Posts Tagged ‘monitors’

HDR for PC games is a hot mess (but it’s nice when it works)


A few of the things I have had to do in order to get a workable version of HDR (also known as high dynamic range), the new-ish display technology that significantly ramps up brightness, darkness and vibrancy, on my PC (not including the acquisition of a fancy monitor):

– Try four different display cables
– Adjust as many as seven different brightness/contrast/colour etc shaders per game. (I have spent long, unhappy hours doing this to date)
– Manually turn on HDR on the monitor, manually turn HDR on in Windows then manually turn on HDR in the game settings. Or sometimes HDR off in Windows but on in the game then alt-tab back to Windows and turn HDR on, and off, and on, and off. Or sometimes alt-tab and alt-tab and alt-tab and alt-tab and alt-tab until HDR suddenly, randomly kicks in. When I exit the game, I have to manually turn it all back off again or Windows is unusable.
– Install an unfinished preview build of Windows 10 whose HDR isn’t totally broken on Nvidia cards.
– Almost completely lose my sense of whether anything is actually different after all of this.

The egg yolks in Final Fantasy XV were a bit shinier, though.
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Best monitor 2018: Top gaming monitors and buying guide

Monitor buying guide header

Your monitor is one of the most important parts of your PC, so finding the best monitor to suit your needs and budget is vital. Take a look at the display section of any electronics retailer, though, and you’ll find hundreds of screens costing anything from £70 right up to £1500. The range of models and prices can be overwhelming, but this guide is here to help.

We’ll take you through everything you need to know about screen sizes, resolutions, refresh rates, panel types, inputs and adjustable stands, as well as provide a few recommendations of our own based on our own testing. By the time you’re done here, you’ll be fully equipped to find the best monitor for you. Let’s begin!

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MSI Optix MPG27CQ review: A great monitor with bonus RGB options


As 27in 2560×1440 monitors go, the MSI Optix MPG27CQ is one that really likes to get up in your face. It’s only 27in across the diagonal, but its curved VA panel and ginormous base gives it quite a sizable footprint. Indeed, you’ll need 379mm clearance to fit this beast on your desk, which is just about enough room to stick your keyboard in front of it, but not a lot else.

In a way, having its screen shoved so close to your eyeballs helps show off its 1800mm curvature radius much more effectively than if it was sat further away from you, as the sense of those curved edges wrapping themselves snuggly round my peripheral vision feels much more pronounced than any of the ultrawide 21:9 monitors I tested earlier in the year. The other reason why it feels so up in your grill all the time, though, is that it’s also got five pulsing LED strips along the bottom, which is sure to make RGB fanatics squeal with delight.

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Steam hardware charts: The GTX 1060 and 1080p gaming rule the roost

Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060

The Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 is still the most popular graphics card among Steam users, according to the store’s latest hardware survey, with 14.05% of all users using it as their card of choice. Nvidia’s old GTX 750Ti isn’t far behind, though, as that’s still being used by 13.05% of users, making it the second most popular gaming card for the month of February.

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How to set up three monitors for super ultrawide gaming

How to setup three monitors header

Curved monitors like the Acer Predator Z35p and AOC AG352UCG are all well and good for making you feel more immersed in a game, what with those ultrawide edges supposedly wrapping themselves closer round your eyeballs like some kind of pixelated caress on your peripheral vision, but let’s face it. Curved monitors are hideously expensive and any bend they do possess is often so tiny that you’d be forgiven for thinking you’ve actually bought a flat screen by mistake.

No, the only way to get truly suckered into a game is to go multi-monitor. I’m not talking two monitors, either. I’m talking about creating a THREE-sided boxed-in bezel palace that shuts off all notion of the outside world. Here, there are only games stretching, quite literally, as far as the eye can see. And I’m going to tell you how to set it all up in five easy steps.

Step One: Don’t try and fit three 27in monitors on a desk that can barely hold two of them without one hanging dangerously off the edge.

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BenQ EL2870U review: 4K HDR on a budget

BenQ EL2870U

4K monitors have been around for a while now, but 4K monitors that also come with built-in HDR support are still few and far between, making BenQ’s brand-new EL2780U something of a rarity.

At 28in, this 4K HDR screen may not be the biggest Ultra HD monitor money can buy, but at just £329 / $500, it’s arguably one of the cheapest that does HDR. It’s not on sale yet in the UK, sadly, but should you be considering the BenQ EL2870U for games like Final Fantasy XV or Assassin’s Creed Origins over some of the other best monitors I’ve tested so far? Let’s find out.
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AOC’s new AG352UCG6 monitor brings 120Hz to ultrawide gaming


Just in case you haven’t had enough of curved, ultrawide monitors recently, you’ll be pleased to hear that AOC is about to unveil a brand new one at this year’s Intel Extreme Masters tournament in Katowice, Poland.

Dubbed the AG352UCG6 Black Edition (yes, that’s the AG352UCG I reviewed with a 6 on the end), this 35in, 3440×1440 MVA monitor now comes with a 120Hz refresh rate, allowing you to squeeze a whole 20 extra frames out of it compared to its six-less sibling.
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BenQ GL2580HM review: Great looks undermined by terrible contrast

BenQ GL2580HM

What’s this? A screen that isn’t prefaced by the words ‘best monitor for Final Fantasy XII‘? Well, I never. Yes, I’m having a small break from my 21:9 test quest to take a look at something altogether more affordable: the BenQ GL2580HM.

While not a ‘gaming monitor’ as such, this slimline 24.5in 1920×1080 TN display costs just £140 in the UK (or around $150 if you can find it in the US) and is arguably one of the most stylish monitors I’ve seen in some time. Let’s see if it’s any cop.

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Acer Predator Z35p review: A 21:9 monitor with a one-hit KO price

Acer Predator Z35p

Of all the ultra-wide 21:9 displays I’ve looked at so far in my quest to find the best monitor for Final Fantasy XII, the Acer Predator Z35p is by far the most expensive. At £800 / $990 at time of writing, it’s around £150 / $300 more expensive than the Philips 349X7JEW and £50 / $200 more than the AOC Agon AG352UCG.

Sure, it has a 35in curved 3440×1440 VA display with a 100Hz refresh rate, an adjustable stand and Nvidia G-Sync support, but can it really justify such a hike? Let’s find out.

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AOC Agon AG352UCG review: The Final Fantasy XII monitor quest continues


As I continue my quest to find the best ultra-wide monitor for playing Final Fantasy XII, the next display in my party roster is the AOC Agon AG352UCG. Equipped with a 100Hz refresh rate, Nvidia G-Sync support and an LED-laden lower bezel, this curved, 35in 3440×1440 monitor has almost everything you could possibly want for the ultimate 21:9 experience. Almost.
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Philips 349X7FJEW review: A great 21:9 ultra-wide monitor for Final Fantasy XII

Philips 349X7FJEW

If there are two things I love in life, it’s Final Fantasy and 21:9 monitors. It’s a select group of interests, I’ll admit, but when I heard that Final Fantasy XII was finally coming to PC (tomorrow, no less) with both 21:9 and multi-monitor support, I knew what I had to do. Yep, today marks the start of my 21:9 ultra-wide monitor group test to find the perfect display for playing Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age on PC, and the first monitor on the gambit table is the Philips 349X7FJEW.

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Best of CES 2018: The top PC gizmos you’ll want to own this year

CES 2018

The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is over for another year. It was a slightly weird show this year, marred by an embarrassing power outage, one too many pointless robots (Cloi, I’m looking at you) and the creeping feeling that the world’s biggest tech show might just be becoming a bit irrelevant.

Fortunately, PC gamers still have plenty to look forward to in 2018, from giganto gaming screens and teeny tiny powerhouse NUCs to mouse mats that can charge your phone, metal-clad motherboards, and probably yet another hike in GPU prices when EVGA unleashes its crypto mining dream machine power supply that can run something silly like 14 Nvidia GTX 1070s all at the same time (thanks, guys). But all that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Read on for what I’m officially deeming the best of CES 2018, all without a single stroppy robot in sight.

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BenQ EW2770QZ review: If only its contrast was as good as the rest of it

BenQ EW2770QZ header

It’s not often that gaming displays make headlines during the yearly tech bonanza of CES, but this year Nvidia unveiled its gigantic 65in ‘big format’ screens with all the G-Sync bells and HDR 4K whistles you could possibly imagine. We have no idea how much they’ll actually cost right now – probably somewhere in the region of £1500/$2000, I suspect – but personally, I just can’t see myself having one on my desk. Maybe in the living room if for some ungodly reason I wanted to get rid of our TV, but not 30cm in front of my face.

For me, a 27in 2560×1440 monitor is still the perfect sweet spot for my PC gaming needs, and the BenQ EW2770QZ on test today is one such monitor. How about that for a seamless segue?

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AOC E2470SWH review: An OK pick for a cheap second screen


Adding a second screen to your PC can bring several benefits, whether it’s giving you more space to work or, for the YouTube and Twitch crowd, the ability to read web pages while you game. Finding room in your budget for one, however, is often much harder, especially if you’ve already spent a lot on your first monitor. Enter the AOC E2470SWH.

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AOC G2460VQ6 review: 75Hz gaming on a budget

AOC G2460VQ6

Given they share all but three of the same letters, you’d think the AOC G2460VQ6 would be pretty similar to the G2460PF I reviewed a couple of weeks ago. To some extent, they are – both share an almost identical outward appearance with an understated red stripe down the lower bezel, and each has a 24in TN panel that supports AMD’s adaptive frame-rate technology, FreeSync, which makes your games appear smoother if your graphics card happens to be struggling a bit.

The main difference comes down to refresh rate. Whereas the PF went all the way up to 144Hz, the VQ6 maxes out at 75Hz. The VQ6 also comes with a slightly different set of ports, offering VGA, HDMI and DisplayPort, but no USB hub or DVI-D, and has a fixed, tilt-only stand. Essentially, it’s a stripped down version of its PF sibling, and comes with a price to match, the lowest I’ve seen being £135 compared to the £210 now demanded by its superior stablemate (alas, the G2460PF’s previous price of £170 was only available in the run-up to Black Friday). Is it worth considering, though?

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Philips 273V5LHAB review: A 27in monitor that doesn’t break the budget

Philips 273V5

Flashy ‘gaming’ monitors may be all the rage among the youth these days, but sometimes you just want a nice 27in monitor without all the bells, whistles and LED light shows that often accompany them. Fortunately, the catchily-named Philips 273V5LHAB is one such monitor, and it’s about as plain and straightforward as they come.

I mean that in the best possible way, of course, and while this 27in, 60Hz TN panel does come with a few caveats – its 1920×1080 resolution being its prime flaw – even I can’t argue with how much it costs. Priced at just £154, this is an absolute bargain of a big screen, and would suit most people just fine if size matters more than the number of pixels on show.

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Asus ROG Swift PG258Q review: 240Hz gaming gone mad

Asus PG258Q

There’s something faintly ridiculous about the Asus ROG Swift PG258Q. Maybe it’s the fact it has a glowing red Asus ROG light coming out of its elevated, three-pronged stand. Maybe it’s the colossal 240Hz refresh rate. Or maybe it’s the price, which most retailers currently have pegged somewhere around the £500 mark (or $513 if you’re in the US). That’s a fair bit of cash for a 25in 1920×1080 screen, especially when the Acer XF270HUA gives you a 27in, 144Hz 2560×1440 display for the same money. Nah, on second thought, it’s definitely the light.

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Cyber Monday 2017: The best deals on PC games, graphics cards, monitors, SSDs and more

Cyber Monday 2017

After a weekend of gorging yourself on turkey and elbowing people in the face to get that last discounted something or other in the shops, now it’s time to settle in and continue those deal hunts from the comfort of your own home. For today is Cyber Monday, the day that’s reserved for purely online-only deals following the shopping bonanza that was Black Friday.

This year, we’ve done the hard work for you, as we’ve scoured the web for the best Cyber Monday deals money can buy. These aren’t just re-heated Black Friday deals, either, as most retailers usually have completely separate discounts running today, making it a great time to pick up another bargain if none of the deals last week took your fancy. As always, we’ll be updating this article throughout the day, so make sure to check back at regular intervals just in case something new appears. We’ve also got tips on the best places to browse, and how to find out if those hot discounts are really as good as they seem.

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Black Friday 2017: The best deals on graphics cards, monitors, SSDs and more


The sale event to end all sale events is here. That’s right, folks, Black Friday 2017 is here, and this year’s sales frenzy is set to be bigger than ever as we head into the Christmas shopping period. In all honesty, they should just rename it Black November, as there have been deals going on throughout the month in preparation for the big day.

To save you trawling through the web in search of a good bargain, we’ve created this handy guide containing everything you need to know about Black Friday 2017. If you’re on the hunt for a new graphics card, a bigger and better monitor, want to splash out on a fast SSD or upgrade your gaming headset and get a more reliable mouse and keyboard, this is the place to be. We’ll be updating this hub page on a regular basis as new deals get announced, too, so make sure to keep it in your bookmarks if you fancy grabbing yourself a bit of a bargain before Christmas. We’ve also got tips on the best places to browse, and how to find out if those hot discounts are really as good as they seem.

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Black Friday 2017: Best monitor deals

Black Friday 2017 is well and truly underway, so it you’ve been thinking about buying a new monitor for Christmas or simply upgrading your current setup to something a bit more substantial, now’s the time to get one. Here are the best Black Friday monitor deals we’ve found so far.

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