A long time coming
We finally have the ASUS G-SYNC HDR monitor in our hands!! Is it worth $2000?
To say that the ASUS ROG Swift PG27UQ has been a long time coming is a bit of an understatement. In the computer hardware world where we are generally lucky to know about a product for 6-months, the PG27UQ is a product that has been around in some form or another for at least 18 months.
Originally demonstrated at CES 2017, the ASUS ROG Swift PG27UQ debuted alongside the Acer Predator X27 as the world's first G-SYNC displays supporting HDR. With promised brightness levels of 1000 nits, G-SYNC HDR was a surprising and aggressive announcement considering that HDR was just starting to pick up steam on TVs, and was unheard of for PC monitors. On top of the HDR support, these monitors were the first announced displays sporting a 144Hz refresh rate at 4K, due to their DisplayPort 1.4 connections.
However, delays lead to the PG27UQ being displayed yet again at CES this year, with a promised release date of Q1 2018. Even more slippages in release lead us to today, where the ASUS PG27UQ is available for pre-order for a staggering $2,000 and set to ship at some point this month.
In some ways, the launch of the PG27UQ very much mirrors the launch of the original G-SYNC display, the ROG Swift PG278Q. Both displays represented the launch of an oft waited technology, in a 27" form factor, and were seen as extremely expensive at their time of release.
Finally, we have our hands on a production model of the ASUS PG27UQ, the first monitor to support G-SYNC HDR, as well as 144Hz refresh rate at 4K. Can a PC monitor really be worth a $2,000 price tag?
There's a lot of ground to cover with the specifications of the ASUS PG27UQ, and many of them represent industry firsts.
While there has been one other Korean monitor that has supported 4K 144Hz, the ASUS PG27UQ is the first widely available display to take advantage of this new 4K high refresh mode offered by DisplayPort 1.4.
On the HDR side, you have HDR10 decoding powered by a 384-zone Full Array Local Dimming (FALD) backlight, capable of reaching 1000 nits in certain scenarios. As per the DisplayHDR 1000 specification, the display must be capable of both flashing the entire screen with an instantaneous brightness of 1000 nits, as well as sustaining a 10% patch in the middle of the display at 1000 nits indefinitely.
The typical brightness of 600 nits is still higher than the measured peak brightness of any other HDR monitor we have taken a look at so far, an impressive feat.
Of course, brightness isn't the only important aspect of HDR. ASUS claims the PG27UQ is capable of reproducing color to an accuracy of 99% of the AdobeRGB gamut, and 97% of DCI-P3. While it isn't the absolute highest claims of color reproduction we've seen on a display, these numbers still represent color accuracy in the top echelon of pc monitors.
Edit: For clarification, the 98Hz limit represents the refresh rate at which the monitor switches from 4:4:4 chroma subsampling to 4:2:2 subsampling. While this shouldn't affect things such as games and movies to a noticeable extent, 4:2:2 can result in blurry or difficult to read text in certain scenarios. For more information on Chroma Subsampling, see this great article over at Rtings.
For the moment, given the lack of available GPU products to push games above 98Hz at 4K, we feel like keeping the monitor in 98Hz mode is a good compromise. However, for a display this expensive, it's a negative that may this display age faster than expected.
Here is the full capability of the PG27UQ across different refresh rates and modes:
SDR: 98 Hz 10-bit RGB, 120 Hz 8-bit RGB, 144 Hz (overclocked) 8-bit YCbCr422
HDR: 98 Hz 10-bit RGB, 120 Hz 8-bit RGB (dithered, only with Win10 RS4), 120 Hz 10-bit YCbCr422, 144 Hz (overclocked) 10-bit YCbCr422
One caveat though, with HDR enabled at 4K, the maximum refresh rate is limited to 98Hz. While this isn't a problem for today, where graphics cards can barely hit 60 FPS at 4K, it is certainly something to be aware of when buying a $2,000 product that you would expect to last for quite a long time to come.
One of the unique advantages that ASUS has with the PG27UQ over the similarly specced Acer Predator X27 is DisplayHDR 1000 certification. While it's unclear if this is due to ASUS getting access to slightly higher quality panels than Acer, or Acer just not going through the certification process, it still reflects the confidence that ASUS has in this product.
The first surprising aspect of the PG27UQ is the form factor. While monitors have been trending towards thinner and thinner chassis and bezels due to advancements in LCD and LED backlighting technology, the PG27UQ goes in the opposite direction.
The bezels are thicker than we saw with even the original ROG Swift, the chassis is thick, and the monitor overall is quite heavy. It seems that some sacrifices had to be made in order to fit things like a Full Array Local Dimming backlight into a 27" display form factor.
Inclusions like ASUS Aura Sync-compatible RGB lighting help make this feel like a unique product if you are into that sort of thing.
However, for those of you like me that aren't into RGB, these lightning effects can be easily disabled in the monitor's OSD.
Like we've seen with a lot of G-SYNC displays, the input options are a bit barren on the PG27UQ. You get the primary DisplayPort 1.4 connector for all of your G-SYNC enabled content, an HDMI 2.0 port, Dual port USB 3.0 Hub, and a headphone jack.
We were pleasantly surprised to see that the HDMI 2.0 port supports full 4K60 with HDR-enabled, allowing you to hook up a device other than your PC, like a game console to this premium product and still get the fullest possible experience. Although keep in mind that Dolby Vision HDR is not supported here, so your mileage may vary with regards to playing back certain video content.
Early impressions of the similar Acer Predator X27 uncovered that it used active cooling for the electronics, which was annoyingly loud when used with Acer's VESA mounting kit.
While the ASUS PG27UQ also features a blower style fan with an intake in the VESA mount area, ASUS includes standoffs which provide plenty of clearance between the back of the monitor and the VESA mounting plate, solving the issue.
It's worth noting that despite the monitor having an always-on active cooling fan, it was only noticeable with no other ambient noise in the room, and in close proximity to the display. With any other noise in the room, such as our test PC turned on, the fan noise was drowned out.
Still, if you shut down your PC when not using it, and keep your PC setup in a quiet room, the best course of action would be to completely turn off the monitor when not using it.
Speaking of the fan, let's take a closer look at the internals of the ASUS PG27UQ with a teardown.
|Review Terms and Disclosure
All Information as of the Date of Publication
|How product was obtained:||The product is on loan from ASUS for the purpose of this review.|
|What happens to the product after review:||The product remains the property of ASUS but is on extended loan for future testing and product comparisons.|
|Company involvement:||ASUS had no control over the content of the review and was not consulted prior to publication.|
|PC Perspective Compensation:||Neither PC Perspective nor any of its staff were paid or compensated in any way by ASUS for this review.|
|Advertising Disclosure:||ASUS has purchased advertising at PC Perspective during the past twelve months.|
|Affiliate links:||This article contains affiliate links to online retailers. PC Perspective may receive compensation for purchases through those links.|
|Consulting Disclosure:||ASUS is not a current client of Shrout Research for products or services related to this review.|
It’s not even real 10bit I
It’s not even real 10bit I believe it is a 8+2 which is plain stupid.
as soon as I read active fan,
as soon as I read active fan, I switched off. $ 2000 for an active fan monitor? No thanks very much.
Same here…not a big fan of
Same here…not a big fan of the “Fan”….no pun intended
Curious as to how the desktop
Curious as to how the desktop at SDR is handled when displaying content in HDR in a window. The rest of the desktop getting dimmer would seem to be the expected result. SDR is supposed to specify a range of 0 to 100 nits while HDR can specify a range of 1000 nits, 4000 nits, or more. When you switch the display to some HDR mode, anything that is SDR will have to be converted to HDR in some manner. If you just convert it into 0 to 100 of a 1000 nit range, it will look very dim. Is there a shift in the whole screen when you start an HDR video? You can’t blow up the SDR content to the full HDR range since it would probably cause significant banding.
Windows has a slider that
Windows has a slider that effectively sets the SDR content peak brightness level. By default it’s at 0 which looks like 100 nits to my eyes.
However it does not perform gamma correction and the SDR content is incorrected displayed on the display’s PQ gamma curve.
Curious as to how the desktop
Curious as to how the desktop at SDR is handled when displaying content in HDR in a window.
Monitors don’t work the way you think they do.
SDR doesn’t define any brightness range at all. The brightest 8-bit value (255,255,255) simply means “brightest”, whereas what that actually means in terms of luminance depends on the brightness setting of your monitor. Nothing more.
HDR values map to actual luminance levels, so the brightness setting on the monitor is typically deactivated/irrelevant. You only get HDR in full screen mode. In a window on the Windows desktop you can only ever get an SDR image, not least because consumer grade GPU’s refuse to deliver a 10-bit signal unless forced into full screen HDR mode.
So If we are fine with 98Hz
So If we are fine with 98Hz is this then going to be able to deliver the colour accuracy and contrast as advertised? I want one as Im an artist that does gaming and wants the best of both without the need for seperate displays.
Good first impressions. Now,
Good first impressions. Now, please, send the monitor to Rtings for the review.
What’s the minimum refresh
What’s the minimum refresh rate for GSync?
How quickly we forget. I
How quickly we forget. I remember buying the 24 inch SONY CRT monitor GDM-FW900 for $2 grand and it weighed a ton. Best CRT Trinitron monitor I ever had. Now I have the ASUS PG279Q monitor and I love it but it was also not cheap. I would get this monitor but even my EVGA GTX 1080 Ti FTW3 would not be able to do it justice. I suppose I should get a 4Kish TV first, heh.
Your comment about games not
Your comment about games not being able to push UHD / 4K at 144 Hz is far from correct. You are forgetting about older games. For instance, the original Far Cry is still a great game and runs at 180 fps at 4k.
However, it’s clear that Displayport 1.4 has insufficient bandwidth, so it’s probably worth waiting for HDMI 2.1, which should, and the refreshed monitor and new GPU to run it.
In what universe does a 27
In what universe does a 27 inch LCD with bad backlighting compare to a 55 inch LG OLED? I have a 1080 Ti and I wouldn’t buy this with YOUR money.
This one? I have both of
This one? I have both of these things and there’s no comparison whatsoever. In fact, I was the first consumer in the US to purchase and review LG’s 4K OLED when they went on sale in 2015.
You need to treat a 55 inch LG OLED like a plasma, which means even in an ideal light controlled environment, the damn thing’s going to dim itself noticeably in a typical PC color scheme with white dominating everything.
So on DisplayPort 1.4 it’s
So on DisplayPort 1.4 it’s 3840×2160+10bit+HDR+4:4:4 @98 Hz,
how high will the upcoming ultra-wide models go at 3440×1440+10bit+HDR+4:4:4?
Not sure if I did the math correctly but shouldn’t it be 165 Hz (panel’s max is 200 Hz according to announcements)?
You are correct that scaling
You are correct that scaling is proportional to the pixel count assuming everything else is identical.
Also, I still haven’t been given an answer about DSC which allows visually lossless compression and if the monitor and GPU support it you can actually achieve 4K@240Hz.
But the chart (about halfway down in link below) also shows 4K@120Hz using 4:4:4 without DSC so why is this monitor only at 98Hz?
Something doesn’t add up.
Update: I’m an IDIOT. That’s 4:4:4 at 8-bit, not 10-bit.
These are the numbers using
These are the numbers using exact bandwidth calculations:
10-bit = 159 Hz
8-bit = 198 Hz
Coming from 1080P TN Monitor,
Coming from 1080P TN Monitor, should I buy 4k 144hz IPS Monitor?
I actually own a pg27uq and
I actually own a pg27uq and it is BEAUTIFUL BUT… I have noticed problems Running a firstname.lastname@example.org, 32GB 1866mhz cas9, 2x titan x (Pascal) window 7pro 64 on samsung 840 with latest nvidia drivers, and window 10 pro 64 on samsung 850 evo also latest drivers. Now with that out of the way the monitor seems to cause tons of microstutter in games even with sli disabled I get serious microstutter even in titles like destiny 2 that ran fine on my XB280hk 4k 60hz I am getting 90-120 fps in destiny but sometimes it goes to stutter mode and even the menus it stutters and the only solution is at tab, although enter repeatedly and hope or closing and reopening and hoping, and in games like fallout 4 that only go to 60 fps the games like this become a horrible unplayable stuttery mess with momentary stalls followed by black screens the gameplay resumes and there is no fixing even lowering the monitor to 60hz just makes it worse has anyone else experienced this?
Do you have GSYNC enabled or
Do you have GSYNC enabled or not?
If NO turn it on and if YES try disabling it temporarily… possibly try GSYNC OFF but force Adaptive VSync Half Refresh (which should cap to 72FPS VSYNC ON but disable VSYNC if you can’t output 72FPS).
Can you force an FPS cap using NVInspector or some other tool?
I assume GSYNC is ON and you obviously don’t want it off but for now maybe try the different options so you can at least narrow down the problem.
Maybe its an NVidia driver issue, but a quick Google doesn’t show much so maybe its simply early adopter blues that will get sorted out.
Also, maybe try shutting down and physically removing a video card. I know SLI is supposedly off in software but it’s all I can think of if the obvious isn’t helping.
Plus of course contacting the monitor manufacturer but I do think it’s a software issue.
I really hope we start seeing
I really hope we start seeing more size and resolution options; 1440p at 27 and 32 inches would be a great start. I’d also love to see a 35 or so inch 4k model.
Great review! Considering
Great review! Considering that it has an active fan, I am curious what the power consumption is under different settings/scenarios. Does the power consumption vary with refresh rate,GSYNC,HDR, etc? The specs say max 180W, which is a *lot* for a monitor. It would be great to update the review with this info. Thanks.