The upcoming Xbox Series X has been announced including some of its incredible capabilities such as its maximum 8K or 120Hz 4K output. If these claims are accurate, then the next-gen console will make many monitors and TVs obsolete despite the maturity of the markets for each one. People are already asking how the Xbox Series X will fit into current gaming ecosystems, particularly the displays.
What We Know About the Xbox Series X So Far
The Xbox Series X has faced a radical redesign from the long-lasting VCR form factor into a tower format which reminds us of mini PCs instead of a gaming console. Frankly, the new product looks great and refreshing, even if it won’t fit into many AV setups. However, the form factor’s smaller footprint makes it more ideal for desktops which are becoming popular due to the rise of all-in-one battle stations.
But what’s more important for the Xbox Series X is its innards which have a lot of ground to cover if you consider the promises Microsoft made regarding its output. The console will be running a customized Zen 2-based 3.6GHz octa-core processor and a custom Navi-based GPU with 12 Teraflops and RDNA technology. The device will also feature 16GB of GDDR6 memory, along with an NVMe SSD for faster loading times.
That combination for the Xbox Series X sounds potent and we think it could compete with or even beat many low to midrange PCs. However, we encourage consumers to avoid the hype and wait for benchmarks or reviewer tests to ensure that you get what you are expecting and paying for. It’s also worth noting that the Xbox Series X will not ditch CDs and go with DRM downloads instead since an optical drive was included in the announcement.
The Xbox Series X is also meant to be backward compatible, but again, no specifics were released during the reveal. We think this statement pertains more to current Xbox accessories such as the Elite Controllers more than the games.
The most important spec out of all for the Xbox Series X is its display output which is claimed to go as high as 8K (probably with scaling) or 4K native at 120Hz. This capability will bridge the gap between high-end PCs and next-gen consoles, making it the most attractive part of upgrading to the Xbox Series X. However, all of these remain to be seen, especially since final specifications such as connectivity are still unavailable at the time of this writing.
The bad news is you need DisplayPort 1.4 or the newer and much-awaited HDMI 2.1 standard to run at these resolutions with HDR enabled. Capable monitors like the 4K 144Hz Asus PG27UQ already use DP 1.4, but HDMI 2.1 is nowhere to be seen in the display market except for some high-end TVs like the LG C9 OLED.
Which Gaming Monitor Should I Buy for the Xbox Series X?
The quickest answer is none since there are no HDMI 2.1-equipped gaming monitors at the moment if the Xbox Series X is indeed equipped with HDMI 2.1. We know Microsoft will somehow try to apply a workaround for this, or maybe they will finally include DisplayPort as a standard feature of their gaming console. Again, nothing is set in stone when it comes to connectivity, so we hope Microsoft hears our wish that DP 1.4 will be included in the Xbox Series X’s I/O.
However, here are the gaming monitors which we think will maximize the Xbox Series X’s capabilities when it comes out: Take note that all of these monitors are relying on the inclusion of DisplayPort 1.4 or an active DP 1.4 to HDMI 2.1 converter which is still in the works.
The Asus PG27UQ is a full-HDR gaming monitor with a 4K 144Hz IPS panel that offers fantastic image quality. This top-end display product is one of the few options in the market which can maximize the Xbox Series X’s claimed specifications, most especially its claimed native 4K 120Hz output with HDR enabled. If Microsoft includes DP 1.4 in their latest console’s connectivity, this model is one of your best bets from today’s line up.
The Acer XV273K is a more practical option if you simply want a 4K 120Hz – capable screen that has excellent color quality with limited HDR implementation. The monitor is still capable of vibrant colors and decent black levels despite its lesser backlight implementation, pointing the focus towards its smooth and extra sharp screen.
The Philips 436M6VBPAB is one of our favorite 4K HDR monitors due to its fantastic price and features. This product is one of the cheapest DisplayHDR 1000 variants available, bringing true HDR performance from a monitor closer to the masses. This model is limited to 60Hz, but we reckon enjoying games in native 4K with HDR1000 to boot is already an experience in itself.
The Asus CG32UQ is a rare monitor variant that’s intended more for console gaming than PC use. The LED-equipped option features a base designed around charging and storing controllers, while the display takes care of 4K visuals with DisplayHDR 600 compatibility. This model is also limited to 60Hz, but its fantastic P3-coverage makes it a great pick for HDR gaming on the Xbox Series X.
The Asus XG438Q offers a TV-sized display that is capable of a 4K 120Hz output, along with FreeSync 2 and HDR compatibility. The gamer-centric variant offers excellent image quality, along with a response time and input lag result that will beat many 4K HDR TVs in the market.
HP Omen X Emperium
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The HP Omen X Emperium is the biggest and the baddest 4K gaming monitor available today. This 65-inch monster packs an OLED panel that’s capable of true HDR performance along with a 120Hz refresh rate for eye-popping visuals. Its also essentially a home entertainment system in one thanks to its high-end features such as its built-in soundbar with two tweets and four woofers.
But All of These Gaming Monitors Need DisplayPort 1.4 for 4K 120Hz – What Gives Monitornerds?
That is the main conundrum of gamers who want to use gaming monitors instead of high-end TVs for the Xbox Series X. Again, we’re not sure what ports or standards will be included, but we are recommending these products if DisplayPort 1.4 is included or if an active converter becomes available. For now, the only way to future-proof your gaming setup for the release of the Xbox Series X is to buy an HDMI 2.1 TV like the LG 9 Series OLEDs or Samsung’s Q900r 8K beast.
However, there is a ray of hope in the works made by Realtek called the RTD2173 which essentially converts DP 1.4 signals to HDMI 2.1. This tiny gadget allows up to 3840 x 2160 at 240Hz and is designed to enable connectivity between a DP 1.4 source (PC or graphics card) and convert the signal to HDMI 2.1 display. The Xbox Series X console will require HDMI 2.1 to DP 1.4, but we think that a reversed variant of the RTD2173 isn’t entirely impossible.
Its also worth noting that HDMI 2.1 connectivity for the Xbox Series X isn’t final, so it could still use HDMI 2.0b which can technically provide the bandwidth for 4K 120Hz, but with 4:2:2 chroma subsampling.
Editor’s Note: This article’s contents are continuously developing, so we urge readers to take the important parts such as the specifications lightly. The Xbox Series X’s final specs are still in the wild, but we will update you once we get more accurate bits of information.
About the Author:
Paolo is a gaming veteran since the golden days of Doom and Warcraft and has been building gaming systems for family, friends, and colleagues since his junior high years. High-performance monitors are one of his fixations and he believes that it’s every citizen’s right to enjoy one. He has gone through several pieces of hardware in pursuit of every bit of performance gain, much to the dismay of his wallet. He now works with Monitornerds to scrutinize the latest gear to create reviews that accentuate the seldom explained aspects of a PC monitor.