x2160 monitor. During our setup on the AMD and NVIDIA based test beds I noticed (and the viewers saw) some less than desirable results during initial configuration. The driver support was pretty clunky, we had issues with reliability of booting and switching between SST and MST (single and multi stream transport) modes caused the card some issue as well.
Today NVIDIA released a new R326 driver, 326.19 beta, that improves performance in a couple of games but more importantly, adds support for "tiled 4K displays." If you don't know what that means, you aren't alone. A tiled display is one that is powered by multiple heads and essentially acts as multiple screens in a single housing. The ASUS PQ321Q monitor that we have in house, and the Sharp PN-K321, are tiled displays that use DisplayPort 1.2 MST technology to run at 3840x2160 @ 60 Hz.
It is great to see NVIDIA reacting quickly to new technologies and to our issues from just under a week gone by. If you have either of these displays, be sure to give the new driver a shot and let me know your results!
Some more 4K love!
This morning Fedex dropped off a new product at our offices, one that I was very eagerly awaiting: the ASUS PQ321Q 31.5-in 4K 60 Hz monitor!
While we are far from ready to post a full review of the display and have lots of more game testing to get to, we did host a live stream for the unboxing and initial testing of the PQ321Q that I think is worth sharing.
In this video we do a walk around the $3500 4K display, hook it up to both NVIDIA and AMD test bed at 60 Hz and then proceed to install 3-Way SLI Titans to see how it games! Enjoy this quick preview before our full review of the ASUS PQ321Q.
Subject: Displays, Shows and Expos | June 13, 2013 - 12:24 AM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: Oculus, oculus rift, VR, E3
I have been a big proponent of the Oculus Rift and its move into the world of consumer-ready VR (virtual reality) technology. I saw it for the first time at Quakecon 2012 where Palmer Luckey and John Carmack sat on stage and addressed the new direction. Since then we saw it at CES and finally got in our own developer kit last month for some extended hands-on.
While I have definitely been impressed with the Rift in nearly every way while using it, the first thing anyone says when putting on the headset for the first time is about the graphics - the resolution of the unit was just too low and it creates a "screen door" effect because of it. As I wrote in my first preview:
I will say that the low resolution is definitely a barrier for me. Each eye is only seeing a 640x800 resolution in this version of the kit and that close up you can definitely see each pixel. Even worse, this creates a screen door effect that is basically like looking through a window with a screen installed. It's not great but you could get used to it if you had to; I am just hoping the higher resolution version of this kit is closer.
At E3 2013 the team at Oculus was able to put together a very early prototype of an HD version of the screen. By using a new 1920x1080 display each eye is able to see 960x1080; roughly twice the pixel density of the initial developer kit.
I got to spend some time with the higher resolution model today and I have to say that the difference is striking - and instantly noticeable. Gone was the obvious screen door effect and I was able to focus purely on the content. The content itself was new as well - Oculus and Epic were showing the Unreal Engine 4 integration with a custom version of the Elemental demo. The colors were crisp, the effects were amazing and only in a couple of rare instances of solid white color did we notice the black lines that plagued the first version.
As of now Oculus doesn't have plans to offer an updated developer kit with the 1080p screen installed but you just never know. They are still looking at several different phone screens and haven't made any final decisions on which direction to go but they are definitely close.
When I inquired about improvements on head tracking latency and accuracy to aid in motion sickness concerns (like I seem to have) Oculus was hesitant to say there was any single fix. Instead, a combination of lower latency, better hardware and even better thought out content were key to reducing these effects in gamers.
Subject: Displays, Shows and Expos | June 12, 2013 - 11:58 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: wqxga, wqhd, monoprice, ips, E3, 2560x1440
While wandering the halls at E3 to talk with NVIDIA and AMD about the future of gaming, I ran across a small booth with Monoprice in it. If you don't know Monoprice, it is an online seller of electronics and cables and much of its merchandise can be found throughout the offices at PC Perspective.
In recent months Monoprice made news with PC gamers as one of the first major retailers to begin selling the low-cost 27-in 2560x1440 monitors shipping from Korea. While the monitors are likely very much the same, buying from a local company in the US rather than trusting an eBay buyer in Korea brings a lot of peace of mind to the transaction. Getting a dead pixel and 1 year warranty along with it helps too.
On hand at E3 was the Monoprice IPS-ZERO-G Monitor that runs at a 2560x1440 resolution with a single dual-link DVI input. This is an updated to the first model Monoprice shipped with a newer, thinner design and an even better $390 price point.
Monoprice also is offering a model with an internal scalar that allows the display to include additional inputs like HDMI, VGA and DisplayPort. The 27-in IPS-G Pro will sell for $474 and will also be tuned for AdobeRGB and sRGB options.
In addition to the two 27-in models, Monoprice also has added 30-in 2560x1600 monitors: the IPS CrystalPro and the IPS Pro with the same primary differentiation - input support.
I am looking forward to getting my hands on these Monoprice display options to see if they can live up to the levels of the other Korean-built displays we have in the office. If they do, then I think we have a new reason for PC gamers to celebrate.
Another interesting find at the booth were some new HDMI cables using a RedMere controller on the connector to allow for extremely thin (and long) runs. First shown at CES in 2008, the RedMere RM1689 chip runs solely on the power provided by the HDMI output and allows cables to use much less copper to create thinner designs. They will obviously cost a bit more than standard options but you can see from the photo above the difference is striking.
While they did fail to provide us with a price we do know that some time this month ASUS will be offering a 4K display for sale in North America, so you may not have to special order one from overseas anymore. Of course as the two models are 39" and 31.5" you can expect a premium price as not only is 4K relatively new, the sizes of these monitors are also very new to the market ... at least for PCs. The extra size does bring the pixel density down to 140 ppi but you will still have beautiful picture quality.
Taipei, Taiwan (30 May, 2013) — ASUS today announced the PQ321 True 4K UHD Monitor, a desktop display with a stunning Ultra HD 3840 x 2160 resolution that’s equivalent to four Full HD displays stacked side-by-side. The PQ321 has a 31.5-inch LED-backlit 4K Ultra HD display (140 pixels-per-inch) with 16:9 aspect ratio, and supports 10-bit RGB ‘deep color’ for vibrant images with more natural transitions between hues.
Cutting-edge IGZO panel technology
The ASUS PQ321 True 4K UHD Monitor uses cutting-edge Indium Gallium Zinc Oxide (IGZO) rather than traditional amorphous silicon for the active layer of its LCD panel. IGZO panels support much smaller transistors than amorphous silicon, which in turn gives much smaller pixels and the 3840 x 2160 resolution of the PQ321 is four times that of a 1920 x 1080 Full HD display.
176-degree wide viewing angles on both vertical and horizontal planes minimize onscreen color shift, while the 350cd/m² brightness rating and 8ms gray-to-gray response time ensure smooth, bright, and vibrant moving visuals. IGZO technology also gives reduced energy consumption compared to amorphous silicon and reduces bulk — at 35mm at its thickest point, the PQ321 is the thinnest 4K UHD monitor available today.
Comprehensive video inputs for UHD content
The ASUS PQ321 True 4K UHD Monitor features DisplayPort and US models offer dual-HDMI ports inputs with Picture-by-Picture support. Built-in 2W stereo speakers remove the need for additional desktop clutter and, in addition to being wall-mountable, the monitor stand offers full height, swivel, and tilt adjustment.
AVAILABILITY & PRICING
ASUS will be exhibiting the 39-inch and 31.5-inch True 4K UHD Monitor models at Computex 2013 in Taipei. The ASUS PQ321 True 4K UHD Monitor will be available in North America in the end of June.
Subject: General Tech, Displays, Shows and Expos | May 31, 2013 - 06:12 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: PQ321, computex, asus, 4k
Computex, the second largest expo for computer hardware, is less than a week away but its influence tends to bleed over a little bit. And, since we know our readers love 4K displays, we thought we might pass along a leak we found for a new ASUS monitor.
Image source, ASUS via TechPowerUP
And yes, that is a 32"
The Asus PQ321 is both a relatively easy-to-remember model number and a 31.5" computer monitor with 4K2K resolution. Connect it to your computer with DisplayPort or, for at least some US models, dual HDMI to have the same resolution as IMAX Digital as well as have a legitimate reason to pick up multiple GeForce Titan graphics cards.
The raw specifications are:
- 31.5 inch display size (16:9 aspect ratio)
- Indium Gallium Zinc Oxide (IGZO) panel, LED backlit
- 3840x2160 resolution (140ppi)
- 1.07 billion colors (10-bit RGB)
- 176 / 176 (H / V) degree viewing angle
- 350 cd/m2 brightness
- 8ms (gtg) response time
- Color temperature and gamma adjustments
- I/O: DisplayPort, 2x HDMI ("optional"), RS-232C, 3.5mm audio in and out
- 2W stereo speakers
- Tilt, swivel, height adjustments; VESA mount (no landscape/portrait pivot)
- 750mm x 489mm x 256mm with stand, 13kg net weight
- Comes with DisplayPort 1.2 cable and an RS-232C conversion cable (???)
Looking at these specifications, it certainly feels like an IPS-equivalent technology with some very telltale characteristics: the relatively slow response time for seemingly no reason, the 1.07 billion colors, the very wide viewing angle, and the relatively high pixel density per inch. This prompted me to look over at the ASUS website for some tea leaf reading. It looks as though all P- or M-series monitors utilize some form of IPS technology, the M-series referring to thin-bezel options and the P-series to relatively image quality-focused products.
So as best as I can tell, the PQ321 is a 31.5" 4K IPS monitor.
ASUS is expected to display this at Computex 2013 in Taipei along with a 39" 4K monitor. No word on pricing or availability, at least not yet.
Subject: Displays | May 23, 2013 - 05:08 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: quad hd, philips, epi, 2560x1440, 2560x1080, 21:9
Envision Peripherals Inc. (EPI), a company that sells Philips monitors in North America recently announced three new high resolution IPS desktop monitors. The company is releasing one 29” 21:9 monitor for consumers and two high resolution displays for professionals.
Philips Brilliance 29” UltraWide Monitor
This Philips monitor is of the 21:9 variety and offers up a resolution of 2560 x 1080 on its AH IPS display. The monitor features a narrow bezel, built-in speakers, and comes bundled with SmartControl software to adjest settings via a PC software application.
It has DL-DVI, DisplayPort, HDMI, and (optional) Thunderbolt video inputs. It supports MultiView technology, which allows the monitor to accept multiple video inputs and display them simultaneously on the screen.
The Philips Brilliance 29” UltraWide display is available now at online retailers like Amazon. While it has an MSRP of $599 according to the press release, Amazon is actually charging $667.90 for the monitor currently.
While the Brilliance 29” UltraWide is aimed at consumers, the following two monitors are intended for professionals doing CAD, finance, and art/design work.
P-Line 29” UltraWide Monitor
The P-Line 29” UltraWide is a 21:9 monitor for professionals. It features a 2560 x 1080 resolution AH IPS display with MultiView technology and a “ultra narrow” bezel. EPI claims that the display has both a 178-degree vertical and horizontal viewing angles. There are four USB 3.0 port as well as a height-adjustable stand.
Video inputs include DisplayPort 1.2a ports that allow daisy chaining monitors. The MultiView technology also allows the display to show two display inputs simultaneously.
The monitor is available now to business customers from resellers like CDW for $699.
P-Line 27” Quad HD Monitor
Finally, the P-line 27” Quad HD monitor is the final new professional series display. It has the highest resolution at 2560 x 1440 (109 PPI). This IPS display supports 8-bit color and has a professional price to match. The monitor itself has a height-adjustable stand, built-in speakers, a 2MP webcam with microphone, USB 3.0 ports, and a PowerSensor which detects when the user leaves the computer and automatically dims the display. EPI claims that the PowerSensor results in up to 80% power savings. It would be useful for businesses, though less crucial for home users.
Like the P-line 29” UltraWide, this monitor can daisy chain other monitors to the PC video output via DisplayPort connectors. Video inputs include DL-DVI, DisplayPort, HDMI, and Thunderbolt.
It is available now from resellers with an MSRP of $799.
You can find the full press release below.
Our first thoughts and impressions
Since first hearing about the Kickstarter project that raised nearly 2.5 million dollars from over 9,500 contributors, I have eagerly been awaiting the arrival of my Oculus Rift development kit. Not because I plan on quitting the hardware review business to start working on a new 3D, VR-ready gaming project but just because as a technology enthusiast I need to see the new, fun gadgets and what they might mean for the future of gaming.
I have read other user's accounts of their time with the Oculus Rift, including a great write up in a Q&A form Ben Kuchera over at Penny Arcade Report, but I needed my own hands-on time with the consumer-oriented VR (virtual reality) product. Having tried it for very short periods of time at both Quakecon 2012 and CES 2013 (less than 5 minutes) I wanted to see how it performed and more importantly, how my body reacted to it.
I don't consider myself a person that gets motion sick. Really, I don't. I fly all the time, sit in the back of busses, ride roller coasters, watch 3D movies and play fast-paced PC games on large screens. The only instances I tend to get any kind of unease with motion is on what I call "roundy-round" rides, the kind that simply go in circles over and over. Think about something like this, The Scrambler, or the Teacups at Disney World. How would I react to time with the Oculus Rift, this was my biggest fear...
For now I don't want to get into the politics of the Rift, how John Carmack was initially a huge proponent of the project then backed off on how close we might be the higher-quality consumer version of the device. We'll cover those aspects in a future story. For now I only had time for some first impressions.
Watch the video above for a walk through of the development kit as well as some of the demos, as best can be demonstrated in a 2D plane!
Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Displays | April 22, 2013 - 09:34 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: LG, ips, hack
Operators are standing by...
Of course Apple is not a primary manufacturer of LCD panels; like everyone else, they buy their panels from someone like LG. Due to how much Apple loves IPS technology, which I cannot blame them for, they in fact do purchase their displays from LG.
If you have an itchy soldering iron, so can you.
According to EmertHacks, the LG part number for retina iPad screens is LP097QX1-SPA1. The blog post states that he could find the panel for as cheap as $55, but my own digging game up with costs between $60 and $200 plus shipping. These panels are mostly destined to iPad repair shops, but you can give it a better home.
With under $20 of other parts, this panel could be attached to a DisplayPort connection. All said and done, you could have a 2048x1536 9.7" display with an 800:1 static contrast ratio for about $70.