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::>Displays > 2015 > 01 > ASUS ROG SWIFT PG278Q

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12-01-2015


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ASUS ROG SWIFT PG278Q monitor: review and testing

Due to the growing popularity of e-sports, the manufacturers of component began to pay attention to the game lineups of its product. After all, despite the high level of gamer he will not realize it on the PC with low and uncomfortable periphery. That's why fans of the game around the world can spend large amounts of money to powerful graphics cards, efficient CPU, ergonomic keyboards and mice, high-quality headset and other devices that make the gaming experience as comfortable as possible. Such components include monitors. It would seem that here you won’t have problems? You need to buy a model with good color rendering and fast matrix. However, in practice, not all is perfect. You can build a very powerful gaming system based on multiple graphics cards and still not achieve a smooth image on the screen.

The main reason lies in the frame synchronization between the graphics card and monitor. Over the years, developers have tried to solve the problem by applying a function of vertical synchronization (V-SYNC). However, it is half-measures, which are only partially solving the problem. Really a powerful hitch in this area was the emergence of technology NVIDIA G-SYNC. Engineers of “green” company have moved away from the usual concept to synchronize the frames on the side of the graphics card, and transferred this function directly into the monitor. This result exceeded all expectations, and many manufacturers have immediately introduced the technology NVIDIA G-SYNC in some of own solutions.

ASUS ROG SWIFT PG278Q

The pioneer in this area is company ASUS. One of the first in the world it presented WQHD-monitor with function NVIDIA G-SYNC and named the model as ASUS ROG SWIFT PG278Q. Before proceeding to the detailed description of the monitor, we offer a more detailed study the new features of synchronization technology and its advantages over the V-SYNC. For this purpose we want to learn concatenation: from the beginning of the formation of the frame until its appearance on the screen due to the fact that many problems arise in this area.

Let's start with the graphics card. Here the frame results in a special address space frame buffer. When a frame is drawn on the first frame buffer (front frame buffer), it is sent to the monitor to be displayed. At the same time, the graphics card starts rendering of the next frame, but in the second frame buffer (back frame buffer). When the finalization is completed, the frame buffers are reversed and the process repeats. In fact, the number of FPS, which define the application type FRAPS is just the rate of change of frame buffers on the level of the graphics card. Obviously, this value varies solely on the complexity of the scene and does not depend on the characteristics of the connected monitor.

You can ask "So, where's the problem?" "It is enough to find the settings in the game to output level of FPS at a level of 30". But even in this case, you will have "ragged" frames, and from time to time on the screen you will have effects like this.

ASUS ROG SWIFT PG278Q

The fact that the monitor has a constant frequency screen updates sweep (typically 60 Hz). While the graphics adapter sends the frames at different rates depending on the complexity of the scene. Do not forget about delays occurring during signal transmission, the reading frame and its display.

ASUS ROG SWIFT PG278Q

It is obvious that in such conditions is simply unrealistic to ensure perfect synchronization between the graphics card and monitor. This diagram shows how the same frame can get simultaneously into two cycles of the output image on the screen, causing it to rupture: the upper part will be produced by a new frame (from the back frame buffer), while still the bottom will be based on the old one (the front frame buffer).

ASUS ROG SWIFT PG278Q

The application of vertical synchronization (V-SYNC) eliminates this problem because now frame buffers change is consistent with the refresh rate of the display. In other words, if the graphics card can provide output images at a rate of above 60 FPS, the driver sends a signal to it: "Wait a minute; the monitor had not displayed the previous frame." That is, using the vertical sync you won’t have a value more than 60 FPS (hereinafter we are talking about the monitor with refresh rate of up to 60 Hz, which is present in the vast majority of the market), and about the change of the playing conditions will appear after 17 ms (1/60 Hz = 16.7 ms). And the delay of 17 ms is not so much time to talk about some loss of relevance of the picture displayed on the screen.

However, the graphics adapter may not always provide the framing of frequency equal to or higher than 60 FPS. If the case of a complex scene its finalization speed falls, then here a driver says a video card: "The monitor requires a new frame, and it is not ready yet. This means in order to avoid gaps in pictures we will display the previous frame. "And this leads to the freezes, i.e. the effect of braking or jamming of the picture. As a result, the gameplay becomes uncomfortable because there is no desired smoothness and relevance of the scene is lost t. Response time to user actions is significantly increased. Due to this reason in the dynamic online games gamers often disable vertical sync, even if it leads to rag in the image.

The problem solutions are the monitors with increased refresh rate up to 144 Hz. In this case, the amount of delay is reduced to 7 milliseconds (1/144 Hz = 6.9 ms), and the number freeze on the screen with enabled vertical synchronization is significantly reduced. But as the prediction of time to draw frame is carried out at the program level, you won’t avoid them. In addition, the rapid monitors are usually based on a TN matrix and they do not have the best performance in terms of color accuracy, contrast and viewing angles of magnitude.

As you can see, there are a lot of problems. After solving one of them, you will face with another one. Using of technology NVIDIA G-SYNC manufacturers can finally satisfy the needs of demanding gamers.

ASUS ROG SWIFT PG278Q

Firstly, it is not software but a hardware system - separate unit which is embedded in the display device and controls the entire process. Obviously, the accuracy and speed of measurements is much higher than that algorithm in the driver.

ASUS ROG SWIFT PG278Q

Secondly, NVIDIA G-SYNC can dynamically change refresh rate of the screen. In other words, the monitor adjusts its work relating to performance of graphics card. That is one shot killed several birds with one stone: no need to use vertical sync in the game, ragged frames and freezes are lost, the minimum delays of pictures are provided. And the most important thing is that this technology could theoretically be implemented on the monitor with any type of matrix.

An additional advantage of the module that implements the technology NVIDIA G-SYNC is a function Ultra-Low Motion Blur or abbreviated ULMB. After its activation the backlight of matrix flashes in sync with the refresh rate. This allows you to remove the shades from the fast-moving objects on the screen, which are observed in all monitors regardless of the rate of matrices. Another thing is that these shares are not always visible, but it is much better when they are non-existent.
As you can see, the technology NVIDIA G-SYNC really is a breakthrough in the field of gaming monitors. The only downside at the moment is that the low limit of the frequency sweep of 30 Hz. That is, if the number of frames per second during gameplay is below 30 FPS, here you can have previously described problems. There is no doubt that in the future engineers of NVIDIA will be able to resolve this issue.

Also it is important to note that the technology NVIDIA G-SYNC is a private commercial development of the company, so it will work correctly only on a PC with graphics cards based on GPU from NVIDIA (at least NVIDIA GeForce GTX 650Ti BOOST). At least, this situation will occur until the "red" will not be released its alternative version of this option. AMD has long been working in this direction, and the emergence of technology AMD FreeSync (analogue NVIDIA G-SYNC) is not far off. By the way, it will be built on a shared standard Adaptive Sync, and therefore will have better compatibility with graphics cards, and have greater flexibility for both users and producers of monitors.

But set aside these technological wars between "red" and "green". After all our agenda is the monitor ASUS ROG SWIFT PG278Q, and it will be described in today’s review.

ASUS ROG SWIFT PG278Q

The specs:

Model

ASUS ROG SWIFT PG278Q 

Matrix type

TN

Paneltype

LED

Monitor size inch, mm

27 / 685

Visible screen area, mm

-

Screen format

16:9

Optimum resolution and frequency, Hz

2560 х 1440 @ 144

Pixel, mm

0,233 x 0,233

Brightness, cd/m²

350

Contrast Ratio (statistical/dynamic)

1000:1 / -

Matrix Response Time (GtG), ms

1

Color numbers, M.

16,7

Horizontal scanning frequency, KHz

89 - 222

Vertical scanning frequency, Hz

50 - 144

Viewing angles (h/v) till the contrast > 10:1,°

170 / 160

Video output

1 x DisplayPort 1.2

Audio output

No

USB 2.0

No

USB 3.0

2

On-board speaker capacity, W

No

Power consumption level, W

< 90

Additional capabilities

Support of technology NVIDIA G-SYNC (аппаратном уровне dynamic vertical hardware synchronization), NVIDIA ULMB (removal of shades of fast moving objects on the screen), NVIDIA 3D VISION (output of stereoscopic image); Ability to output additional sight and timer over main image; height-adjustable stand, tilt and rotate in the horizontal and vertical planes

Wall mounting

Yes (VESA 100 х 100)

Dimensions (including stand), mm

620 х 363 - 483 х 238

Weight (including stand), kg

7,0

Producer website

ASUS 

Product page

ASUS ROG SWIFT PG278Q

Packaging and content

ASUS ROG SWIFT PG278Q

cardboard box, which provides protection against shock and possible mechanical damages during transportation. Packaging is decorated in red and black colors of series ASUS Republic Of Gamers (ROG) and has a good informative aspect. On the front side you will see the device image, as well as a number of icons, reporting its capabilities:

  • 27"/ 68.5 cm Wide Screen - widescreen display with a diagonal of 27" or 68.5 cm;
  • WQHD2560 x 1440 - display resolution is 2560 x 1440;
  • 1 ms Trace Free – a high-speed matrix with a response time of 1 ms is applied;
  • 144 Hz Rapid Refresh Rate - the frequency sweep of the screen can be up to 144 Hz;
  • Refresh Rate Overclocking - the ability to manually select a frequency sweep;
  • 5-Way Navigation Joystick - navigation in menu is done using a special joystick;
  • Game Plus Enhanced Combat – the presence of additional tools that can be demanded by gamers during the game;
  • NVIDIA G-SYNC - support for function of dynamic change of screen refresh rate NVIDIA G-SYNC;
  • NVIDIA 3D VISION - support for display of stereoscopic images NVIDIA 3D VISION.

ASUS ROG SWIFT PG278Q

The package includes all the necessary components you may need to connect the device and the process of its further exploitation:

  • AC adapter (AC: 100 - 240 V / 50 - 60 Hz / 1.5 A; DC: 19 V / 4.7 A) and the cord to it;
  • cable with socket DisplayPort;
  • cable with socket USB 3.0;
  • User Manual;
  • CD with documentation and software.

Design and operation conditions

ASUS ROG SWIFT PG278Q

Monitor ASUS ROG SWIFT PG278Q has a strict and futuristic design. Sharp edges, straight shape and lack of gloss all this definitely appeal to fans of games. Despite the large size of the screen (27"), the frame around it is made quite thin (only 6 mm), which makes this model an excellent basis for the construction of multi-monitor configurations.

ASUS ROG SWIFT PG278Q

The reverse side of ASUS ROG SWIFT PG278Q is no less impressive. And even massive leg does not spoil the overall impression of the appearance of the monitor. According to the manufacturer, this configuration provides an additional back panel and better heat dissipation outside the case.

The monitor is equipped with holes for fixing the standard VESA 100 x 100 mm, however if necessary, it can be easily placed on the wall. Note that the power supply is a separate adapter and brought outside.

ASUS ROG SWIFT PG278Q

A distinctive feature of the model ASUS ROG SWIFT PG278Q is a functional leg. It provides all the possible adjustments that might be necessary for the user to the most convenient location of the screen relative to the eye: the angle of the display (-5° ... + 20°), its location in terms of height (0 ... 120 mm), orientation in space (portrait/landscape), rotate around its axis (-60° ... + 60°).

Strength of joints did not cause any complaints. In any position of the screen the monitor has excellent stability and is not subject to rolling, as sometimes happens with solutions for larger screens.

ASUS ROG SWIFT PG278Q

Also here you can find a proprietary red illumination that can be found on all devices in a series of ASUS ROG. In this case, it is built into the stand and supports the function Light-in-Motion, i.e. its brightness may change during gameplay.

ASUS ROG SWIFT PG278Q

Interfaces have an original layout. Video connectors are represented by only one digital port DisplayPort 1.2. Such large amount is caused by the peculiarities of technology NVIDIA G-SYNC. The fact is that its correct operation is possible only if the interface DisplayPort 1.2. And we do not exclude that in the future the situation will change and the list of compatible video connections will include HDMI. However, buying a monitor ASUS ROG SWIFT PG278Q, be sure that your video card is equipped with the necessary video output.

Additional multimedia tools such as built-in speakers or vide cam are not provided. Although we do not think that many user will be upset due to this fact. Indeed, in most cases you should buy a separate headset and other devices, which have a great potential and provide better sound quality. The only thing that would be included is a headphone jack.

But the model ASUS ROG SWIFT PG278Q provides two high-port USB 3.0. And the cable to connect them to the computer is already included in the package.

Behind the labeled plug «Service Use Only» diagnostic connector is hidden. However, for the average user without the proper knowledge and equipment it will not be useful.

ASUS ROG SWIFT PG278Q

The display is controlled by a special joystick located on the rear side of the housing. It simplifies the navigation of on-screen menu, making this process quite intuitive. There are several traditional buttons with which you can close the menu screen, turn on or turn off the monitor, as well as quick access to proprietary features GamePlus and Turbo Key.

On the front side of the monitor the user can find icons with indication about controls and their functions.

Display menu and operational demonstration of proprietary technologies

ASUS ROG SWIFT PG278Q

ASUS ROG SWIFT PG278Q

Model ASUS ROG SWIFT PG278Q has a simple and intuitive menu: the left column shows the main items, in the center are their subdivisions, and the right has parameters.

Basic settings that affect the display of images on the screen are grouped in the section "Color". Traditionally it is asked to set the brightness, contrast and gamma. If you are not satisfied with the factory settings of primary colors (R, G, B), you can set them manually by using the item "Custom". Note that while working with the menu the screen constantly displays small tips about placing controls.

ASUS ROG SWIFT PG278Q

No less interesting are the proprietary features GamePlus and Turbo Key. At least, having testing for more than a dozen models from different price ranges we have never met anything like it.

ASUS ROG SWIFT PG278Q

By clicking the button «GamePlus», on the back of the monitor you will notice a corresponding window where the user can select an item to be displayed over the main image. This may be a sight (available four different versions) or the timer countdown. In some cases, such options will be quite useful.

ASUS ROG SWIFT PG278Q

Turbo Key Function is responsible for changing the frequency sweep of the screen between the values 60, 85, 100, 120 and 144 Hz. The selection is made by alternately pressing the appropriate button (the third one).

Testing

Hardware platform in the process of testing the model ASUS ROG SWIFT PG278Q was mini-computer ZOTAC ZBOX nano ID65 PLUS. Full description of the methodology of research you can read in the relevant material.

ASUS ROG SWIFT PG278Q

ASUS ROG SWIFT PG278Q has recorded only one factory mode, so there is not menu ASUS Splendid and, accordingly, the diversity of available profiles. We cannot judge is that good or bad since all depends on the accuracy of its settings. As always, the first look at the figures obtained during the test, and then on the basis of the graphs in more detail to analyze the results. Also note that for testing we've got a monitor released in June 2014. So we do not exclude the possibility that the market may have other variants of this model. Therefore, the comparability of results from different revisions ASUS ROG SWIFT PG278Q is not guaranteed.


Preset factory mode 

White area brightness, cd/m2 

339,1

Black area brightness, cd/m2 

0,340


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