Video Perspective: ASUS PQ321Q 31.5-in 4K Monitor Overview and Initial Testing

Subject: Displays
Manufacturer: ASUS
Tagged: video, pq321q, PQ321, asus, 4k

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!

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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.

UPDATE: This display is now available for purchase if you want to shell out the $3500!


Video News

July 12, 2013 | 06:30 PM - Posted by Hani

AWESOME... kudos to ASUS for responding to our tweets... i wanna know what is the minimum gpu setup that could drive this beauty at 4k & 60Hz.

July 12, 2013 | 07:30 PM - Posted by orvtrebor

Sexy, glad to see Asus making them but damn that is a lot of money. More than my car :)

July 13, 2013 | 01:31 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Asus didn't make this.. it is just a Sharp PN-K321

July 13, 2013 | 03:14 PM - Posted by Ryan Shrout

Yah, these appear to be one and the same, or pretty close.  It will be interesting to see how ASUS differentiates with this.  It could do so with better firmware support going forward.

July 12, 2013 | 09:51 PM - Posted by brucek2 (not verified)

In your review please include the best gaming approach you could find for a mainstream rig (ie lower settings, less AA, even lower rez upscaled by the monitor, etc) and how acceptable or not it is. I'm interested in a monitor like this for its non-gaming uses but want to know if there's a way to game with it too without needing 3x Titan.

July 13, 2013 | 12:27 PM - Posted by Ryan Shrout

I'll see what I can do.  Testing lower than 4K resolution though would seem kind of pointless as we do that all the time already!

July 13, 2013 | 02:11 PM - Posted by brucek2 (not verified)

Well, the less pointless part would be your subjective evaluation of how the scaling looks & feels on this particular monitor, vs the exact performance numbers. (if it was required at all -- and maybe its not because high res might equal a lot less need for high AA?)

My thinking is that high quality monitors can last through multiple build cycles; that there are productivity and possibly video apps that could make full use of the monitor starting today even with just a "good" vs. an "insane" system; and graphics cards will eventually catch up to the monitor but meanwhile you want to make sure you have an acceptable way to proceed until then.

July 15, 2013 | 05:35 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I agree with this sentiment. I'm a gamer but I use my desktop day-in and day-out and would love to be able to have a 4k resolution on standard 2d tasks (programming, video work, etc), as long as scaling looks reasonable for 3d.

Essentially -- I can buy this monitor tomorrow, but being able to truly game in 4K is going to be a challenge for years, so scaling is extremely important in the meantime.

July 13, 2013 | 09:04 AM - Posted by Dude^^ (not verified)

Hey, great unboxing guys, so glad to see this monitor setup and "benchmarked".

I have a quick question, no modern-day card sees a 4k monitor as a single display, right? That's what i've understood, both AMD and NVIDIA treat this as a dual display setup. From what i get that is somekind of an issue right? that crysis 3 demo was really bad performance wise, u could see tearing happening right where the 2 virtual monitors meet in the middle.

And a small note on the video: When you setup your camera looking at the screen, remove auto-focus, remove auto-iris. Set a decent exposure with a bright image then zoom fully on ur subject (in this case the screen), focus, and then pull back to your desired length. This will ensure that the image is always sharp and the exposure wont jump between dark and white everytime a bright object appears / dissapears (the sensor won't have to compensate for the light)

Anyway, thnx for the vid!
keep up the awesome work!

July 13, 2013 | 12:28 PM - Posted by Ryan Shrout

Thanks for the notes.

Yes, seeing the monitor as "two screens" looks like it might cause some potential problems.

July 13, 2013 | 01:41 PM - Posted by Zurv (not verified)

I have the same problem too with my Sharp PN-K321 that the system won't POST with it in MST mode - kinda a pain in the ass. :)
I have a rampage IV and Asus Titans (3)

there is a thread on the ROG site if you guys have the same issue you might wanna put your .02 in there.

July 13, 2013 | 02:52 PM - Posted by Ryan Shrout

Do you have a link?

July 13, 2013 | 06:59 PM - Posted by Zurv (not verified)

I sent you an email with a bunch 'o links :)

July 14, 2013 | 01:07 AM - Posted by Fishbait

So, just saw the recording, you said that you were not able to use your capture system because it only had a dual link dvi input. Did you think about talking with the company that made the card, maybe they could think of using display port for the next iteration of the card (as far as I know, you've said you've discussed many issues with the card with them before)

July 14, 2013 | 01:17 PM - Posted by Ryan Shrout

Already going down that path.  :)

July 14, 2013 | 05:59 AM - Posted by Power666 (not verified)

I'm kind of surprised that Asus went with the MST approach for supporting 4K at 60 Hz over DP. The bandwidth is there for a single logical 4k resolution at 60 Hz so it appears to be a limitation imposed by Asus. Though going with MST, were you able to do weird things like logically rotate one half of the physical display?

I'm also disappointed that nVidia is only going to support 2x1 surround with only 4k monitors. More artificial driver limitations for consumers. I know that I'm dreaming several years down the road when these become more affordable, but how would this impact surround/eyefinity with three 4K monitors? Three of these Asus monitors would be setup at either 6x1 or 3x2 portrait modes.

Also any luck getting dual HDMI to work? If so, were these running at HDMI 1.3 or the HBR speed of HDMI 1.4? What was the max refresh rate? (In theory, two HDMI 1.3 could run 4K at 30 hz). I heard mention of using DP to HDMI adapters but there is a catch with that: they're all HDMI 1.3 currently. Two HDMI 1.4 is only possible from two different video cards.

July 14, 2013 | 01:19 PM - Posted by Ryan Shrout

No luck on the dual HDMI quite yet, but I think we are somewhat closer.  I have a feeling I'm going to have to get AMD and NVIDIA to do some driver changes for us to get this 100% working.  We can try two graphics cards for HDMI out of each, but the issue then is can we benchmark without SLI/CrossFire in that way?

July 15, 2013 | 09:28 AM - Posted by power666 (not verified)

I'm going to eat my own words. I found an active DP to HDMI 1.4 adapter:

This in theory would allow a single GPU to drive the display at 4k 60 Hz its two HDMI ports. I'd be curious to see this display allocates the HDMI ports: the same two virtual 1920 x 2160 displays or a single logical 3840 x 2160 display where every other frame is feed by a different HDMI.

July 18, 2013 | 12:38 PM - Posted by NLPsajeeth

ASUS didn't really have a choice. Right now there are no 4K@60p timing controllers available which makes 4k@60p support on GPUs and Panels moot at the moment. The only way to drive the panel is with two TCONs which is why this monitor has HDMI dual support.

I am disappointed as well. NVIDIA really needs to add proper 2x1 surround support for this monitor as well as 2x2 surround support so one can use 4 1080p monitors. You ask a very good question, NVIDIA surround only supports 3x1 and the driver hack that NVIDIA put in for the ASUS makes it show up with one so it might work. Someone would have to test that out.

You should easily be able to run each HDMI at 1920x2160@60Hz, there is enough bandwidth. Run both together at the same time and you get 4K@60Hz effectively. The problem is as you wrote, NVIDIA doesn't support 2x1 surround. They are only supporting this monitor via a special hack for DP MST only. NVIDIA either needs to add proper 2x1 surround support or add yet another hack to support dual HDMI for this specific monitor.

July 15, 2013 | 03:00 AM - Posted by Branthog

I have absolutely no problem dropping $3,500 on a monitor. Hell, I was buying 30" ACDs when they were still $3,300 with tax and the 23" ACDs back when they were about that same price.

However . . . I don't think now is the time to pull the trigger. I think we'd do best to wait two or three more years, before all the kinks are worked out and really solid products are easy to find on the market.

July 15, 2013 | 05:35 PM - Posted by EndTimeKeeper

I so wish I had about 8 thousand extra dollars sitting around so I could buy this sweet looking display and also build a sweet gaming rig to take advantage of it lol.

July 16, 2013 | 03:58 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Will be genuinely interested in this thing once it works with one logical/physical connection (no eyefinity/surround bullshit for one screen pls), with a refresh of 120hz (or greater), and maybe a tad larger screen. At a price at or below $2000. A tall order, I know, but 4k will be a hard sell just like 3D was. People will buy it, but it has to be substantially better, not better in some ways and worse in others. I hope ASUS recognizes that gamers should be targeted with this, and create something competitive with the gamer offerings available from ASUS today (120 and 144hz). Casual users will be buying 4k TVs anyway.

July 18, 2013 | 12:49 PM - Posted by NLPsajeeth

4K@120p is a long way off. Not even DisplayPort 1.2 can handle that much bandwidth. And its looking like HDMI 2 will top out at 4K@60p.

On the plus side, you will see 4K@60p displays below $1000 very soon, all we are waiting is for the TCONs to be completed.

July 19, 2013 | 03:20 PM - Posted by sotoa


July 16, 2013 | 01:31 PM - Posted by Zurv (not verified)

Any news on a driver release today? (the monitor should be out)

July 17, 2013 | 06:22 PM - Posted by TMoney58 (not verified)

Wondering the same thing.

Ryan, any word from Tom Peterson on when NVidia is going to have their Windows 7/8 driver ready for this thing?

July 18, 2013 | 10:40 AM - Posted by Zurv (not verified)

326.19 beta is out today. For the Sharp (which the Asus is) the 60hz 4k doesn't work - it is still treating it as 2 screens.

July 18, 2013 | 10:40 AM - Posted by Zurv (not verified)

326.19 beta is out today. For the Sharp (which the Asus is) the 60hz 4k doesn't work - it is still treating it as 2 screens.

July 18, 2013 | 12:43 PM - Posted by NLPsajeeth

NVIDIA has released their 326.19 BETA driver today.

This should add support for the ASUS PQ321Q on Windows 7.
The release notes claim "Adds support for tiled 4K displays." however this is not true. There doesn't seem to be any support for 2x1 or 2x2 Surround. Zurv's tiled 4K display (Sharp PN-K321) does not work with this driver.

Ryan you should probably try dual HDMI with this driver. Based on Zurv's experience, I'm guessing it won't work.

If the NVIDIA suits want to claim support for tiled 4K displays then they need to support 2x1 and 2x2 Surround on Windows. NVIDIA Engineering has done a great job in putting this functionality on all GeForce cards for years. You can actually do this today with a GeForce card and their Linux driver. It is time to set it free on Windows.

July 19, 2013 | 08:11 AM - Posted by john Sieve (not verified)

you gonna give this one away after your full review? please do

July 19, 2013 | 10:46 AM - Posted by Ryan Shrout

Ha! No can do.  In fact, I'm still trying to force ASUS to let me keep it.  :)

July 19, 2013 | 02:31 PM - Posted by ash08 (not verified)

As Branthog mentioned, dropping $3500 on a monitor isn't as bad as it sounds. I bought my first plasma for a, frankly, silly amount of money in the early part of the last decade. The issue is what this ASUS offers the early adopter by way of usable tech. My plasma was 1024x768 but pre-HDMI, not a big caveat for an enthusiast but a killer for mass market.

IMO we are still some way off viable 2500x1600 (or thereabouts) @120hz PC gaming for mass market and I think that's the next step, unless monitor tech improves greatly.

I would buy a 4k monitor and 3 titans tomorrow if I could but I don't honestly think the industry is anywhere close to being able to justify my outlay, as much it might like to. Might be feasible for things like professional CAD or photography but not gaming.

My 2c...

August 27, 2013 | 01:23 AM - Posted by Zane Winter (not verified)

The next 4k video you do
could you do an emulator like (PCSX2) with 4k display?

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