Another TN Option for FreeSync Fans
If you had asked me a year ago how many monitors we would be able to store in the PC Perspective offices, I would have vastly underestimated the true answer. It seems that not only is the demand from readers for information about the latest and greatest display technology at a demand that we have never seen, but vendors that sell high quality monitors for enthusiasts and gamers are pumping out more models than I can keep track of.
But this is good, right? The more options we have, the more likely we are to find the best choice for each user, for each budget and for each required feature set. But more choices can also lead to confusion - that's where we continue to chime in. Today we are taking a look at the ASUS MG278Q monitor, a 27-in 2560x1440 display with support for AMD FreeSync technology and sporting a maximum refresh rate of 144Hz. With a TN panel rather than IPS, the MG278Q has a current selling price of just $399, well under the equivalent G-Sync monitors.
Even better, since we started our evaluation on the display, AMD released the Radeon Crimson driver, introducing a new feature called Low Frame Rate Compensation. This essentially allows most of the FreeSync displays on the market to match NVIDIA G-Sync's ability to handle lower frame rates without resorting to V-Sync tearing, etc. If you haven't read about it, do so in the link above.
Subject: Displays, Shows and Expos | December 17, 2015 - 02:32 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: benq, VZ2470H, freesync, XR3501, XL2730Z, 144hz, CES 2016
BENQ sent out a teaser of three of the displays they will be demonstrating at CES 2016, the VZ2470H with a slim bezel and impressive contrast ratio, the huge, curved XR3501 and the XL2730Z with VESA Standard Adaptive-Sync, the technology once known as FreeSync.
The VZ2470H is a VA panel, with an impressive 3000:1 native contrast ratio, 4ms GTG response time and what BenQ refers to as ZeroFlicker which they claim will reduce eyestrain from LED backlight flickering. The picture shows this 23.8" 1920 x 1080 display will have a very thin bezel, we can hope that it is not an exaggeration as it would make this a good choice for multiple monitor setups in an office or even for a lower cost gaming system.
The BenQ XR3501 will be of far more interest to gamers, this 35" 2560 x 1080 monitor is curved to give you a great view. It also runs at a 144Hz refresh rate with a 4ms GTG response time. BenQ does not specifiy the panel type but it is likely to be VA as well.
Last but not least is the BenQ XL2730Z, a 27" 2560x1440 display that is fully VESA Standard Adaptive-Sync compliant, with a top refresh rate of 144Hz. It also has a 1ms GTG and is advertised as having no input lag, as you might expect this also means it is a TN panel, but remember, this is not the TN of a few years ago.
The monitor also has some other interesting tricks up its bezel, Display Mode and Smart Scaling allow you to virtually scale the monitor in a variety of sizes, 17", 19", 19"W, 21.5", 22"W, 23"W, 23.6"W and 24"W are defaults but you can create your own as well. The Auto Game Mode feature lets you save monitor settings specific to a game profile and even to export them to a USB drive to take with you if you so desire. All of those functions and more are controlled by the small device you can see on the stand above.
2016 is shaping up to be a very interesting year for displays.
They will also being showing off three different projectors, the HT4050, HT3050 and the budget-friendly HT2050, a portable electrostatic Bluetooth speaker called the treVolo and even even a fancy desk lamp.
Subject: Displays | November 28, 2015 - 05:27 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: LG, lg display, oled
LG Display announced that they are investing $1.6 Billion USD to build an OLED panel factory in Paju, South Korea. This initial cost will cover the building, the “foundations” of the clean rooms, and basic infrastructure such as water and power. Construction will begin immediately. The plant is expected to cost $8.7 Billion USD by the time it starts producing displays, which the company anticipates for early 2018. It will produce panels for smart watches, cars, and even large TVs.
The shift from LCD to OLED has been anticipated for a while, but it seems like the former technology just kept remaining viable. It kept ahead of plasma technology, despite LCD being considered inferior in terms of contrast and maintainability by some, and outlived it. SED threatened to crush it, but never really became available because Canon basically misunderstood patent licensing terms from a Texas-based nanotech company. Mobile devices helped push LED panels away from TN technology and into IPS-like panels, which closed the gap between LCD and early OLED.
LCD would eventually need to reach its maximum viable potential though, and heightened availability of OLED could do it. Hopefully the technology makes it to consumer desktop panels relatively soon. Display manufacturers have been experimenting with higher refresh rates, better displays, and higher resolution recently, but adding OLED to the mix should push the industry toward focusing on contrast and color reproduction even more heavily.
Subject: Displays | November 26, 2015 - 01:08 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: noon, virtual reality
Similar in looks to Oculus Gear VR the Noon VR headset is compatible with more than just Samsung phones, any iOS or Android device between 4.7 inches to 5.7 should be supported. At 230g naked, plus the weight of your phone the Noon felt a bit heavy to Hardware Canucks, a lot of that weight is balanced on your nose. The 95 degree viewing angle is impressive and there is a focus dial on the headset for fine tuning but the latency and resolution are up to your phone, not the Noon. As of yet there is little content for the Noon VR headset but the price is decent, currently it retails for $90 which makes it an interesting option for those who want to experiment with a VR device.
"With the big divide in computing power between desktops and smartphones, are we ready for mobile VR? The Noon VR headset is an attempt to answer that question."
Here are some more Display articles from around the web:
- Philips 272G5DYEB 27-inch G-Sync @ Kitguru
- Acer Predator XR341CK FreeSync Monitor Review @ Hardware Canucks
- AOC Q2577PWQ 25″ IPS @ eTeknix
- Nixeus NX-VUE24A 144Hz FreeSync Monitor @ Hardware Canucks
- The New Apple TV Review @ Hardware Secrets
Subject: Displays | November 18, 2015 - 10:04 AM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: U2477PWQ, PLS, monitor, HDMI 2.0, AOC, 4k monitor, 24-inch display
AOC has announced a new, compact 4K display with a PLS panel, and the U2477PWQ also features HDMI 2.0 input.
With a PLS panel providing a full 178/178 viewing angle the U2477PWQ looks like an attractive alternative to TN designs, if similarly priced. The 16.7 million colors specified indicate the use of an 8-bit panel/processing, so this won't offer the same level of color gradation as a 10-bit IPS (or PLS) panel, though likely not an issue unless this is intended for serious color work. As far as the ergonomics are concerned, the display stand offers full hight/pivot/tilt functionality, and there is also a standard 100 mm VESA mount on the back.
Specifications from AOC:
- Monitor Size: 23.6 Inch
- Resolution: 3840x2160@60Hz
- Response time: 4 ms
- Panel Type: PLS
- Viewing Angle: 178/178
- Colors: 16.7 Million
- Brightness: 300 cd/m2 (type)
- Contrast Ratio: 1000:1
- Dynamic Contrast Ratio: 50M:1
- HDCP: Compatible
- Input: DVI, HDMI 2.0, DisplayPort, D-Sub
- Ergonomics: Pivot, Swivel, Tilt -5/+23; Height Adjustment 130mm
- Other Features: FlickerFree, Vesa Wallmount 100x100, i-Menu, e-Saver, Screen+
- Power Source: 100 - 240V 50/60Hz
- Power Consumption: On 34W; Standby 0.5W; Off: 0.3W
This new display is listed on AOC's European site here, and it appears that the U2477PWQ is not yet available in the United States.
Subject: Displays | November 3, 2015 - 12:22 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: XB271HU, XB271HK, variable refresh rate, Predator XB1, monitor, ips, gaming monitor, g-sync, acer, 27-inch, 100% sRGB
Acer has expanded their Predator gaming monitor lineup with two new 27-inch displays featuring NVIDIA G-Sync technology.
The Acer Predator XB271HU
First up is the XB271HU:
"The new Predator XB271HU touts a zero-frame edge-to-edge design with a WQHD (2560 x 1440) IPS panel that supports 100% of the sRGB color gamut as well as NVIDIA® ULMB™ technology(1) to reduce motion blur by delivering sharp edges in fast-paced gaming environments. It has a fast 4ms gray to gray response time, 350 cd/m2 brightness and up to a supercharged 165Hz overclocking refresh rate that speeds up the frames per second for delivering ultra-smooth gameplay."
And if WQHD resolution just isn't enough, there is also a 4K/UHD option, model XB271HK:
"The 27-inch Acer Predator XB271HK touts spectacular picture quality with a 4K UHD (3840x2160@60Hz) panel boasting 300 cd/m2 brightness and 1.07 billion colors. This stunning monitor also provides a high 100 percent sRGB color accuracy and reproduction.
Rendering fast-moving actions and dramatic transitions without smearing or ghosting, the Acer Predator XB271HK’s IPS display offers a quick 4ms response. It also provides wide viewing angles with accurate colors up to 178 degrees horizontally and vertically."
The monitors feature Acer’s GameView technology, “which allows gamers to swiftly toggle between three customizable display profiles to tweak settings in-game without the need to navigate through an OSD menu”, dark boost black level adjustment, and Acer’s Eye Protect Technology “with flicker-less, blue-light filter, ComfyView and low-dimming technologies to help safeguard the eyes from blue light emissions and decrease eye fatigue during long gaming sessions”.
The stands on the new Predator XB1 monitors feature tilt, pivot, and height adjustment, and the monitors are VESA compliant. Connectivity consists of HDMI, DisplayPort v1.2 and a 4-port USB 3.0 hub, with sound provided by 2W stereo speakers.
The Acer Predator XB271HK
The Predator XB1 Series monitors will be available this month, and the MSRP’s are $799 for the Predator XB271HU, and $899 for the Predator XB271HK.
Subject: Displays | November 2, 2015 - 05:23 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: asus, ASUS ROG, ROG Swift, swift PG27AQ, ips display, 4k, 60hz
The 165Hz G-SYNC compatible ASUS ROG Swift PG279Q was recently on the PCPer review bench, garnering a Gold Award for its performance. Kitguru recently wrapped up a review of a slightly different model, the ROG Swift PG27AQ. Like the other model it is a 27" IPS display which supports G-SYNC, however only to 60Hz as it is a 4K (3840×2160) monitor. The bandwidth required to provide adaptive refresh at higher than 60Hz on a 4K display just isn't really available yet, so you have to make a choice between a high resolution or a high maximum refresh rate. Next year we will see monitors capable of this as the DisplayPort interface is updated. For now take a look at the review to see which you prefer between resolution and refresh rate.
"The ROG Swift PG27AQ is a 4K gaming monitor from Asus that supports Nvidia G-Sync up to 60Hz. It’s a 27-inch IPS display with a 4ms response time and a 10-bit colour panel. Add on a flexible stand with pivot, tilt and rotate support, with a redesigned software interface, and it could be a contender for the best gaming display on the market."
Here are some more Display articles from around the web:
- LG 34UC87C 34" Curved Monitor Review @ Hardware Canucks
- Philips 227E6EDSD 22-inch IPS @ Kitguru
- Philips BDM4065UC 40 4K @ eTeknix
- Philips Brilliance 241P6EPJEB IPS @ Kitguru
- Acer Predator XB280HK 4K display with Nvidia G-Sync @ Kitguru
Subject: Graphics Cards, Displays | October 24, 2015 - 04:16 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: ROG Swift, refresh rate, pg279q, nvidia, GTX 980 Ti, geforce, asus, 165hz, 144hz
In the comments to our recent review of the ASUS ROG Swift PG279Q G-Sync monitor, a commenter by the name of Cyclops pointed me in the direction of an interesting quirk that I hadn’t considered before. According to reports, the higher refresh rates of some panels, including the 165Hz option available on this new monitor, can cause power draw to increase by as much as 100 watts on the system itself. While I did say in the review that the larger power brick ASUS provided with it (compared to last year’s PG278Q model) pointed toward higher power requirements for the display itself, I never thought to measure the system.
To setup a quick test I brought the ASUS ROG Swift PG279Q back to its rightful home in front of our graphics test bed, connected an EVGA GeForce GTX 980 Ti (with GPU driver 358.50) and chained both the PC and the monitor up to separate power monitoring devices. While sitting at a Windows 8.1 desktop I cycled the monitor through different refresh rate options and then recorded the power draw from both meters after 60-90 seconds of time to idle out.
The results are much more interesting than I expected! At 60Hz refresh rate, the monitor was drawing just 22.1 watts while the entire testing system was idling at 73.7 watts. (Note: the display was set to its post-calibration brightness of just 31.) Moving up to 100Hz and 120Hz saw very minor increases in power consumption from both the system and monitor.
But the jump to 144Hz is much more dramatic – idle system power jumps from 76 watts to almost 134 watts – an increase of 57 watts! Monitor power only increased by 1 watt at that transition though. At 165Hz we see another small increase, bringing the system power up to 137.8 watts.
Interestingly we did find that the system would repeatedly jump to as much as 200+ watts of idle power draw for 30 seconds at time and then drop back down to the 135-140 watt area for a few minutes. It was repeatable and very measurable.
So, what the hell is going on? A look at GPU-Z clock speeds reveals the source of the power consumption increase.
When running the monitor at 60Hz, 100Hz and even 120Hz, the GPU clock speed sits comfortably at 135MHz. When we increase from 120Hz to 144Hz though, the GPU clock spikes to 885MHz and stays there, even at the Windows desktop. According to GPU-Z the GPU is running at approximately 30% of the maximum TDP.
Though details are sparse, it seems pretty obvious what is going on here. The pixel clock and the GPU clock are connected through the same domain and are not asynchronous. The GPU needs to maintain a certain pixel clock in order to support the required bandwidth of a particular refresh rate, and based on our testing, the idle clock speed of 135MHz doesn’t give the pixel clock enough throughput to power anything more than a 120Hz refresh rate.
Pushing refresh rates of 144Hz and higher causes a surprsing increase in power draw
The obvious question here though is why NVIDIA would need to go all the way up to 885MHz in order to support the jump from 120Hz to 144Hz refresh rates. It seems quite extreme and the increased power draw is significant, causing the fans on the EVGA GTX 980 Ti to spin up even while sitting idle at the Windows desktop. NVIDIA is aware of the complication, though it appears that a fix won’t really be in order until an architectural shift is made down the road. With the ability to redesign the clock domains available to them, NVIDIA could design the pixel and GPU clock to be completely asynchronous, increasing one without affecting the other. It’s not a simple process though, especially in a processor this complex. We have seen Intel and AMD correctly and effectively separate clocks in recent years on newer CPU designs.
What happens to a modern AMD GPU like the R9 Fury with a similar test? To find out we connected our same GPU test bed to the ASUS MG279Q, a FreeSync enabled monitor capable of 144 Hz refresh rates, and swapped the GTX 980 Ti for an ASUS R9 Fury STRIX.
The AMD Fury does not demonstrate the same phenomenon that the GTX 980 Ti does when running at high refresh rates. The Fiji GPU runs at the same static 300MHz clock rate at 60Hz, 120Hz and 144Hz and the power draw on the system only inches up by 2 watts or so. I wasn't able to test 165Hz refresh rates on the AMD setup so it is possible that at that threshold the AMD graphics card would behave differently. It's also true that the NVIDIA Maxwell GPU is running at less than half the clock rate of AMD Fiji in this idle state, and that may account for difference in pixel clocks we are seeing. Still, the NVIDIA platform draws slightly more power at idle than the AMD platform, so advantage AMD here.
For today, know that if you choose to use a 144Hz or even a 165Hz refresh rate on your NVIDIA GeForce GPU you are going to be drawing a bit more power and will be less efficient than expected even just sitting in Windows. I would bet that most gamers willing to buy high end display hardware capable of those speeds won’t be overly concerned with 50-60 watts of additional power draw, but it’s an interesting data point for us to track going forward and to compare AMD and NVIDIA hardware in the future.
It's hard to believe that it has only been 14 months since the release of the first ASUS ROG Swift, the PG278Q, back in August of 2014. It seems like lifetimes have passed, with drama circling around other G-Sync panels, the first release of FreeSync screens, the second geneation of FreeSync panels that greatly improve overdrive. Now, we sit in the middle of the second full wave of G-Sync screens. A lot can happen in this field if you blink.
The PG278Q was easily the best G-Sync monitor on the market for quite a long time. It offered performance, features and quality that very few other monitors could match, and it did it all while including support for NVIDIA's G-Sync variable refresh rate technology. If you are new to VRR tech, and want to learn about G-Sync you can check out our original editorial or an in-depth interview with NVIDIA's Tom Petersen. In short: being able to have a variable refresh rate on a panel match the frame rate of the game prevents Vsync quirks like screen tearing and judder.
But a lot has changed since ASUS released the PG278Q including the release of other higher quality monitors from the likes of Acer, BenQ and others. ASUS showed off some new G-Sync ready displays at CES but that was way back in January of 2015 - more than 10 months ago! The PG279Q was the most interesting to us then and remains that way today. There are some impressive specifications on the table including a 27-in 2560x1440 screen built on IPS technology, to improve color reproduction and view angles, a 165Hz maximum refresh rate and the best build quality we have seen on a gaming monitor to date.
This time ASUS has a lot more competition to deal with but can the ROG Swift PG279Q real ignite ASUS as the best G-Sync monitor provider? What kind of experience do you get for a $799 monitor today?
Specs, Physical Design
Over the past 2 years or so we have noticed a trend in PC gaming: more and more gamers are realizing the importance of the display in the total gaming experience. Having been in the reviews game for nearly 16 years, I am just as guilty as most of you reading this of falling into the trap of "good enough" monitors. Steam surveys and our own data from readers shows that most of you have found some form of 1920x1080 screen and have stuck with it. But the truth is changing your monitor can and will dramatically impact how you game, how you work and just how impressed you feel each and every time you sit down in front of your PC.
Today we are looking at one of the monitors that promises to change how you view productivity and gaming. The Acer XR341CK continues the momentum of a new aspect ratio of monitors, 21:9. Otherwise known as UltraWide displays, they are available in both 2560x1080 and 3440x1440 resolutions, though our testing model today uses the latter, larger option. This Acer has a slight curve to it as well, just enough to be enjoyable without changing viewing angles for the primary user. With a 34 inch diagonal measurement, IPS panel technology and AMD FreeSync variable refresh rate support, the Acer XR341CK is likely to be our new favorite monitor for AMD Radeon users.
This doesn't come without a cost though: the XR341CK retails for just over $1,000 on Amazon. For many of you that will be a breath-taking price, and not in a good way. But consider the length of time that users tend keep monitors, I think we can make the case that type of investment is actually worthwhile.