This escaped me from the tail end of last week at CES 2017, but ASUS and Acer have a pair of monitors which effectively tick every box you’d be looking out for from a cutting edge display. Both the ASUS ROG Swift PG27UQ and the Acer Predator XB272-HDR are 4K with HDR support 144Hz refresh rates. Oh, and did we mention G-Sync is also thrown into the bargain.
Tick, tick, tick for what you’d want from a high-end gaming. The only real downside in terms of future-proofing is that these are standard LCD displays rather than the much crisper OLED, although there is still some way to go in terms of improving HDR and refresh rates on OLED displays. Coming in at 27 inches they are perhaps a little small to really take advantage of 4K but they’re an undeniably tempting proposition.
G-Sync support means the monitor’s refresh rate is tied to the update rate of the GPU, lowering input latency, eliminating screen tearing and reducing instances on micro-stutter. Couple that with up to 144Hz refresh rate and you’re looking at liquid smooth gameplay.
HDR, or High Dynamic Range, is an all-new addition to PC gaming. In fact, both Acer and ASUS claim these are the first ever HDR monitors. This enables a greater range of colours for a more natural looking image. The brights are brighter, the blacks are darker, and the colour is much more vivid. All more in line with that the human eye actually sees. Because of this, the number of games actually capitalising on HDR is predictably small. To date there’s just Shadow Warrior 2, as well as the upcoming Mass Effect Andromeda.
One of the biggest problems facing HDR televisions has been input lag however. Response times in excess of 30ms are the norm, which is practically unusable with a mouse & keyboard monitor setup. Nvidia claims that with G-Sync monitors, input latency while using HDR is near zero. We’ll have to take Nvidia’s word on that one for now.
Naturally enough this pair of monitors are going to come with some hefty price tags. The Asus ROG Swift PG27UQ is going to be a cool $1199, while we’re still waiting on pricing for the Acer Predator XB272-HDR. Considering that’s more than the majority of people spend on their entire builds, 4K HDR variable refresh rates monitors are going to remain a niche product for a while, yet it is a tantalizing glimpse of what’s in store for us soon.
A quick shout out to xquatrox too for bring it to my attention!