Author Topic: Monitors  (Read 725 times)

Offline Xessive

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Monitors
« on: Sunday, September 03, 2017, 01:41:46 PM »
Monitors: the windows to our personal computing devices. The one you have can determine the very basis of how you interface with your machine.

I'm often torn between resolution, refresh/response time, and colour accuracy.

A couple of years ago I picked up the Asus PG278Q aka the Asus ROG Swift. It's 1440p screen with 1ms response time and crank out up to 144Hz with G-Sync support.

It's a TN panel screen but I was surprised with how accurate the colour representation appears on it, considering one of the common downsides of TN panels is their lacking colour accuracy. Its viewing angles are not great but as a desktop monitor I'm generally only ever going to view it from one angle anyway. This was later addressed with its refresh the Asus PG279Q which has a gorgeous IPS panel. However, TN panels are renowned for their speed. Overall, I've been very happy with it.

Fairly recently, I wound up with a 27" curved monitor (Samsung CFG70), which I have been using for the past few months. It's among Samsung's first lineup of "gaming" monitors. It's s 27" 1080p screen with FreeSync, 144Hz, IPS panel. Gorgeous screen but suffers some IPS glow effects (which are random and inevitable). The curved screen was striking at first, I went in assuming it was yet another gimmick and its novelty would soon wear off. But at the distance I normally sit from a monitor, it actually felt a tad more immersive. It eventually became the norm and I adjusted it to it fairly quickly.

Even though it was a lower resolution than I had been using I took the opportunity to run games at 1080p and really get some performance out of them over the past few months. Great times but it's now time to come back to my beloved Asus ROG Swift. This is when I noticed the difference.

Apparently, my eyes were so accustomed to the concave curves of the Samsung CFG70 that now this monitor looks convex! I feel like I'm looking at a classic bubble TV screen! ;D The optical illusion is blowing my mind! I know it's in fact a perfectly flat screen but it looks and feels convex!

I'm sure this will soon wear off as well but it's an interesting experience having assumed the curve screens were just gimmicks.

Offline gpw11

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Re: Monitors
« Reply #1 on: Tuesday, September 19, 2017, 08:31:50 PM »
Ha, that's pretty hilarious

Offline Xessive

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Re: Monitors
« Reply #2 on: Thursday, September 21, 2017, 05:59:49 AM »
Yeah, it was weird for a few days.

I've readjusted to the flat screen and all is well.

I think curved screens make more sense for ultrawide monitors (21:9 ratio).

Offline iPPi

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Re: Monitors
« Reply #3 on: Tuesday, January 23, 2018, 12:56:47 AM »
A bit of a bump, but my monitor of 12 years has finally died.  It was a 21" HP monitor with a resolution of 1680x1050 -- at the time, it was quite a decent monitor.  Over the years, I picked up a 20" (in 2010) and a 23" in 2013 and have been using a three monitor setup.  Both of these monitors are cheap -- the 20" cost $100 and and the 23" came with my PC that I ordered from Dell back then.

I think now might be a good time to get a new monitor, and the latest Alienware AW3418DW has caught my eye.  It's an IPS panel with 3440x1440, curved display with G-sync.  It's been getting decent reviews. 


Offline ren

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Re: Monitors
« Reply #4 on: Tuesday, January 23, 2018, 07:52:57 AM »
I bought a Dell U2415 on sale a few months ago and love it. So much that I may buy another one to complement it.

A 34" curved monitor sounds amazing but I prefer having a two or three monitor setup over that.

I suppose it depends what you do on the monitor though. I use it for work and no gaming so multi-monitor beats size.

Offline iPPi

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Re: Monitors
« Reply #5 on: Wednesday, January 24, 2018, 12:05:52 AM »
Yea, one of the drawbacks of having an ultrawide is that it's a single screen with tons of real estate but sometimes productivity can be a challenge.  I've heard there are ways to split the screen space up either using a tool or even Windows' built-in snap features. 

In any event, I will probably keep the 23" on the side as well to ensure that, to the extent that I work on my desktop PC, I can.  I do all my work on my work laptop anyway.

Will be waiting for Dell to have a sale in Canada on the monitor.  It's way too expensive at regular price and a dealbreaker.

Offline Xessive

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Re: Monitors
« Reply #6 on: Wednesday, January 24, 2018, 01:55:31 AM »
The Alienware AW3418DW is a gorgeous monitor and generally scored well in reviews. I haven't tried it myself but it was on my list when I was looking at ultrawides as a potential option. The other 3 I was looking at were the Asus, Acer, and LG. With LG having the most affordable option (the LG 29UC88 close to $300).

The main reasons I ended up opting against ultrawide are cost, gaming, and that the trade-off did not add significantly to productivity. I was still doing fine with a dual monitor setup. In fact, I ended up going with multi-system setup (two PCs linked) thanks to helpful utilities like Multiplicity. But that's another topic.

The cost of ultrawide is still too high and while I can see it being useful for certain fields it's not all that utilitarian for most people.

For me, I'd rather spend that amount on a significantly higher spec 16:9 screen (whether it's 4K or 1440p).

Unless you're in dire need, I wouldn't recommend buying a new monitor just yet. I'd estimate waiting till March (if not sooner) when Asus and Acer will announce their new monitors and the release dates of their previously announced HDR monitors. You'll either find something new you want or the prices will drop on something you're eyeing now.

Offline Quemaqua

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Re: Monitors
« Reply #7 on: Thursday, January 25, 2018, 10:15:30 PM »
Curiosity: why is having more monitors better for productivity as opposed to one big one? I've gotten used to my dual-monitor setup, but the primary advantage is being able to full-screen certain applications on the other screen easily, or snap things to the edges of that screen.

天才的な閃きと平均以下のテクニックやな。 課長有野

Offline gpw11

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Re: Monitors
« Reply #8 on: Saturday, January 27, 2018, 07:09:54 PM »
I find it really easy to just have a PDF open on one screen full screen and a spreadsheet, cad program, or whatever else open on the other.  That said, yeah, I could just snap to split screen on a larger monitor. 

Offline ren

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Re: Monitors
« Reply #9 on: Monday, January 29, 2018, 09:34:51 AM »
Snapping is good but it really only helps you do a 50/50 split. With dual monitors you can snap on each of them which gives way more options.

Dual monitors also give you a separate taskbar for each screen which makes it a lot easier to manage windows than an alt+tab screen that goes on forever.

Snapping is also just not ideal for some applications; operating in full screen can be easier.

Offline Xessive

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Re: Monitors
« Reply #10 on: Saturday, February 03, 2018, 02:13:29 AM »
For design, I usually have the main work on my primary screen and toolkits along with any reference images on the other screen. It just allows me to give maximum real estate to the artwork on a single screen.

This is also effective using multiple (or virtual) desktops but I tend to get frustrated quickly when I'm repeatedly switching or alt-tabbing.

Offline gpw11

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Re: Monitors
« Reply #11 on: Saturday, February 03, 2018, 11:14:08 PM »
Not at all related to this thread really but I switched one of my office monitors with my home monitor.  Mainly because I work from home a fair bit and figured I should move the 24" there and could use my old 21" at the office with little problem (in combination with my existing 24").

My home monitor was a pretty high end (for the time) Samsung from like 2006 or so.  The office one I moved is like a budget Benq from the last couple of years. I only really noticed the difference between them since switching really but the newer one just has so much better colour production and viewing angles.  Plus, way lower response time (like 2ms compared to 6ms) but fuck me, do I wish there was an easy way to turn the backlight down.

Offline Cobra951

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Re: Monitors
« Reply #12 on: Sunday, February 04, 2018, 12:12:51 PM »
My screen's backlight doesn't even get a normal adjustment control.  Rather, it falls under energy saving, with 4 levels:  High, Medium, Low and Off.  These are not brightness levels, but rather energy-saving labels.  So the scale is backward from what you'd think.  It's really stupid.  Off for full brightness, High for dimmest.  I was on High for a long time, and more recently went to Medium.  The full brightness seared my retinas, especially when the screen was new. 

I'm sure you have some sort of backlight adjustment you can live with most of the time, then use the monitor's software controls for brightness, contrast, etc.  I have 4 presets for the software visual adjustments, of which I use Normal and Movie almost exclusively.  Normal has the white level at 80%, for regular computer activities, like right now.  Movie I have set to use the full range of brightness (with white at 100%), and I use that for videos and gaming.

Offline iPPi

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Re: Monitors
« Reply #13 on: Saturday, February 10, 2018, 07:38:07 PM »
Ordered the AW3418DW as it is on sale in Canada.  Now the wait -- apparently won't get here until March!

Offline Xessive

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Re: Monitors
« Reply #14 on: Sunday, February 11, 2018, 09:37:52 AM »
Ordered the AW3418DW as it is on sale in Canada.  Now the wait -- apparently won't get here until March!
Nice! Get us some shots of your setup!

Offline MysterD

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Re: Monitors
« Reply #15 on: Sunday, February 18, 2018, 08:47:07 AM »
I have a U28E590D Samsung 28'' 4K Monitor TN panel. Personally, I love it.

I do bounce often use 1440p for games, since GTX 970 won't handle most games at 4K 60fps for me. Though, b/c of the blur that can occur from 4K->1440p or any 4K->downgrading, make sure you crank your AA, AF, any/or anything else that can sharpen the image up until it isn't blurry for you.

Offline gpw11

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Re: Monitors
« Reply #16 on: Sunday, February 18, 2018, 10:58:26 PM »
My screen's backlight doesn't even get a normal adjustment control.  Rather, it falls under energy saving, with 4 levels:  High, Medium, Low and Off.  These are not brightness levels, but rather energy-saving labels.  So the scale is backward from what you'd think.  It's really stupid.  Off for full brightness, High for dimmest.  I was on High for a long time, and more recently went to Medium.  The full brightness seared my retinas, especially when the screen was new. 

I'm sure you have some sort of backlight adjustment you can live with most of the time, then use the monitor's software controls for brightness, contrast, etc.  I have 4 presets for the software visual adjustments, of which I use Normal and Movie almost exclusively.  Normal has the white level at 80%, for regular computer activities, like right now.  Movie I have set to use the full range of brightness (with white at 100%), and I use that for videos and gaming.

This helped actually.  I can't find a direct control but I can mess with the presets, although previously I didn't realize they were adjusting the backlight as well.  There's a low blue light mode which seems to help and an eco mode which is great, but seems to auto adjust - which is pretty fucking distracting. 

Offline Cobra951

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Re: Monitors
« Reply #17 on: Monday, February 19, 2018, 12:04:50 PM »
It depends on the monitor.  On mine, backlight is strictly its own thing under energy saving.  All my presets and full-range controls are software adjustments only (meaning they only affect the LCD elements).  Not ideal by far.

I have never met a TN panel that I liked.  I hate the extremely narrow vertical viewing angle, with colors inverting when the viewpoint is lower than the screen.  I know they have the lowest display lag, but I'll take a few more ms of that to get a screen that shows the same colors whether I'm standing up, sitting up straight, or slumping down in my chair.

Offline Cobra951

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Re: Monitors
« Reply #18 on: Sunday, August 12, 2018, 10:57:13 PM »
Well, my trusty 11-year-old Samsung 23" TV died.  I woke up at around 3:30 AM to see . . . nothing!  The audio from some satellite station was still playing, but all I could see was a dim backlit rectangle.  Nothing I tried for over an hour brought it back.  No display of any kind, including the OSD.  My guess is that enough dust accumulated on the electronic innards through the top vents to finally overheat the display chip and fry it.  RIP!

So I stayed up another hour on my laptop (thank God I got one around last Christmas) scouring the monitor offerings listed in the Microcenter site.  I narrowed it down to 2, and ended up with this ASUS 279QL after checking it out at my local MC store.  Pretty much exactly what I wanted, given that it was going to be a monitor and not a full TV.  27" with almost no bezel, it's only slightly wider than the 23" Samsung.  1080p, 60 Hz, though I've read it can be driven at 75 Hz.  It's either IPS or AMVA+, depending on where you go read about it.  Rock-steady colors at all viewing angles, with brightness dropping off as they get extreme.  Beautiful picture, with 6 different presets intended for different purposes.  All but one (sRGB) are user-modifiable.  HDMI, DisplayPort and D-Sub (VGA) inputs, separately selectable in the OSD.  Digital audio through HDMI and DP, with audio out through a standard headphone jack.  (Internal speakers suck, as usual.)  I went with DP, and the sound through my Logitech 2.1's is so much better than the integrated analog audio I've been getting for nearly 2 years.  I was expecting higher dynamic range (a much better noise floor and no harsh distortion for loud SFX), but I was not prepared for the much-tighter bass and overall clarity.

The picture is the real star.  Damn, this thing looks good.  I've spent the better part of the weekend fiddling with settings on both the monitor and Nvidia Control Panel, and I think I'm finally coming to grips with how to make it look its best.  I need basically 2 modes: one that looks good when doing what I'm doing right now without searing my retinas, and another for balls-to-the-wall high contrast for games, movies, TV shows, etc.  I'm almost there.  Still tweaking, but pretty happy.

The surprise was the stand.  This thing allows 4 degrees of motion: height, and 3 axes of rotation.  It can be turned around into portrait mode (9:16).  I doubt I'll ever use that, but who knows.

The sharpness, contrast and size are such great improvements.  The downside is no legacy analog connections, and no TV.  Since I went with DP, I could get an HDMI hub, and use it to plug in both the Xbox One and the 360.  For now, I will probably just plug in the One (haven't bothered yet).  The Wii will probably go into the closet.  I haven't even turned it on in years, but it still feels like a casualty.  the PS2 was disconnected long ago.  I will probably get a cheap TV, and run the coax to it, at some point.  Come to think of it, I can borrow the little one in the kitchen.  Now I just need to find something to prop it up on in my room.

Edit:  A couple more details:  Response time is 5 ms, and input lag, according to this review, is 12 ms.  Every official description I've read says that cables beyond VGA are optional, but that's not the case.  I got HDMI, DisplayPort and audio cables, and several adapters, most notably HDMI to DVI and full-size HDMI to mini.  Come to think of it, I think the only thing I didn't get was VGA.  I'll have to look in the bag of goodies to be sure.
« Last Edit: Yesterday at 05:26:05 AM by Cobra951 »

Offline Cobra951

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Re: Monitors
« Reply #19 on: Today at 12:41:02 PM »
In general, some thoughts.

V-Sync is a waste, unless you get lots of tearing. You lose too many frames, using V-Sync and all. If you have little to no tearing, use a program like MSI Afterburner or NVidia Inspector and cap it to 60fps, if you don't take crazy roller-coaster type of hits that go up and down a lot (i.e. go from 60 to 25fps then up to 45fps then back to 30fps then...well, you get the drift).

Adaptive Sync is not a bad idea either, as long as it ain't bouncing b/t back and forth with 60fps and 30fps all the time.

FastSync is good too for Nvidia users - but, you have to make sure still don't get graphical tearing. It's like running No Sync, but you get "useless" frames thrown out. Doesn't always work, though - as it did not play nice w/ Homefront: The Revolution for me. When using it - cap to 60fps (or wherever you like) w/ Afterburner or Nvidia Inspector.

G-Sync monitors are great for NVidia users, if you're willing to afford that expense in terms of $$ - since you don't get tearing & you really don't want to lose performance/frames.

Thanks for those tips.  As long as the hardware performs as well as needed or better, I like sticking to vsync.  For the last 2 years, that's been the case, because of my lower resolution.  Very little trouble maintaining a locked 60 fps on everything I've been playing.  Now I'm going to have to make compromises in some cases, and as luck would have it, the game I'm into right now seems a tough, unoptimized case.

Thing is I hate tearing and flagging.  I'll put up with them when I have no choice, but I'm not going to suffer through them when I don't.  Your approach, it seems to me, practically guarantees those nasties in true fullscreen mode.  And a hard 60 fps cap imposed in an app often makes it more difficult for the system to maintain that frame rate than it is with triple-buffering and vsync.  With the latter, the process can get slightly ahead of the game when able, giving it more wiggle room.

The whole purpose of Adaptive Sync is to prevent the sudden drop from 60 to 30 fps.  If the system can't generate a frame in under 16.7 ms, it will skip the sync on it.  Theoretically anyway.  I don't really know the inner workings.

I actually saw some Freesync and GSync monitors while searching around, and at Microcenter as well.  They were all too expensive, and higher-res than I wanted.  Pretty soon, I imagine anything that isn't a cheapie will be 1440p or 4K.

Offline MysterD

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Re: Monitors
« Reply #20 on: Today at 04:35:19 PM »
There are other problems also w/ V-Sync ON.

Input lag. If it's waiting for frames to sync-up perfectly b/c it's got too many frames produced - boom, input lag. Can really affect your gameplay and also throw you off w/ your controls, movement, and whatnot.

You can get also stuttering from V-Sync On, if your framerate goes below your monitor's refresh rate. Big hits on framerates also don't help either, as you can get slapped w/ stuttering from that.

Bethesda Engine Games from their overly duct-taped engine (i.e. Fallout 3/4/NV & Skyrim) definitely can be hit w/ all of this stuff.

V-Sync ON is normally best when you have a framerate matching your monitor and you lose NOTHING - i.e. when you will always remain at 60fps on your 60hz monitor.

FreeSync is an open-solution for Syncing. AMD supports it, though NVidia doesn't. So for now, it's only for AMD cards. But, not all FreeSync monitors are created equal, as there's no real guideline or curating done on them. No royalties in FreeSync either. My 4K monitor supports FreeSync - but eh, NVidia doesn't support it officially.

G-Sync is NVidia's solution for Syncing. It's expensive and it's great; I have it on my SC15 laptop. Input lag is at a minimum, frame stuttering is minimized & there's no screen tearing. It's the best Syncing method out there - and it really shows, as it's pricey as hell. This is something NVidia actually curates and has a special module that they developed that gets put in the monitor, which is in there to help control the frames and work along with the GPU in tandem to keep issues to a minimum. G-Sync works w/ the GPU for variable framerates. Plus, G-Sync is how they make $ with royalties, too - so, yup, that's all why it's so pricey.

IMHO, there's nothing like running a fast-paced action game like Prey 2017 at 120hz w/ 120fps w/ G-Sync, taking a hit down to 90fps, and it feels like nothing ever happened (no stutter, no issues, no tearing, nothing) and it still runs smooth like it never took a hit (since you're above 60fps and likely won't notice the other extra frames, when you go over 60fps). I notice & feel the hits w/out G-Sync when I go from say 60fps down to 50fps, but don't notice or feel them when going from 120fps to 90fps w/ G-Sync. Nothing like G-Sync, IMHO.
« Last Edit: Today at 05:07:42 PM by MysterD »