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Monitor advice thread / followup thoughts

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Re: Trying to decide on a new monitor

Postby GammaLyrae » 08 Apr 2018, 21:07

I think I will just wait until AU Optronic's new IPS panels come out some time this year. If they can comfortably drive the response time down to 3-4ms without overshoot artifacts, the combination of color clarity, viewing angles, and motion performance would be about exactly what I'm looking for. IPS glow always threatens these monitors, but I don't mind bouncing units back to Amazon until I find one I can tolerate.

After looking at tftcentral's reviews of the overclocked 165 ips panels present in monitors like the Asus PG279Q and Acer XB270HU, I am pretty sure I would be happy with those, but dropping so much money on a monitor like that when a faster / better one is practically right around the corner seems foolish. Maybe if they go on sale for <=$500 I'd bite, though.

It doesn't seem like the panel is in production yet, and there'll be another time lag before a manufacturer scoops it up to actually make a monitor with it, but a year and a half, maybe two also lines up nicely with when I expect I'll want a new GPU, and I can switch to Nvidia for Gsync if needed at that time.
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Re: Trying to decide on a new monitor

Postby GammaLyrae » 16 Apr 2018, 22:47

Actually I couldn't wait lol. I looked around at some of the 2018 model IPS monitors, which was starting to break into ultrawide and 4k areas. It doesn't seem like they've made any major breakthroughs since the 2015/2016 panels. Resolutions are getting higher and the electronics surrounding the panel itself are getting more feature-rich, but the speed and performance of the panel itself has been relatively constant. Given my sensitivity to overshoot artifacting and color issues, getting a monitor sooner that feels good to look at seems fine, even if one that could be 1-2ms faster is around the corner. It also didn't seem like there was any reason to believe that the new, supposedly faster IPS panels from AUO were even going to be a resolution that's reasonable to drive at 144hz (1440p or below).

Long story short, I shopped around and got a PG279Q and a GTX 1080 shipped for just over $1k. Considering the monitor is the larger of the two investments and also doesn't need to be upgraded or replaced until a distant future date, I'm fine with that I think. I almost bought the xb271hu, but the inferior overdrive tuning and less forgiving replacement policies from the manufacturer sealed the deal on the Asus model. There's a specific range of known serial numbers that ASUS will cross ship replacements for no questions asked, and having ordered the monitor through Amazon, I also kinda get "double coverage" in the form of cross shipped replacements from Amazon if needed. I'm already quite familiar with IPS glow and accept it as a trade off for other panel characteristics, so long as there isn't heavy backlight bleeding, which is an entirely separate problem.
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Re: Trying to decide on a new monitor

Postby Chief Blur Buster » 17 Apr 2018, 01:04

It's a good durable monitor that can do for quite a while.

Once you receive it, let the forum know how the model is!
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Re: Trying to decide on a new monitor

Postby GammaLyrae » 19 Apr 2018, 00:23

Overall, I am quite happy with it. There was some drama with the shipment...the ASUS box that it was originally shipped in got completely waterlogged and was a mushy cardboard mess, it arrived re-packaged by UPS, so, clearly, they were the ones that allowed that to happen. Water had even penetrated through to the inside, the manual was waterlogged too. The monitor itself was fine, however. I don't have my GTX 1080 yet (that isn't being delivered until tomorrow), so I am unable to test Gsync or ULMB functionality yet.

The first thing worth mentioning with this model, of course, is the backlight bleed. There is some very minor bleed in the top right edge and on the left side of the screen near the top, but not quite at the corner. Given their proximity to the outer edge of the screen, any evidence of backlight bleed is immediately overshadowed by an IPS panel characteristic, IPS glow. That being, the brighter, almost grey appearance of deeper blacks, which increases with intensity the more off-angle you are relative to perfectly centered. The 27" panel is large enough that even sitting a pretty good distance away, IPS glow is visible at the outer edges. This is a characteristic of IPS panels that I am already well accustomed to and accept as a trade-off. VA panels have their own style of glow which is similar, albeit not as intense. I would say that the level of BLB I see on my monitor is below average. I am certain that if I even bothered to bounce this back to Amazon, it's likely I'd receive a unit with worse BLB.

Out of the box, the colors were nice. The white point was a bit off, but it didn't look like much else deviated from the norm. By having bought such a "big name" monitor, I was able to easily find a pre-calibrated ICC profile and recommended OSD settings to start from, and honestly, adjusting the colors or contrast from there just made the image worse in noticeable ways. The ICC profile adjustments were quite subtle, to the point where if I had to do a double blind test, I'm not sure I could reliably pick the monitor that has a calibrated ICC profile installed. The RGB adjustments were fine to my eyes. However, I have elected to keep the ICC profile installed, even if I can barely notice what it's changing.

I can notice the dip in contrast compared to my previous VA panel. Even darker colors closer to the center point of the screen are noticeably brighter than I was used to. The darker the screen is overall, the more apparent it is that the blacks on this monitor would appear more like a dark grey if you cloned the image to a VA panel. However, the pixel response time performance is much faster, and I haven't been able to perceive any overdrive artifacts yet, which are two issues that I am quite sensitive to.

It is, of course, not as fast as a TN panel. Even being generous and working with tftcentral's measurements of 5ms average response time, that is measuring the response from 0-80%. The remaining 20% of that transition can take quite a bit longer, and there is some faint evidence of trailing / ghosting behind faster moving objects as a result. But the response time performance is much more uniform, so you don't have certain transitions taking significantly longer than others. It feels nice knowing that I can finally adjust gamma / brightness settings within games back down to sane levels without watching the screen smear into a blurry mess, as was often the case while gaming on my previous monitor, the Samsung CFG70.

I am definitely still within the honeymoon period. But I don't think my satisfaction with this monitor will be dropping at all, my purchase was well researched and the compromises I had to make in order to get the image quality performance I was looking for were worth it. I think it would've been nice if the monitor was a little less expensive, as a $700-something price tag easily makes it the most expensive component of my entire PC loadout. Since nobody else has seemingly stepped up to the plate to offer a monitor like this with comparable out of the box performance, I can see why it holds on to that MSRP and why people still recommend it, even though it'll be a 3 year old model by the end of this year.
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Re: Trying to decide on a new monitor

Postby lexlazootin » 19 Apr 2018, 00:57

3 year old model by the end of this year.

Wow, you're right. I guess monitors just move slower because they have to wait for AUO to make a new panel.
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Re: Trying to decide on a new monitor

Postby RealNC » 20 Apr 2018, 04:01

Keep in mind that BLB changes over time. Mine had some very slight BLB in the upper right-ish region, and now it's completely gone. Later, there was a tiny bit of BLB on the right middle that wasn't there before. And then later on that got reduced to almost zero, but something appeared somewhere else...

I think it moves around on its own :P
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Re: Trying to decide on a new monitor

Postby GammaLyrae » 20 Apr 2018, 15:59

RealNC wrote:Keep in mind that BLB changes over time. Mine had some very slight BLB in the upper right-ish region, and now it's completely gone. Later, there was a tiny bit of BLB on the right middle that wasn't there before. And then later on that got reduced to almost zero, but something appeared somewhere else...

I think it moves around on its own :P


Good to know. I suppose it makes sense, if backlight bleed can be influenced by applying pressure to the bezel, gravity alone can change this behavior, given enough time. I think I do remember reading some reviews from people that had the monitor for a longer period of time, and mentioned that overall, BLB was reduced compared to their day one impressions.

I received my GTX 1080 yesterday, so I've had a chance to test things out. Gsync feels good. I can't perceive a difference in motion clarity or jitter performance compared to Freesync, so I'm happy to report that, at the very least, it's not worse. It might even be better, since Gsync has a much lower refresh rate floor compared to my previous Freesync monitor, without requiring the use of LFC in order to fake it. (Freesync was the first VRR technology I used, so, worth mentioning.)

I largely find the ULMB function to be useless on this monitor. While there is some improvement to motion clarity, the fact that the pixel response time is forced to be on the highest setting counteracts this. Nearly every moving object has an inverse trail following it, which persists for some time. I think I'd be happier with its performance here if you could use the Normal response time setting in ULMB. I would personally find a half-brightness image trail that persists for 1-2 refreshes to be far less distracting than an inverted image that trails for several refreshes, and such an effect would be easily dismissed as cross-talk. It doesn't help that turning ULMB on seems to require turning Gsync off, dropping to 120hz in windows, and then activating ULMB on the monitor. Since the monitor seems to have a "Turbo" function to quickly switch between refresh rates, it would've been nice to see that toggling ULMB within the monitor goes through those steps for you. While the pixel response time is low enough that I don't feel the need to turn to ULMB, it does sting a little that its implementation is both somewhat poor, and partially responsible for the price premium of the monitor.
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Re: Trying to decide on a new monitor

Postby lexlazootin » 21 Apr 2018, 00:24

I've yet to experience ULMB on a IPS but i would GUESS that they turned it to the highest to help with the slower IPS pixel response. I could imagine a slower faded blurry mess would look worse then a over driven one with ULMB enabled. But famously ULMB locks down the Overdrive function to test that out :(
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Re: Trying to decide on a new monitor

Postby GammaLyrae » 22 Apr 2018, 01:09

Yeah. It'd be nice to at least try.

Had a minor image retention scare yesterday. I tried out the Black Frame Insertion mode of Retroarch. After only a few minutes of a 4:3 arcade game, there was some pretty substantial image burn-in. I gave it about 10 minutes of 'exercise' with an RGB pattern video and it cleared up just fine, but I had no idea that image retention was even possible with a standard LCD panel; I'd always assumed that was something reserved strictly for oled / plasma / CRT displays.

Even with several hours of standard desktop and gaming use, I don't get any retention with stuff like the Windows taskbar or static browser elements, it only seemed to happen from the software-level BFI of retroarch. I guess the pixels didn't like switching from full black to a color and back every 8~ms.

I've observed some slight "pixel walk" effects too, where text on screen in certain conditions can impact the color or brightness of the entire horizontal row of pixels they're on. To be honest, I don't even remember what site I saw this on, as attempting to reproduce it now, it isn't happening. It was also very subtle, and I'd only noticed it at all since an advertisement had drawn my eyes away from the post text I was reading.

I've got to say I'm surprised by these occurrences. More "subtle" elements like this seemingly fly under the radar; everyone is so concerned with the backlight bleed performance of this particular model, that few people are talking about other potential issues. I'm not sure if these are defects, or just characteristics of high refresh IPS panels that I wasn't aware of. Provided the image retention issue I experienced isn't a sign of a defective panel that will gradually get worse over time, I am fine avoiding the software BFI of retroarch, as I haven't seen the retention happen with more typical use cases...yet.

edit: For curiosity's sake, I decided to test something with my Dell U2414h. Its 60hz refresh rate is too low for games to be any fun with black frame insertion enabled (they'd run at half speed), but there is a flicker test available on test ufo. I full screened it and let it run for a little less than a minute. I could notice some faint retention of the refresh rate numbers, and some pixels were seemingly stuck in a flash-like mode, most noticeable near the corners. Certain parts of the screen were flashing slightly between darker and lighter versions of the intended color. This is a monitor I've had for years and never known it to have any retention issues until I explicitly performed a test that warns it may happen, so I think I'm fairly comfortable believing that the one time it happened on my PG279Q, it was because of the flickering image, and not a sign of things to come.
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Re: Monitor advice thread / followup thoughts

Postby GammaLyrae » 16 May 2018, 15:35

Nearly 1 month later, I am still very happy with this monitor and its performance. My experience with the Samsung va led me to believe that ULMB would be an important feature, but I simply haven't used it at all.

Backlight bleed has nearly completely dissipated. It was very subtle to begin with and I just don't see it anymore, unless I specifically look for it in a completely dark room on a high brightness setting. Even with that, that's still an improvement over its day one out of the box performance.

Haven't had any image retention issues since, either. Would definitely buy this exact monitor again, and it was worth every penny.
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