cjmcjmcjmcjm wrote:What monitors do you have/want (or think are the best)?
Currently, I have a super-cheap 1080 AOC monitor with rather shite colour quality. I'd really like one of those "5K" monitors, but both the Dell and Apple options blow my entire new computer budget on that alone (granted you get a free Mac inside your Apple 5K monitor), so I'll have to pick something else as my ideal. For that matter, is now a good time for monitor buying (eg. mostly predictable improvements year-to-year) or too volatile to predict which technologies will prove worthy for a longer-term investment?
I'm currently in "research phase" for my next monitor. I'll probably pull the trigger in the coming weeks. Here are my requirements:
1. Better than Twisted-Nematic (TN) technology -- TN is one of the first technologies and currently has the fastest display characteristics. However, TN panels change in color as you move your head around, even slightly. If you have a low-quality TN screen, view this web page for example
and you can see the color changes even between the "top" and "bottom" of a typical TN screen.
I'm personally looking at IPS or VA screens to purchase, sacrificing some gaming specs for a little bit better display angles and color clarity.
2. Decent color coverage -- High-quality color coverage is extremely expensive. I've somewhat arbitrarily chose sRGB coverage as my benchmark, although higher-quality benchmarks exist (for example,Adobe RGB). Low color coverage causes "banding", "dithering", and other artifacts in otherwise smooth gradients. High sRGB coverage (close to 100%) will reduce the effects and show the colors as the graphic artists wanted them to be. Arguably, you should also work to color calibrate your screens when you get them... at least if you're serious about graphic design.
3. Better than 1080p -- I do video editing as an occasional hobby, often with 1080p video. I'll want a bit of extra room, not necessarily to see the whole 1080p video on screen... but maybe 720 worth of room + enough room to still do video editing with the preview window up. The "smallest" screen that's acceptable is therefore the 21:9 monitors (2560x1080 resolution). 2560x1440 and 4k (3840x2160) are also an option.
4. Decent gaming specs -- Display lag is the bane of my existence. Most monitors seem to have display lag under control however. Its an issue I have with TVs, but I'm still going to pay attention to it. Having a faster refresh rate will be nice... I hear that 144Hz is amazing. 60Hz is universally supported, but I'd like a bit more with solid display lag characteristics (faster than 15ms end-to-end display lag)
It should be noted that "response time" is more of a blur measurement, and NOT a good measurement of display lag. Display lag will always be much higher than "response time", as it includes the calculations of the scaler and protocol speed issues. Most monitors have 1ms to 4ms response time, but all monitors have display lag 9ms or higher. (some TVs have display lag of 60ms+ with only 1ms of response time).
1ms of response time describes how quickly the images change between colors. Fast response times mean less blur. 60ms display lag means that fighting games offer horrible
experiences >_< (many fighting games require 16ms of precision... playing with 60ms of lag makes landing those 16ms combos extremely difficult)
5. FreeSync / GSync support -- I have a (recent) AMD Graphics card, which forces me to use FreeSync. (Nvidia users have to use a GSync monitor). Fortunately, FreeSync monitors are hundreds of dollars cheaper than GSync, although the feature still costs a pretty penny in either case. FreeSync and GSync currently require a DisplayPort cable and a relatively recent graphics card.
The monitor that matches all of the above specs is the LG 29UM67
. With 99% sRGB coverage, 2560x1080p, 75Hz and yes, FreeSync support... it matches all my specs. NewEgg has a sale right now at $380
, which is the cheapest I've ever seen this particular monitor.
LG also has a 34-inch version, but I'm not quite sure that I'd pay over a hundred dollars more for a bigger monitor without better resolution.
However, LG just announced a 4k version of the 29-inch monitor... along with a 9.7ms display lag specification
. $600 is steep though, almost double the other monitor.
For those willing to sacrifice color clarity and focus entirely on gaming specs, the best "gaming" monitor is still likely the TN panel: Asus MG279Q. With the standard gaming TN panel, Asus pushes 144Hz with FreeSync support (a similar model is available with GSync). Asus manages to achieve 100% sRGB with a TN panel, 144Hz and 1440p. I'd bet that it has a narrow field of vision however (being TN) and would recommend it to those who want to optimize gaming specs above all else. $600 there
for probably the best reviewed gaming monitor right now.
cjmcjmcjmcjm wrote:For that matter, is now a good time for monitor buying (eg. mostly predictable improvements year-to-year) or too volatile to predict which technologies will prove worthy for a longer-term investment?
There's been a lot of movement recently
. The switch to 4k, the prevalence of superior-grade panels (IPS, VA, PLS...), above and beyond TN. And my personal favorite: FreeSync / GSync. I can't think of much movement in the near future however. Gamers will be unsatisfied with 4k: a GPU that can actually game at 4k will cost you $1500 at least today (you'll need two ~$750 GPUs to drive 4k gaming), and the motherboard / CPU setup will be steep as well. Panel technology is always in flux, but seeing IPS reach decent gaming specs bodes well.
The main question is AMD's FreeSync technology vs NVidia's GSync technology. Like the BluRay vs HDDVD or VHS/Beta wars of the past, this new monitor feature will only work with specific company's graphics cards. Take a side (I've personally chosen AMD's FreeSync) and go for it.
Display Port 1.2 only supports 4k / 60fps. Period. You'll need more than one cable to support 5k and above... or an upgrade to DisplayPort 1.3 (or overclocking). HDMI 1.4 only supports 4k / 60fps with 4:2:0 chroma downsampling... so... we're gonna be "stuck" at 4k for a long time. Even then, Windows programs like Chrome and Adobe Acrobat need to still upgrade their upsampling to work in 4k mode well. (Microsoft supported high-DPI since Vista, but software makers have lagged behind on updating the individual programs.).
For better or for worse, there's a lot of friction at 4k. Software and Protocols have become the "short stick". Apple can power-through since they don't have as much 3rd party software and also more control over device drivers and such. (IIRC, the iMac 5k monitor uses a non-standared overclocked signal internally... and works with other Macs using the proprietary Thunderbolt cable). It will take a few years for the industry to resolve the problems at 4k.
So the real "upgrades" are color quality and FreeSync / GSync... as well as 4K Monitors becoming much cheaper in general (Samsung's newly announced 4k FreeSync display is only $400