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Subject: General Tech, Displays | July 5, 2014 - 04:11 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: oculus vr, oculus rift, Oculus
The popular VR headset development kit, Oculus Rift DK2, is no longer available for order in China. The reason, according to their subreddit, is due to "extreme reseller purchases". In other words, because too many were purchased with the intention of selling them at a markup. They, then, ask enthusiasts to wait for the consumer version. These are for developers to develop.
Reselling product happens frequently. You see it at big sales, when a retailer sells product near (or under) cost to lure people into their stores. Unless they have a quantity-per-purchase limit, that is enforced, you will see the occasional person buying obscene amounts. Some will even tell the cashier that they intend on reselling it elsewhere.
Oculus is "looking into alternative ways to make sure that our development kits are getting into legitimate developer hands in China". Also, they claim to have not canceled all orders in China., because, "that would be messed up".
Yes, Oculus, that would be.
The Oculus Rift DK2 is still available in the other regions.
Subject: Displays | June 24, 2014 - 03:05 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: UHD, seiki, 4k, 40U4SEP-G02, 3840x2160, 32U4SEP-G02, 28U4SEP-G02
An interesting press release found its way into my inbox just now that announces a new competitor to the world of 4K monitors. Seiki, made famous recently for its line of incredibly low cost 4K TVs that really started the 4K trend for consumers and PC gamers, is building a set of three professional series 4K monitors for release early next year with some damned impressive specifications.
Though you can find the 50-in Seiki SE50UY04 for just $799 on Amazon and the 39-in SE39UY04 for only $469, these are televisions with somewhat limited 30 Hz refresh rates. The new products that Seiki is showing for the first time at CE Week Exhibits and Conferences in New York City do not have any of these limitations though and instead boast one of the most complete list of specifications I have seen on a monitor.
Seiki SE39UY04 4K Television
Seiki will introduce three different sizes including a 28-in (28U4SEP-G02), 32-in (32U4SEP-G02) and 40-in (40U4SEP-G02) offering with the following specs:
- Vertical Alignment (VA) LED panel technology with 3,840 by 2,160 4K Ultra HD
- 12-bit color processing and 14-bit gamma mode
- HDMI 2.0, DisplayPort 1.3, MHL 3.0, DVI and VGA standards display connections
- Picture-by-picture (x4) and daisy chain mode
- USB 3.0 hub (1 upstream and 2 downstream)
- VESA-compliant adjustable monitor stand with quick release
I am still waiting for confirmation on the panel
type quality (more like TN or more like IPS, etc.) but the list of specifications here offers a glimpse of what to expect. (Vetical Aligned panels should be pretty damned good.) 12-bit color and 14-bit gamma indicate that this display will be built for the professional and creative designer at heart. Support for upcoming standards like HDMI 2.0 and Displayport 1.3 should tell you that the monitors won't be shipping for a while (Q1 2015 I'm told) but when you have them they will be able to push 4K at 60 Hz without issue.
The quad PiP mode could be really cool if it works as I suspect - four different HDMI inputs allow for four unique unscaled images on the panel at the same time. This could be great for multi-display uses where consumers can utilize a set of four 20-in (effective) 1080p panels without a bezel. We are already drooling over the possibilities of that here for our test setups...
So while I am excited about the prospect of these monitors, we don't yet know the pricing. If these are high quality IPS displays you can expect them to be quite expensive. But Seiki is known for building great displays at a low cost, so perhaps the company will be able to do so once again and surprise us all in time for CES next year.
Subject: General Tech, Displays, Storage | June 19, 2014 - 03:56 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: Samsung, ssd, 840 evo, 1TB, amazon, pb287q, asus, 4k
A couple of really nice Amazon picks hit my email box today and I thought they were worth posting for our readers as well.
First, and clearly the most exciting: the 1TB version of the Samsung 840 EVO SSD is now selling for just $399. That comes in at $0.399/GB, which is actually better than the cost per GB of the Crucial MX100 that launched this month. If you haven't picked up an SSD that is big enough to hold all your games, this is the perfect opportunity!
Also, after our review went up at the end of May, the 4K ASUS PB287Q 28-in monitor is finally up for sale on Amazon for $649 with a shipping date of July 1st. If you think you might be interested in the universe of gaming at 4K, now is a great time to jump in.
Thanks for supporting PC Perspective!
Subject: General Tech, Displays | June 8, 2014 - 05:09 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: wacom, Cintiq, Intuos, hack
A couple of years ago, you might remember my review of the Wacom Cintiq 22HD. It was not a review unit. I was originally saving for the Cintiq 24HD until the 22HD and the 24HD Touch were announced. At that point, I was making decision whether to upgrade to the 24HD with a touchscreen for Windows 8 development, or save some money and get the 22HD. If you have read my many editorials on Windows Store certification requirements, you might guess that, at least I believe, I made the right decision.
Image Credit: Hack a Day
This purchase was actually the second graphics tablet that I owned. Years earlier, I purchased an Adesso CyberTablet 12000 but had problems with drawing in one location and seeing the results in another. I, then, transitioned to scanning pencil-and-paper and inking/filling them with a mouse. It was at that point that I took a gamble on a Wacom Cintiq.
Why am I telling this story? Wacom Cintiqs are based on the same technology as their Intuos tablets, even down to pen compatibility, with a display built in. Well, at Hack a Day, one of their clever readers decided to make their own Cintiq out of what appears to be a Wacom Intuos3 A5. Basically, he fit a replacement 9.7-inch, 2048x1536 display, designed for Retina iPads and similar tablets, behind the touch sensor. It apparently worked without much fuss.
You can find Wacom Intuos3 6 x 8-inch pen tablets for about 120-150$ used. You can also find a 9.7-inch 2048x1536 panel and the other necessary hardware for about $70. While it is not an exact replacement for a Wacom Cintiq, it is the best you will do for under $250 (or even under $900).
Subject: Displays | June 4, 2014 - 04:20 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: miracast, philips, 239C4QHWAB, ips display
We interrupt your Computex news stream with a product that is currently for sale, the Philips Brilliance 239C4QHWAB with Miracast support. The screen itself is something we have seen before, a 1080p 23" IPS display with HDMI and VGA inputs on the base along with an audio and microphone input. Now those specs will not impress a gamer looking for a 4k display but for someone with an Android device that wants to stream 1080p video via Miracast thanks to the in built support the resolution and connections are perfect. Check out how well it handles Miracast at Bjorn3D.
"With the rise of mobile devices the need to be able to hook them up to a screen has increased. While both Apple TV and to some extend Google Chromecast offers ways to mirror the screen on supported devices or at least stream some content they both requier extra hardware. There is however another solution: Miracast."
Here are some more Display articles from around the web:
- 4K for $649: Asus' PB287Q monitor @ The Tech Report
- Asus PB287Q 4K UHD 28 inch @ Kitguru
- ASUS PB287Q 28-in 4K Single Stream 60Hz Monitor Review @ Legit Reviews
- AOC Q2770PQU 27″ PLS @ eTeknix
- AOC U2868PQU 4K UHD 28 inch Monitor @ Kitguru
- BenQ RL2460HT 24" Gaming Monitor Review @ Hardware Canucks
- BenQ XL2720Z Gaming Monitor @ FunkyKit
Subject: Graphics Cards, Displays | June 4, 2014 - 12:40 AM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: gsync, g-sync, freesync, DisplayPort, computex 2014, computex, adaptive sync
AMD FreeSync is likely a technology or brand or term that is going to be used a lot between now and the end of 2014. When NVIDIA introduced variable refresh rate monitor technology to the world in October of last year, one of the immediate topics of conversation was the response that AMD was going to have. NVIDIA's G-Sync technology is limited to NVIDIA graphics cards and only a few (actually just one still as I write this) monitors actually have the specialized hardware to support it. In practice though, variable refresh rate monitors fundamentally change the gaming experience for the better.
At CES, AMD went on the offensive and started showing press a hacked up demo of what they called "FreeSync", a similar version of the variable refresh technology working on a laptop. At the time, the notebook was a requirement of the demo because of the way AMD's implementation worked. Mobile displays have previously included variable refresh technologies in order to save power and battery life. AMD found that it could repurpose that technology to emulate the effects that NVIDIA G-Sync creates - a significantly smoother gaming experience without the side effects of Vsync.
Our video preview of NVIDIA G-Sync Technology
Since that January preview, things have progressed for the "FreeSync" technology. Taking the idea to the VESA board responsible for the DisplayPort standard, in April we found out that VESA had adopted the technology and officially and called it Adaptive Sync.
So now what? AMD is at Computex and of course is taking the opportunity to demonstrate a "FreeSync" monitor with the DisplayPort 1.2a Adaptive Sync feature at work. Though they aren't talking about what monitor it is or who the manufacturer is, the demo is up and running and functions with frame rates wavering between 40 FPS and 60 FPS - the most crucial range of frame rates that can adversely affect gaming experiences. AMD has a windmill demo running on the system, perfectly suited to showing Vsync enabled (stuttering) and Vsync disabled (tearing) issues with a constantly rotating object. It is very similar to the NVIDIA clock demo used to show off G-Sync.
The demo system is powered by an AMD FX-8350 processor and Radeon R9 290X graphics card. The monitor is running at 2560x1440 and is the very first working prototype of the new standard. Even more interesting, this is a pre-existing display that has had its firmware updated to support Adaptive Sync. That's potentially exciting news! Monitors COULD BE UPGRADED to support this feature, but AMD warns us: "...this does not guarantee that firmware alone can enable the feature, it does reveal that some scalar/LCD combinations are already sufficiently advanced that they can support some degree of DRR (dynamic refresh rate) and the full DPAS (DisplayPort Adaptive Sync) specification through software changes."
The time frame for retail available monitors using DP 1.2a is up in the air but AMD has told us that the end of 2014 is entirely reasonable. Based on the painfully slow release of G-Sync monitors into the market, AMD has less of a time hole to dig out of than we originally thought, which is good. What is not good news though is that this feature isn't going to be supported on the full range of AMD Radeon graphics cards. Only the Radeon R9 290/290X and R7 260/260X (and the R9 295X2 of course) will actually be able to support the "FreeSync" technology. Compare that to NVIDIA's G-Sync: it is supported by NVIDIA's entire GTX 700 and GTX 600 series of cards.
All that aside, seeing the first official prototype of "FreeSync" is awesome and is getting me pretty damn excited about the variable refresh rate technologies once again! Hopefully we'll get some more hands on time (eyes on, whatever) with a panel in the near future to really see how it compares to the experience that NVIDIA G-Sync provides. There is still the chance that the technologies are not directly comparable and some in-depth testing will be required to validate.
Subject: Displays | June 3, 2014 - 10:50 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: philips, ips, dual monitor, computex 2014, computex
Philips has announced what they are calling the worlds first "virtually seamless" two-in-one monitor.
The Philips Two-in-One monitor proudly showing Computex gold (though not as prestigious as the PC Perspective gold award, of course...)
The 19DP6QJNS (love those model names, don't you?) is comprised of two separate 19" IPS displays on a single mount, and the ultra-thin 3.5mm bezels allow for the that "virtual" seamlessness.
The announcement does not include screen resolution, and from the images the screens don't appear at least to be the usual 16:9 aspect ratio. Even without all of the details there is a clear advantage to a design with a reduced footprint. It's just a more, well, seemless (there's that word again) dual-monitor setup. Each display has its own video inputs, though they are different. The first display has a DisplayPort and VGA input, and the second has a VGA input and MHL-enabled HDMI input. The monitors can tilt up to 22 degrees, and each screen also has a pair of USB ports.
So about the resolution... Philips states that this new product is "ideal for designers using 3D graphics or requiring extremely detailed information for CAD-CAM solutions," so one wouldn't be faulted for assuming a higher resolution panel here, but we will have to see. This is certainly a niche product, but anyone who has grown accustomed to a dual monitor setup will probably tell you they are more productive (and would never willingly go back). If this is reasonably priced, two IPS screens on a single stand would be a really attractive proposition.
The Philips 19DP6QJNS will be available fall 2014, and no pricing information yet.
Subject: General Tech, Displays, Mobile | June 3, 2014 - 07:54 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: vesa, dockport, DisplayPort, amd
Remember DockPort? The three in one connection we have discussed in the past? The Thunderbolt-ish connection for devices with DisplayPort which allows transmission of audio and video plus USB data and power all on one connector. It's here! (even if the devices aren't quite common yet)
NEWARK, CA (3 June 2014) The Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA) today announced the release of the DockPort standard. Developed by several VESA member companies, DockPort is an optional extension of the DisplayPort standard that will allow USB 3.1 data and DC power for battery charging to be carried over a single DisplayPort connector and cable that also carries high-resolution audio/video (A/V) data.
This new extension of the DisplayPort standard is fully backward compatible with all existing DisplayPort devices. When a DockPort-enabled DisplayPort source such as a computer or tablet is connected with a DockPort-enabled DisplayPort sink such as a display monitor or docking station A/V plus USB data and power will be transferred over a common cable through a single connector. If either the source or sink device is not a DockPort-enabled, then source and sink will recognize only the DisplayPort A/V data stream.
As computing platforms become increasingly mobile, it becomes necessary to reduce the number of external connectors, explained Steve Belt, Corporate Vice President - Strategic Alliances & Solutions Enablement AMD, a VESA member company. With DockPort, VESA has developed a technology standard that enhances elegant docking designs, reduces mobile form factors, and enriches the user experience with streamlined, one-cable access to a wide range of external displays, peripherals and storage.
DockPort is the first royalty-free industry standard that combines these three essential interface functions into a single connector. VESA first revealed its intention to develop this standard at the 2014 International Consumer Electrics Show. It anticipates that several vendors will demonstrate DockPort-enabled DisplayPort systems at Computex Taiwan, which begins today.
Until today, most mobile computing platforms required three separate interfaces to support power charging, data transmission and external video, said Chris Griffith, Business Development Manager for Consumer and Computing Interface at Texas Instruments, a VESA member company. With DockPort, VESA has elegantly merged this ungainly tangle of wires into a single, sleek connector, combining power charging with the industrys most popular data transportUSBand the industrys highest-speed A/V transportDisplayPort. DockPort can reduce system implementation cost as designers can reduce external connectors and simplify docking implementations.
VESA is developing a compliance test protocol to certify systems that meet the DockPort standard. Systems that satisfy this test protocol will be permitted to display VESAs new DockPort logo on their packaging as a guide for consumers seeking this capability.
The new DockPort standard demonstrates the enormous adaptability of the DisplayPort standard, according to VESA Board Chair Alan Kobayashi, Fellow & Executive R&D Management for DisplayPort Group at MegaChips Technology America. On the one hand, DisplayPort is a flexible A/V transport protocol that easily coexists with other protocols, like USBit plays nicely with others. On the other hand, DisplayPort is also a robust and proven connector design whose electro-mechanical properties can accommodate data and power over a common passive copper cable and interface.
Subject: General Tech, Displays, Shows and Expos | June 2, 2014 - 03:27 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: XB280HK, g-sync, computex 2014, computex, acer, 4k
Speaking of G-Sync monitors, Acer has announced a 4K monitor ahead of Computex with NVIDIA's adaptive refresh rate technology. While they do not ever say that it is 60Hz, I believe that it is. It also seems to be based on a TN panel. It, being G-Sync, connects with DisplayPort 1.2 and also includes four USB 3.0 ports. It, however, does not seem to support the competing AMD's FreeSync, integrated into VESA's DisplayPort 1.2a standard.
We do not currently have an image of the monitor
4K could be where we really start seeing benefits for G-Sync. At that resolution, it is very difficult to get a system, regardless of how many GPUs are inside it, which can play the most modern of games without dipping below 60 FPS. Once you miss your 16.67 millisecond window, your game starts hitching between images living 33.33ms and 16.67ms, when each frame is supposed to be presented at a constant rate.
As for pricing and availability: Q2 (early May to end of July). That's all we know.
For more Computex 2014 coverage, please check out our feed!
Subject: General Tech, Displays, Shows and Expos | June 2, 2014 - 02:28 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: g-sync, displays, display, computex 2014, computex, asus, 2560x1440, 144hz, 1440p
NVIDIA's G-Sync allows video cards to time the refresh rate of monitors. This is an advantage because the GPU knows when a frame is actually ready to be displayed to the user. The initial batch of announcements were each 1080p monitors, which are least likely to dip down into the 30-60Hz gap where G-Sync is noticeable.
Today at Computex, ASUS has announced a 27", 2560x1440, 144Hz G-Sync display. This higher resolution is starting to reach the point where faster graphics cards struggle to maintain 60 FPS. Not only that, but it is one of the first 1440p panels that you can get which supports high (over 100Hz) refresh rates, officially. Others exist, but "rare" is an understatement.
Its response rate is 1ms (GTG) which, unfortunately, suggests a TN panel. This might be a deal-breaker for some, but if you are looking for a G-Sync, 1440p, and high refresh rate panel, then it might be an acceptable compromise.
The ASUS PG278Q is available in Q2, which ASUS seems to define as the beginning of May to the end of July, for $799 USD. Unfortunately for AMD fans, the panel does not seem to support FreeSync, recently added to DisplayPort 1.2a. FreeSync, of course, is the competitor to G-Sync that AMD proposed to the VESA standards body.
For more Computex 2014 coverage, please check out our feed!
Subject: General Tech, Displays | June 2, 2014 - 03:20 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: pq321q, PA328Q, displays, display, computex 2014, computex, asus, 4k
You might remember the ASUS PQ321Q 4K monitor from last year that we loved. It was based on an IGZO panel and allowed for 60Hz via one DisplayPort 1.2 cable, running in Multi Stream Transport (MST). At Computex 2014, ASUS announced the PA328Q. This "ProArt" panel ships calibrated and offers 10-bit, 100% sRGB color representation. More interestingly, it supports HDMI 2.0 as well as DisplayPort 1.2, for 4K at 60Hz, apparently over a single cable.
The monitor also has an extra mini DisplayPort connector and two HDMI 1.4 inputs. Also, four (4) USB 3.0 ports and a headphone jack. I guess professionals like high-speed removable storage.
Some points that I would like to see clarified are:
- its Adobe RGB coverage (for printer color spaces)
- its panel type (I expect IGZO)
- and its pricing (and availability)...
I do not know how this fits in to the ASUS product stack, relative to the $3500 PQ321Q. It includes more modern connections and could hit the checkboxes for digital content creation at 4K. Its price might give us an idea about where it stands... or it might just blow our minds, one way or the other. For now, I don't know.
For more Computex 2014 coverage, please check out our feed!
Subject: Displays | May 22, 2014 - 11:30 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: nvidia, monitor, g-sync, acer, 4k
We've been talking about the benefits 4K for a while, most recently with the Samsung U28D590D, which added single-stream 60Hz support to the mix, but there have certainly been some drawbacks with 4K monitors to date. Between usually low refresh rates and the general problem of getting smooth images on the screen (not to mention the high price of entry into 4K) there have been some legitimate questions about when to upgrade. Well, an interesting new product announcement from a surprising source might change things.
With a logo like that, who needs product photos?
Today, Acer is announcing an interesting alternative: the world’s first 4K monitor with integrated NVIDIA G-SYNC technology.
The XB280HK will be a 28" display, and (provided you have an NVIDIA graphics card and were looking to make the move to 4K) the benefits of G-SYNC - which include minimizing stutter and eliminating tearing - seem ideal for extremely high-res gaming.
We’ll be eagerly awaiting a look at the performance of this new monitor. (Or even a look at it, since Acer did not release a product photo!)
The details are scarce, but Acer says this will be a part of their “XB0” series of gaming monitors. Here are some specs for this 28” 3840x2160 display, which features three proprietary technologies from Acer:
- “Flicker-less” which Acer says is implemented at the power supply level to reduce screen flicker
- “Low-dimming” which sounds like an ambient light sensor to dim the monitor in low light
- “ComfyView” non-glare screen
Of interest, the Acer XB280HK is likely using a TN panel given the claimed "170/170 degree" viewing angle.
The hardware needed for good 4K frame rates are definitely up there, and with G-SYNC onboard the XB280HK will probably not be in the low-end of the 4K price range, but we shall see!
Subject: General Tech, Displays | May 18, 2014 - 03:19 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: oculus vr, Oculus, facebook, google glass
Who would have thought that John Carmack would have opened the flood gates of talent to Facebook. Apparently, not only was he the first in a long list of people to join Oculus, a large chunk of his coworkers at id Software followed him over (if a Glassdoor review is to be trusted) in Februrary. Their latest grab is Adrian Wong, former senior hardware engineer for Google's Glass Explorer program.
Didn't see that one coming...
Clearly, something is happening at Oculus VR. This acquisition by Facebook is giving them a warchest to grab as much top talent as possible. Ironically, without Oculus, I doubt that most of these hires, if any, would happen. Without knowing the internal structure of Facebook and Oculus, it is hard to predict how much benefit the parent company can gather, but the acquisition could be paying for itself in raw talent.
The Oculus Rift DK2, announced at GDC, is currently a $350.00 pre-order and expected to ship in August.
Subject: General Tech, Displays | May 12, 2014 - 03:29 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: g-sync, freesync, displayport 1.2a, adaptive sync
AMD might have originally thought that dynamic refresh rates were not worth adding to their machines but they did develop FreeSync quite a while ago and now that G-Sync is available they've changed their minds. Even better for the consumer is the way that they went about releasing it; not as proprietary hardware which is only compatible with certain monitors but as an update to the DisplayPort standard which does not require any extra hardware. We do still have a while to wait before these monitors hit the shelves, the display scaler and control chips manufactures will have to incorporate the new standard into their designs but once they do they should be functional on both NVIDIA and AMD as long as you are connecting with DisplayPort. Read more about the process on The Tech Report.
Also, you can read the official VESA press release.
"PC gaming animation may soon become more fluid than ever, thanks to a development just announced by the folks at the VESA display standards organization. VESA has officially added a feature called Adaptive Sync to the DisplayPort 1.2a specification, which means that a G-Sync-style adaptive refresh mechanism could be built into nearly every new desktop monitor in the coming months and years."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- The TR Podcast 154: AMD's K12, OCZ's future and the Z97 invasion begins
- Windows 8.1 Update Deadline Pushed Back @ [H]ard|OCP
- Choose Your Favorite Open Source SBC, Enter to Win Prizes @ Linux.com
- Nvidia's 64-bit Tegra K1 could end up in microservers @ The Inquirer
- ARM lays the foundation for a data center invasion @ The Tech Report
- Don't fret over SOHO routers and Heartbleed. But yeah, there's LOADS to fear on home kit @ The Register
- HyperX Event at 2BY2 @ Madshrimps
- Asus PCE-AC68 802.11ac Dual-Band PCI Express Wireless Adaptor @ eTeknix
Subject: Displays | April 11, 2014 - 05:25 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: touch screen, philips, 231C5 SmoothTouch
If you are going to use Windows 8 as your OS you will find it is a better overall experience to use if you have a touchscreen. With mobile devices that is not a problem but for the most part desktop systems do not tend to sport a touchscreen. Enter the Philips 231C5 SmoothTouch a 23" IPS 1080p display with a built in webcam and microphone as well as multi-touch capability of course. The array of inputs are sufficient, two HDMI ports – one with MHL capabilities, DisplayPort, VGA, two USB 3.0 ports and stereo audio. Before you dismiss this display completely you should check out eTechnix full review.
"When Microsoft announced the imminent launch of Windows 8, one of the revolutionary aspects of the new operating system was its more streamlined integration into touch screen devices. Since that time we have seen touch screen capable notebooks and Ultrabooks swarm the market and the era of the touch screen computer has changed the way that many of us have interacted with our systems."
Here are some more Display articles from around the web:
- NEC MultiSync PA272W 27" Professional Monitor Review @ Hardware Canucks
- ASUS MX279H 27-inch LED-Lit AH IPS Monitor @ Phoronix
- Choosing the Right Projector for your Needs @ TechwareLabs
- Nvidia G-Sync: My Impression @ Kitguru
- Samsung PN64F8500 64 Inch Plasma Smart TV Review @ Tweaknews
Subject: General Tech, Displays | April 6, 2014 - 02:41 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: vesa, freesync, DisplayPort, amd
According to French website, hardware.fr, the VESA standards body has accepted AMD's proposal for FreeSync into an extension of the DisplayPort 1.2a standard. FreeSync is the standards-based answer to NVIDIA's G-Sync, a process for allowing the monitor to time itself according to its driving GPU. At CES 2014, AMD claimed that the technology was already in development to be used for mobile devices to save power (less frequent monitor refreshes).
By presenting image to the user only when the work is complete, you can avoid "tearing" and latency. The tearing will be eliminated because the graphics card does not change the image being drawn by the monitor as it is trying to display it. The latency is eliminated because it does not need to wait until the monitor is ready (up to one-over-the maximum refresh rate of the monitor). It should also save power by reducing its refresh rate on slower scenes, such as an idle desktop, but that is less of a concern when you are plugged into a wall.
What does this mean? Nothing yet, really, except that a gigantic standards body seems to approve.
Ever since CES we have been expecting an onslaught of 4K monitors to make their way to the market. Today Amazon.com listed the Samsung U28D590D for pre-order for the price of just $699. This is a 28-in display with a 3840x2160 resolution and support for 60 Hz refresh rates courtesy of the DisplayPort 1.2 connection.
That's a hell of a deal for a 4K monitor, especially one capable of 60 Hz (likely through MST)! Worth noting is that the monitor is a TN panel so picture quality won't be as good as the IPS options still selling for over $2500, like the ASUS PQ321Q we reviewed previously.
The panel has a pair of HDMI inputs but both are listed as only supporting 30 Hz 3840x2160 resolutions without any mention of using them both simultaneously.
You can find the full specifications list on Samsung's website, and we are working to get a sample in for testing in the next two weeks!
Subject: General Tech, Displays | March 28, 2014 - 04:21 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: VR, valve, Oculus, facebook
Today, Oculus VR issued a statement which claims that Michael Abrash has joined their ranks as Chief Scientist. Abrash was hired by Valve in 2011 where he led, and apparently came up with the idea for, their wearable computing initiatives. For a time, he and Jeri Ellsworth were conducting similar projects until she, and many others, were forced out of the company for undisclosed reasons (she was allowed to take her project with her which ultimately became CastAR). While I have yet to see an official announcement claim that Abrash has left Valve, I have serious doubts that he would be employed in both places for any reasonable period of time. With both gone, I wonder about Valve's wearable initaitive going forward.
Abrash at Steam Dev Days
This press statement comes just three days after Facebook announced "definitive" plans to acquire Oculus VR for an equivalent of $2 billion USD (it is twice the company Instragram was). Apparently, the financial stability of Facebook (... deep breath before continuing...) was the catalyst for this decision. VR research is expensive. Abrash is now comfortable working with them, gleefully expending R&D funds, advancing the project without sinking the ship.
And then there's Valve.
On last night's This Week in Computer Hardware (#260), Patrick Norton and I were discussing the Oculus VR acquisition. He claimed that he had serious doubts about whether Valve ever intended to ship a product. So far, the only product available that uses Valve's research is the Oculus Rift DK2. Honestly, while I have not really thought about it until now, it would not be surprising for Valve to contribute to the PC platform itself.
And, hey, at least someone is not afraid of Facebook's ownership.
Subject: General Tech, Displays, Shows and Expos | March 22, 2014 - 01:04 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: oculus rift, Oculus, gdc 14, GDC
Last month, we published a news piece stating that Oculus Rift production has been suspended as "certain components" were unavailable. At the time, the company said they are looking for alternate suppliers but do not know how long that will take. The speculation was that the company was simply readying a new version and did not want to cannibalize their sales.
This week, they announced a new version which is available for pre-order and expected to ship in July.
DK2, as it is called, integrates a pair of 960x1080 OLED displays (correction, March 22nd @ 3:15pm: It is technically a single 1080p display that is divided per eye) for higher resolution and lower persistence. Citing Valve's VR research, they claim that the low persistence will reduce motion blur as your eye blends neighboring frames together. In this design, it flickers the image for a short period before going black, and does this at a high enough rate keep your eye fed with light. The higher resolution also prevents the "screen door effect" complained about by the first release. Like their "Crystal Cove" prototype, it also uses an external camera to reduce latency in detecting your movement. All of these should combine to less motion sickness.
I would expect that VR has a long road ahead of it before it becomes a commercial product for the general population, though. There are many legitimate concerns about leaving your users trapped in a sensory deprivation apparatus when Kinect could not even go a couple of days without someone pretending to play volleyball and wrecking their TV with ceiling fan fragments. Still, this company seems to be doing it intelligently: keep afloat on developers and lead users as you work through your prototypes. It is cool, even if it will get significantly better, and people will support its research while getting the best at the time.
DK2 is available for pre-order for $350 and is expected to ship in July.
Subject: Displays | January 17, 2014 - 06:35 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: vg248qe, nvidia, gaming, g-sync, DIY, asus
NVIDIA's new G-Sync variable refresh rate technology is slowly being rolled out to consumers in the form of new monitors and DIY upgrade kits that can be used to add G-Sync functionality to existing displays. The first G-Sync capable monitor to support the DIY upgrade kit path is the ASUS VG248QE which is a 24" 1080p 144Hz TN panel. The monitor itself costs around $270 and the you can now purchase a G-Sync DIY upgrade kit from NVIDIA for $199.
The upgrade kit comes with a replacement controller board, power supply, HDMI cable, plastic spudger, IO shields, and installation instructions. Users will need to take apart the VG248QE monitor, remove the old PCBs and install the G-Sync board in its place. According to NVIDIA the entire process takes about 30 minutes though if this is your first time digging into monitor internals it will likely take closer to an hour to install.
The NVIDIA G-Sync DIY kit below the ASUS VG248QE monitor.
For help with installation, NVIDIA has posted a video of the installation process on YouTube. If you find text and photos easier, you can follow the installation guides written up for PC Perspective by Allyn Malventano and reader Levi Kendall. Both DIY kit reviews stated that the process, while a bit involved, was possible for most gamers to perform with a bit of guidance.
You can order the DIY upgrade kit yourself from this NVIDIA page.
Alternatively, ASUS is also releasing an updated version of the VG248QE monitor with the G-Sync board pre-installed in the first half of this year. This updated G-Sync monitor will have an MSRP of $399.
With the G-Sync kit at $199, will you be going the DIY path or waiting for a new monitor with the technology pre-installed?
Read more about NVIDIA's G-Sync display technology at PC Perspective including first impressions, installation, and more!