Asus’ 144Hz MG279Q monitor may top out at 90Hz with FreeSync

We've been eagerly awaiting the release of Asus' MG279Q, a FreeSync display with an IPS panel and a fast 144Hz peak refresh rate. It appears that the MG279Q may not be able to refresh at top speed in FreeSync mode, however. A poster on the SweClockers forums received their MG279Q a couple days back, and they discovered that the display will only enter FreeSync mode with the system set to refresh rates between 35Hz and 90Hz.

Forum posts might not be the most credible source, but there's official confirmation of this limitation, too. The 35Hz-90Hz range is repeated in Asus' own FreeSync FAQ, which uses the MG279Q as an example of the technology. The page simply says that "FreeSync only can be activated within 35Hz ~ 90Hz."

A lower peak refresh rate for FreeSync probably isn't the end of the world for the MG279Q, but it's a little disappointing given the display's unqualified 144Hz billing thus far. We've requested comment from Asus, and we'll update this post if we receive one.

Comments closed
    • Raaskyl
    • 8 years ago

    It seems that freesync doesn’t play well with overdrive settings, switching them off and causing the ghosting. I read somewhere that the MG279Q’s 90hz limit is with overdrive on which should mean no ghosting. Nvidia has the superior tech but the price premium you have to pay is still not worth it for me.

    • anotherengineer
    • 8 years ago

    Indeed.

    Since some films are still 24fps, so it would be nice if they could get the minimum rate to 20-24fps and up to about 100fps/hz.

    From this
    [url<]https://techreport.com/news/27540/xbox-dev-explains-why-30-fps-isnt-enough[/url<] appears 84 hz/fps is the ideal or perfect world minimum. 120fps/hz is nice because 20, 24, 30, 60 all divide evenly into it. And using and owning a 120hz screen I would say anything over 120hz is for sure getting into the realm of diminishing returns.

    • Kretschmer
    • 8 years ago

    It’s disappointing that Asus skimped on the scalar and fell short of this panel’s potential. I wonder what the cost differential would be? Still, I doubt that I’d make the image quality or GPU cost trade-offs for 144Hz gaming.

    If this display is of good quality and ships @ $600 I can see myself pulling the trigger. The $200 saved over the XB270HU can buy a lot of GPU these days!

    • Kretschmer
    • 8 years ago

    Not yet, until Nvidia caves and supports DP 1.2a adaptive sync.

    • Kevsteele
    • 8 years ago

    On Shadow Warrior, I have everything maxxed out. On Crysis 3, I’ve got whatever the “Geforce Experience” chose as optimal.

    I’m running a i7 3770k @ 4.5Ghz and a 970 overclocked slightly (+100 clock, +500 mem).

    Shadow Warrior never drops below about 130, and is usually pegged at 143.
    Crysis 3 varied a bit more, but like I said was usually 105-120.

    I could run some other games if you’d like, but I’m not here to ePeen about benchmarks – I was just commenting that the games I’m playing now are running well above the 90Hz cap on this monitor.

    • Zizy
    • 8 years ago

    Beh. I guess the reason is cheapo scaler, or it could be because of need for overdrive to drive the screen at 144 Hz. Does the panel at least alternate between 144 Hz and 90 Hz freesync smoothly (based on expected GPU framerate) or is this a manual operation?

    Either way, I would rather pay even more for the gsync version. Assuming both technologies worked with both GPU vendors of course.

    • rahulahl
    • 8 years ago

    “Huge amount of image quality” is debatable.
    A lot of people including me don’t like SSAO. Feels very unnatural. I don’t like Depth of Field either.
    There is always a tradeoff. If you have a more powerful card like a GTX980, the tradeoffs are usually about small stuff that helps the FPS a lot. For example, Witcher 2 had ubersampling turned on. I turn it off as do most people.

    I can always increase the image quality by using DSR to render the game at 4k or whatever the highest setting is. I can also mess with ini for a lot of games and Nvidia Control Panel and turn up some other settings. I don’t do that because I know my FPS will go down drastically for very little image quality improvement. In the end PC game settings are always a balance between the FPS and image quality.

    Of course it all depends on the player who is playing the game. Maybe for someone like me SSAO isn’t good, but maybe you like it.
    Maybe someone plays Crysis, while others might play Shadow Warrior. I mean, Auxy actually reckons she can play her games at 4k just fine on her Radeon. Its all about perspective. If you worry about maxing each and every possible setting then I am afraid even SLI GTX980 will not get you 144FPS in every game.

    • Meadows
    • 8 years ago

    I suspected as much, which means his results don’t matter.

    • rahulahl
    • 8 years ago

    I don’t think so. Nvidia needs to put out drivers to support adaptive sync.

    • 12345
    • 8 years ago

    What if I were to use this monitor with a nvidia card like a 780ti? Would I still get adaptive sync?

    • vargis14
    • 8 years ago

    90Hrtz is fast enough for very fluid gameplay/playback of anything short of 3D.

    60hrtz seems very good to me since I switched from a very good 37″ LCD HDTV that had a 5ms response time and low input lag time that I could not notice “But I am not a tournament gamer either ” to my new 34″ 21/9 60hrtz IPS panel. So 90hrtz is plenty fast for me.

    BTW the HDTV is a Vizio VO37 that has to be over 5 years old that still sells refurbished for around $500…I know it seems high but it is a great panel for a Vizio

    • Firestarter
    • 8 years ago

    well have you seen a high refresh monitor? There are definitely benefits from going way beyond 90FPS on a 144Hz monitor, and they are not limited to smaller sampling errors and less tearing. The extra amount of frames that are shown just add information for your eyes to see, so that your brains don’t have to interpolate as much. That results in an experience that you wouldn’t describe as ‘smooth’ anymore, but rather as ‘solid’: the things you see seem more solid because when they move your eyes can track them more and more as if they’d be tracking real life objects.

    Now I apologize if all that sounds like some semi-scientific crackpot mumbo jumbo, but I am just trying to put into words the very small difference that I personally see on my 120Hz monitor between 90 FPS and 120 FPS. I don’t think it’s a big benefit either and I wouldn’t sacrifice anything big to get it, but when it just happens it really is very nice.

    • lilbuddhaman
    • 8 years ago

    Agreed, I usually choose ~40fps at ultra w/ AA instead of 60fps at high w/ no AA

    • lilbuddhaman
    • 8 years ago

    So you sacrifice a huge amount of image quality for frame rate.

    • Sahrin
    • 8 years ago

    Fuck nVidia for not supporting FreeSync. How am I supposed to afford your overpriced cards and a monitor that costs 50% extra? Enjoy another customer switching to AMD.

    • rahulahl
    • 8 years ago

    Maybe he does not like things like SSAO?
    I myself turn off a lot of things that I dislike or simply don’t care about.

    • travbrad
    • 8 years ago

    Consider yourself very lucky, your 970 is twice as fast as Anandtech’s or TR’s 980 (unless you are running it on low settings or something)

    [url<]https://techreport.com/review/27067/nvidia-geforce-gtx-980-and-970-graphics-cards-reviewed/8[/url<] [url<]http://images.anandtech.com/graphs/graph8526/67723.png[/url<]

    • travbrad
    • 8 years ago

    Maybe “most games” just means old games. Technically it’s true I suppose since most games are old.

    I don’t know of many new games (other than 2D indie games) that would run at 144FPS and 1440p on a single 980. Even most of the newish games tested at the time of the 980 release weren’t getting anywhere close to that.

    [i<]Source: Every single GTX980 review that tested at 1440p.[/i<]

    • MadManOriginal
    • 8 years ago

    Probably has something to do with the scalar/input chip. G-Sync uses a FPGA and is programmed specifically for it’s task.

    • Kevsteele
    • 8 years ago

    I’ve got an Acer XB270HU – and yeah, I love G-Sync at 144Hz. It’s awesome gaming at 144fps with no tearing or judder. Being maxed out to 90Hz on Freesync with the Asus seems a weird limitation. Wonder why it’s capped like that?

    • Kevsteele
    • 8 years ago

    Not really. I’ve got a GTX970 with a i7-3770K and an Acer XB270HU G-Sync monitor, and I rarely drop below 130 fps in games – granted, I haven’t tried Crysis yet. 😉

    EDIT: Just gave Crysis 3 a run. Never quite hit 144Hz – framerate ranged from 105 to 125 fps/Hz. On Shadow Warrior (which is what I’m currently playing) the PC pegs out at 144Hz and stays there.

    • rahulahl
    • 8 years ago

    Same. Never played Warcraft or Sims in my life.

    • Meadows
    • 8 years ago

    I play games other than World of Warcraft and Sims 3.

    • kuttan
    • 8 years ago

    If 35Hz – 90Hz means a fluid frame rate of 35-90 Fps that too at 1440P resolution nothing wrong to me. Freesync or adaptive sync enabled 90 fps is much better than 144fps without .

    • Firestarter
    • 8 years ago

    I have a golden display-port cable to sell you, I hear it works wonders with those post 144hz jitters

    • rahulahl
    • 8 years ago

    I have Asus Rog Swift at 1440p. And I manage to hit 144Hz in majority of the games I play.
    And I can also tell you that having 144FPS with and without G-Sync does make a difference.
    Initially it was hard for me to tell, but once I got used to it, I notice the lack of it as soon as I turn it off.

    • Meadows
    • 8 years ago

    Not at that resolution.

    • rahulahl
    • 8 years ago

    Yea I agree the minimum is more important, but max is sorta important as well.
    You will certainly miss it when you don’t have it.

    • rahulahl
    • 8 years ago

    A GTX980 is quite capable of hitting 144Hz in most games.

    • rahulahl
    • 8 years ago

    Huge difference between 100Hz and 144Hz from what I could tell on my Rog Swift.

    • kuttan
    • 8 years ago

    Since the monitor can do FreeSync as low as 35Hz is pretty good to me. The minimum Hz support is more crucial than max Hz support.

    • TopHatKiller
    • 8 years ago

    The page simply says that “FreeSync only can be activated within 35Hz ~ 90Hz.”

    There appears to be something odd about these first attempts at freesynch/ vesa adjustable v-sync monitors. Asus has not stipulated that the above ranges are limits of the tech – and Amd has said something quite different. The fq ranges are true though – scan.co.uk has listed this monitor for a week or so with those ranges as part of the spec. But it is nothing to do with the tech; examine the e-dp tech files to see how it is nothing to do with the actual tech. Something else is up here – and any and every monitor relies on the quality of the individual monitor and not just because it supports “this or that” in theory.

    • Melvar
    • 8 years ago

    It would be irrational to buy a thing that you will regret buying until it arrives and proves you wrong. It would also be irrational to regret something before having a reason to regret it.

    Personally, I try not to do anything that can’t be expressed as a fraction.

    • Melvar
    • 8 years ago

    If they have to pulse or scan the backlight to get 144Hz looking good there would be the problem of maintaining even brightness at different refresh rates.

    • HisDivineOrder
    • 8 years ago

    Don’t worry. Asus will introduce the MG289Q to give you the faster speeds for only $200 more.

    • Laykun
    • 8 years ago

    What about judging something without ever having used it? Is that rational?

    • JumpingJack
    • 8 years ago

    Same here but for different reasons… I was looking at Freesync but the articles over at PCPer demonstrating/explaining the Freesync tech (Ghosting and low refresh) swayed me to spend the extra 150 for Gsync.

    • mkk
    • 8 years ago

    Asus anti-ghosting does not appear to be working while the monitor is in Freesync mode. Reviewers will have to keep an eye out for odd behaviors like that.
    Just maybe giving this product the certified Freesync logo ends up being counter productive. At least it keeps me from ordering one right away.

    • DarkUltra
    • 8 years ago

    How about ULMB or backlight strobing, is it too limited to 90Hz?

    • DPete27
    • 8 years ago

    Product segmentation can be a good thing for both consumers and manufacturers.

    • brucethemoose
    • 8 years ago

    Interesting… So is this just some arbitrary limit Asus put on the panel itself?

    1440p LG IPS panels could run at 120hz years ago, this one can do 144Hz…why would variable refresh be any different.

    • UberGerbil
    • 8 years ago

    There’s always an implicit “so far.” Rational people retain the right to change their judgment in light of new facts; it’s only nutbar internet fanboys who maintain their opinion in spite of all evidence to contrary.

    • AdamDZ
    • 8 years ago

    I bought the Swift couple of months ago fully aware of the TN shortcomings because I just couldn’t wait for G-Sync and I love it for games. IMHO, TN doesn’t make games that much worse, but yeah, it’s unusable for much else. It sucks for watching movies and image editing/viewing. I also have an IPS Asus monitor that I use with another PC for everything else though. There is a huge difference in quality. But if I could wait, I would rather now get IPS G-Sync monitor even with only 90Hz refresh. Not much regret though, I had hell of a fun so far and I might just get an IPS G-Sync monitor in a year.

    The bottom line: if you can wait for an IPS G-Sync monitor and you only have one PC for everything, then wait, even if it’s not 144Hz. There is no denying that IPS is way better.

    • Deanjo
    • 8 years ago

    Isn’t a bit hard to have “no regrets” about a purchase that you haven’t even received yet?

    • Westbrook348
    • 8 years ago

    UPS currently still has it, but as soon as I get it and set it up I’ll leave a comment in the forums. I’ve heard really good things

    • Chrispy_
    • 8 years ago

    We’ll know that adaptive sync displays are past the early-adopter tax and teething troubles stages once eBay is full of Korean models for $300.

    • orik
    • 8 years ago

    hey, can you comment on the quality of the 3D vision with the swift? I currently have one of the ‘BenQ XLT242__’ units and I was thinking about upgrading but I hear ghosting/crosstalk is an issue.

    • Firestarter
    • 8 years ago

    to me there’s a noticeable difference between medium and high graphics settings, and unless I need those last few FPS for competitive reasons I just turn the candy up

    • Firestarter
    • 8 years ago

    the 90hz limit is fine for most games, for the rest (read: CS:GO and twitch shooters) turning off freesync would be just one of many sacrifices on the altar of extremely high FPS

    • cynan
    • 8 years ago

    If you have the GPU dictating the refresh timing, I fail to see how 144Hz is going to be much of a benefit over 90Hz.

    • TheSeekingOne
    • 8 years ago

    I’d rather pay that much for a QD high quality monitor with a decent variable sync range.

    • Duct Tape Dude
    • 8 years ago

    35-90Hz is the sweet spot anyway. I’ve only played with a few 144Hz monitors in stores, but it felt like diminishing returns after 100Hz.

    Maybe FreeSync will lock to VSync above and below the supported framerates? So you’ll get a range of fps like this, assuming a 144Hz monitor:

    [b<]... 12, 16, 18, 24, 35-90, 144 [/b<] The transition from 144 to 90 might be slightly jarring to some but I'd still prefer to have FreeSync in that sweet spot.

    • orik
    • 8 years ago

    ITT: ‘We don’t like nice things i.e. 144hz, 90hz is fine. hail freesync.’

    on a more serious note, i’m interested in what sort of panel limitations let to the 90hz cap. i hope the folks at blurbusters look into it, and i also wonder what ghosting is like on a variable-ips.

    • Pville_Piper
    • 8 years ago

    I disagree, unless you have to have “ultra” settings on. I much prefer 144hz on medium to low settings than higher settings at sub 100hz. To me there is a noticeable difference in the quality of image above 100 hz and all that eye candy of ultra settings is just not noticeable after a while.

    • puppetworx
    • 8 years ago

    Given that the [url=http://www.tftcentral.co.uk/reviews/acer_xb270hu.htm<]Acer XB270HU[/url<] (also IPS) already manages 144Hz with G-Sync this would be a major disappointment.

    • drfish
    • 8 years ago

    This (and other similar stories sure to come) is not a huge surprise. As soon as the BenQ exhibited the ghosting issues that will purportedly be solved with a firmware/driver update it was pretty clear that Freesync implementations were going to leave the door open for this sort of inconsistency.

    • puppetworx
    • 8 years ago

    FreeSync is specced to work up to 240Hz and the [url=https://techreport.com/review/28073/benq-xl2730z-freesync-monitor-reviewed<]BenQ XL2730Z[/url<] already runs at 144Hz (also 2560x1440) with FreeSync enabled. This limitation is something other than FreeSync, the scaler and panel can both handle 144Hz though so it's rather puzzling. Perhaps it's that Asus' anti-ghosting technology doesn't play nice with variable refresh above 90Hz?

    • Westbrook348
    • 8 years ago

    No regrets about buying the ROG Swift a couple days ago. I didn’t want to spend THAT much money, but it is literally the only monitor with its capabilities, specifically 1440p 3D vision. Seriously, there are no other monitors that support this.

    For those not interested in 3D vision, though, then I think 90Hz variable refresh is plenty. I wouldn’t pay extra for 100-144Hz if I didn’t the need high refresh for 3D.

    The lower bound of the range is vastly more important. Frame times above 28 ms aren’t that uncommon, and it’s what happens at those slowest frames that really matters.

    • Milo Burke
    • 8 years ago

    Good. A high-end GPU made in 2021 should be able to run Assassins Creed Unity smoothly at 1440p, so you’re in luck.

    • DPete27
    • 8 years ago

    I agree, a 40-90 Hz refresh range should be more than sufficient for image quality settings. Especially when [url=https://techreport.com/review/27067/nvidia-geforce-gtx-980-and-970-graphics-cards-reviewed/8<]frame rates in games have largely stabilized since the "Inside the Second" revelation[/url<] That said, its puzzling why this monitor can do 144Hz at a fixed refresh but not variable...? Is there some panel tech limitation that I don't know about?

    • MadManOriginal
    • 8 years ago

    Ironically, 144Hz max mode with NV adaptive v-sync might be a usable compromise for those who want the high refresh rate.

    • The Egg
    • 8 years ago

    I tend to keep monitors for 6+ years.

    • superjawes
    • 8 years ago

    So this basically makes FreeSync’s (fastest) refresh time 11.1 ms. G-Sync would be 6.9 ms. I can’t say whether or not it’s necessary, but it is worth noting.

    • xeridea
    • 8 years ago

    Probably not an issue since driving 2560 x 1440 at greater than 90Hz is quite the task for gaming.

    • _Ian_
    • 8 years ago

    Nnnnnnooooooooooo

    This was the one monitor that had everything, guess I’ll have to wait a bit longer for the holy grail.

    I know there’s the Acer 144Hz G-Sync IPS, but I think I’d rather back the VESA standard over the proprietary solution, although now I might have to reconsider…

    • Milo Burke
    • 8 years ago

    If adaptive-sync monitors that intentionally top out at 90 or 96 Hz start shipping at a substantial discount, I’d prefer it. I can’t afford both the 144 Hz display capability and the muscle to drive it: only one or the other.

    90 or 96 Hz seems like a good compromise. 60 Hz is too limiting, but higher than 100 Hz is chasing diminishing returns.

    That said, I hope 144 Hz IPS exists for those who want it.

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