Tuesday, December 17, 2013

[Gadget] Qnix QX2710 Evolution II display (Part3-Brightness,overclocking and performance)

I’m splitting this article into three parts because it is going to be a long article. This is the part 3.

 

Brightness

There are only simple brightness controls on the display. You cannot choose a predefined brightness setting as with other displays. In fact, there is no On-Screen Display or Menu where you can change a million different settings. You have to do all of that through the graphics card’s control panel, which isn't a big deal because all the current gen graphics cards support it. I hope it does not impact the performance of the graphics card though.

With a new display, you are always going to get different colors and brightness value compared to the old one out of the box. It takes a bit of effort to set them up to look identical. I haven't managed to do that yet. But I think the settings that I have set for this new display works well. Besides, in a few days I will get used to the new settings and things would become much easier. Anyways, when it comes to brightness and colors, I’m using a custom ICC profile made by someone at OCN forums. Applying the ICC profile is a bit of a pain in Windows but I managed to apply it just fine. (check out a guide here)

colorprofile

For some reason, when I launched Crysis 3 and Need for Speed Rivals, it was pretty dark inside the game. So I had to increase the in-game brightness so that things got bright enough. For that to work though, you have to set it to work like that from the graphics card control panel.

NVIDIA_Control_Panel_2013-12-17_07-04-26

Overclocking

There are very few components inside this display. There is no scalar. The graphics card has to do that part. Even though it might sound as if it is a bad thing, it actually is not. That is because it not only results in a low input lag than almost all the other (IPS/PLS) displays, it also makes it easier to overclock. This display comes with a stock refresh rate of 60Hz like 99% the displays out there. But if you are lucky, it can be overclocked to 120Hz. Unfortunately, like always, I wasn't that lucky. Mine clocked to 96Hz without a breeze, but almost all of them can hit 96Hz anyways. I tried 120Hz, but weird green artifacts showed up on the display and I quickly went back to stock settings. Then I set a slightly lower refresh rate of 108Hz but it still gave the same artifacts, albeit at a lesser degree. I didn't try to fine tune the settings after that. I just dropped it to 96Hz and it worked perfectly. It's not as if my GTX 670 can do 96FPS in games with details maxed out. It cannot. That's why I need to upgrade the graphics card. Fun times!

These are the artifacts I got when I went past 107Hz. (Click the image for a larger version if you like)

small

image

I just used Precision X’s Pixel Clock OC tool to overclock the display. It’s the easiest method. If you have an AMD graphics card though, things would not be this easy.

resolution

It is also reflected in the NVidia control panel.

Even though I said the display can be overclocked to 96Hz easily, I've been keeping it at 60Hz while I'm not gaming. I don't need a super fast refresh rate when I'm browsing the internet. However, 96Hz can make video playback smoother as 96Hz is a multiple of 24fps but 60Hz isn't. But don't forget that there are movies that display at 29.97fps as well. Basically, 120Hz is the holy grail of refresh rates. It's unfortunate that this display couldn't quite get there. I will check to see of there are other workaround to get there. I hear that if I reduce the DVI frequency, I might be able to get there. But not sure if it would work or how to do it in the first place.

Performance

On the other hand, the performance of the display is pretty sweet. I cannot say for sure of it would ghost more compared my old TN display. If you look closely, you might be able to make a difference. But I’d rather not dig that much into that.

So, on which basis am I saying the performance is top notch? Two pointers.

First, when I switch on the display by pressing the power button on the display, it would turn on and show the picture in about a second. In comparison, my old TN display which had half as much pixels to show, took about 4 seconds. When overclocked to 69Hz (which is the highest it could reach) , it took more than 5 seconds to power up. It sucked so badly!!!

Second, in Windows 8 when I switched between a 3D game and the desktop, it took about 3 seconds for the picture to show up with the old display. I thought it was a problem with either Windows 8 or the NVidia driver. When the driver started to support ShadowPlay technology, it got even worse. No, such delays are not present with the QX2710. Man, that old Iiyama display was pathetic. Japanese designs!

Conclusion

I'm not much of a still image specialist to tell the difference between the image quality between this display and my old TN display. I think TN panels have come a long way and the gap between IPS and TN is narrowing down. What I'm trying to say is that I cannot tell if the new panel shows better image quality than the old one without comparing them side by side. Unfortunately, that's underwhelming. I think IPS is overhyped for people who are not into photo editing.

On the other hand, I like how the screen real estate have doubled with this display. Yes, that means the text is smaller, but now I've gotten used to it. But what I don't like is that my gaming frame rates are cut in half. But this wasn't unexpected. I knew how dangerous the territory I was getting into was. I wonder how it would look if I used 1080p when gaming. If it doesn't look crappy, I might play the more stressful games at a lower resolution. Even though the increase in resolution is why you would go with a 1440p panel, realistically with games, once you get fully immersed in the game play, you won't notice the big pixels. If you do, you better go play something else.

I'm also happy that I can overclock the display to 96Hz. I can go all the way up to 107Hz, but that's a non-standard refresh rate and I don't want to push it. The last thing I want is for the display to go nuts.

The display has no dead pixels and the amount of back light bleeding present isn't that annoying. You cannot see if unless the screen is completely dark. Almost all the displays have some sort of back light bleeding. But if there is excessive back light bleeding, you should RMA the display.

The biggest thing I notice is the responsiveness of the display. By responsiveness, I mean how long the display takes to respond from the time it gets a signal. My old display was horrible in this regard. Most of the times the PC had finished POSTing and started booting Windows before the display comes to life.

Of course this a great purchase at $319, but I really expected to see much more improvement in colors and image quality from switching to PLS (or IPS - both give pretty much the same quality). I do recommend it, but beware that you will have to buy high-end graphics card to power this monster from the point you pressed that “buy” button.

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