When PC monitors made the mainstream transition to widescreen aspect ratios in the mid-2000s, many manufacturers opted for resolutions at a 16:10 ratio. My first widescreen displays were a pair of Dell monitors with a 1920x1200 resolution and, as time and technology marched forward, I moved to larger 2560x1600 monitors.
I grew to rely on and appreciate the extra vertical resolution that 16:10 displays offer, but as the production and development of "widescreen" PC monitors matured, it naturally began to merge with the television industry, which had long since settled on a 16:9 aspect ratio. This led to the introduction of PC displays with native resolutions of 1920x1080 and 2560x1440, keeping things simple for activities such as media playback but robbing consumers of pixels in terms of vertical resolution.
I was well-accustomed to my 16:10 monitors when the 16:9 aspect ratio took over the market, and while I initially thought that the 120 or 160 missing rows of pixels wouldn't be missed, I was unfortunately mistaken. Those seemingly insignificant pixels turned out to make a noticeable difference in terms of on-screen productivity real estate, and my 1080p and 1440p displays have always felt cramped as a result.
I was therefore sad to see that the relatively new ultrawide monitor market continued the trend of limited vertical resolutions. Most ultrawides feature a 21:9 aspect ratio with resolutions of 2560x1080 or 3440x1440. While this gives users extra resolution on the sides, it maintains the same limited height options of those ubiquitous 1080p and 1440p displays. The ultrawide form factor is fantastic for movies and games, but while some find them perfectly acceptable for productivity, I still felt cramped.
Thankfully, a new breed of ultrawide monitors is here to save the day. In the second half of 2017, display manufactures such as Dell, Acer, and LG launched 38-inch ultrawide monitors with a 3840x1600 resolution. Just like the how the early ultrawides "stretched" a 1080p or 1440p monitor, the 38-inch versions do the same for my beloved 2560x1600 displays.
The Acer XR382CQK
I've had the opportunity to test one of these new "taller" displays thanks to a review loan from Acer of the XR382CQK, a curved 37.5-inch behemoth. It shares the same glorious 3840x1600 resolution as others in its class, but it also offers some unique features, including a 75Hz refresh rate, USB-C input, and AMD FreeSync support.
Based on my time with the XR382CQK, my hopes for those extra 160 of resolution were fulfilled. The height of the display area felt great for tasks like video editing in Premiere and referencing multiple side-by-side documents and websites, and the gaming experience was just as satisfying. And with its 38-inch size, the display is quite usable at 100 percent scaling.
There's also an unexpected benefit for video content that I hadn't originally considered. I was so focused on regaining that missing vertical resolution that I initially failed to appreciate the jump in horizontal resolution from 3440px to 3840px. This is the same horizontal resolution as the consumer UHD standard, which means that 4K movies in a 21:9 or similar aspect ratio will be viewable in their full size with a 1:1 pixel ratio.
Subject: Displays | March 12, 2018 - 02:03 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: 1080p, 1440p, 4k, 21:9, g-sync, freesync
Today is perhaps not the best day to buy a new monitor, FreeSync 2 should be arriving soon, as should high refresh rate UHD models, and well, the HDR standard is a wee bit more dynamic than we want right now. There are some out there who will feel the need to upgrade or to replace a veteran panel which has hit retirement age, so check out TechSpot's current recommendations. They have spilt their displays into four categories, 1080p, 1440p, 4K, Ultrawide aka 21:9 and a budget category. For the most part, they chose G-SYNC as NVIDIA holds the largest marketshare but they did include a few FreeSync alternatives.
"With the gaming monitor market expanding to all sorts of display types and technologies, it's time we had a dedicated Best Of feature dedicated to them. Today we'll provide you with 5-10 key monitor recommendations across a variety of popular categories."
Here are some more Display articles from around the web:
- AOC G2790PX 144Hz Freesync Monitor @ Kitguru
- Asus ROG Strix XG35VQ @ Techspot
- Acer Predator Z35P 100Hz G-Sync Monitor @ Kitguru
- AOC Q3279VWF FreeSync 31.5in @ Kitguru
Subject: Displays | January 16, 2018 - 03:44 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: acer, Predator X34P, 1440p, 1900R, curved screen, g-sync
The Acer Predator X34 was a 34" 21:9 aspect G-SYNC display with a 3440 x 1440 resolution. The newer model sports an updated panel to address the issues some people were having when the X34 hit its top 100Hz refresh rate. The X34P is able to be overclocked to 120Hz, not only to offer a faster refresh but also to ensure you do not see flickering at 100Hz. The curve is also more pronounced, however there is no HDR support. If you are looking for a decent gaming monitor and aren't concerned about the lack of HDR you can read more about it at TechSpot.
"For the past two years the Acer Predator X34 has remained one of the best gaming monitors on the market. I've been so satisfied with it since launch that that I've kept it as my personal monitor for both gaming and video production. But this new monitor from Acer, an upgraded version of the X34, is even better in almost every way."
Here are some more Display articles from around the web:
- AOC AG352UCG 100Hz G-Sync Monitor @ Kitguru
- VIZIO SmartCast M65-E0 4K UHD HDR Display @ Benchmark Reviews
- ViewSonic VP3268-4K @ Techspot
Subject: Displays | January 9, 2018 - 01:00 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: ips, hdr, dell
Dell is announcing a pair of consumer monitors at this year's CES. Each SKU uses an HDR-ready IPS panel, which covers over 85% of the DCI-P3 color space and does so with up to 600 cd/m2 peak brightness. As far as I can tell, the only technical difference between the panels is that the 24-inch one has a 1080p resolution, while the 27-inch one has a 1440p resolution.
As for a possible difference: the 27-inch is also listed as being VESA certified DisplayHDR 400, which means that it will provide at least 400 nits of brightness in HDR content. I’m not sure why the 24-inch is not listed as DisplayHDR 400, because it has the same backlight, but that could be something as simple as “one finished the certification process before the other”.
Regardless, the main features of this monitor is that it’s bright, it’s thin, it has a thin bezel, and it is HDR-ready. If that is what you’re looking for, then consider these monitors when they launch on February 6th. The 24-inch (S2419HM) has an MSRP of $299.99 while the 27-inch (S2719DM) has an MSRP of $499.99.
Subject: Graphics Cards, Displays | January 8, 2018 - 12:30 AM | Ken Addison
Tagged: SHIELD TV, nvidia, hp, hdr, g-sync, DCI-P3, bgfd, asus, android tv, acer
Although their Keynote presentation tonight at CES is all about automotive technology, that hasn't stopped NVIDIA from providing us with a few gaming-related announcements this week. The most interesting of which is what NVIDIA is calling "Big Format Gaming Displays" or BFGDs (get it?!).
Along with partners ASUS, Acer, and HP, NVIDIA has developed what seems to be the ultimate living room display solution for gamers.
Based on an HDR-enabled 65" 4K 120Hz panel, these displays integrate both NVIDIA G-SYNC variable refresh rate technology for smooth gameplay, as well as a built-in NVIDIA SHIELD TV set-top box.
In addition to G-SYNC technology, these displays will also feature a full direct-array backlight capable of a peak luminance of 1000-nits and conform to the DCI-P3 color gamut, both necessary features for a quality HDR experience. These specifications put the BFGDs in line with the current 4K HDR TVs on the market.
Unlike traditional televisions, these BFGDs are expected to have very low input latencies, a significant advantage for both PC and console gamers.
Integration of the SHIELD TV means that these displays will be more than just an extremely large PC monitor, but rather capable of replacing the TV in your living room. The Android TV operating system means you will get access to a lot of the most popular streaming video applications, as well as features like Google Assistant and NVIDIA GameStream.
Personally, I am excited at the idea of what is essentially a 65" TV, but optimized for things like low input latency. The current crop of high-end TVs on the market cater very little to gamers, with game modes that don't turn off all of the image processing effects and still have significant latency.
It's also interesting to see companies like ASUS, Acer, and HP who are well known in the PC display market essentially entering the TV market with these BFGD products.
Stay tuned as for eyes-on impression of the BFGD displays as part of our CES 2018 coverage!
Update: ASUS has officially announced their BFGD offering, the aptly named PG65 (pictured below). We have a meeting with ASUS this week, and we hope to get a look at this upcoming product!
Subject: Displays | January 4, 2018 - 12:01 AM | Jim Tanous
Tagged: thinkvision, monitors, Lenovo, displays, CES 2017, CES, 4k monitor
Lenovo today announced the addition of two new displays to the company’s ThinkVision series.
The ThinkVision X24 is a 23.8-inch IPS display with thin 1.1mm bezels, 1920x1080 resolution, 300 cd/m2 brightness, and 96 percent sRGB color gamut. Connectivity options include HDMI 1.4 and DisplayPort 1.2.
The ThinkVision P32u is a 32-inch IPS display with a 3840x2160 resolution 300 cd/m2 brightness, and 99.5 percent Adobe RGB color gamut. It includes two HDMI 2.0 ports, one full-size DisplayPort 1.2, and two Thunderbolt 3 ports for passthrough capability.
Both monitor stands support height adjustment, tilt, and swivel. The ThinkVision X24 is priced at $249 and will be available this month. The ThinkVision P32u is priced at $1349 and launches in March.
Subject: Displays | December 18, 2017 - 04:34 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: serious sam, v-sync
With the help of OCAT and PresentMon, OCC have taken a serious look into the effect V-Sync has on latency in a variety of scenarios. They chose to use Serious Sam as the platform to test the differences various methods of applying V-Syn have on the performance of a GTX 1080 and Vega 64. Windows 10 also offers a challenge, as you now have to be aware if you are playing a game in proper fullscreen or as a borderless window. This all adds up to a long article, but is also perfect to demonstrate the best way to ensure gaming without any tearing.
"I am not completely sure if a conclusion is really necessary for this article, but why not? As is perhaps not surprising, playing in a Borderless window under DirectX 11 results in the highest frame latency, because of omnipresent Desktop Window Manager's double buffering."
Here are some more Display articles from around the web:
- AMD FreeSync For Tear-Free Linux Gaming - Current State In 2017 @ Phoronix
- AOC Agon AG322QCX @ Techspot
- Samsung C32HG70 32in HDR 1440p Curved Monitor @ Kitguru
- VIZIO SmartCast M50-E1 4K UHD HDR Display @ Benchmark Reviews
Non-profit standards association VESA has put forth a new open standard called DisplayHDR for defining HDR specifications and performance for PC laptop and desktop LCDs. The new test specification, dubbed Display HDR 1.0, defines a transparent testing methodology and definitions along with specifying three tiers of HDR system performance that will identify displays as being certified for minimum, mid-range, and high-end HDR with their respective badges of DisplayHDR 400, DisplayHDR 600, and DisplayHDR 1000. Consumers will be able to easily identify which panels have HDR and how they stack up.
The new HDR standard was devised by VESA with input from over two dozen of its member companies including major OEMs of displays, panels, graphics cards, CPUs, display drivers, and color calibration providers. DisplayHDR is reportedly a fully open and transparent standard with automated tools that end users can download and run to verify the results for themselves. The standard includes three peak luminance tests, two contrast measurement tests (native and local dimming), color testing and validation of BT.709 and DCI-P3 color gamuts, bit-depth requirement tests (see below), and HDR backlight response time measurements.
DisplayHDR 400 represents the minimum entry-level tier of HDR per the VESA specification and specifies that a LCD display must feature at least 400 nits brightness (both short, local bursts and full screen flashes), 8-bit color depth, HDR-10, and global dimming. VESA notes that many non-HDR displays that advertise as supporting 8-bit colors, it is actually a 6-bit panel that uses a dithering algorithm to achieve a simulated 8-bits. DisplayHDR specifies true 8-bit at a minimum, and for DisplayHDR 600 and DisplayHDR 1000 displays must achieve 10-bit depth using 8-bit panels combined with 2-bit dithering at a minimum.
Display and PC manufacturers have reportedly had their hands on the DisplayHDR test specification for some time now and are working on validating their displays so that they can offer products with the DisplayHDR logos. New product announcements and demonstrations are expected during CES 2018 next month with DisplayHDR compatible products showing up as early as Q1 2018. VESA notes that while DisplayHDR currently only targets LCDs, it hopes to extend the open standard to include OLED displays in the future.
I think this is a good thing as there is a lot of confusing and conflicting advertising out there when it comes to HDR. A vendor neutral specification and badge that can also be independently tested may be just what the display market needs to push HDR into the mainstream.
Subject: Displays | December 9, 2017 - 03:19 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: acer, ips, professional monitor
Acer announced their PE320QK professional display several months ago, but it is now available. Before we get too far into the specifications, and there are some things that need to be discussed about them, the MSRP is $1199.99 USD, but it’s apparently above that in practice. The third-party seller on Newegg, TELeasy, is currently sold out at a listed price of $1330.17.
As for the specifications? Here’s where it gets interesting. First, the press release states that the PE320QK can do 130% of sRGB. This is nonsense. sRGB is a color space that you calibrate down into. You cannot cover more than it, because otherwise you wouldn’t be calibrated to it. Either your potential color space covers the whole gamut, or it doesn’t. It doesn’t matter what else it covers, just that it doesn’t miss anything inside the fenced-in area that the spec cares about. In fact, saying that it’s 130% makes me question whether it will end up less than 100% of the post-calibration gamut.
That’s not a concern that you want to have with a $1200 monitor.
The other issue is with the contrast ratio, although this is a number that every display manufacturer, especially TVs, screw with. It is listed as 100,000,000 : 1. Yeah… no. That number is meaningless. Again, it hasn’t meant anything for over a decade at this point, so I can’t really knock on Acer too much for this.
That said, the monitor is probably good. I just can’t quantify how and why from the information we’re given. I do like the light-hood flaps on the side, though.
Subject: Displays | November 14, 2017 - 05:24 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: vesa, displayid 2.0
This year has seen a lot of change in the technology used in monitors, with 4K, adaptive refresh rates above 120Hz and HDR becoming common features. These new features did not exist when DisplayID first replaced the veteran Extended Display Identification Data and so there were no overarching standards governing their implementation. We have also seen the advent of consumer VR and AR which also lacks a standard for companies to follow.
The new DisplayID 2.0 standard is specifically for these new devices, with the previous standards remaining to govern the compatibility of legacy products. The new standard describes how manufacturers can use the modular data block design to send clear information about their devices capabilities to the hardware powering the display. If followed this will greatly enhance the compatibility of variable refresh rate technology, screens with 4K or higher resolution and wearable displays.
This will help you avoid experiencing the frustrations early adopters have experienced and will hopefully restore displays to a state where they simply work when plugged into a compatible GPU. We won't see huge jumps in performance but this will certainly help in the development of 4K displays with high refresh rates, once the power of our GPUs catches up.