Shopping for a new monitor, what are some stuff I should pay attention for?

Discussion in 'Computer Hardware, Devices and Accessories' started by RemixDeluxe, Jan 8, 2016.

  1. RemixDeluxe
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    RemixDeluxe GBAtemp Psycho!

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    I wanna know more than just resolution and Hz of a monitor to buy for PC gaming. I've been trying to do my own homework on this and there are also different types of panels to look at such as IPS or PLS (I heard IPS is the best for gaming but correct me if I'm wrong). I've also heard about monitors that can sync with my GPU and thus outputing the best picture possible.

    How important is it to get a monitor with more than 60hz? its difficult to find many that exist. Also do most games even take advantage of resolutions above 1080p or is that just a waste of money for now?

    Thanks.
     
  2. Originality

    Originality Chibi-neko

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    There's simply a lot of things that make up a monitors spec sheet, most of which don't matter. I'll list a few and if nobody expands on it by the time I get home from work, I'll post again.

    Size in inches, this is the most visible difference between monitors. Get one that fits your desk (whether it's 15" or 24" or 110"). Just remember that size is one of the two things that determines optimal viewing distance (too close strains your eyes, too far and your eyes won't see any benefit past 720p).

    Resolution. Most monitors are 720p or more. 22-24" monitors tend to be 1080p which many consider to be 'the standard'. 30-34" monitors tend to be 1440p and push hardware further. And you can get 4K monitors anywhere from 22" and above, which squeezes four times the standard resolution in the same space for greater levels of clarity, but many argue the eyes just can't see the difference. YMMV. Requires top end hardware to play games at this level.

    Panel technology. This is what actually created the picture. I'm only aware of 4, TN, VN, IPS and (now redundant) plasma. TN are cheaper but have narrow viewing angles (before the colours go funny). IPS is more expensive but has greater viewing angles. I heard VN has better colour reproduction for photo editors but I can't remember exactly so don't quote me on it :3

    Backlights technology. This is what lights the screen up. Most are LCD, but you can get LED and OLED which creates much deeper blacks and much more vibrant colours. Some screens also use localised pixel control which turns off pixel fields entirely for the blackest of blacks. Good for gaming, but pricey.

    Screen coating type. Matt or gloss. This affects colours and how reflective it is of lights behind you.

    Optional layers, generally means if it has touchscreen or not.

    Frame control. Most are 60hz and relies on the graphics card to sync their frames to the monitor refresh rate. 120hz allows for 3D if you're into that gimmick. Then you also get monitors that use G-sync (for nVidia) or FreeSync (for AMD) that lets the graphics card itself control the monitors refresh rate (taking out the need for vsync that can cause tearing artifacts).

    Post picture processing, usually only applies to TVs. It makes motion smoother and upscale a frames to larger resolutions, but creates input lag. Great for movies, bad for gaming.

    Optional interfaces. Some monitors have built in speakers, build in USB hub/ports, built in webcam/mic, or even headphone/mic repeaters (taking the place of the front panel ports).

    That's everything I can think of. Best advice for picking a monitor is look at your budget and Google up reviews for monitors in that price range.
     
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  3. FAST6191

    FAST6191 Techromancer

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    What Originality said. I would also pay attention to latency and I do have to mention that current HDMI is only 30Hz if you are going into 4K*. HDMI2.0 will change this and various DVI and displayport options will do this now.

    *technically 4K is a minefield as we decide what is consumer 4K, what is film 4K and what is something else but still greater than 1080p (4k in consumer world is 4 times the real estate of a 1080p monitor). You can poke around http://www.wsgf.org/mgl to see what games do what here. I am not sure how useful it would be for most games, aside from pixel type shooters. For CAD, video editing and some diagrams though they are lovely.

    Latency is how long between the picture being sent down the cable to it displaying on the screen. In the good old days of CRT it was crazy quick*, with modern TVs especially they tend to add some processing to make things look better or just take longer. This is not a problem when you are doing some passive like watching TV or a DVD but games and active computer use are bothersome here. This is why many TVs will have a game/computer mode. The TN stuff will tend to have lower latency for less money than some of the IPS stuff, though IPS is mature enough that it is not as big a gap as it once was. For most non gaming purposes it tends not to matter so much until you get really high (in which case you would probably be on a TV and not in game/computer mode) and even a lot of normal people playing games will not be too troubled (though they could probably tell the difference if you sat them side by side).

    *the cheap way of testing for lesser screen reviews is to output the same frame to a CRT and a LCD and in camera figure out the difference.

    I could get into colour reproduction, however I am not sure how useful it will be if you are not inclined to edit video or photos at a professional level and even then there is the old audio mastering adage of "make it work well on shit" -- you get some perfect clarity speakers and it sounds amazing then great, however if the same sounds crap on my office radio/building site radio/general consumer gear then you have failed. Such things are probably fighting words to some but I will stand by them. Similarly it is not like days of old when there could well be a massive difference than even the plebs could see.

    On backlights then some also like brightness discussions (usually given in cd/ and typically range from about 250 to some 400 now I think). I like bright screens but unless I am installing one in a trade show display/window display then the better solution is close the bloody curtains if it is bothering you.
    Contrast Ratio does mean something if you dig hard enough, alas the marketing idiots took the number over and now it means nothing for most purposes unless you are comparing two similar vintage models from the same company.

    "I've also heard about monitors that can sync with my GPU and thus outputing the best picture possible."
    That could mean a whole bunch of things from basic EDID to just being a digital signal (VGA is not, HDMI, displayport and most of the better types of DVI are digital) to something actually quite fancy (and probably pointless for most people). Unless you are going for shutter or some kind of powered glasses using 3d then I would say it is not worth thinking of.
     
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  4. RemixDeluxe
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    RemixDeluxe GBAtemp Psycho!

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    Is this a good price for what it offers?

    http://www.samsung.com/us/computer/monitors/LS32D85KTSR/ZA

    Also is 120 Hz only important if I'm going to be using 3D? It's difficult to find many monitors that have it but at the same time I'm not fully sure how important it will be for gaming.
     
  5. FAST6191

    FAST6191 Techromancer

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    Could I cook up a test where you can see a non 3d (as in stereoscopic) difference between 60Hz and 120Hz/144Hz, even if only side by side? Yeah I reckon I could. Can I envisage any reasonable situation not related to stereoscopic video where I would want to go that high? No, not really. To get the best out of it you are going to want to match (or exceed) the refresh rate -- is is no coincidence that 60Hz monitors mean people favour 30fps or 60fps for their games you can have a 120Hz monitor running at 60fps but you will be kind of like those people that have a VHS, cheapo set top box or simple DVD player (I have seen all of them) hooked up to their shiny TV and thinking it looks crazy good. To that end you are then going to want a machine that can pump out 120fps (aka double the framerate and if you read most reviews a leap from 40 to 60 is an amazing leap) to do it justice and that won't come cheap.
    List of things I would sooner have than 120Hz or 144Hz -- lower latency, better colours, bigger screen, more resolution, more onboard display inputs (TVs come with lots, monitors tend to come with one of each*), brighter screen, possibly lower power consumption (though since the death of plasma then there is not a lot in it). Say I can have a 120Hz monitor or a 60Hz one that is better in any of those (possibly even if the 120/144 is already acceptable in latency) and I will take the 60Hz one, I have money to burn and I am looking at two identical monitors save for one being 120/144 and I would still go for the 60 and spend the difference. About the only thing you will not see me trade it for is an onboard USB hub, a smaller bezel, a mounting backet or onboard speakers (though if it is had an HDMI passthrough that might change).

    *though here I suppose I would just get a HDMI switch or something, bonus if I get one of those Chinese ones that strip HDCP.
     
  6. Armadillo

    Armadillo GBAtemp Psycho!

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    Don't need to do any weird tests to see the difference. Even something as simple as desktop usage is night and day difference between 60 & 120/144. I refused to even make the jump from high end/high refresh crt over to lcd until fairly recently, as 60hz desktop is just looks awful to me (even then, I switched only because my crt died, I think lcd is an awful tech and sed or fed should have taken over from crt).

    If you make sure to get a freesync or g-sync monitor, then anything >60 will be making a difference and be a benefit as the monitors refresh will dynamically match the fps of the game (90fps=90hz, drop to 78fps=78hz and so on), so long as you are over 60, you get the benefit. High refresh monitors also generally tend to be a faster panel and have a less input lag, so even at 60fps, you'll generally still notice a diffence in responsiveness between a high refresh gaming monitor and standard 60hz one. Maybe not on slower paced stuff, but a fast paced twitch shooter (unreal/quake, that sort of thing) and the difference will generally be clear.

    A lot of high refresh monitors have strobing backlight @ 100hz or 120hz. Which is to improve motion clarity and try to push it closer to crt/plasma. You do need to match the refresh for strobing to work right, but there are still tons of games a modern system can run at that framerate (less demanding indie games, games that are a few years old etc) and no one says you have to have all the bells and whistles. I'd take medium settings @120fps with my strobing backlight over high @60 with no strobe every time.

    If I was buying a gaming monitor now, I be looking for one that is:

    High refresh
    Strobing backlight
    G-sync/freesync.
     
    Last edited by Armadillo, Jan 9, 2016
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  7. YayMii

    YayMii hi

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    Higher refresh rates (in non-stereoscopic mode) will give you quite a noticeable benefit if you play a lot of FPSes or games that involve a lot of fast on-screen motion. If you play those sort of games, I'd recommend picking up a 144Hz monitor in a heartbeat. Once you've experienced it, you'll have trouble going back. It just makes everything look smoother (even mundane tasks like moving your cursor around on the desktop).
    Also, you'll find that most of these high refresh-rate monitors come in the not-as-colourful TN panel variety unless you're willing to spend top dollar on one of the 1440p G-Sync or FreeSync IPS monitors available. But if you're not a professional graphics editor, the subpar colours shouldn't bother you too much.

    Personally, I have a 60Hz LCD sitting right next to my CRT, and the difference feels like night and day (I can crank this CRT all the way up to 180Hz at lower resolutions, but even at 85Hz it's a noticeable improvement from my LCD). And if my CRT dies, I'm probably going to find another CRT to hold me off until the whole G-Sync/FreeSync thing dwindles in price.
     
  8. FAST6191

    FAST6191 Techromancer

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    CRTs at higher refresh rates is an entirely different story to LCDs of whatever flavour at higher refresh rates, even though I would usually suffer it and drop the refresh to increase the res on my old CRTs. Miss those things, even if I do enjoy the extra desk space.
     
  9. RemixDeluxe
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    RemixDeluxe GBAtemp Psycho!

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    How new is G-Sync technology?

    There are very few monitors that have this and the ones that do have it are not cheap at all. Is it worth paying that high cost or just look for something else?

    Also what panel types should I be looking for? keep in mind this is for PC gaming.
     
  10. YayMii

    YayMii hi

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    G-Sync has been around since 2014, but it's an exclusive technology that requires monitor manufacturers to purchase specially-designed modules from Nvidia in order for their screens to be able to use it (adding about $200-300 to the cost). It's a pretty nice technology to have if you can afford it (since it'll make any game running in the 30-144fps range appear smoother), but I can't exactly say the technology isn't overpriced. The very best monitors on the market only come in a G-Sync variety, so that might be something to consider.

    And as for panel types: TN will tend to have more washed out colours and worse viewing angles than any other type, but you will find that a majority of 144Hz panels tend to be TN panels. The colour issue has been improved considerably in recent years, but it's still something to consider if you're looking into doing any sort of colour-sensitive work. IPS panels will have much better colours and viewing angles, but at the cost of response time (motion blur) and often refresh rate. There are 144Hz IPS panels that exist, but they tend to be among the priciest monitors available, since most of them also feature G-Sync and 1440p resolutions (there are also some decent IPS panels from Acer and Catleap that can be overclockable and may be worth checking out). VA is somewhere in between the two technologies, but those monitors tend to be quite uncommon and may also have slower response times than the other technologies. Many of the other panel types are irrelevant when it comes to PC gaming.
    So I'd still recommend TN especially if you play any sort of fast-paced games (unless you can afford $700+ for a nice and fast IPS panel). 60Hz/overclockable IPS panels may also be an option if colour quality is more of a priority than motion clarity and/or if your taste in games is on the slower side.
     
    Last edited by YayMii, Jan 9, 2016
  11. RemixDeluxe
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    RemixDeluxe GBAtemp Psycho!

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    Sorry guys for responding so late. In regards to a monitor I decided to get a PG27AQ, whenever that releases.

    About my GPU, I currently got a GTX 780. The oculus rift requires a 970 or higher and this new monitor demands for a 980.

    Does the GTX 980 have good specs for its price or should I go for something higher? The Titan series is well over $1k and the difference in power for the cost didn't seem worth it.
     
  12. Originality

    Originality Chibi-neko

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    Don't get a Titan unless you have money to burn. A GTX 980 Ti is almost as strong for half the price. Note that the Ti is a step up from the 980.
     
  13. RemixDeluxe
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    RemixDeluxe GBAtemp Psycho!

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    I just recently learned that the PG279Q will feature 1440p @ 144Hz while the PG27AQ will have 2160p @ 60Hz. If I want smoother gameplay should I go for the PG279Q? I've always valued smoother gameplay over prettier graphics but is the difference between 60 and 120FPS that indistinguishable?

    Here's a comparison chart. Which seems more worth it overall?

    http://anandtech.com/show/9710/asus-announces-two-new-rog-gaming-monitors
     
  14. Originality

    Originality Chibi-neko

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    The advantages of higher refresh rates are debatable, as medically the eye can only perceive something like 28fps (I forget the exact number). However many gamers testify that 60fps "looks smoother" so it's become the standard, although I can only tell the difference when there's excessive motion (less motion blur). 120Hz usually allows 3D to come into play, but if 3D happens to be not supported then the only benefit to higher refresh rates is reduced motion blur.

    Personally, if those two monitors were my only choice, I'd go for whichever would be cheaper. Only if they're the same price would I go for the 4K monitor (PG27AQ).
     
  15. RemixDeluxe
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    RemixDeluxe GBAtemp Psycho!

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  16. FAST6191

    FAST6191 Techromancer

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    Yeah more res works for me, probably even pay a slight premium for it (or just drop down to a lower price bracket).

    As for the card there are two terms you probably want to look up 1) binning and 2) actually I do not know it but it is fairly standard if a company does not want to keep things in stock so they figure out an expense they can live with and go with that.
    Most people encounter binning when they look into overclocking -- making chips is an expensive game so if you make chips that do not reach one standard but make the lower one then you do not write it off as a failure and just have a lower standard model. If everybody wants the, presumably cheaper, lower standard model then you can artificially hobble your better performing chips and sell the lower performing ones.
     
  17. ravihpa

    ravihpa GBAtemp Advanced Fan

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    Since you're already waiting for the monitor, I would SERIOUSLY SUGGEST you wait for Nvidia's new offering in the graphics card department. The chip is codenamed "Pascal" and it's supposed to be 10x faster than Maxwell (the current 970/980 chip).
     
  18. RemixDeluxe
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    RemixDeluxe GBAtemp Psycho!

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    When will this new model be out? I would like to get a new GPU within this month from now but if its only a couple more months I'll consider waiting longer.

    Honestly I'm ok with getting a 980Ti, I just wanted to get high enough so that I can run Oculus Rift and my new monitor. Plus theres no telling how much this newer card will cost in comparison.
     
  19. ravihpa

    ravihpa GBAtemp Advanced Fan

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    Latest rumor suggesting Q2 2016.

    http://www.tomshardware.com/answers/id-2815563/nvidia-pascal.html

    I would seriously suggest you to wait as with the same amount of money as 980TI, you'll get a MUCH MUCH MUCH BETTER CARD :)

    Google Nvidia Pascal and read up :)
     
  20. Joe88

    Joe88 [λ]

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    I would take nvidia's "promises" on how much more powerful it will be with a grain of salt, they are trying to build hype
    wait until reviewers actually get their hands on retail cards first, and or the hundreds of fps graphs come out