Sunday, December 1, 2013

[Rant] Finally it is time to move on. Bye bye 1080p. Hello 1440p.


I had been thinking of upgrading my PC’s display for a long time. I had been using a 27” 1080p display made by Iiyama (a Japanese brand) for few years. It is a TN panel and the pixel clock can only be overclocked to 69Hz. They say it has super fast response time, but I don’t know for sure.

1080p is the norm today. While 1080p is very easy for most of the midrange graphics card, the next step isn’t. The next step is 1440p or 2560x1440. Of course there is another notch above that – 4K or 3840x2160. But that is out of reach for most people. In fact, there are only a couple of displays made for the PC that uses 4K resolution.

I have a GTX670 graphics card. It only has 2GB video RAM. While it hardly chokes with 1080p, 1440p isn’t that easy for it. But since I am planning to upgrade the graphics card soon (waiting for the price drops in the holiday season), I thought 1440p is viable option. I’m thinking of getting GTX 780 or a R9 290. On the AMD side, I’m waiting for the cards based on 3rd party coolers. On the NVidia side, I’m waiting for the price drops. I can get a second GTX 670, but the video RAM issue would still be a problem. Even though the card will have 4GB video RAM in total, there will only be 2GB effectively because pretty much the same data needs to be copied across both cards.

Yes, I was waiting to get a G-Sync supported display. But the display would be expensive and the panel would have to be just TN. We don’t see any TN based 1440p displays, but it might change in the future. And I don’t want to be this feature the deciding factor between NVidia and AMD. I want the deciding factor to be performance to price ratio.

Now, which monitor to get? 1440p is still quite expensive. All the displays available in the Japanese market are priced well above JPY50,000 mark. So I had to turn to the South Korean displays which are sold for around $300 on EBay (around JPY30,000). But the issue with that is the difficulty to RMA the display. And they only give 1year warranty. 30 days for one to one exchange, and after that free repairs for a period of a year. I’m adventurous. So I decided that it isn’t a bad deal, considering you get a few more “useful” features with these Korean displays. First, you get a highly overclock able display. Usually, most can hit 96Hz and some can hit 120Hz+. Since there is no signal processing step, you get very little input lag.

The quality is sometimes better than the known brands. Backlight bleeding is there, but most displays have this. Sometimes it can be better on these Korean displays. The other thing is dead pixels. I decided to go with one that has Pixel Perfect guarantee just to be safe. It costs $20 more, but that is well worth it IMO. It doesn’t mean that the other displays have dead pixels. But better safe that sorry.

The only other issue with these  Korean displays is that the cheap ones only have one input type – dual link DVI. No D-Sub, no single link DVI, no HDMI and no Display Port. Fine by me, as long as the the video card doesn’t die, because the Asus ROG Maximum VI Hero board only has HDMI as the output when using the iGPU.

Anyways, I placed the order today. I bought the one called Qnix QX2710 Evolution II.

Sadly, it is the weekend, so they are not operating. I had to pay around JPY34,000 for the display. Quite a lot. Should have gotten one last year when the Japanese Yen was strong. Sad! Hopefully they will start processing the order next Monday and ship the display within the week. Hey, South Korea is like next door. They can ship it quickly, right? I am worried about the import duties though. There is an members club in where they had put the import duties for this monitor for each country. For Japan, the import duty has been zero! That’s great new. Maybe they would change it from me onwards.

Basically, this monitor would be better than the old one it replaces in three aspects.

1. Has a PLS panel which gives much better image quality, viewing angles and color reproduction

2. 2560x1440 resolution which is double that of 1080p

3. Higher refresh rates. Hopefully it can hit 120Hz. But I will need a lot of graphics horsepower to run it at high FPS to make use of the high refresh rates.

I hope I get a display without any issues. I don’t plan on overclocking it if I don’t have to. I don’t think the GTX 670 would manage to break 60Hz with 1440p even with low settings. But hey, I don’t like to rot in the same place (i.e. 1080p). And this move will justify me upgrading the display as well. It is still my money though.

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