Subject: Graphics Cards, Displays | January 3, 2017 - 09:00 AM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: srgb, lfc, hdr10, hdr, freesync 2, freesync, dolby vision, color space, amd
Since the initial FreeSync launch in March of 2015, AMD has quickly expanded the role and impact that the display technology has had on the market. Technologically, AMD added low frame rate compensation (LFC) to mimic the experience of G-Sync displays, effectively removing the bottom limit to the variable refresh rate. LFC is an optional feature that requires a large enough gap between the displays minimum and maximum refresh rates to be enabled, but the monitors that do integrate it work well. Last year AMD brought FreeSync to HDMI connections too by overlaying the standard as an extension. This helped to expand the quantity and lower the price of available FreeSync options. Most recently, AMD announced that borderless windowed mode was being added as well, another feature-match to what NVIDIA can do with G-Sync.
The biggest feather in the cap for AMD FreeSync is the sheer quantity of displays that exist on the market that support it. As of our briefing in early December, AMD claimed 121 design wins for FreeSync to just 18 for NVIDIA G-Sync. I am not often in the camp of quantity over quality, but the numbers are impressive. The pervasiveness of FreeSync monitors means that at least some of them are going to be very high quality integrations and that prices are going to be lower compared to the green team’s selection.
Today AMD is announcing FreeSync 2, a new, concurrently running program that adds some new qualifications to displays for latency, color space and LFC. This new program will be much more hands-on from AMD, requiring per-product validation and certification and this will likely come at a cost. (To be clear, AMD hasn’t confirmed if that is the case to me yet.)
Let’s start with the easy stuff first: latency and LFC. FreeSync 2 will require monitors to support LFC and thus to have no effective bottom limit to their variable refresh rate. AMD will also instill a maximum latency allowable for FS2, on the order of “a few milliseconds” from frame buffer flip to photon. This can be easily measured with some high-speed camera work by both AMD and external parties (like us).
These are fantastic additions to the FreeSync 2 standard and should drastically increase the quality of panels and product.
The bigger change to FreeSync 2 is on the color space. FS2 will require a doubling of the perceivable brightness and doubling of the viewable color volume based on the sRGB standards. This means that any monitor that has the FreeSync 2 brand will have a significantly larger color space and ~400 nits brightness. Current HDR standards exceed these FreeSync 2 requirements, but there is nothing preventing monitor vendors from exceeding these levels; they simply set a baseline that users should expect going forward.
In addition to just requiring the panel to support a wider color gamut, FS2 will also enable user experience improvements as well. First, each FS2 monitor must communicate its color space and brightness ranges to the AMD driver through a similar communication path used today for variable refresh rate information. By having access to this data, AMD can enable automatic mode switches from SDR to HDR/wide color gamut based on the application. Windows can remain in a basic SDR color space but games or video applications that support HDR modes can enter that mode without user intervention.
Color space mapping can take time in low power consumption monitors, adding potential latency. For movies that might not be an issue, but for enthusiast gamers it definitely is. The solution is to do all the tone mapping BEFORE the image data is sent to the monitor itself. But with varying monitors, varying color space limits and varying integrations of HDR standards, and no operating system level integration for tone mapping, it’s a difficult task.
The solution is for games to map directly to the color space of the display. AMD will foster this through FreeSync 2 – a game that integrates support for FS2 will be able to get data from the AMD driver stack about the maximum color space of the attached display. The engine can then do its tone mapping to that color space directly, rather than some intermediate state, saving on latency and improving the gaming experience. AMD can then automatically switch the monitor to its largest color space, as well as its maximum brightness. This does require the game engine or game developer to directly integrate support for this feature though – it will not be a catch-all solution for AMD Radeon users.
This combination of latency, LFC and color space additions to FreeSync 2 make it an incredibly interesting standard. Pushing specific standards and requirements on hardware vendors is not something AMD has had the gall to do the past, and honestly the company has publicly been very against it. But to guarantee the experience for Radeon gamers, AMD and the Radeon Technologies Group appear to be willing to make some changes.
NVIDIA has yet to make any noise about HDR or color space requirements for future monitors and while the FreeSync 2 standards shown here don’t quite guarantee HDR10/Dolby Vision quality displays, they do force vendors to pay more attention to what they are building and create higher quality products for the gaming market.
All GPUs that support FreeSync will support FreeSync 2 and both programs will co-exist. FS2 is currently going to be built on DisplayPort and could find its way into another standard extension (as Adaptive Sync was). Displays are set to be available in the first half of this year.
Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!
Subject: Displays | December 28, 2016 - 12:01 AM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: thinkvision, qhd, P27h, P24h, monitor, Lenovo, display, CES 2017, CES, calibrated, 2560x1440, 100% sRGB
Lenovo has announced a pair of new desktop displays with the ThinkVision P27h and ThinkVision P24h ahead of next month's CES.
ThinkVision P27h - front view (Image credit: Lenovo)
Both of these displays offer QHD (2560x1440) resolution, factory-calibrated with 100% sRGB coverage. The P27h and P24h connect with a single cable USB Type-C cable, which provides power, video, and data. Both monitors also offer an onboard 4-Port USB hub and digital display ports. (No photos of the P24h are available. Further details and specifications to come.)
ThinkVision P27h - rear view (Image credit: Lenovo)
The ThinkVision P27h will retail for $329, with no announced pricing for the smaller P24h just yet. PC Perspective will be closely covering CES 2017, so stay tuned for more details and product announcements!
Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!
Subject: Displays | December 14, 2016 - 05:46 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: monitor, LG, ips, high dynamic range, hdr, display, 4k
Ahead of CES 2017 LG has announced their upcoming monitor lineup, which features an HDR (high dynamic range) model. The 32UD99 is a 32-inch, 3840 x 2160 IPS display that offers 95% DCI-P3 color and HDR10 support. (Specifics as to peak brightness, rated black levels have not been released.)
From LG's press release (pdf):
“As the availability of HDR (high dynamic range) content continues to expand across a wide range of categories, from movies to games, LG is leading the way in bringing this enhancement to desktop monitors,” said to Tim Alessi, head of product marketing at LG Electronics USA. “The enhanced picture quality offered by HDR technology is instantly recognizable to even the most casual user, and manufacturers are already pushing this promising technology to its fullest potential. From high-resolution displays compatible with HDR technology, to UltraWide monitors optimized for multitasking and gaming, LG is committed to delivering the most state-of-the-art and premium monitors in the industry today.”
HDR is a somewhat complex standard, incorporating requirements for bit depth and supported color space, brightness level, and black levels for the display - along with compatibility with one of the HDR standards; HDR10 or Dolby Vision. The fact that LG is using IPS for their new montior seems problematic given the high black levels associated with IPS (unless sophisticated local dimming is employed, such as with LG's Infinia televisions of a few years ago), as most HDR sets employ a VA panel of some kind. Of note, rival Panasonic only recently announced their work on very high native contrast IPS panels, but there is no indication that LG has developed a similar technology at this point.
HDR is all the rage in the 4K television world, and for gaming both Sony and Microsoft's latest consoles support the more common HDR10 implementation - with compatible games, UHD Blu-ray, and streaming content, that is. It was inevitable that HDR would make its way into the computer display space, and presumably more and more PC games will be offering support going forward (Shadow Warrior 2 was the first title to support HDR on PC). A quick primer on HDR (with respect to the "Premium" standard from the UHD Alliance) can be found here, and only time will tell if the HDR10 standard will win out over Dolby Vision, though at this point it seems likely.
Subject: Displays | November 25, 2016 - 08:29 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: AOC, 240Hz, freesync
This is just getting silly. While TN, 1080p monitors have been fading into the background, they are fast switching, and AOC is pushing that advantage. The AOC AGON AG251FZ is a 25-inch FreeSync display that can support up to 240 Hz refresh rates. They’re not the first monitor to reach this milestone, as Acer made a similar announcement back in August, but this display should be bright and smooth, especially for our readers with AMD GPUs.
If you like to smoothly scroll documents, then you may also appreciate that its stand can pivot into portrait mode. I doubt it will have the best color representation, though, so those who want to photo edit, especially outside of sRGB, may want to look elsewhere. In fact, they don’t even list their sRGB (web and video) or AdobeRGB (video and print) coverage. I’d hope it would at least have 100% sRGB, but I can’t say for sure.
Subject: Displays | November 8, 2016 - 03:44 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: ZeroFrame, ips, Acer BE270U, acer, 75hz, 1440p
Acer has just release a new model in their ZeroFrame series of displays, the BE270U. It is a 27" IPS 100% sRGB display @ 1440p resolution with a refresh rate of 75Hz and a 6ms response time. For connectivity you can choose between a pair of Mobile High Definition Link (MHL) ports for charging and displaying from portable devices, DisplayPort 1.2 in and out which allows you to chain displays, MiniDP and a USB 3.0 hub with one up and four down). Two 2W speakers are slipped into the display as well, if you so desire to make use of them as well as Picture in Picture functionality. The display is aimed for content creators and other professionals but it is still capable of offering decent performance when gaming.
It is available for $500 from Acer. PR after the picture.
SAN JOSE, Calif. (Nov. 8, 2016) Acer America today announced the U.S. availability of the Acer BE270U monitor, boasting stunning images with a brilliant WQHD 2560x1440@75Hz resolution and a ZeroFrame design in a 27-inch panel.
This premium, feature-rich display is ideal for graphics professionals, such as art directors, photographers, videographers and website designers as well as enthusiasts who enjoy photography and video editing as hobbies. Thanks to an IPS panel, wide 178-degree viewing angles enhance visual collaboration with others on joint projects or simply sharing photos and videos with friends.
“Our newest monitor delivers gorgeous images in a feature-rich, ergonomic design for customers wanting a no-compromise viewing experience,” said Ronald Lau, Acer America director – stationary computing. “In addition to optimizing viewing comfort, it provides superb ability for multi-tasking with multi-streaming and picture-in picture capability in an energy-efficient design.”
Picture-in-Picture, Multi-Streaming Increase Productivity
Picture-in-picture capability allows customers to watch a movie or video while working. Multi-stream technology supports up to three additional monitors through a single cable leveraging a video hub or daisy-chainable displays via DisplayPort. Thanks to the ZeroFrame design, it provides seamless viewing among all linked monitors.
The Acer BE270U meets the highest standards for color accuracy with 100 percent sRGB coverage and 6-axis color adjustment. It boasts a 16:9 aspect ratio, a 350 cd/m2 brightness and 16.07 million colors. A crisp 100,000,000:1 maximum contrast ratio and a 6ms response time contribute to the stunning picture quality. Acer EyeProtect may help reduce eye fatigue, incorporating several features that take into consideration prolonged usage by heavy users such as programmers, writers and graphic designers. Ergonomic, a multi-function ErgoStand tilts from -5 - 35 degrees, swivels up to 60 degrees, tilts up to 5.9 inches and pivots + 90 degrees. A quick release design lets users separate the monitor from its stand, so it can be VESA wall-mounted to conserve desk space.
This practical monitor provides an array of connectivity options including MHLx2 for charging portable devices, DisplayPort (v1.2), Mini DisplayPort, DisplayPort out+SPK, and a USB 3.0 hub (1 up/4 down) for connecting multiple peripherals simultaneously. Two 2W speakers deliver quality audio.
In addition to being ENERGY STAR and TCO 7.0 qualified, the Acer BE270U monitor is EPEAT Gold registered, the highest level of EPEAT registration available. Mercury-free and LED-backlit, the Acer BE270U reduces energy costs by consuming less power than standard CCFL-backlit displays making them safer for the environment.
Pricing and Availability
The new Acer BE270U monitor is offered through online channel partners in the United States with a three-year limited parts and labor warranty. Estimated selling prices begin at $499.99.
Subject: General Tech, Displays, Systems | November 3, 2016 - 07:01 AM | Scott Michaud
Update November 3rd @ 2:20pm: As noted in the comments, the video and article are back from 2014. As I said in the article, the concept was teased in Adobe MAX, but I must have found an old source and misread the date. I've also embed the new video just below.
Original post below
Adobe MAX started yesterday, and Dell used it as a venue to announce their Smart Desk concept. While it draws comparisons with Microsoft's Surface Studio, especially with their dial-based input accessory, it's unclear whether the similarities stop. For instance, while they promote how it uses “Dell Precision workstation performance,” they don't explicitly state that it is a PC itself. Unlike the Surface Studio, it might be a peripheral to be paired with a full desktop, which its thin profile suggests, unless it requires a specific device that's just not pictured.
I mean, it would be possible to fit a laptop into a twenty-some-inch tablet that's designed to permanently sit on a desk, but, unless the software requires deep OS integration, you would think that going the Wacom route would be a win for both parties. While powering hardware wouldn't be an issue, you would still need to use slower-for-the-price laptop components to dissipate heat and exist in a small volume. If it does contain a PC, it would be running Windows 10, too, because that was clearly shown on the secondary UltraSharp 27 monitor attached to it. On the other hand, the interface, while nothing about it excludes being a complex driver for everyday desktops, is the sort of thing that a company would do if they're shipping it in a full PC.
We'll know more in the future as Dell spills the beans (and probably develops a marketable product to have beans spilled over). What would you be more interested in? An all-in-one or a peripheral?
Introduction and Specifications
Acer's Predator Z850 takes the gaming monitor concept to the next level, projecting screen sizes up to 120" from less than two feet from a wall. It offers an ultra-wide 24:9 aspect ratio (at 1920x720), very high 3000 lumen brightness for gaming with ambient light (something projectors didn't used to be able to cope with), and a laser diode illumination system that lasts up to 30,000 hours. It's big, it's red, and you'd better believe it's expensive!
The first thing you need to know about the Predator Z850 is that it's an ultra short-thow projector. This means that unlike standard projectors that need the length of the room, or short-throw projectors that still need a few feet, the Predator Z850 can project a huge image from just inches from a wall. This is a relatively new thing for consumer projectors (unless you count the old rear projection TVs, which used the technology), and there are only a few models with ultra short throw (UST) ranging from the mainstram LG PF1000U, to the $50,000 4K Sony LSPX-W1S.
It's remarkable how UST changes how we think about projection, as the same depth taken up by the average TV table could provide an image larger than nearly any LCD television available, while being easily portable in the process. The Predator Z850 is all about flexibility, combining the inherent UST ability to project massive 120-inch images from less than two feet away, to built-in correction for various colors of wall paint (this could be used with a projection screen, too, of course). The only problem I can forsee as we continue is the price tag, which is $4999.
So how can we justify the price of the Z850? No matter how you slice it $5,000 is a lot of money, and the same investment could build an amazing multi-monitor setup as an alternative. But there really is something about turning an entire wall of your house into a display, and I had a lot of fun playing around with this projector (my wife was sorry it had to go back, as she enjoyed her 100-inch football games on the wall).
Subject: Displays | September 27, 2016 - 06:23 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: TN, ips, g-sync, AOC, AGON, AG271QX, AG271QG, adaptive sync, 1440p
AOC has announced two new 27" 1440p gaming monitors specifically designed to minimize input lag and to support the higher refresh rates than many gamers now demand. The model numbers are similiar but the monitors themselves are very different and each wears a red or green stripe proudly.
The AG271QX is a TN panel with a 1ms response time and a top refresh rate of 144Hz, it supports Adaptive Sync for those using AMD GPUs. This panel is great for those who place zero lag ahead of colour reproduction and viewing angle. It is to retail at $600.
The AG271QG is an IPS panel with four times the response time, still a mere 4ms, a top refresh rate of 165Hz and support for G-SYNC. This one should have a better colour gamut and truer blacks for those more concerned with fashion over function. You should expect to see this model at $800.
Full PR below the specs.
Subject: Displays | September 27, 2016 - 03:35 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: pimax, vr headset, steam vr
As Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN asks in the title, can the $300 Pimax VR headset be too good to be true? It ships without headphones, or you can buy the $350 which includes audio of moderate quality or provide your own if they fit comfortably under the headset. It also does not ship with any controllers, which means that Steam games which require anything other than a mouse and keyboard will simply not work; not an empty catalogue of games but definitely more limited than the two more expensive competitors.
The headset does offer better resolution, 1920x2160 per eye, which the reviewer noticed immediately as being clearer than the competition ... as long as you were looking directly at the text or object. There were issues at the edges of your view however, as well as with quickly turning your head which is likely due to the 60fps refresh rate. This is less than the 90fps the Vive or Rift can manage as well as creating concerns about reprojection and dropped frames. There were a few other concerns mentioned in the review which you should familiarize yourself with, but the Pimax is very interesting, a light VR headset with great resolution and only two connecting cord for $300.
"In the interim, here’s Chinese outfit Pimax, who are selling what they label as the first 4K VR headset for PC, which works with SteamVR. It’s also $350 (or $300 without headphones), compared to the Rift’s $599 and Vive’s $799"
Here are some more Display articles from around the web:
- From The Wirecutter: The best 4K monitors (so far) @ Ars Technica
- BenQ XR3501 Curved Gaming Monitor @ Kitguru
- Dell UltraSharp 24 InfinityEdge U2417H 24in Monitor @ Kitguru
Subject: Displays | August 31, 2016 - 01:44 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: Z271T, XB271HUT, XB251HQT, Tobii, Predator, montior, gaming, g-sync, eye-tracking, display, curved, acer, 240Hz, 165hz, 144hz
Acer has announced three new G-Sync gaming monitors, all of which come equipped with eye-tracking technology from Tobii. The displays announced range from 24.5" to 27" in size, with refresh rates ranging up to 240 Hz.
Acer Predator Z271T
"Each new monitor features NVIDIA G-SYNC and high refresh rates for smooth gaming experiences without lag. The new Predator gaming monitors are available in different sizes and configurations to meet the needs of a wide range of users looking to take their gaming experiences forward."
- Predator Z271T: 27”, curved screen (1800R curvature), FHD 1920 x 1080, 144 Hz)
- Predator XB251HQT: 24.5”, flat ZeroFrame screen, FHD 1920 x 1080, 240 Hz)
- Predator XB271HUT: 27”, flat ZeroFrame screen, WQHD 2560 x 1440, 165 Hz)
Acer Predator XB271HUT
The Z271T is the sole curved display option, offering an 1800 radius curve and standard 1920x1080 resolution at 144 Hz. The flat-paneled versions provide a choice between very high refresh rates (240 Hz with the 1920x1080 XB251HQT) and higher resolution (2560x1440 at 165 Hz from the XB271HUT).
Acer Predator XB251HQT back, side view
U.S. pricing and availablity have not been announced.