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2017 Archive

January 2017:

Samsung CH711 Curved Quantum Dot Displays
Dell S2718D with World's Thinnest Profile
Dell UP3218K with 8K Resolution Panel Announced
Asus ROG Swift PG27UQ - 4K, 144Hz, G-sync, Quantum Dot and HDR
AMD Announces FreeSync 2 for HDR Gaming
Acer Predator XB252Q and XB272 with 240Hz Refresh Rate
Acer Predator Z301CT with Tobii Eye-Tracking


Samsung CH711 Curved Quantum Dot Displays
January 10th 2016

Samsung’s new CH711 Quantum Dot curved monitors are designed with gamers in mind. Available in 27- and 31.5-inch variations, and scheduled for an early 2017 commercial release, the CH711 models deliver vivid images and colours with a 125% sRGB gamut colour space. Both models offer a 1800R curvature along with a 2560 x 1440 resolution, 3000:1 static contrast ratio and 178/178 viewing angles. The other specs and features don't appear to be listed at the moment, so more information when we have it although given the known specs these look to be VA technology panels.

The CH711’s sleek, sophisticated 360-degree design complements any desktop or décor. Its clean, white chassis features an attractive three-sided Boundless design, and neatly hides its power and HDMI cables out of sight inside the stand’s neck.

No word on price yet.

Source: Samsung


Dell S2718D with World's Thinnest Profile
January 10th 2016

Dell's press release sums up the key selling points of this new display announced for CES 2017 nicely: "Earning the distinction of CES 2017 Innovation Awards Honoree and featuring the world’s overall thinnest profile, the new Dell 27 Ultrathin Monitor’s striking design is sure to catch the eye. With Quad HD technology and USB Type-C connectivity, the S2718D integrates a sleek, modern design aesthetic to complement any space and offers an expansive entertainment experience without borders, courtesy of Dell’s InfinityEdge display. Position the stunning display however feels best with the articulated hinge and enjoy an unhampered view from nearly any angle. Sophisticated and understated, this state-of-the-art design beautifully and subtly houses the critical components in a slim base, making it perfect for a multitude of lifestyles and contemporary workspaces.

Not only is the ultrathin design remarkable but the S2718D also offers Dell’s HDR feature, which allows you to experience the next generation of entertainment with stunning visuals in high dynamic range, enhancing the experience with exceptionally vivid images, higher clarity with visibly vibrant textures and increased contrast. Sporting built-in USB Type-C connectivity for added convenience of all-in-one cable management, ComfortView and a flicker-free screen for eye comfort, the S2718D adds convenience to an already astounding visual experience."

The screen is apparently only 6.9mm thick, the same as an iPhone 6! Spec wise the screen offers an IPS panel with 2560 x 1440 resolution, 1000:1 contrast ratio, 400 cd/m2 brightness, 178/178 viewing angles, 99% sRGB gamut coverage and 60Hz refresh rate. Interestingly the screen also offers a rare glossy screen coating. The stand offers tilt and swivel adjustments only, and a large portion of the electronics and controls for the screen are contained within the base to allow for the ultra-thin profile. USB Type-C (USB-C), HDMI 2.0 and a 3.5mm audio jack are provided for connectivity.

The Dell 27 Ultrathin Monitor (S2718D) will be available March 23 on Dell.com in the United States starting at $699.99.

Source: Dell


Dell UP3218K with 8K Resolution Panel Announced
January 10th 2016

Shown off at this year's CES event in Las Vegas, Dell have unveiled their new 32" class (actually the panel is 31.5") UltraSharp display with a whopping 8K resolution. The UP3218K has four times more content than Ultra HD 4K resolution and 16 times more content than Full HD in addition to 33.2 million pixels of resolution compared to a 5K monitor’s 14 million pixels of resolution. The 7680 x 4320 resolution offers 280 PPI for very fine detailed image quality. Clearly the screen is aimed at the professional market, and it also has a wide gamut backlight offering 100% Adobe RGB coverage, along with a 10-bit colour depth support.

In other specs the screen offers an IPS technology panel from LG.Display, 1300:1 contrast ratio, 400 cd/m2 brightness, 178/178 viewing angles and 60Hz refresh rate. There are 2x DisplayPort 1.3 connections and 4x USB 3.0 offered. The stand has tilt, height, swivel and rotate adjustments.

Dell imagines it being used in "commercial fields where in-depth image zooming is critical - such as photo and video editing, medicine and diagnostic research, and oil and gas exploration." The retail price is expected to be $4999 USD and should be available from 23 March.

Source: Dell


Asus ROG Swift PG27UQ - 4K, 144Hz, G-sync, Quantum Dot and HDR
January 5th 2016

It might look like a wish list of all the latest features people are asking for, but Asus have just announced their forthcoming ROG Swift PG27UQ monitor, to be showcased at CES 2017 from January 5th - 8th. The screen offers an incredibly impressive spec and will be the first 4K (ultra HD 3840 x 2160) resolution screen to also support 144Hz native refresh rate. This is achieved through the use of the next generation DisplayPort 1.4 interface which allows support for the high bandwidth necessary to power this screen at that res/refresh rate. The screen is only 27" in size, and so the need for this kind of high resolution and 163 PPI is perhaps somewhat debatable, although it will deliver crisp images that's for sure. It does at least set the precedent that 4K @ 144Hz is possible though. Perhaps the real benefits for many will appear when we see larger screen sizes appear with 4K @ 144Hz.

Keep in mind you will need an extremely powerful system and graphics card to run this kind of screen at this refresh rate and resolution, although NVIDIA G-sync is also provided to help where refresh rate drops lower. The PG27UQ uses a new version of G-Sync tuned for HDR in fact. High dynamic range refers to the screen’s ability to produce a broader range of brightness, colour, and contrast than typical displays. More specifically, the monitor supports the HDR 10 standard currently used by gaming consoles. The screen pumps out up to 1000 cd/m2 of luminance—around 3X the brightness of typical gaming monitors. That would be a bit overpowering spread over the entire screen, but the backlight is divided into 384 distinct zones. Selectively dimming zones maximizes contrast, allowing the monitor to mix piercing whites with bottomless blacks.

Additionally, the PG27UQ will feature 'Quantum Dot' backlighting, offering a boosted colour gamut designed to deliver more vibrant colours for gaming. The PG27UQ supports the DCI-P3 color space commonly used by cinema projectors. The wider gamut is literally more cinematic than the sRGB standard for PCs, and more importantly, its palette has 25% more colours (i.e. 125% sRGB coverage). The Quantum Dot Enhancement Film (QDEF) helps to create deep saturated reds and greens out of the blue light produced by the 384 controllable LED backlight zones. First used on high-end HDR televisions, QDEF film is coated with nano-sized dots that emit light of a very specific colour depending on the size of the dot, producing bright, saturated and vibrant colours through the whole spectrum, from deep greens and reds, to intense blues.

The following snippet is taken from the NVIDIA press release: "Created in concert with AU Optronics, G-SYNC HDR displays are designed with the latest technologies to deliver the ultimate gaming experience, with visuals that better match the capabilities of the human eye. And unlike HDR TVs, G-SYNC HDR monitors were designed from the ground up for the ultimate PC gaming experience, with stunning image quality, tear-free and stutter-free G-SYNC smoothness, minimal motion blur, and near-zero input latency, compared to the 22-41ms of latency added by recommended HDR TVs. In addition, G-SYNC HDR monitors stand further apart from other HDR displays through the implementation of full array 384-zone backlights, and cutting-edge Quantum Dot technology."

As you might hope, the screen is based on an IPS-type panel (believed to be the AU Optronics prototype shown off in June 2016) which delivers stable image quality and wide viewing angles. The screen features dual DisplayPort 1.4 interfaces and an additional HDMI. The stand offers a full range of tilt, height, swivel and rotate functions and there is built in AURA RGB lighting also. No word in the current information whether the presence of G-sync means that ULMB will also be offered, although the screen certainly supports a native refresh rate high enough to make this likely.

It’s scheduled to arrive in North America in Q3 for around $2000 USD (corrected price) according to Asus, although there's a good chance of delay to that we would expect, so we anticipate Q4 most likely.

Source: Asus, NVIDIA


AMD Announces FreeSync 2 for HDR Gaming
January 5th 2016

AMD have recently announced their latest development to their FreeSync variable refresh rate technology which has been around now since 2015. FreeSync 2 as it's being called is now just about variable refresh rate, but accounts for High Dynamic Range (HDR) as well. It's not designed to be a replacement for FreeSync, more of a side development focusing on what AMD, its monitor partners and game development partners can do to improve high end gaming. It's more aimed at the high end gaming market due to the costs of developing this technology

Centre to this development is HDR support. As Brandon Chester over at Anandtech has discussed more than once, the state of support for next-generation display technologies under Windows is mixed at best. HiDPI doesn’t work quite as well as anyone would like it to, and there isn’t a comprehensive & consistent colour management solution to support monitors that offer HDR and/or colour spaces wider than sRGB. Recent Windows 10 updates have helped a bit, but that doesn't fix all the issues and obviously doesn't account for gamers still on older operating systems. Windows just doesn’t have a good internal HDR display pipeline and so this makes it hard to use HDR with Windows. The other issue is that HDR monitors have the potential to introduce additional input lag because of their internal processors required.

FreeSync 2 attempts to solve this problem by changing the whole display pipeline, to remove the issues with Windows and offload as much work from the monitor as possible.  FreeSync 2 is essentially an AMD-optimized display pipeline for HDR and wide colour gamuts, helping to make HDR easier to use as well as performing better. This will also help reduce the latency and added input lag of the HDR processing. There's a detailed article over at Anandtech which talks more about the development requirements and further technical detail which is well worth a read.

Additionally AMD has tightened the standards for FreeSync 2. Now all certified monitors will be required to support Low Framerate Compensation (LFC), which in turn means they’ll need to support a wide enough range of refresh rates to meet the technology’s requirements. Consequently, anyone who buys a FreeSync 2 monitor will be guaranteed to get the best variable refresh experience on an AMD setup, as opposed to the less consistent presence of LFC on today’s FreeSync monitors. AMD are also pushing to ensure FreeSync monitors perform with low latency and lag in both SDR and HDR content, which will be a welcome improvement for gamers.

Because all of AMD’s FreeSync 1-capable cards (e.g. GCN 1.1 and later) already support both HDR and variable refresh, FreeSync 2 will also work on those cards. All GPUs that support FreeSync 1 will be able to support FreeSync 2. All it will take is a driver update.

AMD is not setting any firm release dates and is not announcing any monitors at this time. They are only announcing the start of the FreeSync 2 initiative in general terms. They still need to finish writing the necessary driver code and bring on both hardware and software partners so it's likely to be a fair amount of time before it is properly introduced and available.

Source: AMD, Anandtech


Acer Predator XB252Q and XB272 with 240Hz Refresh Rate
January 5th 2016

We've already seen a few 24.5" sized models announced in recent months featuring the new generation of 240Hz refresh rate TN Film panels. This includes Acer's own forthcoming XB251HQT display. We know from our High Refresh Rate roadmap article that AU Optronics also had a 27" sized panel in plan which would follow a little later, and Acer are the first now to announce a display featuring this larger panel option.

There are a couple of new models announced. First, the Predator XB252Q will offer another choice in the 24.5" size, while the Predator XB272 will represent the first available 27" option. Both offer a 1ms G2G response time along with the native 240Hz refresh rate TN Film panel. They are combined with NVIDIA G-sync and support Ultra Low Motion Blur (ULMB) as well. Both sport a 1920 x 1080 resolution, which some may find a little low in the 27" size for day to day use, but should be fine for a lot of gaming. The panels also offer a 1000:1 contrast ratio, 170/160 viewing angles and sRGB gamut.

Both screens offer tilt, height, swivel and rotate adjustments from the stand along with DisplayPort 1.2a, HDMI and 4x USB 3.0 connections. 2x 2W speakers are also built in.

The XB252Q and XB272 will be available from February at an expected retail price of $549.99 / 599 Euro and $679.99 / 699 Euro respectively.


Acer Predator Z301CT with Tobii Eye-Tracking
January 5th 2016

Picking up the CES 2017 "Best of Innovations" award, Acer are showcasing their new Predator Z301CT monitor at this year's event. This is a 21:9 aspect ratio ultrawide screen which features new Tobii eye-tracking integration helping gamers intuitively aim, shoot and explore. This Tobii eye-tracking is designed to complement existing PC gaming inputs as opposed to replace them, using the gamers eye movement to create new input modality. Pairing this with mouse, keyboard or gamepad controls gives gamers a richer, more immersive experience as they are able to mimic actions that occur in real life, such as looking for cover or aiming at a target. Camera angles also automatically rotate as the gamer's eye focuses on the end of the screen, while characters and game environments react as the gamer looks around. Tobii eye tracking functionality can be found in over 45 titles like Elite Dangerous, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided and Watch Dogs 2. The games' sounds and graphics will dynamically adapt depending on where the gamers look.

Focusing on the rest of the monitor now, the screen is 30" in size and offers a 2560 x 1080 resolution and 1800R curvature. There is a 200Hz refresh rate, 4ms G2G response time and supports NVIDIA G-sync. ULMB is not listed in the press release however. There is also a 3000:1 static contrast ratio, 178/178 viewing angles and an sRGB gamut. This is based on an AU Optronics AMVA (VA-type) panel. The stand offers tilt, height and swivel adjustments and there are also 2x 3W DTS sound speakers built in. DisplayPort 1.2a, HDMI and 4x USB 3.0 connections are offered.

The Z301CT should be available around February with a retail price in USA of $899.99, and in Europe of 899 Euro.



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