Posts Tagged ‘monitors’

Why You Need An IPS Monitor


Welcome, everybody, to the first in an impossibly exciting new series of posts in which I tell you why you need to buy stuff. Or maybe why you don’t. If that sounds a lot like what I’ve already been doing with Week In Tech, there’s a twist.

The point is that a lot of jargon gets thrown around when it comes to PC hardware. Too often assumptions are made. Assumptions about what is good and bad. Assumptions about what everybody understands or cares about. With all that in mind, we thought it would be good to go back to basics with stuff that sometimes seems obvious but actually isn’t. We’ll start with IPS panel technology in PC monitors. If you’re thinking about buying a new screen, you need to know about this.

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Week in Tech: New Intel Chips, More Mega-Monitors

There but for the grace of US immigrations officials...

It’s January and that can only mean one thing. Well, apart from New Year’s resolutions serially and unceremoniously defenestrated by the second week and a general sense of futility. No, I speak of the festival of capitalism gone completely mad that is CES in Las Vegas. Which actually happened last week. CES isn’t exactly the epicentre of all things PC. But it’s so bleedin’ huge, even a tiny fraction of it dedicated to the PC adds up to a lot of interesting things. This year is no exception, what with bonkers-fast SSDs, screens that push all my IPS, 120Hz-plus and frame-syncing buttons, integrated graphics from Intel that might be (oh OK, won’t be) good for playing games and a cheap PC case from Corsair that looks tolerable. I know, I’m really selling this stuff.
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Week In Tech: Decade-Long Monitor Marathon Is Over

You see that dinky little thing on the left? That, ladies and germs, is the once-mighty 30-inch Dell 3007. It’s taken 10 years of faithful patience. But at last it’s happened. I’ve seen the probable replacement for my trusty monitor. It’s none other than Philip’s new BDM4065UC. Poetic it ain’t, but never mind because this is the screen I have been waiting for this past decade. 40 inches, 4K, not TN, at least 60Hz and reasonably affordable (in this case circa £550, estimates vary for US pricing but sub $1,000 and possibly as little as $700 is the latest info).

Is this overkill, just a hulking great HDTV that has no business being a monitor? There is a whiff of truth in that. But there’s also method in my madness. I encourage the sceptical among you to roll with me for just a bit. I believe the new high-end default has arrived.

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Week in Tech: MMOuse, Shield, Superwide Is Super Cool

Not being hugely of the MMO persuasion, the extent to which fixed-configuration mice generate significant anguish is, to coin a Tuckerism, beyond my jaunty-bonneted purview. However, the fellows at ROCCAT are apparently feeling someone’s pain and the result is the new Nyth, a modular mouse for MMOists that comes complete with 3D-printing intrigue. Rejoice. Meanwhile, I’ve had a little face time with both the Nvidia Shield tablet and one of those 34-inch superwide LCDs. GOP-style gut reaction to each after the jump (see, cultural references to make people happy both sides of the pond).
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Week in Tech: Random Screen Round Up

Never before in the history of mankind have so many PC display options emerged in such a short space of time. At least, that’s the way it feels right now and in the time-honoured journalistic tradition I’m certainly not going to let fact checking get in the way of a mediocre narrative. It’s, er, monitormageddon people! In all seriousness, it’s enough to keep up with all the 120Hz, G-Sync, FreeSync and 4K nonsense. But now the mix of panel sizes, types and resolutions is beginning to spin out of control. I’m rapidly approaching the point where I haven’t a clue what I would personally plump for. Things will settle down in the next 18 months or so as the sweet spot emerges, no doubt. But that’s no help in the here and now. If you’re in the monitor market today, what the devil are you supposed to do?
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Week in Tech: Nvidia’s Gaming Tablet, No More Moore

Nvidia has wheeled out its second effort at the obviously-not-actually-a-PC-but-does-interesting-things-with-PCs Shield gaming device. And this time it’s a tablet. Which is what it should have been in the first place. But doesn’t actually mean it’s automatically good idea. Still, it’s hard to imagine Shield the Second doing much worse than Shield the First, which ended up being given away in boxes of Cheerios (ish) and even then only escaped landfills on account of being handed out by the sackful to shameless media types addicted to freebies. Meanwhile, there’s more confirmation that Moore’s Law is really no, er, more, some interesting screens get priced up, another interesting screen turns out to be an epic dud…it was ever thus.
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Week in Tech: Buy A Decent Screen, That’s An Order

While I slave away gathering all the bits for our upcoming home-build vs factory-built PC comparo extraordinaire, here’s something to think about and even get on with in the meantime. Buy a decent screen. I’ve touched on this before, but some recent shenanigans with 4K monitors and Laird Minor (little brother) being in need of a new screen have reminded me of something. My main PC display is seven years old. My secondary PC display is eight years old. And it’s only now that I’m beginning to even think about upgrading. Imagine trying to game on an eight-year-old CPU or graphics card. Nasty. Meanwhile, the skinny is out on Intel’s new anniversary-themed CPUs and the rumour mill is building up for the next wave of high-end graphics cards.
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Week in Tech: Cheap 4K, Adaptive-Sync, DP1.2a, Screens!

Sammy's £500, 60Hz, 4K monster

4K, 6-bit, 8-bit and 10-bit panels, G-Sync n’ FreeSync n’ Adaptive-Sync, 120Hz-plus refresh, DisplayPort 1.2 and 1.2a, backlight modulation, multi-stream vs single-stream and IPS vs PLS. The PC display market is completely out of control. But in a good way. Things are developing faster now than at any time I can remember since getting into this game. And I am incredibly, astonishingly, implausibly old. The Atari 2600 was still on sale (just) when I achieved something approaching sentience. I still haven’t truly recovered from the 2600’s piss-poor Pac-Man port. Anywho, the last week or so has seen some really interesting developments in the monitor market, including the announcement that AMD’s FreeSync tech is moving into the mainstream courtesy of official VESA status and the appearance of a cheap Samsung 4K monitor with 60Hz support. High time, then, to pull together the state of play in PC monitors into something we can all understand. Well, hopefully. Read the rest of this entry »

Week in Tech: AMD On The Up, NVIDIA Game Streaming

It’s a funny old world when losing $20 million is a cause for moderate rejoicing. But then $20 million’s worth of bleeding is a hell of a lot better than $146 million. I speak, of course, of the never ending saga (going-on soap opera) that is AMD’s fortunes. Thing is, we are all of us much better off if AMD remains in the game and at the very least things are looking up. So, its worth tuning in for this latest episode. Meanwhile, it looks like the range and choice of LCD panels for PC monitors might just be ready to explode, Nvidia adds remote access to its game streaming tech and small-form factor bricks with proper gaming grunt are popping up. Hurrah and huzzah.
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Week in Tech: Flicker-free Screens, AMD Noise, Nvidia 780 Ti

Suffering from headaches, tired eyes and all-round gaming fatigue? Must be that flickering LCD monitor ripping up your retinas. No idea what I’m on about? BenQ would have you believe flickering LCD monitor backlights are the new evil and it has the solution. Flicker-free backlight tech. I’ve tried it and can reveal whether it’s the next big thing after 120Hz-plus panels. It’s not. Next! Graphics. AMD and Nvidia are currently squelching about and looking grumpy following of one of their traditional pissing contests. An unpleasant image but it’s good news because it means things are very closely matched. Still, we need to tidy up a few details after all the new GPU launches and some last minute changes including AMD’s Radeon R9 290 and its dodgy cooling and final specs on the Nvidia Geforce GTX 780 Ti. Read the rest of this entry »

Week In Tech: 4K, The Complete And Unabridged Shizzle

It’s been a long, hot summer and there’s only so long one man can stare out over the Med and self-medicate-going-on-immolate on passable local vino (turns out that length of time is three weeks). The wi-fi was rubbish, anyway. So, I’m back with some regular updates on all things hardware related. And I’d like to kick off with 4K gaming. The best thing since the original bilinear-filtered graphics accelerators? Or, like stereoscopic 3D, just another over-hyped irrelevance that’ll give you a hurty head, an empty wallet and the sneaking suspicion that the tech industry is pathologically cynical? I’ve got the answers. Read the rest of this entry »

Week in Tech: Why PC Monitors Aren’t Going to Get Better

Equitable though Her Majesty’s United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland may largely be, a few isolated injustices still stalk the land. That I have to work for a living hardly seems fair, for instance. But even more odious is the fact that consumerist tat like smartphones, ultrabooks and tablets now have better screens by many metrics than our hallowed PC monitors. What gives? A recent interview I did with monitor maker Iiyama for ye olde PC Format mag dug up some answers. I also discovered why things aren’t likely to dramatically improve any time soon. Meanwhile, the roller coaster ride for AMD’s fortunes continues. This week, I predict survival! Read the rest of this entry »

Week in Tech: Intel Overclocking, Bonkers-Wide Screens

Don’t sling your old CPU on eBay just yet. Too many Rumsfeldian known unknowns remain, never mind the unknown unknowns. But the known knowns suggest Intel is bringing back at least a slither of overclocking action to its budget CPUs. It’s arrives with the incoming and highly imminent Haswell generation of Intel chips and it might help restore a little fun to the budget CPU market, not to mention a little faith in Intel. Next up, local game streaming. Seems like a super idea to me. So, I’d like to know, well, what you’d like to know about streaming. Then I’ll get some answers for you. Meanwhile, game bundles or bagging free games when you buy PC components. Do you care? I’ve also had a play with the latest bonkers-wide 21:9-aspect PC monitors… Read the rest of this entry »

Week In Tech: Overclock Your Monitor With NVIDIA

A high quality LCD panel. Or high refresh rates. Take your pick. Because you can’t have both. Well, not unless you think BadgerJump Monitors (or whatever they’re called) sounds like a sensible consumer electronics brand and you’re thus willing to roll the dice on a dodgy Korean panel off eBay. But wait. One of the footnotes to NVIDIA’s recent Titan graphics card launch is a new monitor overclocking feature. Yup, monitor overclocking. But will it give you 120Hz for free? Will it fry your panel? Do you need NVIDIA’s £800 Titan? Should you actually care about high refresh? I’ve got the answers… Read the rest of this entry »

Week in Tech: The end of graphics, and other stuff

Bit late with this installment due to a near-death experience with pharyngitis. But that’s actually allowed a few things shake out into the public domain. And the overall upshot is that PC hardware took an odd turn this week. The launch of a new high end GPU from NVIDIA really only served to confirm 2013 looks odds on for slim to no progress in graphics technology. More than that, it’s basically the end of the graphics refresh cycle as we know it. Sounds grim, but actually means now is a great time to buy a new pixel pumper. Meanwhile, Dell wheels out a crazy 21:9 aspect ultra-wide display and ye olde graphics benchmarks get an update. Read the rest of this entry »

Hard choices: The Week In Tech

Pay attention!

Something old, something new, something borrowed and something doomed. That’s the remit, chaps, keeping you updated with all things hard and gamey every week. I’ll stick the best of the latest kit and most RPS-relevant trends under your snouts, a mix of kit I’ve tried, stuff I haven’t got my hands on yet but looks interesting and other things wot you need to know. This week, some sexy new screens, a new SSD from Intel, a pint-sized gaming portable, AMD on the ropes and more. So much more. Read the rest of this entry »

Hard Choices: The £200/$300 2560×1440 27″ Monitor

She's much fatter now than she is there

It’s true! Top-end monitors for the same price as any old stinky crap in PC World. Read on for details of what/where/how, but please keep in mind even as you tremble in raw excitement that there is A BIG RISK FACTOR.

In a change from your irregularly-scheduled Guy Who Knows A Ton About Hardware, I’m afraid it’s me. But I bring glad, intriguing tidings from the silicon mines. If you cast your minds, or at least your browsers, back a few months, you may recall our recommendation of 27″, 2560×1440 monitors as your point of eyeball-based connection to your beloved gaming PC. Specifically, a 27″, 2560×1440 Hazro monitor for approximately £400, and which used the same LG LM270WQ1 IPS panel as those in Apple’s top of the range 27″ Cinema Displays/iMacs, amongst other £800+ 27 inchers. That was already half the price of its similarly-specced contemporaries, albeit housed within a less gorgeous casing and with but one input. It still, quite understandably, remains prohibitively expensive for a great many people.
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Hard Choices: The Only 4 Monitors You Should Buy

What type of lizard is that?

Hi gang. So, if you’ve read part one of our modern gaming monitor opus, you’ll know at least two things. Firstly, there’s no substitute for a good underlying LCD panel. And secondly, things are looking up for penniless gamers on the hunt for a solid screen on a tight budget. In this second and final part on monitors, I’ll boil the current crop down to the only four screens, ranging from cheapo to aaargh-my-bank-account, that you should consider if you’re in the market for a new display.

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Hard Choices: 8 Things You Should Know About Monitors

A whopping resolution of 16x16 or something

OK folks, we’ve done CPUs and graphics cards, now for my favourite subject of all, screens. I’ve long said a decent screen is the best investment you can make. Frankly, I’ve long been right. I’ve three 30-inchers of my own, two of which are about five years old. And with the exception of 120Hz support (see below), the game hasn’t moved on dramatically. Any five-year-old CPU or GPU, by contrast, is garbage. That’s the difference.

As it happens, good LCD screens have just become a lot more affordable. You’ll need to check out part two for the whys and wherefores along with a tour of the best currently available options. But things change fast, so a little knowledge can go a long way. Here are the eight most important things you need to know about screens for games.
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