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post #1 of 14 Old 07-03-2018, 08:09 AM - Thread Starter
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Monitor shopping

I need to replace my monitor and am looking for some advice. I've currently got a 27" Apple cinema display (1440p, IPS), which is a decent monitor but unfortunately it needs to move to a different room to be hooked up to a mac mini. Usage is 70/30 gaming to general productivity. I would love to get one of the upcoming super-duper 4K 144hz HDR monitors due out this year, but I'm not interested in spending $2000 (or more), so I need to make some tradeoffs.

The 2 general categories of monitors that I'm targeting are: 27" 1440p, and 32" (maybe slightly larger?) 4K. I'd like to avoid TN panels if possible -though if someone can convince me that they're fine I'll listen - and I'm also not interested in 21:9 "ultrawide" monitors. (I've seen enough of them at Microcenter to decide that I really don't like that aspect ratio - gives me vertical claustrophobia just looking at them) . Where things get interesting is when you start factoring in the key features that add to the cost: adaptive refresh (gsync/freesync), HDR, and high refresh rates. (greater than 60hz)

Of those features, which are the ones that you think are more/most important? Are high refresh rates (such as 144hz) really that big of a deal, or is adaptive refresh better if you could only pick one? (etc, etc). Thanks for any advice!
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post #2 of 14 Old 07-03-2018, 10:26 PM
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I can only speak for myself. Most important for me is 100+ Hz refresh rate (which obviously ties to how high adaptive sync can go when supported), 1440p, excellent color accuracy, ultrawide at 34" minimum, and preferably support for G-Sync. One upcoming monitor that happens to tick all of those boxes is the LG 34GK950G.

As for ultrawide, I also was not a believer at first. It was when I got one for personal use that I realized how much better it is at covering my field of view when compared to 16:9. Now I wouldn't do without it as more games are properly supporting such wide aspect ratios. I can do without HDR.
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post #3 of 14 Old 07-05-2018, 08:05 AM
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I think you should play a game on an ultrawide before dismissing it. It's essentially 2 monitors side by side without the center bezel.
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post #4 of 14 Old 07-05-2018, 09:43 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the feedback, yeah I know I should give ultrawides a chance but that's tough to do unless I buy a few different monitors to compare, knowing that I will only keep 1. Microcenter does have a pretty liberal return policy so maybe I should consider that...

Is the difference between 60hz and 120hz (or higher) really that noticeable? I get the impression that it is, but I've often wondered if it's a subtle difference that ultimately isn't as big a deal as people claim. As far as console games and movies are concerned, HDR definitely IS noticeable - but again it's very early days for HDR in pc gaming and therefore maybe not worth the cost right now.
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post #5 of 14 Old 07-05-2018, 05:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Graff Vynda-K View Post
Is the difference between 60hz and 120hz (or higher) really that noticeable? I get the impression that it is, but I've often wondered if it's a subtle difference that ultimately isn't as big a deal as people claim. As far as console games and movies are concerned, HDR definitely IS noticeable - but again it's very early days for HDR in pc gaming and therefore maybe not worth the cost right now.
Big difference for most games when using a mouse and keyboard; I can't play a game like DOOM anymore at a constant 60Hz, and that is not hyperbole. The difference is generally not so noticeable with a controller.

High refresh rate is much more important to me than 4K.
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post #6 of 14 Old 07-05-2018, 08:34 PM - Thread Starter
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Big difference for most games when using a mouse and keyboard; I can't play a game like DOOM anymore at a constant 60Hz, and that is not hyperbole. The difference is generally not so noticeable with a controller.

High refresh rate is much more important to me than 4K.
Why would a KB/M be different than a controller in that regard? The advantage of higher refresh rates is smoother looking motion right? Or am I missing something?
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post #7 of 14 Old 07-05-2018, 10:32 PM
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Why would a KB/M be different than a controller in that regard? The advantage of higher refresh rates is smoother looking motion right? Or am I missing something?
Not only smoother looking, but the resulting feel is also a lot smoother. That smoother feel is more easily noticed and appreciated with the precision of using a mouse.
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post #8 of 14 Old 07-06-2018, 09:29 AM
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I surfed though monitors for roughly 18 months. I sampled different sizes (32"-50")...different aspect ratios...different refresh rates...different latency & lag. And the end result was I went with what many would consider backward adoption. Too big was well...too big for 2-3 feet away for me. lower refresh rate meant too many artifacts and visual compromises. So I settled on the monitor that allowed optimum/maxxed out performance with my "existing" library of games with Keypad/M or controller. I decided not to chase the elusive future...just to play one uber game (maxxed to the 9's) or to maxx out a single device. I wanted a very high...maxx balance throughout my entire gaming ecosystem. So I settled on a 144hz, Freesync, Enhanced sync, 1ms, 27" Acer that optimizes my 1080p library at 1080--1440p. Using Mass Effect Andromeda as my benchmark...I noticed that the game played smoother and quicker with KP/M versus controller. The experience was much more responsive. I didn't get artifacts with either device. Both are fast and responsive. But the difference in lag with the controller was noticeable...because I had to actually dial down the in game refresh rate from 144hz to slow it down to tune it with my own slower reaction time (with inherent lag in a controller). Not so with KP/M. THe entire experience is always butter smooth!


My experience was completely different with Rise of the Tomb Raider. The QTE nature of that game rendered KP/M unenjoyable to me. And I found the controller to be the much better and most enjoyable compromise. So to conclude...a lot of the difference in a 144HZ capable monitor will be very recognizable to you. Especially when coupled with the other superior features of such a display. I found that 4k gaming on PC offered no benefit to me. And was much worse in all of the critical gameplay, specification aspects. It's wonderful with my XB1X console (on the visual side). But not comparable IMO with 1080-1440p PC gaming IMO except for QTE type games. So a lot of the advantages will be dependent on how you game. And what kind of games you most like to play. Visually speaking...my Acer is the Bees knees! I absolutely hated the 21.9 aspect ratio from a few feet away. My experience suggested that it was just too odd for me. And was best suited for a big screen projection system. It just always looked incorrect to me.
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post #9 of 14 Old 07-06-2018, 12:39 PM - Thread Starter
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@barrelbelly

Thanks for your perspective. Yeah, I've been approaching this thing from a future-looking standpoint and maybe that's a mistake. Generally speaking I don't want to upgrade my monitor every few years - it's definitely a longer term investment. But given that 4K and HDR (especially HDR) are so new, maybe it's not worth overspending on that tech now and would be better to go 1440p and then circle back to 4K/HDR in a few years when the problems are ironed out and the prices come down. (and GPU's can handle it)

Does the benefit of adaptive refresh (gsync or freesync) diminish if you have a GPU that can run games greater than 60fps? I mean, if you can push a game at 100fps or more (with a monitor that has a high refresh rate), does it really matter if the frames are sync'd up between the GPU and monitor?
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post #10 of 14 Old 07-06-2018, 01:45 PM
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@barrelbelly

Thanks for your perspective. Yeah, I've been approaching this thing from a future-looking standpoint and maybe that's a mistake. Generally speaking I don't want to upgrade my monitor every few years - it's definitely a longer term investment. But given that 4K and HDR (especially HDR) are so new, maybe it's not worth overspending on that tech now and would be better to go 1440p and then circle back to 4K/HDR in a few years when the problems are ironed out and the prices come down. (and GPU's can handle it)

Does the benefit of adaptive refresh (gsync or freesync) diminish if you have a GPU that can run games greater than 60fps? I mean, if you can push a game at 100fps or more (with a monitor that has a high refresh rate), does it really matter if the frames are sync'd up between the GPU and monitor?

This YouTube link to AMD's "Enhanced Sync" explains your question.
NVidia has a similar adaptive process. My GPU is the AMD 580 OC 8GB by Powercolor. With both Freesync and Enhanced sync engaged I have never observed a speed mismatch or effect from it between High FPS (90-130+) between the GPU and my monitor. The visual images are rendered in pristine fashion with zero tearing/stutter/lag. The only irritant for me has nothing to do with the display. It is the high GPU noise (typical of AMD GPU's under load) at high FPS. I plan to actually eliminate that with either water cooling or a wide open case design (under gaming use). Because the integration of performance & features between my Monitor & GPU at 1080p-1440p is ideal at any framerate at 144hz (or120hz with a controller). Of course, your concern is tightly managed with console GPU's which are throttled for visual fidelity as the priority at much lower (30-60) FPS in 4k panels with usually (60-80FPS @1080p).
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post #11 of 14 Old 07-07-2018, 06:02 AM
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I never noticed mismatching before these adaptive sync options. The only time I remember seeing it was when I tried to push the res beyond my gpu's optimal settings. And this is probably several cycles back, even before the tech was invented. I have gsync and always use it, but I'm sure I never need it. High refresh rates and vsync still seem like snakeoil to me.
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post #12 of 14 Old 07-07-2018, 01:57 PM
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High refresh rates and vsync still seem like snakeoil to me.
Sorry you feel that way. The benefits of high refresh rate should be immediately noticeable the second you move the mouse cursor or windows on the desktop.

Screen tearing is an obvious problem, so vsync is an important solution. Vsync can cause significant lag, so tech like G-Sync is an important solution to that.

No snake oil when the benefits are easily provable.
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post #13 of 14 Old 10-26-2018, 06:25 AM
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...So I settled on a 144hz, Freesync, Enhanced sync, 1ms, 27" Acer that optimizes my 1080p library at 1080--1440p...
For which Acer model did you settle with?
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post #14 of 14 Old 10-26-2018, 12:04 PM
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For which Acer model did you settle with?
Acer XFOH27
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