Top end monitor for competitive gaming?

Ask about motion blur reduction in gaming monitors. Includes ULMB (Ultra Low Motion Blur), NVIDIA LightBoost, ASUS ELMB, BenQ/Zowie DyAc, Turbo240, ToastyX Strobelight, etc.
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FastQ
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Joined: 25 Mar 2019, 14:32

Top end monitor for competitive gaming?

Post by FastQ » 25 Mar 2019, 14:44

I am a frequent-ish reader of blurbusters but am still a bit overwhelmed at the options.

Looking for a 24inch monitor to replace my VG248QE. I play League of Legends competitively and am looking for top end performance. I have zero interest in performance or image quality in any other game. I've had my eye on the PG258Q, XL2546, AW2518H, and LG(?) 240hz displays.

Before I go further- League is a CPU bottlenecked game, and can't consistently hit 240fps with my overclocked 8600k. If I delidded I could maybe get a consistent 200fps. Is a 240hz monitor advantageous over 120hz if my FPS is bouncing from say, 150 to 240 constantly? Or would I be better off just sticking to a framerate I can always hit?

Assuming that's not an issue, here are my takeaways looking at these monitors:

-PG258Q has "eye care". Not sure what this is, but if it reduces eye strain while not affecting performance this is useful. I'm at my computer most of the day.
-XL2546 has dyac. I thought I read here that it's top end blur reduction, but again not sure on what this really means.
-AW2518H is cheaper, while being 240hz with same input lag.
-LG has some sort of superior blur reduction I've read about?
-Any other monitors worth considering?

So, is there a real advantage to the ROG or Zowie options over the much cheaper alienware? What's the deal with LG? Does a 240hz monitor even help if the game isn't constantly running at 240? If not, is there merit to upgrading to say, a VG258QR?

Thanks for your help, I know these questions have been asked a million ways already but I'm just trying to get assurance that I'm not dropping $500 on something that might not even be an upgrade.

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Chief Blur Buster
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Re: Top end monitor for competitive gaming?

Post by Chief Blur Buster » 26 Mar 2019, 23:05

About 240Hz
Any frame rate significantly above 144fps can still get improved K/D ratios with 240Hz (The NVIDIA survey is for Battle Royale games, rather than LoL type games). So if scores matter a lot to you, getting 240hz makes sense. Some games might run better at a consistent frame rate. But your game, League of Legends is a great VRR candidate -- makes your scrolling much smoother to help you focus on the action without mis-aiming because of panning-stutters/tearing. Getting FreeSync/G-SYNC with a 150fps-240fps range gives you an advantage with 100% stutter free framerate changes. Since your framerate is almost always below max Hz, there would be no real need to cap your frame rate, and you would not get capping lag.

About motion blur reduction
League of Legends static screens will not noticeably benefit, but fast-panning at a fixed framerate (e.g. 144fps capped at 144Hz) will produce amazing clear panning that is exactly as sharp as stationary. Imagine being able to pan fast without motion blur. 90-95% less motion blur! Meaning display motion blur is down to only roughly 1/10th what it was before. However, it mainly benefits the fast panning you may do. If you pan a lot, it may help. But blur reduction does add a bit of lag. And remember, extra refreshrate room always help blur reduction. 144Hz blur reduction on 240Hz monitors is virtually almost always better quality than 144Hz blur reduction on 144Hz monitors. You might not use this feature, but it's "nice to have available". Just remember blur reduction makes everything darker though some of the 240Hz monitors have voltage-boosted blur reduction which can be virtually nearly the same brightness as without using blur reduction. Regardless, due to the requirement of "framerate = refreshrate = stroberate" for high quality blur reduction, you will not be using blur reduction at the full 240Hz, so therefore don't choose LG because of its better 240Hz-specific blur reduction. When comparing 144Hz blur reduction, all the 240Hz options you said, all have relatively good 144Hz blur reduction, albiet the XL2546 being the most complex but most flexible-tunable.

About EyeCare
Most monitors have PWM-free dimming now, and have EyeCare style features (basically low blue light). Most of the time you can do it yourself via adjusting the Color Temperature, or recalibrating with a Spyder colorimeter to a warmer look -- a color profile. So EyeCare can be achieved on quite a lot of modern monitors. There is some issue with the excess amount of blue light that white LEDs emit, and that's been a source of eye strain and fatigue.

Bottom line: You have a "Fluctuating 150fps-240fps" situation.
- Definitely consider 240Hz for yourself.
- Definitely consider variable refresh rate. INGNORE your friends who say "GSYNC/FreeSync adds lag" (yes it does but the advantages actually compensates to improve K/D ratios more than the often <1-2ms lag with good well-implemented native VRR -- e.g. native GSYNC on native NVIDIA cards), because in uncapped LoL specifically the VRR advantages outweigh VRR disadvantages. Take my advice. Besides, you can turn on/off variable refresh rate. Thank me later.
- Blur reduction is good to have around (it's an ON/OFF feature) but doesn't help LoL strategies as much as other games -- unless your specific LoL strategy involves paying attention to action during panning
- For panning in RTS/LoL/etc, VRR is more important (eliminates stutter/tearing in panning, much less lag than strobing) than blur reduction (eliminates blur in panning, but more lag than VRR). Having both is a bonus though.
- The PG258Q has dynamic variable overdrive for variable refresh (G-SYNC) so will have less ghosting/coronas during VRR than the other options.
Head of Blur Busters - BlurBusters.com | TestUFO.com | Follow @BlurBusters on Twitter

       To support Blur Busters:
       • Official List of Best Gaming Monitors
       • List of G-SYNC Monitors
       • List of FreeSync Monitors
       • List of Ultrawide Monitors

FastQ
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Joined: 25 Mar 2019, 14:32

Re: Top end monitor for competitive gaming?

Post by FastQ » 27 Mar 2019, 02:55

Wow, thanks for the thorough response. I can't tell you how much I appreciate it!

It sounds like the PG258Q is your recommendation in my spot, even over the dyac of the XL2546?
I had no idea VRR had less lag than strobing. I definitely like having the blur reduction during panning, as watching other lanes/absorbing information during a teamfight quickly gets pretty important in higher levels. However, I have preferred 144hz (nonstrobed) to 120hz (strobed) recently.

Your response did inspire a few more questions, or really just double takes. Some things you said are contrary to what I had gathered by doing research on this very site, so I just want to make sure I'm reading right!

1. "Capping lag?" I always thought that by using native FPS capping I was avoiding lag imposed by V-Sync. Is that not the case? That's a really big deal if it's untrue! However, my frames are above 240 plenty of the time ingame. Would it be preferred to run at 240fps capped or uncapped, assuming I'll be below 240fps maybe 70-80% of the time?

2. I'm not one to be concerned about <1-2ms lag, but I was under the impression G-sync added more than that (6-7?). Has technology improved in the past year or so? I have an nvidia card, so unfortunately I'd need to fork up for the more expensive G-sync.

3. So eye care is effectively f.lux/windows night light? If so I obviously wouldn't pay for something that can be done in software.

4. I've heard nvidia is allowing freesync with 10 series and up. I have a 1060, is there any disadvantage to buying an XG258Q instead of a PG258Q, considering the only difference is the adaptive sync and a $100 difference?

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Chief Blur Buster
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Re: Top end monitor for competitive gaming?

Post by Chief Blur Buster » 27 Mar 2019, 23:06

FastQ wrote:1. "Capping lag?" I always thought that by using native FPS capping I was avoiding lag imposed by V-Sync. Is that not the case? That's a really big deal if it's untrue! However, my frames are above 240 plenty of the time ingame. Would it be preferred to run at 240fps capped or uncapped, assuming I'll be below 240fps maybe 70-80% of the time?
Capping can be used to eliminate a bigger lag.
So you're trading bigger lag with lower lag.
Capping has lag but it can be lower lag than what's capping is going to fix.
Unless you're doing capping wrong.
You have to cap strategically.
Example: RTSS capping is lower-lag than VSYNC ON (hitting max-VRR), but RTSS capping is more lag than uncapped VSYNC OFF.
FastQ wrote:2. I'm not one to be concerned about <1-2ms lag, but I was under the impression G-sync added more than that (6-7?). Has technology improved in the past year or so? I have an nvidia card, so unfortunately I'd need to fork up for the more expensive G-sync.
If you're doing 240Hz GSYNC (1/240sec scanout = 4.2ms), then GSYNC doesn't add that much lag most of the time, but the additional tweaks that are also done concurrently with GSYNC can also unexpectedly add lag too. For example, the art of capping a 300fps game to 141fps is like putting a 65mph governor on a Ferrari. That is why CS:GO players don't usually use GSYNC, while PUBG players often turn on GSYNC more often. You're going to get more capping lag than GSYNC lag. Get a high-hz GSYNC monitor so your framerate range is well-inside inside the VRR range. Then your lag penalty virtually disappears.
FastQ wrote:3. So eye care is effectively f.lux/windows night light? If so I obviously wouldn't pay for something that can be done in software.
Correct, but remember software based methods can add lag.
Unless it's done by adjusting the monitor's colorimetry directly rather than framebuffer reprocessing.
Nonteheless, you can simply use "Color Temperature" or "RGB Gain" features of most monitors to simulate F.lux
FastQ wrote:4. I've heard nvidia is allowing freesync with 10 series and up. I have a 1060, is there any disadvantage to buying an XG258Q instead of a PG258Q, considering the only difference is the adaptive sync and a $100 difference?
Earlier, there's some strange things going on with certain FreeSync monitors with NVIDIA hardware but multiple sources on the Internet were mentioning that this appears to be a potential bug in early NVIDIA drivers that is now already fixed. The lag penalty was abnormally large in the Battle(non)sense tests for one monitor model, which gave me a double take. Great tests he did, though it also means it's fortunately not a general rule of thumb (probably).

That story is still unfolding, although for those people who play professionally -- earn money $$ in esports competitive/sponsored gameplay, I recommend RTX 2080 Ti + native 240Hz GSYNC -- just to be safe. Now that said, if you're on a budget, or not uber-competitive, there are many FreeSync monitors that doesn't have a noticeable lag effect on NVIDIA hardware.

Moral of the story
- Capping is great but use capping strategically. Correct capping strategy is trading a bigger-lag for lower-lag. It's easy to make a mistake and trade lower-lag for bigger-lag. We just have to avoid doing that.
- If possible, avoid frame rate situations that randomly slams against caps. Be permanently capped or be permanently below cap. The repeat transition between capped/uncapped create minor latency changes that can screw with muscle memory (sudden appearance/disappearance of lag). If you need consistency, set frame rate cap near your game's minimum frame rate; like your game's 0.1% longest frametime. OItherwise, use cap only as a defense moat against a worse lag (e.g. hitting VSYNC ON at max-VRR)
- Get a VRR range big enough to capture your frame rate range. GSYNC is not as useful for games that are consistently >300fps. Floating frame rates are beautiful in GSYNC. In other words, get 240Hz to allow a humongous range that fits your "100fps-200fps" fluctuations comfortably without worrying about capping lag of any kind.
- You don't want to be slamming against externally-set frame rate caps if you can avoid it (e.g. GSYNC self-limitting behaviour, VSYNC ON limiting behaviour, RTSS limiting behaviour); try to use internal frame rate caps in-game. RTSS is one of the lowest-lag external capper if your game doesn't have a built-in cap configuration ability.
- FreeSync on NVIDIA hardware is looking great but watch out for early bugs
Head of Blur Busters - BlurBusters.com | TestUFO.com | Follow @BlurBusters on Twitter

       To support Blur Busters:
       • Official List of Best Gaming Monitors
       • List of G-SYNC Monitors
       • List of FreeSync Monitors
       • List of Ultrawide Monitors

FastQ
Posts: 4
Joined: 25 Mar 2019, 14:32

Re: Top end monitor for competitive gaming?

Post by FastQ » 28 Mar 2019, 10:47

Your responses are so thorough and not at all presumptuous. I wish every user on a specialty forum I ignorantly visited was as accommodating as you.

Let me just clarify that League of Legends framerates are definitely CPU bottlenecked. Upgrading from a 660 to a 1060 didn't increase my FPS at all, but Ryzen 1200>8600k definitely did. I'd be okay with a 1080TI if it mattered for league, but no matter what settings you apply you'll see sub-20% GPU usage and 100% CPU usage (assuming uncapped framerate) with my setup. To achieve a consistent 240fps on League, you'd probably need something like a liquid nitrogen OC'd 9600k. I'd buy a 2080TI if needed, but it won't add 1 fps.

It sounds like when you say to be permanently below or above cap, you'd recommend then playing on uncapped if I transition to 240hz, given that I'm quite often breaching 240fps?

I have about 6 weeks to get this monitor. I live in France but will be visiting the US in a month, and will be staying there for 2-3 weeks. I only need the monitor before I return to France. It sounds like if the software ends up being OK, there will be no issue with running Freesync>G-sync? In that case, where could I best look out for updates on this? I go for the G sync model, but obviously I wouldn't mind saving a cool hundred if there's literally no difference.

FastQ
Posts: 4
Joined: 25 Mar 2019, 14:32

Re: Top end monitor for competitive gaming?

Post by FastQ » 31 Mar 2019, 17:13

Quick bump, the AW2518h(f) is half the price of the other models when it goes on sale but I haven't been able to locate any tests comparing latency with the more expensive models. Since it doesn't have dynamic variable overdrive, I suppose it's only relevant given a G-sync setup.

Given my FPS range can go from 150 to above 240, I'm curious if G-Sync is still the way to go given:
Chief Blur Buster wrote:
FastQ wrote:Get a high-hz GSYNC monitor so your framerate range is well-inside inside the VRR range. Then your lag penalty virtually disappears.
To me that sounds like if I'll be above 240 a fair amount of the time, G-sync loses some of its glamour. Would I prefer to run G-sync off, cap my fps at 240 with G-sync on, or run uncapped/gsync on?

Sorry if you feel you already answered this question, I read over everything you said a few times and did outside research, but I'm basically just asking for you to professionally spoon feed me the most ideal settings it seems.

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