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Need help choosing a gaming monitor

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rebelwarlock

Member
Joined
Dec 13, 2004
I have a Radeon HD 6950, and my current monitor isn't really the best suited for gaming. It has a maximum resolution of 1680x1050. I got it on the cheap a while back, and it occurs to me that I can replace it now with something better. But the many options confuse the hell out of me. First of all, we have this from the AMD site:

Cutting-edge integrated display support

DisplayPort 1.2
Max resolution: 2560x1600 per display
Multi-Stream Transport
21.6 Gbps bandwidth
High bit-rate audio
HDMI® (With 3D, Deep Color and x.v.Color™)
Max resolution: 1920x1200
Dual-link DVI with HDCP
Max resolution: 2560x1600
VGA
Max resolution: 2048x1536

Awesome, now I have four different interfaces to choose from. Then there's the fact that I really don't know if I should be getting an HDTV or an LCD, or what a LFD really is (all I could find is marketing jargon, and another thread on this forum asking what it was with no definite answer). This one looks nice, but it seems to not have that much of a resolution boost:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16824236302

For comparison, here are my current monitor specs:

Size: 22-inch wide
Response Time: 5ms
Signal connector: D-Sub
Brightness: 330nits
Viewing Angle (H / V): 170/160
Contrast: 4000:1 Dynamic Contrast
Pixel Pitch: 0.282mm
Resolution: 1680 * 1050
Dimensions: 513x422x206mm
Operating voltage: 100-240VAC, 50/60Hz
Vertical Frequency: 56Hz ~ 76Hz
Horizontal Frequency: 30kHz ~ 82kHz
Power consumption: 53W (max)

I won't bother providing a link since it's in Chinese (the brand is Chimei, if that makes a difference).

So, thoughts on the monitor I linked? Is there something better I should be looking at?
 

BigSurprise

Member
Joined
Nov 30, 2007
Location
Bay Area, Ca
1920x1080 is full HD. It is pretty much the standard these days. To keep with the 16:9 aspect ratio you can get Wide Quad HD which is 2560x1440 and is available in 27" monitors and above. Above that is the 2560x1600 at 16:10, but those are only in monitors 30" and above and those are going to be wide gamut displays which will bad for everyday use and gaming. They are really only designed for special photo/video editing software that utilize 1.07 billion colors, compared to 16.7 million colors of most software(including most operating systems) and displays. There are companies that make 2560x1600 monitors that have built in software that allow the panel to use only sRGB color space when you aren't using anything that can take advantage of wide gamut colors, but those monitors are $1200+.

Then there comes the display technology, which boils down to IPS/PLS or TN. TN panels have gotten better over the years and excel at response times and can be rather inexpensive. IPS and PLS panels excel at wide viewing angles and color reproduction. Their colors will just look more vivid than a TN panel, but they come with a price premium. IPS was developed by LG and PLS by Samsung, but they are very close in performance and you likely wont see a difference. They don't have the response times of TN panels and some are not well suited for gaming because of this. This does not mean that there aren't some that are great for gaming. :)

23-24" 1920x1080 TN panels go for $150-250
23-24" 1920x1080 IPS/PLS panels go for $200-300

27" 2560x1440 TN monitors go for $250-400
27" 2560x1440 IPS/PLS monitors go for $550-1000

Those price quotes are for well known brands. However, there has been a flood of South Korean 2560x1440 PLS monitors(brands such as Crossover, QNIX, X-Star, Yamakasi, Achieva etc.) that go for around $400. There have been a LOT of people that have purchased these monitors and had great experiences. There is even a 30+ page thread in this very forum of people discussing these monitors. With that said, there are some drawbacks:
Not everyone is willing to take the risk of buying a Korean panel that might have issues with it. The so called 'pixel perfect' models are not allowed to be returned if they have 1-2 dead pixels. If you buy a monitor in a local store you can always return it even if it has 1 dead pixel. I also hear return shipping is not covered if there is a problem with the monitor.

I have also read a lot of issues regarding some popular sellers not backing their warranty, and it can be a headache trying to pick the "right" seller. Another issues is that some sellers ship faulty or incorrect power supply bricks which burn up. Not to mention the popular backlighting issue which requires possibly voiding the warranty to fix.

Additionally, I hear these panels use cheap PCB's, housings and stands.

So it really boils down to personal preference(what doesn't, right? :D). Do you want Full HD or WQHD? Do you want a TN or IPS/PLS panel? Do you want 23-24" or 27"? Also, what fits in your budget?

I just upgraded two weeks ago from my old HP w2007 21" 1680x1050 monitor to an Asus PB278Q 2560x1440 PLS panel, and the difference is just ridiculous. I couldn't be happier. Paying $610 out the door helped a bit too. :)

Before buying my new monitor, I did a bit of research as to which 27" WQHD IPS/PLS monitor was the best for gaming. My own conclusion(which may differ from yours or anybody else's) was that the Asus PB278Q and the Viewsonic VP2770 were best for gaming due to their color accuracy and response times. Manufacturer response times are about as reliable is their contrast ratios, so I used the website Prad.De which uses an oscilloscope in their reviews to determine the exact response times of their monitors. I chose the Asus because I got a good deal on it, and I found the stand on the Viewsonic to be intolerable.



PS. I forgot to mention that some newer monitors use PWM backlighting which have been known to cause headaches in a small percentage of users. You won't know if you are affected unless you view one of these monitors. The Asus I mentioned is one of these monitors.

PSS. Any new monitor you buy may be affected by one of two QA issues:
1. Backlight bleeding as seen in this picture:
2005fpwwr9.jpg


2. Dead pixels

I myself have not correlated these issues to be more common amongst certain brands, it seems that all may be affected equally. Some people just get a bad monitor, and a return/exchange/RMA is advised.


I hope this helps! :)
 
OP
rebelwarlock

rebelwarlock

Member
Joined
Dec 13, 2004

BigSurprise

Member
Joined
Nov 30, 2007
Location
Bay Area, Ca
I would like to reiterate that this is only my opinion, and what makes a monitor better for me might not necessarily make it "best" for you.

The only difference between Full HD and WQHD is the amount of pixels. Full HD will be 1920 pixels wide and 1080 pixels tall. WQHD will be 2560 pixels wide and 1440 pixels tall. The monitor you linked and I linked are both 27" diagonally, but the WQHD has 77.8% more pixels in the same space. That means that the pixel density on the WQHD is greater. Just to lay this out to make it easier to absorb:

1920x1080 = 2073600 pixels

27" monitor = 311.2 in^2

2073600/311.2 = 6663.2 ppi^2

Square root of 6663.2 = 81.6 ppi


2560x1440 = 3686400 pixels

Again, 27" monitor = 311.2 in^2

3686400/311.2 = 11845.8 ppi^2

Square root of 11845.8 = 108.8 ppi


So anything in WQHD is going to see a price premium over Full HD. The nice thing about WQHD is that it is the same aspect ratio(16:9) as Full HD so anything you watch in Full HD quality(such as Blu-Ray movies) on a WQHD monitor will scale nicely.

The other part that bumps up the price is the PLS panel. All PLS and IPS monitors are going to be more expensive then the older TN tech. This is because it is newer tech and boasts better viewing angles because of a lack of color shift at wide angles and more vivid and accurate colors.

Some hardcore FPS gamers still boast TN because of their superior response times. This comes into play when you are moving around your environment quickly and twitch shooting. When using a monitor with a slower response time, you will see ghosting when objects move quickly along your screen. Here is an image that shows ghosting:
60hzTraceFreeChart.png


The cars on the bottom right two images are exactly as they should be displayed. All the other images show different levels of ghosting. You can see how that can be troublesome when gaming.

To counteract this effect, some IPS/PLS panels support some type of Overdrive feature which toggles the amount of voltage supplied to each pixel which directly alters the response time and input lag of the monitor. As you adjust the Overdrive, response times go down but input lag increases. It is all about adjusting the Overdrive to find a nice balance between response time and input lag. I am unclear as to which monitors have an Overdrive feature. The PB278Q does have Overdrive, and it is called Trace Free.


I think I answered your questions. :) Let us know if something is unclear. I'm sure someone will come by and correct me if I made any mistakes.

EDIT: While there is nothing wrong with the monitor you picked out, I value color accuracy and higher pixel density over an input lag that is infinitesimally small. I felt the small amount of ghosting on a PLS monitor was a necessary evil for the benefits it produces over TN. It will always be in your best interest to try out an IPS/PLS monitor in person to see if you like it before purchasing.
 
Last edited:

Knufire

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 17, 2010
Location
Manassas, VA
Just a note, you can pick up the Korean brand monitors from Monoprice.com, which is an extremely reliable, US based e-tailer.
 
OP
rebelwarlock

rebelwarlock

Member
Joined
Dec 13, 2004
Interesting. Looks like I'll have to do some footwork.

Also, being in Taiwan, I wouldn't be surprised to see several Korean brands at the tech mall.
 

awktane

92 with 10% ethanol
Joined
Jun 7, 2013
Very impressive response BigSurprise. A lot of time and effort in those posts! :thup: