For years, the de facto standard for PC gaming and consoles was 1920x1080 – even if consoles occasionally struggled to reach it. 1080p monitors have been the only practical choice for gaming for years now, but viability of 1440p-ready hardware for mid-range gaming PCs means that the market for 1440p monitors has become more competitive. Similarly, the 4K monitor market is also getting fairly competitive, but unfortunately mid-range (and even higher-end) GPUs still struggle to run at 4K in many modern games.
While 4K becomes more attainable for the average consumers, 2560x1440 monitors fit the needs of many gamers who want higher resolution than 1080p while still desiring to render – and show – 120+ FPS. With this in mind, we’ve created this buyer’s guide for the best 1440p gaming monitors presently on the market, particularly when accounting for price, high refresh rate, or panel type. Since the primary use case for the monitors in this guide is gaming, we have primarily included G-Sync (covered here) and FreeSync (covered here and here) compatible monitors for users with nVidia and AMD GPUs, respectively.
This episode of Ask GN 25 carries our content output while we travel, granting a brief reprieve from the unrelenting GPU reviews of late. As always, post questions on the YouTube video page for potential inclusion in the next Ask GN episode. If you've got a non-GPU question, those would be greatly appreciated to break-up the content!
For this episode, we're focusing on the question of Fast Sync vs. V-Sync, talking GPU binning, the impact of power supply selection on overclocking headroom, and more. The very last comment in the video will address our RX 480 Endurance test – mostly difficulties with crunching and presenting as much data as we've collected.
Video and time stamps below:
Stutter as a result of V-Sync (which was made to fix screen tearing -- another problem) has been a consistent nuisance in PC gaming since its inception. We’ve talked about how screen-tearing and stutter interact here.
Despite the fact that FPS in games can fluctuate dramatically, monitors have been stuck using a fixed refresh rate. Then nVidia’s G-Sync cropped-up. G-Sync was the first way to eliminate both stutter and screen-tearing on desktop PCs by controlling FPS-refresh fluctuations. Quickly after nVidia showed off G-Sync, AMD released their competing technology: FreeSync. G-Sync and FreeSync are the only adaptive refresh rate technologies currently available to consumers on large.
Last seen at CES 2014, AMD's FreeSync demo went live shortly after nVidia's fanfare about G-Sync, a technology we overviewed here (read this content if you're unfamiliar with frame synchronization). FreeSync and G-Sync are both adaptive refresh rate technologies that effectively ensure the display slaves to the GPU, allowing for a smoother frame output by eliminating both tearing and stuttering (V-Sync on).
ASUS has announced that the ASUS ROG Swift PG278Q we saw during CES is officially shipping at the end of August. It's a fair bit later than the Q2 target they were shooting for, but if all goes to plan, it will be here shortly. This is the first WQHD screen to use NVIDIA's G-Sync. The 27" monitor will feature a 144Hz refresh rate at 2560x1440 for normal 2D viewing; the Swift PG278Q drops to 120Hz in 3D mode. It also has a response time of 1ms (GTG) and 2xUSB 3.0 ports in addition to the DisplayPort 1.2 input.
FreeSync was first announced as a variable refresh rate technology at CES 2014, legitimately taking nVidia by surprise on the show floor. Immediately after the technology was unveiled, we happened to be scheduled for a meeting with nVidia's Tom Peterson and Vijay Sharma to discuss G-Sync. I'd slipped in a question about the technology, announced an hour beforehand, and Peterson told us: "I don't know. We just heard about that today. I haven't read about it yet - ask me after the show."
In our third episode of TechRAID -- our video series dedicated to rounding-up and explaining the week's news stories -- we turn to coverage of video hardware, power supplies, and a new CPU. This week's news topics include 80 Plus Titanium, nVidia's rumored Maxwell 750 Ti February 18th release date, a new 16-core AMD CPU that could turn into an FX processor, and G-Sync vs. FreeSync technologies in the display market.
There were a few major PC hardware trends at CES this year; gaming monitors supporting higher resolutions and new technologies (G-Sync, FreeSync) were among those trends. While at CES 2014, we reported on nVidia's G-Sync and how it actually works, a hardware solution to decrease frame tearing and stuttering by using a variable refresh rate (rather than a fixed 60 Hz or 120 Hz solution). Technologies like G-Sync (and FreeSync) are absolutely something I can get behind -- the overall experience delivered to the gamer is far smoother and very noticeable in gameplay; visuals lose that choppiness exhibited when using a fixed refresh rate and frame tears largely vanish.
In this round-up, we'll walk through some of the best G-Sync gaming monitors of CES 2014, with a heavier focus on 1440p and 4K resolutions (though 1080p is still most prevalent). We've already written about a few of these new monitors, including ASUS' ROG and BenQ's options.
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