Subject: Displays, Mobile | May 31, 2015 - 06:00 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: nvidia, notebooks, msi, mobile, gsync, g-sync, asus
If you remember back to January of this year, Allyn and posted an article that confirmed the existence of a mobile variant of G-Sync thanks to a leaked driver and an ASUS G751 notebook. Rumors and speculation floated around the Internet ether for a few days but we eventually got official word from NVIDIA that G-Sync for notebooks was a real thing and that it would launch "soon." Well we have that day here finally with the beginning of Computex.
G-Sync for notebooks has no clever branding, no "G-Sync Mobile" or anything like that, so discussing it will be a bit more difficult since the technologies are different. Going forward NVIDIA claims that any gaming notebook using NVIDIA GeForce GPUs will be a G-Sync notebook and will support all of the goodness that variable refresh rate gaming provides. This is fantastic news as notebook gaming is often at lower frame rates than you would find on a desktop PC because of lower powered hardware yet comparable (1080p, 1440p) resolution displays.
Of course, as we discovered in our first look at G-Sync for notebooks back in January, the much debated G-Sync module is not required and will not be present on notebooks featuring the variable refresh technology. So what gives? We went over some of this before, but it deserves to be detailed again.
NVIDIA uses the diagram above to demonstrate the complication of the previous headaches presented by the monitor and GPU communication path before G-Sync was released. You had three different components: the GPU, the monitor scalar and the monitor panel that all needed to work together if VRR was going to become a high quality addition to the game ecosystem.
NVIDIA's answer was to take over all aspects of the pathway for pixels from the GPU to the eyeball, creating the G-Sync module and helping OEMs to hand pick the best panels that would work with VRR technology. This helped NVIDIA make sure it could do things to improve the user experience such as implementing an algorithmic low-frame-rate, frame-doubling capability to maintain smooth and tear-free gaming at frame rates under the panels physical limitations. It also allows them to tune the G-Sync module to the specific panel to help with ghosting and implemention variable overdrive logic.
All of this is required because of the incredible amount of variability in the monitor and panel markets today.
But with notebooks, NVIDIA argues, there is no variability at all to deal with. The notebook OEM gets to handpick the panel and the GPU directly interfaces with the screen instead of passing through a scalar chip. (Note that some desktop monitors like the ever popular Dell 3007WFP did this as well.) There is no other piece of logic in the way attempting to enforce a fixed refresh rate. Because of that direct connection, the GPU is able to control the data passing between it and the display without any other logic working in the middle. This makes implementing VRR technology much more simple and helps with quality control because NVIDIA can validate the panels with the OEMs.
As I mentioned above, going forward, all new notebooks using GTX graphics will be G-Sync notebooks and that should solidify NVIDIA's dominance in the mobile gaming market. NVIDIA will be picking the panels, and tuning the driver for them specifically, to implement anti-ghosting technology (like what exists on the G-Sync module today) and low frame rate doubling. NVIDIA also claims that the world's first 75 Hz notebook panels will ship with GeForce GTX and will be G-Sync enabled this summer - something I am definitely looking forward to trying out myself.
Though it wasn't mentioned, I am hopeful that NVIDIA will continue to allow users the ability to disable V-Sync at frame rates above the maximum refresh of these notebook panels. With most of them limited to 60 Hz (but this applies to 75 Hz as well) the most demanding gamers are going to want that same promise of minimal latency.
At Computex we'll see a handful of models announced with G-Sync up and running. It should be no surprise of course to see the ASUS G751 with the GeForce GTX 980M GPU on this list as it was the model we used in our leaked driver testing back in January. MSI will also launch the GT72 G with a 1080p G-Sync ready display and GTX 980M/970M GPU option. Gigabyte will have a pair of notebooks: the Aorus X7 Pro-SYNC with GTX 970M SLI and a 1080p screen as well as the Aorus X5 with a pair of GTX 965M in SLI and a 3K resolution (2560x1440) screen.
This move is great for gamers and I am eager to see what the resulting experience is for users that pick up these machines. I have long been known as a proponent of variable refresh displays and getting access to that technology on your notebook is a victory for NVIDIA's team.
LG Australia published a product page for their LG 27MU67 monitor, which the rest of the company doesn't seem to acknowledge the existence of. It is still online, even after three days worth of time that someone could have used to pull the plug. This one is interesting for a variety of reasons: it's 4K, it's IPS, and it supports AMD FreeSync. It is also relatively cheap for that combination, being listed at $799 AUD RRP.
Some websites have converted that to ~$610 to $620 USD, but it might even be less than that. Australian prices are often listed with their federal tax rolled in, which would yield a price that is inflated about 10%. It is possible, though maybe wishful thinking, that this monitor could retail in the ~$500 to $550 price range for the United States (if it even comes to North America). Again, this is a 4K, IPS, FreeSync panel.
Very little is posted on LG's website and thus it is hard to tell how good of an IPS panel this is. It is listed as 99% SRGB coverage, which is good for typical video but not the best if you are working on printed content, such as magazine illustrations. On the other hand, this is a gaming panel, not a professional one. Update (May 29, 2015): It also has 10-bit (per channel) color. It sounds like it is true 10-bit, not just a look-up table, but I should note that it doesn't explicitly say that.
Again, pricing and availability is up in the air, because this is not an official announcement. It is listed to launch in Australia for $799 AUD, though.
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:
- AMD's FreeSync; A Long-Term Review @ Hardware Canucks
- AOC Q2778VQE @ Kitguru
- Philips Brilliance BDM4065UC @ Kitguru
- BenQ BL3201PT @ Kitguru
Subject: Graphics Cards, Processors, Displays, Systems | May 15, 2015 - 03:02 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: Oculus, oculus vr, nvidia, amd, geforce, radeon, Intel, core i5
Today, Oculus has published a list of what they believe should drive their VR headset. The Oculus Rift will obviously run on lower hardware. Their minimum specifications, published last month and focused on the Development Kit 2, did not even list a specific CPU or GPU -- just a DVI-D or HDMI output. They then went on to say that you really should use a graphics card that can handle your game at 1080p with at least 75 fps.
The current list is a little different:
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970 / AMD Radeon R9 290 (or higher)
- Intel Core i5-4590 (or higher)
- 8GB RAM (or higher)
- A compatible HDMI 1.3 output
- 2x USB 3.0 ports
- Windows 7 SP1 (or newer).
I am guessing that, unlike the previous list, Oculus has a more clear vision for a development target. They were a little unclear about whether this refers to the consumer version or the current needs of developers. In either case, it would likely serve as a guide for what they believe developers should target when the consumer version launches.
This post also coincides with the release of the Oculus PC SDK 0.6.0. This version pushes distortion rendering to the Oculus Server process, rather than the application. It also allows multiple canvases to be sent to the SDK, which means developers can render text and other noticeable content at full resolution, but scale back in places that the user is less likely to notice. They can also be updated at different frequencies, such as sleeping the HUD redraw unless a value changes.
The Oculus PC SDK (0.6.0) is now available at the Oculus Developer Center.
Introduction and Specifications
Displays have been a hot item as of late here at PC Perspective. Today we are looking at the new Acer XB270HU. In short, this is an IPS version of the ASUS ROG Swift. For the long version, it is a 1440P, 144Hz, G-Sync enabled 27 inch display. This is the first G-Sync display released with an IPS panel, which is what makes this release such a big deal. Acer has been pushing hard on the display front, with recent releases of the following variable refresh capable displays:
- XB270H 27in 1080P 144Hz G-Sync
- XB280HK 28in 4K 60Hz G-SYnc
- XG270HU 27in 1440P 40-144Hz FreeSync
- XB270HU 27in 1440P 144Hz G-Sync < you are here
The last entry in that list is the subject of todays review, and it should look familiar to those who have been tracking Acer's previous G-Sync display releases:
Here's our video overview of this new display. I encourage you to flip through the review as there are more comparison pictures and information to go along.
Early in April ASUS and AMD announced that the MG279Q display, first shown at CES in January, would be brought into the world of FreeSync and officially adopt AMD's branding. The original post from the AMD Twitter account clearly mentions the display would support 144 Hz refresh rates, an increase from the 120 Hz that ASUS claimed during CES.
Now however, we have some complications to deal with. According to a FAQ posted on the ASUS.com website, FreeSync variable refresh rates will only be supported in a range of 35 - 90 Hz.
Enable FreeSync™ in the MG279’s OSD setting, choose PC’s refresh rate timing between 35-90Hz (DP/miniDP only)
On the positive, that 35 Hz lower limit would be the best we have seen on any FreeSync monitor to date. And while the 90 Hz upper limit isn't awful (considering we have seen both 75 Hz and 144 Hz limits on current monitors), it does the beg the question as to why it would be LOWER than the 144 Hz quoted maximum overall refresh rate of the display.
The ASUS MG279Q is an IPS-style display so the quality of the screen should be top notch, but that doesn't alone answer why the upper FreeSync limit and upper refresh rate would not match. We already have the Acer Predator XB270HU G-Sync display in-house that operates at a variable refresh rate as high as 144 Hz with a similar quality IPS display. I've inquired to both AMD and ASUS about the reasoning for this 90 Hz limit, and we'll see if either side cares to comment prior to the display's release.
Subject: Displays | April 16, 2015 - 10:26 AM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: 3440x1440, XR341CKA, ultra-widescreen, gaming monitor, g-sync, acer, 21:9, ips
Acer's upcoming ultra-widescreen 34-inch G-SYNC gaming monitor, the XR341CKA, will have multiple inputs according to a report published by TFT Central, which indicates possible changes to the G-SYNC V2 module as previous displays only provided one input.
The Acer XR341CKA (Credit: TFT Central)
The Acer XR341CKA is a variant of the XR341CK, a FreeSync monitor that contains an identical panel. The IPS panel in both monitors is rated up to 75Hz refresh with a resolution of 3440x1440, and a contrast ratio of 1000:1 with 8-bit + FRC (effective 10-bit) color depth. The big story here is of course the G-SYNC module, and though we don't know the specific implementation yet is will be interesting to see what the input support of version 2 G-SYNC displays will be. According to TFT Central the FreeSync (CK) variant of the XR341 offers "HDMI 2.0 (MHL), DisplayPort, Mini DP and DP out connections," and "it will support daisy chaining via the DP out port and also PiP and PbP functions".
The original G-SYNC module (Credit: NVIDIA)
In contrast the G-SYNC variant (CKA) of the XR341 offers "DisplayPort, but also an additional HDMI 1.4 video connection...(and) will also support ULMB (Ultra Low Motion Blur)." TFT Central points out that this detail "would mark the first G-sync screen we've seen with more than one connection, so we will be interested to see how this works." If indeed this is a single module solution it is possible that NVIDIA has made changes with the second-gen G-SYNC module to allow for more than one input. We will have to wait and see, unless more details about this V2 module are forthcoming.
Subject: Displays | April 10, 2015 - 01:52 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: hp, 3d display, Zvr
3D displays have had limited success in the gaming market, while interesting most gamers have instead opted for high resolution and high refresh rate monitors over 3D. However there is great potential for 3D displays in professional applications such as CAD/CAM and medicine; imaging actually seeing a 3D representation of a model or organ instead of trying to visualize it from a 2D screen. NitroWare.net had a change to see the HP Zvr 23.6-inch Virtual Reality Display in action and you can too by following the link.
"HP Australia gave NitroWare.net an exclusive preview in Sydney of its new zSpace powered 3D Virtual Reality Monitor aimed to complement its professional desktop and mobile workstation line. The Zvr Display introduces head-tracking and an interactive stylus to enable 3D/VR interactivity and manipulation via an off-the-shelf product from a mass-market OEM."
Here are some more Display articles from around the web:
- BenQ XL2730Z (FreeSync) @ HardwareHeaven
- AMD FreeSync Review with LG 34UM67 @ HardwareHeaven
- ASUS Designo MX27AQ WQHD Monitor @ Kitguru
- AOC U3477PQU WQHD 34 inch LCD Monitor Review @ NikKTech
Subject: Displays | April 8, 2015 - 01:24 PM | Sebastian Peak
Last Friday Dell announced a new 2560x1440 monitor in an official blog post, and while it won’t compare to the variable refresh gaming monitors we’ve been talking about quite a bit lately it’s still impressive considering the price. (Here’s hoping the lower-cost WQHD trend continues!)
The P2416D is a 24-inch 2560x1440 display that Dell will offer for $369.99. The Tech Report linked to specifications published internationally pointing to an IPS panel, a detail that was not mentioned in Dell’s blog post. This would be in keeping with other panels in Dell’s P and U series, but is significant for the $369.99 price at 1440p. This will be a conventional 60 Hz panel of course, but represents a lower cost than other entry level IPS monitors at this resolution from Dell, and is the only option at this compact 24-inch size.
A competing low-cost QHD monitor, the Acer G257HU, is much more aggressively priced at $279.99, and Acer lists IPS as the panel type for this 25-inch display. How might Dell help justify the $90 premium over a monitor like the Acer? The P2416D monitor is covered by Dell’s “Premium Panel Guarantee” that Professional/UltraSharp monitor customers are likely familiar with, which provides free panel exchanges for “even one bright pixel” at any time during the 3-year warranty period. The Dell 24-inch monitor also offers their usual tilt/pivot/rotate/height adjustable stand, DisplayPort (1.2) and HDMI (1.4) input along with VGA, plus a 4-port USB 2.0 hub.
The Dell P2416D is not listed on Dell’s U.S. site just yet but will be available in May.
Subject: Displays | April 7, 2015 - 12:31 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: variable refresh rate, mg279q, freesync, asus, amd
If you remember back at CES in early January, we got hands-on with an upcoming monitor from ASUS, the MG279Q. Unlike the company's other G-Sync enabled displays, this monitor was unique in that offered support for the Adaptive Sync portion of the DisplayPort 1.2a standard but was also not a part of AMD's initial wave of FreeSync monitors.
The ASUS MG279Q from CES 2015
The screen technology itself was impressive: a 2560x1440 resolution, IPS-style implementation and a maximum refresh rate of 120 Hz. (Note: the new marketing material indicates that the panel will have a 144 Hz maximum refresh rate. Maybe there was a hardware change since CES?) During a video interview with ASUS at the time it was labeled as having a minimum refresh rate of 40 Hz which is something we look forward to testing if and when we can get a sample in our labs.
At the time, there was some interesting debate about WHY this wasn't a FreeSync branded monitor. We asked AMD specifically about this monitor's capability to work with capable Radeon GPUs for variable refresh and they promised there were no lock-outs occurring. We guessed that maybe ASUS' deal with NVIDIA on G-Sync was preventing them from joining the FreeSync display program, but cleary that wasn't the case. Today on Twitter, AMD announced that the MG279Q was officially part of the FreeSync brand.
I am glad to see more products come into the FreeSync monitor market and hopefully we'll have some solid gaming experiences with the ASUS MG279Q to report back on soon!