Last night during its CES keynote presentation, Nvidia didn't talk up what it's ultimately one of its coolest new products, revealed via blog post at GeForce.com: G-Sync HDR, present in new 4K HDR monitors with Quantum Dot technology and 144Hz refresh rates. These might be the most capable, powerful displays we've yet seen, and we're drooling at the prospect of gaming on one of them.
Nvidia brought G-Sync technology to PC displays a few years ago, allowing for variable refresh rates and helping to reduce screen tearing and input lag. Now, the graphics giant is looking to bring some of the biggest selling points of home theater systems to PC gaming. The company has partnered with AU Optronics to create HDR G-Sync displays. Both Asus and Acer will be bringing the first batch of those displays to market later this year.
According to Nvidia, G-Sync HDR displays will support the HDR10 color standard and get close to covering the DCI-P3 color gamut used in digital cinema. It's still hard to sell HDR by showing it on regular displays, but Nvidia's side-by-side comparison image does a fair job of simulating the difference is between SDR and HDR color. The new displays should also be capable of 1,000 nits of eyeball-frying brightness, and feature 384 individually-controlled backlight zones.
These screens are also coated with Quantum Dot Enhancement Film (QDEF). Nvidia says the QDEF "is coated with nano-sized dots that emit light of a very specific color depending on the size of the dot, producing bright, saturated and vibrant colors through the whole spectrum, from deep greens and reds to intense blues."
The features listed above are fairly common to recent HDR-capable UltraHD televisions, but they tend to introduce input lag, something that can make gaming on them a less-than-ideal prospect. As a data point, some LG OLED displays have both high and inconsistent input lag, meaning that there could be anywhere from 30ms to 70ms of delay. Nvidia claims that G-Sync HDR displays, on the other hand, have been built from the ground up for gamers. They incorporate the picture-enhancing elements of those televisions while retaining stutter and tearing-free experience that we expect from G-Sync.
Of course, we have to mention that G-Sync HDR was announced shortly after AMD unveiled FreeSync 2, a standard aimed at doing many of the same things. As PC World notes, FreeSync 2 is an attempt from AMD at establishing an industry standard, while G-Sync HDR is a product that manufacturers will work with Nvidia to integrate into their displays. FreeSync 2 has the potential to spread more easily, but Nvidia's control over G-Sync may result in a a more consistent experience once the hardware sits on our desks. Time will tell.
The displays coming from Asus and Acer are expected to hit later this year, but neither manufacturer has provided a price. Even as the displays themselves get easier on our eyes, expect the prices to continue to be more eye-watering than ever.