HDR is coming to PCs but the first monitors from BenQ, Dell and LG are uninspiring. The new monitors coming from Asus and Acer are an entirely different story. These beasts use advanced LED local dimming to enable expanded brightness range and wider color gamut.
True HDR PC monitors
BenQ, Dell and LG have leaped over where the hedge is lowest. They have basically taken standard LCD panels, implemented software for HDR, and called it a day. This has very little to do with HDR.
That is why it is exciting to witness how Acer and Asus have made an effort and went farther than most of us probably had hoped for. In fact, their new monitors match some of the most advanced HDR-capable LCD TVs on the market.
Asus PG27UQ and Acer XB272 were announced at the same time that Nvidia announced ’G-Sync HDR’ and as such these will be the first two to utilize the system. However, what makes them special is the LCD panel with direct LED and local dimming in 384 individually-controlled zones. This is the same technology that some of the most expensive LCD TVs such as Panasonic DX900 and Samsung KS9800 take advantage of.
- “The backlight illuminates the screen, and with 384 individually-controllable LED backlight zones, light will only be shown when and where it is required, enabling G-SYNC HDR displays to simultaneously produce bright bold colors and deep blacks, reminiscent of the very best plasma displays,” said Nvidia.
1000 nits brightness & DCI-P3 color space
The LED system will allow the monitors to reach a peak brightness of 1000 nits and cover almost the entire DCI-P3 color space that was developed for cinema.
In practice this means that you get a much higher dynamic range (contrast) as well as colors that have not been achievable in PC games in the past, including Ferrari red and Lamborghini orange. Two of the first PC games with HDR support are ’Mass Effect: Andromeda’ and ’Shadow Warrior 2’.
The LCD panels have been developed in collaboration with Taiwanese LCD panel manufacturer AU Optronics. AUO is also developing LCD panels for TVs. The expanded color space is made possible by utilizing a quantum dot film.
- “To further enhance the monitor we have applied a Quantum Dot Enhancement Film (QDEF), 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 color depending on the size of the dot, producing bright, saturated and vibrant colors through the whole spectrum, from deep greens and reds, to intense blues,” the company added.
The monitors also deliver 4K resolution and support G-Sync HDR, which is Nvidia’s second generation G-Sync system that eliminates stutter and reduces input lag. More specifications are available in the table below. The same specifications apply to both monitors since both are based on the same LCD panel produced by AUO.
The monitors will be available in the second or third quarter of 2017. Asus PG27UQ will cost around $2000 in the US. Acer has not commented on the price.
World’s first 4K (3840 x 2160), 144Hz, G-SYNC HDR gaming monitors
2 models: Asus ROG Swift PG27UQ and Acer Predator XB272-HDR available in Q2.
Monitors certified by NVIDIA and fully integrated into GeForce Platform for the best end-to-end gaming experience
Hallmark G-SYNC variable refresh rate technology for tear-free, smooth and responsive gameplay
Unrivaled HDR image quality with vivid intensity, color and contrast
1000 nits peak brightness
384 zone full-array dynamically controlled direct LED backlight
DCI-P3 cinema grade color gamut with Quantum Dot technology
DP 1.4 and HDMI 2.0 inputs
Virtually zero input latency from pixel arrival at monitor to photon emission from LCD (HDR TVs introduce 22-41ms latency).