Asus ROG Swift PG27UQ 144Hz 4K- Not Yet Released
High-speed panels stayed stagnant at 144Hz for quite some time from its inception, but we’ve begun to see true 240Hz native products this year.
These pioneering models from Asus, BenQ Zowie and AOC are only currently offered in 24.5-inch 1080p flavors, so gamers and enthusiasts all over the web are asking when the bigger resolutions will hit the market. The news we shared from the recently concluded CES 2017 did contain exciting products to push the limits of gaming further, but we have yet to see actual products lined up on the shelves of retailers.
This article aims to help builders and gamers gauge when to upgrade their gaming monitors to the current models which have dropping price trends, or wait for what the future holds regarding high-speed panels for those willing to be patient.
Panel Technology and Schedule
There are three main types of panels available in our beloved monitors, and they have different timelines to follow with different release dates. We’ve grouped them accordingly, so you can easily distinguish the results depending on what you are interested in.
Remember that most of the dates mentioned here have more or less three months of delay before the panels appear on newer products since it takes time before the OEM companies can amass enough supply for each competing peripheral manufacturer.
1. Twisted Nematic Film High-Speed Panels (TN)
Asus ROG Swift PG278QR – Check Latest Price
TN panels are the first to arrive on the scene when 144Hz exploded into the market, with 120Hz to 144Hz products available for more than five years already. TN Panels are the best suited for high-speed screen output since they are capable of the fastest pixel response times which are ideal for high framerate gaming.
From its lead in high-speed panels with a native refresh rate of 144Hz, we saw some upgraded, and overclockable variants such as screens found in 180Hz G-Sync Monitors like the Asus PG248Q and the up to 165Hz 27-inch versions in the Asus PG278QR.
Asus ROG Swift PG248Q – Check Latest Price
These improvements, however, aren’t native and achievable only through the capabilities of controller technologies. AU Optronics has announced newer TN panels with 165Hz native refresh rates, but what’s interesting is the introduction of 240Hz 1080p native panels in both 24.5-Inch (M250HTN01.0 and M250HTN01.3) and 27-Inch versions (M270HTN02.0 and M270HTN02.3).
We would love to see a 240Hz TN panel with a 1440p resolution, but even the 1080p variants are suffering from delays. The 24-inch variants only begun to ship out from October to November last year, and have recently become available in premium models such as the Asus PG258Q, the BenQ Zowie XL2540, AOC Agon AG251FZ, and the upcoming Acer Predator XB251HQT.
Asus ROG Swift PG258Q – Check Latest Price
We might see the other models by October next year so that we might see the newer models by Q1 2018. You can take this schedule with a grain of salt, but we think it might be worth waiting especially if you are into competitive gaming-grade monitors.
BenQ Zowie XL2540 – Check Latest Price
2. In-Plane Switching High-Speed Panels (IPS)
Acer Predator XB271HU – Check Latest Price
The IPS segment currently only offers a 27-inch 1440p panel from AU Optronics found in traditional models like the Acer Predator XB271HU, Asus ROG Swift PG279Q, Etc. These panels come in a bordered (M270DAN02.3) and borderless (M270DAN02.6) types, but both currently only have 144Hz.
Asus ROG Swift PG279Q – Check Latest Price
Manufacturers with G-Sync module equipped models can push the speed up to 165Hz, but that is the current ceiling for this category. There is no word from the leading screen OEMs for 240Hz-capable iterations, so it might take two years or more before the 240Hz TNs we mentioned above meet their colorfully vibrant counterparts.
As for the ultra-wide category, we’ve only seen 60Hz 3440 x 1440 panels which are capable of overclocking to 100Hz with the help of G-Sync modules. Progress has been slow in this regard, so we might not see a 240Hz gaming screen in this form factor anytime soon.
LG has been aggressively exploring this category with their OEM panels, and back in 2015, the company revealed a 34-inch module with a 2560 x 1080 resolution (LM340UW1) and 144Hz refresh rate. This product is now available in models like the LG 34UC79G. This gadget currently only supports Freesync, but there is a G-Sync variant already in the works.
LG 34UC79-G – Check Latest Price
LG is also spearheading the UW-QHD movement in high-speed panels with their recently released 3440 x 1440 144Hz panel (LM340UW3) which was initially targeted for Q1 2017 manufacturing but is delayed until Q3. However, this capability requires a lot of bandwidth beyond what DisplayPort 1.2 can offer.
We suspect that this limitation is a significant factor in the delay and until DisplayPort 1.3 or higher becomes mainstream, we might as well sit and patiently wait. We may not see 144Hz native UW-QHD high-speed panels until Q4 2017 at the earliest, but if you think about it, the current GPU tech might not provide sufficient graphics power to push frames beyond 100FPS.
LG is also investing its efforts in the huge 38-inch space, starting with the LG 38UC99. This model’s panel provides users with a 24:10 aspect ratio and a 3480 x 1600 resolution. This unit can only go up to 75Hz, but LG intends to manufacture 144Hz when Q4 2017 arrives. These facts aren’t confirmed as of the moment, but a 144Hz 38-inch behemoth sounds top-notch!
LG 38UC99 – Check Latest Price
The most exciting development in this regard is the recent introduction of a 144Hz 4K panel by AU Optronics which was recently showcased with the upcoming and most awaited Asus ROG Swift PG27UQ and the Acer Predator XB272 HDR at CES 2017. Not only do you get a tear-free 4K experience, but you also get to enjoy HDR-levels of vibrancy and contrast.
With this new frontier, both users and manufacturers have two limitations they will run into. For one, the current DisplayPort standards available are unable to support the required bandwidth, and on the other hand, the current GPUs are still lacking power and optimization to run 4K. We might have to wait until the end of this year before release schedules become absolute.
Acer Predator XB272-HDR – Not Yet Released
3. Vertical Alignment High-Speed Panels (VA)
BenQ XR3501 – Check Latest Price
This category has the least progress in the high-speed panel market, with the pioneering 120Hz module you can find in the Eizo Foris FG2421 from 2013. In 2015, AU Optronics unleashed a 35-inch ultra-wide variant (M350DVR01.0) which goes with 2560 x 1080 resolution and 144Hz. Gaming monitors like the BenQ XR3501 and the Acer Predator Z35 use this panel type, but the latter utilizes a G-Sync module which helps it overclock to 200Hz.
Acer Predator Z35– Check Latest Price
In June 2016, AU Optronics released a 200Hz native model (M350DVR01.2) since overclocking introduced issues with the slower pixel response of VA panels. AOC’s Agon AG352QCX is the first product to utilize this, but AUO is also in the process of producing a 30” variant to be used for the Acer Predator Z301C. We are still waiting for these monitors to become available for review, and maybe they will release in mid-2017.
AOC Agon AG352QCX – Check Latest Price
AU Optronics also has plans for high-speed panels with 3440 x 1440 resolution which will compete with its IPS counterparts. The 35” iterations (M350QVR01.0 and the borderless M350QVR01.1) are expected to compete with the overclocked ultra-wide IPS panels we mentioned above. These products were originally thought to have a native 200Hz rate, but their inclusions in the HP Omen X35 and the AOC Agon AG352UCG claims otherwise.
HP Omen X35 – Not Yet Available
It seems AUO will still focus their efforts for high-speed panels in the VA segment with the conventional QHD 16:9 ratio and a 31.5-inch size with 144Hz speeds (M315DVR01.0). This module is expected to arrive in Q1 next year, along with an upgrade 27-inch variant.
The other half of the VA market is held by Samsung, a Korean tech giant who also produces OEM panels. Samsung is calling their high-speed panel equivalents SVA, with both a 24-inch (LSM236HP02) and a 27-inch (LTM270HP02) version. These screens are included in the Samsung CFG70 curved gaming displays we reviewed earlier.
Samsung CFG70 – Check Latest Price
These products also get a 31.4-inch iteration with a 1080p resolution (LTM315HP01) already in the works since April 2016, but the more interesting variant is the unnamed 2560 x 1440 type rumored to be in production since September of last year.
One of the biggest moves Samsung is pushing for is the manufacturing of a 29-inch mega-wide 32:1 ratio with a 3840 x 1080 resolution and 144Hz refresh rate (LSM290DP01). There is no word on exact production dates, but the communities are suspecting that this new form is already in the works this year.
Another exciting product for gamers is a 34-inch high-speed panel with a 3440 x 1440 resolution with a native refresh rate of 100Hz (LTM340YP03), primarily available on the fantastic Samsung CF791. We might see 144Hz versions announced later this year since Samsung is competing against LG and their IPS technology which currently leads the pack.
Samsung CF791 – Check Latest Price
The mix of future high-speed panels is exciting for enthusiasts, but it can also be confusing since these brands rarely announce exact dates and timelines. There are a lot of hindrances including technological issues and performance flaws, but at least the info in this article tries to paint a clearer picture if you should upgrade now or patiently wait.
If you ask us, upgrading to the best gaming monitors available now is still a good move, because the improvements the newer tech will provide are still questionable, not to mention the substantial tax premium you have to pay to be first in line.
However, a good sign that these newer high-speed panels are becoming a reality can be discerned from the steadily dropping listed prices of the current generation. The introduction of 240Hz 1080p TN panels may have produced this effect, especially on their predecessors.
You can reap the benefits now, or save enough cash until such a time these high-speed panels become available. It’s a gamble, but we suspect that these high-speed panels from the future will change the gamer universe drastically, both in the direction of the market and the benchmark of what the best gaming monitors should be.