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jdevers
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New monitor/video card decisions

Sat Nov 04, 2017 8:42 pm

I’ve been a PC gamer since EGA vs CGA was a legitimate question, but over the last 5-6 years my career had taken the vast majority of my free time. My kids are getting to be old enough that gaming not involving birds and catapults is a legitimate time sink. My HTPC has a Radeon 280x and connects to a 4K TV which my kids mostly use and the gaming computer I mostly use has a Radeon 7850 hooked up to a 24 inch TN 1080p 60Hz panel.

With my kids wanting to game more and me wanting to game with them (as well as being in a financial situation where money spent on this isn’t really that big of a deal), I’m at a situation where I’m ready to upgrade. I initially planned to buy a 1080TI for the living room and move the 280x to “my” computer. The thing is that the TV/HTPC does an incredible job up upscaling 1080p content to 4K resolution so I don’t know how big of an upgrade it would actually be to render at actual 4K resolution. To make matters worse, the case on the bedroom PC is about a half inch too small to hold the 280x and even with the shroud off the card it won’t quite fit.

I’ve decided instead to directly upgrade the standalone gaming PC with either a Radeon 580x or a 1060 6 GB and buy a new monitor as well. Of course this brings up the high refresh vs high resolution and the adaptive sync vs g sync question. If I get the 580x I could definitely justify a 144hz adaptive sync monitor, with the 1060 though the equivalent G sync monitors just seem like a rip off.

My question is since I am a casual gamer who will never be aiming at the leader boards of multiplayer FPS games will a high refresh rate monitor even be worth it? Also, if I have a card capable of sustained 60+fps play at 1080p will adaptive sync be worth more than Nvidia’s adaptive VSync?

A final option would be a Vega 56 and a more significant monitor upgrade, like a 1440p 144hz VA panel. That would clearly be more expensive and I’m not sure I could justify it unless I started gaming more than I do currently...but if it would be a truly significant jump it would be possible. CPU power isn’t an issue as both PCs are running quick enough CPUs to keep up with this level of GPU.

I used to live and love gaming hardware and games themselves and would have spent time answering these questions instead of asking them, but life always wins out... Any advice would be appreciated, TIA.
 
JustAnEngineer
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Re: New monitor/video card decisions

Sun Nov 05, 2017 3:39 am

I am certain that we will see 3840x2160 (8.3 MP) gaming monitors in the future. A handful of 3440x1440 ultra-wide (5.0 MP) gaming monitors have recently arrived, but I believe that today's gaming sweet spot is still at 2560x1440 (3.7 MP). For the living room TV, the question is whether you are sitting close enough to the screen to be able to make out the difference between 1080p (2.1 MP) and 2160p.

AMD's Radeon RX Vega 56 & 64 and NVidia's GeForce GTX 1070, 1070Ti & 1080 graphics cards offer similar performance at the same price points. There is a significant price premium for monitors with NVidia's proprietary G-Sync. Here are some graphics card + gaming monitor pairings for your consideration:
$410 -20MIR Radeon RX Vega 56 plus $470 Nixeus NX-EDG27 (27" 2560x1440 IPS 30-144 Hz FreeSync)
$470 GeForce GTX 1070Ti plus $600 AOC Agon AG271QG (27" 2560x1440 IPS 165 Hz G-Sync)
$800 GeForce GTX 1080Ti plus $1000 Dell AW3418DW (34" 3440x1440 IPS 120 Hz G-Sync)


You may want to revisit your original plan with the addition of a new case for your PC. The case is far less expensive than the other components you're considering upgrading.
Last edited by JustAnEngineer on Tue Nov 07, 2017 1:05 am, edited 1 time in total.
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jdevers
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Re: New monitor/video card decisions

Sun Nov 05, 2017 8:59 am

The HTPC TV is a 65” OLED by LG but we sit roughly 17 feet from the screen so the resolution curve seriously favors just leaving the 280x card and rendering at 1080p and upscaling. I mainly purchased it because I got an outrageously good deal on it and for movies the OLED is incredible.

Like you said though, the extra expense of a new case is a tiny drop in the bucket and the SSD I have loosely mounted would probably appreciate it too.

What I should have asked is basically is a variable refresh monitor actually worth the trouble? Many say yes and many say a suitably quick GPU with a 144Hz monitor is great without it.
 
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Re: New monitor/video card decisions

Sun Nov 05, 2017 9:25 am

You're not going to find a 27" 2560x1440 IPS LCD display with a high refresh rate for a lower price than the Nixeus monitor that I linked above. FreeSync really is free in this case. There are a few slightly cheaper monitors, but that's because they use TN LCD panels instead of IPS.
https://pcpartpicker.com/products/monit ... ice&page=1

The cheapest 120+ Hz 2560x1440 monitor on that list is the 24" TN AG241QX from AOC, which also includes FreeSync (30-144 Hz).

I suggest checking out the reviews at http://www.tftcentral.co.uk when shopping for a new monitor. If you're looking at FreeSync capability, you'd really like to get a monitor that supports low frequency compensation (LFC) to automatically double frames when the rate drops below the monitor's minimum.
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Re: New monitor/video card decisions

Sun Nov 05, 2017 2:11 pm

I'm going to caution you to evaluate TV input lag before employing it for gaming purposes. I brought my Switch home to try it (on a new travel dock I got for it) at my parents house, and the Samsung TV they have had the smoothvision processing switched on and it added probably 150ms of input lag and that combined with my original unfixed transmitter in the left joycon made it a nearly unplayable experience.

I have been really eyeing the latest gen LG OLED TV's as they would be the ultimate image quality for games and movies (and they have low input lag!) but they're a bit pricey. Not sure which model yours is, or how sensitive to input lag you are, or what types of games you are planning to play, but I've been hesitant to consider the LG OLEDs in the past due to this, but the reduced latency in the latest models is very exciting.

As for high refresh rate it's all about the 1440p (and 1080p if it doesn't make you barf, it does for me, i need a monitor with enough resolution to do productive work on!!). I gamed on my 4K LG IPS monitor and it's glorious, but it's also just seriously overkill. It's 100% a matter of personal preference but I'd take 2560x1440 with 4X or more multisampling AA over 4K with 2x or no AA... And the 4K will always hit your GPU harder.
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jdevers
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Re: New monitor/video card decisions

Sun Nov 05, 2017 7:04 pm

Oh, I have gamed on the HTPC hooked up to a TV since it was a CRT. The input lag on the current TV isn’t bad at all, I would never use it for any serious work though. I rarely do serious work on the gaming PC for that matter, mostly work stays at work or on a laptop I carry back and forth.
 
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Re: New monitor/video card decisions

Sun Nov 05, 2017 10:20 pm

Variable refresh rate is definitely a game changer as is high refresh rate. The blur reduction and smoother gameplay is noticeable in any game but the reduced lag will be a great help in games like FPS shooters which really benefit from these. I can tell you that my KDR went up about quite noticeably in BF4 after getting a G Sync monitor with a 144hz refresh rate. Just remember that gaming hardware will not make you a better player, but it will allow you to be the best player you can be.

If VR is in your future or you want to game at 4k then I would recommend getting the GTX 1080ti otherwise JustAnEngineer has laid out 2 really good options with the Vega 56 and the GTX 1070ti.

Good luck.
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Re: New monitor/video card decisions

Sun Nov 05, 2017 10:29 pm

I think prices went up a bit before I bought my gear, but it looks like the 1080Ti's price/perf scaling is on point. Whether you get a Vega or a 1070 or a 1080Ti you're getting essentially exactly the price you pay. This is not like it's been a while ago where you gain 20% for shelling out 50% more. You shell out 50% more and you legitimately get almost 50% more performance.

In fact, the Vega 64 is the one that costs a good 20% more and barely gets you 10% more performance. So the 56 is probably not a bad choice especially if you've got nice Freesync monitors, but the power consumption might be tough to swallow. Vega prices just went to ****, though, since some new drivers just kicked up mining performance.

If you think more performance for equivalent money is worth it, then the 1080Ti is really not a bad choice. I see a $745 Gigabyte one on the egg.
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DPete27
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Re: New monitor/video card decisions

Mon Nov 06, 2017 11:21 am

Can you further explain why you think the HTPC needs a GPU upgrade? Is the 280X not cutting it for the kids? Only reason I ask is because it has the potential to steal budget from upgrading your PC. FWIW, a 280X is roughly proportional to a GTX1050Ti/RX560 (possibly a smidge better than those cards, but closer to them than a 3GB GTX1060 or RX570).

Your gaming PC with 7850 could definitely use an upgrade, so it's best prioritize the upgrade dollars to get that up to speed. Not sure what your budget is since you've mentioned both a $260 and a $560 GPU in your posts.

I personally own an RX480, so my research lies in FreeSync monitors. I know that G-Sync monitors generally tend to cost more for the same features as a FreeSync monitor. I have some "moral" oppositions to G-Sync which does sway my GPU preferences despite considering myself manufacturer-neutral (my last GPU was a GTX660 and before that was an AMD 6850). I like what AMD is doing with their software (overall software functionality, Framerate target control & Chill, enhanced sync, Wattman, etc etc) but they've been "plagued" by supply shortages from the cryto-mining craze earlier this summer so their price/perf ratio were a bit off, but prices are settling back to normal levels now.

I like 27" 1440p monitors for their size and resolution (109ppi vs 92ppi on a 24" 1080p monitor so it's a similar look. 27" 1080p is too low ppi for me). Something like a RX580 or GTX1060 can do 2560x1440 @ 60Hz with high settings on most games. Certainly a Vega56 or GTX1070Ti would give you a little more power for future titles though. The Nixeus Edg27 has been on sale a couple times at $400 and will probably be that price black friday week. The Samsung C27HG70 has been as low as $490 which is a great monitor also (despite the stand being wierd)

Something else to consider are 29" ultrawide monitors. The LG 29UM69G is a 2560x1080 IPS panel and has a 40-75Hz FreeSync range. It's been on sale recently for $230 ($210 on ebay) which I'd expect it to hit again on black Friday week. My brother has the older 29UM67P and it is a good fit for his RX480 (for reference UM67 was 60Hz fixed refresh and 40-75Hz FreeSync, the UM68 upgraded the panel to native 75Hz fixed refresh and 40-75Hz FreeSync, and the UM69 added USB-C and a ?height-adjustable stand?). A 29" ultrawide monitor will be roughly the same vertical height as a 24" 16:9 monitor, but the ultrawide will give you an extra 5-6" of width.

There are frustratingly few PC games that offer split-screen multiplayer.....
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Re: New monitor/video card decisions

Tue Nov 07, 2017 12:09 am

JustAnEngineer wrote:
If you're looking at FreeSync capability, you'd really like to get a monitor that supports low frequency compensation (LFC) to automatically double frames when the rate drops below the monitor's minimum.



-it really needs to be emphasized.



This one's slightly larger (for not a lot more than the Nixeus) and apparently has LFC:

http://www.microcenter.com/product/4832 ... ed_monitor




I'd have a problem with the RX 580 8GB nearing $300 when you can get a Vega 56 for $399. :oops:


I'd also have a problem with any Nvidia card at this time when cut-down Volta is "around the corner" (ie. within 6 months as a guess), where the next card (ie. 1060 to 2060) should have slightly more than 30% bump in performance for about the same price as current 1060's.

IF I was going to wait that time for cut-down Volta, then I'd also wait for newer G-Sync monitors (..or look for really good deals with ULMB and the resolution you want), this coming Black Friday:
https://www.blurbusters.com/gsync/list- ... -monitors/
Last edited by CScottG on Tue Nov 07, 2017 6:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
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Re: New monitor/video card decisions

Tue Nov 07, 2017 12:44 am

The Nixeus NX-EDG27 includes LFC. The very wide range of FreeSync frequency is a telltale, if you didn't go to the AMD web page that I linked.
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jdevers
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Re: New monitor/video card decisions

Tue Nov 07, 2017 7:15 am

I have no specific need to upgrade the HTPC, just laid out my original plan which was upgrade that and use the 280x as a de facto upgrade to the other PC. The kids spend significantly more time gaming than I do, so that was the impetus for the original plan. However I think that 1080P looks pretty good on the TV and upgrading it to 4K output would look nicer but not THAT much nicer when the tremendous upgrade in GPU power is considered. There isn’t a set budget, I clearly haven’t upgraded the GPUs in a long time and I used to upgrade at least yearly. I’m just a frugal person at heart so it’s always been hard for me to pay $10/FPS when a $6/FPS option is good enough. Comically right now at this moment, the GTX 1080 is the cheapest per FPS of the options not even considering the bundled Destiny 2 which I will probably end up buying anyway.

After thinking about it all, I’ve decided upgrading the other PC is clearly the better option. Then next summer/fall I can upgrade the HTPC with a high end Volta GPU or equivalent (sadly I imagine the AMD equivalent wouldn’t be an option until 2019...maybe mid 2019). The dearth of split screen co-op games on the PC is ridiculous BTW, having to force Borderlands 2 to scaled down window mode so two people can play at once when it is an option in the console versions is insane.

I’m down to looking mostly at Vega 56 with a decent 27” 1440P monifor (probably the Nixeus, but the version without an adjustable stand as I don’t need it). Anything bigger wouldn’t fit the space the computer is in.
 
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Re: New monitor/video card decisions

Tue Nov 07, 2017 7:19 am

Check the games of interest actually have 4K assets and work well. I ended up ditching 4K because it's very expensive to feed (you'd be getting 60fps from a $700 graphics card, whilst the same settings at 1080p will get you 100fps from a $275 graphics card) and in a lot of cases, the art assets were already the weakest link even at 1080p. I'm also starting to find that with all the graphics details whacked up to Ultra, games take longer to load, even running off an SSD. I'll be the last person into a map and I'll see my squadmates have already run 100 yards into the map before I am in the level. Dropping everything down to high details instead of Ultra actually gives me a small headstart on my buddies in a few games, and I disabled the Fallout 4 High-resolution texture pack, because it added a noticeable 5+ seconds to each and every one of the games frequent loading screens :|

For an HTPC, probably the most important factor (for me) is quiet operation, since the HTPC also gets used for movies, often late at night when kids have gone to bed and you don't want to wake them or the neighbours. When you're struggling to hear quiet dialogue by mumbling actors, the last think you want to hear is a noisy PC.

For this reason, I'd say a GTX 1060 6GB - it's plenty fast enough for all current titles at 1080p and it sips power at only 120W so it should be quiet and cool running for the HTPC. I'm assuming you game with a headset and don't watch movies (as) much on your other PC - meaning that the older, noisier R9 280X should be fine for your 1080p desktop.

If you really want to play at 4K, your only viable option for decent performance is a 1080Ti. Not even a vanilla 1080 is going to do the job...

Edit:
NM, I see you've come around to Freesync and jumping back on the PCMR wagon ;)
Vega56 is good, especially if you dial it back a bit. I was impressed with the underclocking potential of mine - Flip the little BIOS switch into the other position and run it at the power-saving profile and it's remarkably quiet for the performance on tap, whilst still offering at least 90% of its original performance, and still consistently beating a similarly-priced GTX 1070.
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DPete27
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Re: New monitor/video card decisions

Tue Nov 07, 2017 10:10 am

1) Dad should always have better stuff than the kids. Kids get hand-me-downs, not the other way around :lol:
2) Nvidia is a great choice for the HTPC since the TV won't have variable refresh (G-Sync/FreeSync) and they use less power (produce less heat) than AMD at a given performance point.
3) I definitely second Chrispy's statement to make a go at undervolting any recent AMD GPU as it seems their auto power delivery system is overly conservative. Undervolting is criminally easy with the AMD WattMan extension built into the driver software and can shave off a significant amount of power/heat/noise for ZERO performance penalty. You'd be surprised at how much a simple undervolt can bring an AMD card into competition in power efficiency with Nvidia (Nvidia GPUs can be undervolted also, but you have to use 3rd party software and it may reduce the working core clock). For reference, I can reduce the power draw of my RX480 by about 30W by undervolting without affecting clock speed. Comparing here with a GTX1060 system drawing 195W that would put the RX480 at ~205W. From some quick googling, it seems that people are able to shave off 80W(?) from Vega56 without affecting performance at all. That would put Vega56 very close to GTX1070Ti power consumption levels. I know there are Vega56 owners in the TR forums, I bet they could chime in with their undervolt results.

You can certainly go further by underclocking AND undervolting if you see fit.
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Re: New monitor/video card decisions

Tue Nov 07, 2017 3:25 pm

Chrispy_ wrote:
Edit:
NM, I see you've come around to Freesync and jumping back on the PCMR wagon ;)
Vega56 is good, especially if you dial it back a bit. I was impressed with the underclocking potential of mine - Flip the little BIOS switch into the other position and run it at the power-saving profile and it's remarkably quiet for the performance on tap, whilst still offering at least 90% of its original performance, and still consistently beating a similarly-priced GTX 1070.

QFT, I recently flipped that switch on my 56, on Chrispy_'s recommendation, and the (Sapphire) card is extremely quiet now, while still performing admirably at 2560x1440 and getting 100-165 FPS in almost all games I've tried at Ultra(+).
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Re: New monitor/video card decisions

Tue Nov 07, 2017 6:52 pm

JustAnEngineer wrote:
The Nixeus NX-EDG27 includes LFC. The very wide range of FreeSync frequency is a telltale, if you didn't go to the AMD web page that I linked.



..yup, as is the AOC.

Plus, the Nixeus is IPS where the AOC is VA. ..but the AOC is bigger (..and in this case bigger is almost always better provided other spec.s are good - at least for gaming).
 
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Re: New monitor/video card decisions

Tue Nov 07, 2017 7:06 pm

jdevers wrote:
..(sadly I imagine the AMD equivalent wouldn’t be an option until 2019...maybe mid 2019). The dearth of split screen co-op games on the PC is ridiculous BTW, having to force Borderlands 2 to scaled down window mode so two people can play at once when it is an option in the console versions is insane.

I’m down to looking mostly at Vega 56 with a decent 27” 1440P monifor (probably the Nixeus, but the version without an adjustable stand as I don’t need it). Anything bigger wouldn’t fit the space the computer is in.



I honestly don't think AMD will ever achieve equivalency with Nvida - at least for gaming in a single slot at a reasonable power-draw.

If they are smart then their architecture should continue to focus on integration with their CPU's for the compute market. IF they can do that and then drop the occasional midrange card for gamers - then they should be very profitable over time.

Note though that their freesync grouping is larger than G-Sync in the monitor market. This provides some competitive advantage - and makes a midrange card more viable: less expensive card + less expensive monitor - with a net quality experience. (ie. the sum is better than each part.)


IF you are stuck at 27" then I can't think the Nixeus with Vega 56 will be beat. It's just the right card for that resolution (at this time when factoring-in price and freesync use), and the right monitor at that size. :D
 
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Re: New monitor/video card decisions

Wed Nov 08, 2017 8:59 pm

Is there any legitimate reason decent 4K monitors are CHEAPER than equivalent 1440p monitors? There also seem to be very few mid spec 1440p monitors that support adaptive sync, is it just that all the cheaper 1440p monitors are older and so don’t have the adaptive sync support but most of the 4K monitors are new enough to have said support?
 
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Re: New monitor/video card decisions

Wed Nov 08, 2017 9:02 pm

The 1440P monitors that I linked above have very high refresh rates (120+ Hz) and they use IPS LCD panels. That makes them more expensive than monitors with lower refresh rates and inferior TN LCD panels.
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Re: New monitor/video card decisions

Wed Nov 08, 2017 9:44 pm

4K panels seem to largely target ignorant punters who don't care about high refresh, VRR, contrast ratios or colour accuracy.

It's a resolution that is, for the most part, compromised by limited bandwidth in many setups - so manufacturers seem to be focusing their efforts on providing 4K resolution at the lowest possible costs, to the detriment of actual image quality.

I'm actually glad that 4K has become a race to the bottom because it means that the real panel improvements are at 1080p and 1440p, where most graphics cards can delivery playable framerates.

So, when your options are a $750 graphics card producing ~55fps on a narrow-gamut, unevenly-lit, slow, washed-out 4K panel using 6-BPP with FRC, or a $265 graphics card producing 100+fps on a beautiful curved VA 144Hz VRR ultrawide with stunning contrast ratios, I'm not even slightly upset about the sorry state of 4K monitors. (numbers updated after looking at actual 1080Ti reviews and costs, rather than my outdated and slightly innacurate memory).
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jdevers
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Re: New monitor/video card decisions

Thu Nov 09, 2017 6:06 pm

I’ve narrowed it down to a pair of choices, one mid-range and one higher end both powered by AND cards.

A 580 8GB card with an MSI Optix 1080P 24” monitor or a Vega 56 with the currently discounted Nixeus 1440P 27”. I might get the better card and lesser monitor to ensure more consistent frame-rate and a bit more future proofing as a compromise, especially if 580 prices don’t come down pretty quickly.

The second got a little flack from the significant other and truthfully I haven’t even turned that PC once since I started this thread, so it does seem to be quite a bit of money for something rarely used. I initially sold her on a high end card for a system which is used daily for hours and it is easy to over sell that aspect especially since VR is a probability in the future for that PC. Spending roughly the same on a computer used only by me sparingly on a monitor and GPU upgrade is a harder sell.

Any opinions on the MSI monitor? It would still be a significant upgrade over the Radeon 7850 and 1080p TN 60Hz monitor I have now.
 
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Re: New monitor/video card decisions

Thu Nov 09, 2017 9:19 pm

Today's $400 for the Nixeus is a good deal. It's got IPS, 30-144 Hz FreeSync and 27" 1440p resolution.

If you're taking the long view, you might put the Vega56 in the HTPC with the idea that you'll eventually be able to bump it down to your other system. :wink:
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Re: New monitor/video card decisions

Fri Nov 10, 2017 1:34 pm

The R9-280X does not support FreeSync. Fair warning.
Neither does your 7850.
Main: i5-3570K, ASRock Z77 Pro4-M, MSI RX480 8G, 500GB Crucial BX100, 2 TB Samsung EcoGreen F4, 16GB 1600MHz G.Skill @1.25V, EVGA 550-G2, Silverstone PS07B
HTPC: A8-5600K, MSI FM2-A75IA-E53, 4TB Seagate SSHD, 8GB 1866MHz G.Skill, Crosley D-25 Case Mod
 
jdevers
Gerbil
Topic Author
Posts: 78
Joined: Sat Sep 07, 2002 10:08 pm
Location: Fayetteville, AR

Re: New monitor/video card decisions

Fri Nov 10, 2017 5:26 pm

Yea, I definitely know that. Both are old.
 
jdevers
Gerbil
Topic Author
Posts: 78
Joined: Sat Sep 07, 2002 10:08 pm
Location: Fayetteville, AR

Re: New monitor/video card decisions

Sun Nov 12, 2017 8:01 am

I broke down and ordered the Nixeus Edg last night, that discount is too good to pass up and even though it seems there is at least a certain amount of panel luck with that AOC panel it is far and away the best deal on a quality monitor right now.

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