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.
Subject: Displays | October 13, 2015 - 12:24 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: acer, Predator X34, gaming monitor, 34-inch, ips, g-sync, curved lcd, 3440x1440
The new Acer Predator X34 claims a “world's first” as a curved 34-inch IPS G-SYNC gaming monitor, and from appearance to specs the new display looks very impressive.
- Curved 34-inch IPS 21:9 ultra-wide QHD display
- 3440x1440 @ 60 Hz resolution
- 4 ms response time
- 100,000,000:1 max contrast ratio
- 300 cd/m2 brightness
- 1.07 billion colors (10-bit)
- 100% sRGB
- Panel supports overclocking to 100Hz
- NVIDIA G-SYNC technology
- Two 7W speakers enhanced with DTS Sound
- Zero frame design maximizes viewing area
- Tilt from –5 to +35 degrees, height adjustments up to 5 inches
- Connectivity includes HDMI, DisplayPort 1.2, and 4x USB 3.0 ports
The 60 Hz native refresh rate might cause comment, but the adjustable overclocking up to 100 Hz should satisfy those looking for a better high FPS experience, though at 3440x1440 it would be difficult to max out even 60 Hz with the newest games at ultra settings if you're running a single GPU. And if you do play at the highest settings the included NVIDIA G-SYNC variable refresh technology will certainly help with those moments when the game is outputting much less than 60 FPS.
So how much will the new Predator X34 set you back? Acer says the monitor will be available “at leading online retailers in the United States” for a cool $1299.
Subject: Displays | October 9, 2015 - 06:32 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: asus, ROG, swift, pg279q, gsync, g-sync, ips
Okay, we see a lot of monitors here at PC Perspective...but this is probably the current "most coveted" of them all. The ASUS ROG Swift PG279Q looks nearly identical to the first generation ROG Swift display but with a couple of key modifications. Yes, this is still a 27-in 2560x1440 monitor but this time...oh this time...it holds a 165 Hz IPS screen.
Moving away from the world of TN screens and into the image-quality-improvement of IPS, the PG279Q not only brings ASUS' first G-Sync capable IPS 2560x1440 panel to the world but also ups the ante more than any other screen we have seen when it comes to the maximum refresh rate: this beast will top out at 165 Hz! High performance gamers that have taken to the 144 Hz market will surely see the advantages of stepping up yet again though I am curious how ASUS is able to drive an IPS screen at this speed without artifacts or issues.
Interestingly, this panel not only includes a DisplayPort connection for 165 Hz 2560x1440 throughput but also an HDMI 1.4a input that can run 2560x1440 at 60 Hz, should you need that kind of thing. If you prefer ULMB over G-Sync, you have that option as well.
I'm not sure yet, but I can feel Allyn's trigger finger on the BUY NOW button...if it existed. We don't have pricing and we don't have any update on availability, but if our past experiences with the ROG Swift line are any indication, I have a feeling this display is going to impress.
Subject: Displays | October 9, 2015 - 06:13 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: asus, ROG, swift, pg27aq, 4k, g-sync, gsync
Back at CES we first got to see the ASUS ROG Swift PG27AQ, a 4K resolution IPS G-Sync enabled gaming monitor with all the fit and finish we came to love with the first ROG Swift display. Today, as part of the ROG Unleashed event being held in San Jose, the monitor has been officially unveiled.
The build and specifications remain pretty much unchanged though pricing and availability are still up in the air.
The ASUS PG27AQ updates and changes the ROG Swift design and style in small areas including adding an illuminated Republic of Gamers logo to the base along with the red circle. The stand includes supports for height adjustment, rotation, and tilt - basically mirroring the capability of the original ROG Swift.
Seeing a 4K IPS G-Sync monitor warms my heart though I wonder if we will need the next generation of NVIDIA GeForce GPUs to be able to power it effectively with a single card. G-Sync variable refresh rate technology does mean that gamers will be able to run at lower frame rates without the worry of screen tearing or judder.
Finally, even though the display has support for HDMI, it will only run at 4K / 24 Hz or 1080p / 60 Hz - there is no true HDMI 2.0 support to be found. The full resolution and refresh rate, as well as G-Sync support, are enabled through the DisplayPort connection only.
Subject: Displays | October 3, 2015 - 09:12 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: UP3216Q, ultrasharp, UHD, monitor, ips, HDMI 2.0, display, dell, calibration, Adobe RGB, 4k
While not officially launched in the U.S. just yet, on Thursday Tom's Hardware reported news of a trio of upcoming UltraSharp monitors from Dell, the largest of which - the UP3216Q - I was able to locate on Dell's Bermuda site.
For anyone looking for a 4K display for photo or video editing (or any other color critical work) the new Dell UltraSharp UP3216Q looks like a great - and likely very pricey - option. Just how much are we talking? The existing 31.5-inch 4K UP3214Q carries a $1999 MSRP (though it sells for $1879 on Dell's site). For this kind of money there are probably those who will never consider a 16:9 option (or ever give up their 16:10 30-inch displays), but the specifications of this new UP3216Q are impressive:
- Diagonal Viewing Size: 31.5 inch
- Aspect Ratio: Widescreen (16:9)
- Panel Type, Surface: In-Plane Switching
- Optimal resolution: 3840 x 2160 @ 60Hz
- Active Display Area (H x V): 273,996 sq-mm (424.7 sq-inches)
- Contrast Ratio: 1000 to 1 (typical), 2 Million to 1 (dynamic)
- Brightness: 300 cd/m2 (typical)
- Response Time: 6ms fast mode . GTG
- Viewing Angle: 178° vertical / 178° horizontal
- Adjustability: Tilt, Swivel, Height Adjust
- Color Support: 1.07 billion colors
- Pixel Pitch: 0.182 mm
- Backlight Technology: LED light bar system
- Display Screen Coating: Anti-Glare with 3H hardness
- Connectivity: DP, mDP, HDMI (MHL), 4 x USB3 with one charging port, 1 x USB3 upstream, Media Card Reader
With the 60 Hz 4K (UHD) IPS panel offering full sRGB and 99.5% Adobe RGB, and a factory calibration that promises to be factory color calibrated with a deltaE of less than 2, the UP3214Q sounds pretty much ready to go out of the box. However for those inclined to strive for a more perfect calibration Dell is offering an X-Rite i1Display Pro colorimeter as an optional accessory, providing their own Dell UltraSharp Color Calibration Solution software.
A couple of points of interest with this monitor, while it offers DisplayPort and mini-DP inputs it also supports 4K 60 Hz via HDMI 2.0. Color support is also listed as 1.07 billion colors, but it's not specified whether this indicates a 10-bit panel or if they are implementing 10-bit color processing with an 8-bit panel - though if it's in the $2k price range it would probably safe to assume this is a 10-bit panel. Lastly, in keeping with the UltraSharp branding the monitor will also carry Dell's Premium Panel Guarantee and 3-Year Advanced Exchange Service warranty.
Subject: Displays | September 3, 2015 - 08:58 AM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: ROG Swift, PG348Q, monitor, ips, IFA 2015, gaming monitor, g-sync, asus, 3440x1440, 21:9, 100Hz
The latest ROG Swift monitor from ASUS is the PG348Q, which features a curved 34-inch IPS 21:9 display.
The ROG Swift PG348Q offers 3440x1440 resolution from its 100 Hz IPS panel, and includes NVIDIA G-SYNC technology. The new ROG Swift is said to have a "frameless curved design", but as we saw with the recently reviewed ASUS PB258Q monitor this might not be quite as frameless after all, but we shall see.
The ROG Swift PG348Q features full tilt, swivel, and height adjustments, and offers a couple of ASUS-specific features including GamePlus, which "gives users four different crosshair options, an in-game timer and an FPS counter for an added advantage in first-person-shooter and real-time-strategy games", and GameVisual, which "provides six preset display modes for optimized gaming visuals".
Pricing and availability of this latest ROG Swift has yet to be announced.
Subject: Displays | September 2, 2015 - 06:00 AM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: Predator Z35, IFA 2015, gaming monitor, g-sync, curved, acer, 2560x1080, 21:9
Acer has announced a pair of gaming monitors, beginning with their first curved NVIDIA G-SYNC monitor, the Predator Z35.
This 21:9 UltraWide display features a 2560x1080 resolution and supports overclocking for up to 200 Hz refresh. The Predator Z35 certainly looks the part, with angular styling and a dramatically curved (2000R curvature) screen that promises to help provide immersive gameplay.
Next up is the Predator XB1 Series, which consists of both 27-inch and 28-inch models.
All monitors in the Predator XB1 Series feature NVIDIA G-SYNC technology, with resolution the differentiating factor between the two 27-inch models.
The 27-inch models (XB271HK / XB271HU) feature a ZeroFrame edge-to-edge design with 4K UHD (3840 x 2160) or WQHD (2560 x 1440) IPS panels that support 100% of the sRGB color gamut, while the XB271HU supports NVIDIA ULMB and refresh rates of up to 144Hz. The 28-inch model (XB281HK) features a 4K UHD panel that has a fast GTG (gray to gray) response time of 1ms, rendering fast-moving actions or dramatic transitions smoothly without smearing or ghosting.
Pricing for the Predator Z35 will be $1199, with XB1 starting at $799. The Z35 will be available in the U.S. in December, while the XB1 will be available in November.
Subject: Displays | August 28, 2015 - 10:02 AM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: wqhd, TN, S2716DG, gaming monitor, G-Sync Gen II, g-sync, dell, 27-inch, 2560x1440
Dell announced a new 27-inch WQHD gaming monitor yesterday, and while the 2560x1440 resolution and TN panel are nothing new the real story is
the inclusion of NVIDIA G-Sync Gen II that there was a typo in the release.
Dell provides these details about the S2716DG monitor:
- Nvidia’s G-Sync Gen II support feature synchronizes GPU and monitor to minimize graphic distortions and screen tearing
- Quad HD resolution of 2560 x 1440 with close to 2 times more onscreen details than Full HD
- A full range of adjustability features, like tilt, pivot, swivel and height-adjustable stand allow for long hours of comfortable gameplay
- A wide range of connectivity features, including DisplayPort 1.2, HDMI 1.4, four USB 3.0 ports, USB 3.0 upstream, Audio line-out & Headphone-out
- 144 Hz maximum refresh rate and 1ms response time
Pricing is listed as $799 and the S2716DG will be available October 20.
UPDATE: Looking at the Dell announcement page, the company links to a Quadro PDF using a technology called G-Sync II. The problem is that technology was releaesd in 2011 and served a very different purpose than the G-Sync we use for gaming monitors today. We always knew that re-using that name would haunt NVIDIA in some ways...this is one of them. So, that means that Dell's reference to a second generation of G-Sync here is simply a typo, or the naming scheme is correct but the writer of the press release linked to something unrelated.
It is possible that a new version of the G-Sync module is on its way with updated features and possibly support over other display outputs, but I haven't heard anything official as of yet. I'll keep digging!
UPDATE 2: Just confirmed with Dell, this was a typo! The S2176DG "was incorrectly listed as "G-Sync Gen II" and the accurate name of the technology is NVIDIA® G-SYNC™." There you have it. False alarm!