120hz monitors and gaming

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doveman
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120hz monitors and gaming

Post by doveman » Sat Nov 27, 2010 5:37 am

I'm thinking of getting a 120hz LCD, mainly because I hope it will be more smooth when scrolling text than the previous 60hz LCD I tried was. I don't have any plans to use 3D.

I'm wondering about any potential benefits in gaming though. It seems to me that most games struggle to reach 60fps, which seems to be the optimum rate for smooth gameplay and also because it matches the monitors 60hz. So I don't see any games reaching 120fps to match the monitors 120hz, but would games running at 60fps look any better on a monitor running at 120hz?
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lm
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Re: 120hz monitors and gaming

Post by lm » Sat Nov 27, 2010 6:26 am

I think there are many games where you could see more than 60fps, unless you only play crysis and the like.

Now suppose your game can draw exactly 40fps. With a 60Hz monitor, two game frames would be shown per three monitor frames. So for example every other image twice and every other image once - assuming that the game supports such buffering options that this is possible.

With a 120fps monitor however, you would be seeing one game frame for the duration of three monitor frames. Compared to previous example, there is no jitter.

In general, 120Hz monitor should at least reduce jitter with slow fps and enable higher fps in less demanding games.

Maybe your unsmooth 60Hz monitor just had massive amounts of input lag (delay between monitor taking a frame as input and actually showing it on screen). Some models can have input lag as high as 45ms!
Last edited by lm on Sat Nov 27, 2010 6:34 am, edited 1 time in total.

doveman
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Re: 120hz monitors and gaming

Post by doveman » Sat Nov 27, 2010 6:31 am

I'm just going by the graphics cards reviews, where you never seem to see results of even 60fps. I understand they often use very high settings 8xAA, etc, but even when they turn down or disable AA it seems at 1920x1080 results are often well below 60fps, unless you've got a SLI/Xfire setup.

Thanks for the explanation about possible reduced jitter. I guess the problem would be that the game would have to maintain the 40fps for jitter to be eliminated and I'm not sure if it's possible to keep a constant fps like that.
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Re: 120hz monitors and gaming

Post by Parappaman » Sat Nov 27, 2010 8:36 am

I once used a pc with a 120Hz monitor for a while. Getting back to my 60Hz one was frustrating and irritating. Get it, I think it's an upgrade just as dramatic as getting from a regular hard drive to a SSD. :wink:
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Re: 120hz monitors and gaming

Post by doveman » Sat Nov 27, 2010 8:53 am

Cool. That's a pretty convincing recommendation.

I'd be interested if you tell me what you found the difference was. Was it smoother when scrolling, was text more stable when scrolling, that sort of thing. Also, did you do any gaming on it, and was that better in any way?
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Re: 120hz monitors and gaming

Post by Parappaman » Sat Nov 27, 2010 11:16 am

Didn't do any gaming on that, just some programming. Scrolling was smooth as silk, that was enough to convince me. Also, a 120Hz refresh rate should mean a faster pixel response time, and that is alway good when gaming. Kind of makes up with the good old CRTs we used to have, the high-end ones had better response time and refresh rate than all of the LCDs we praise these days, not taking into account color accuracy and viewing angle, they still usually suck. :mrgreen:
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Re: 120hz monitors and gaming

Post by doveman » Sat Nov 27, 2010 12:52 pm

Certainly smooth scrolling is a major plus. I still use an old 19" CRT someone gave me, running at 1280x1024@85hz, and when I tried a LCD I hated it, with it's bleeding in the corners, poor colour uniformity and viewing angles and worse of all the text instability when scrolling. I could probably put up with the first two, but the last made me return it, which is why I'm looking at 120hz LCDs. I'm not sure I want to pay the price they're selling for at the moment though, I think they attract a premium because they're marketed as 3D compatible.
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Re: 120hz monitors and gaming

Post by swaaye » Sat Nov 27, 2010 1:14 pm

Are the 120 Hz LCDs really 120 Hz? I've read that they do some sort of internal interpolation to transform 60 Hz into 120 Hz. That can't possibly be good for gaming. It has a nice affect on film however (mainly advantageous for panning apparently).

Another concern is that DVI has bandwidth limits. You won't be able to run 120 Hz 1920x1080 on single link DVI AFAIK, for ex.

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Re: 120hz monitors and gaming

Post by appletree » Sat Nov 27, 2010 2:51 pm

Hm... CRT is definitely the best - if it was possible to use it with 1920x1080@120Hz resolutions - which sadly isn't.
I am afraid LCD on the same refresh rate will never feel as smooth, lagfree and ghosting free as CRT although some 120Hz might be getting close (or very close). Also note that there are major differences even between 60Hz displays - you could have came across some LCD that was simply a bad 60Hz display. Good thing about 120Hz LCDs is that they are usually optimized to have low input lag and low ghosting etc.

If you are running CRT at 85Hz chances are that good 120Hz LCD could feel smoother. I am mostly concerned with 120 Hz for playing games and if you can get around 120 fps it makes a huge difference on a 120 Hz screen. You might also want to check out 120Hz screens with LED backlighting. The Benq panel is already out and few others are expected to hit the market soon. LED should help with contrast + colors, backlight uniformity and viewing angles a bit (if you are concerned about such things). Sadly all currently available 120 Hz displays are just TN, wonder if we will ever get some good quality 120 HZ IPS :/


swaaye: 120 Hz LCD monitors for PC are true 120Hz (no interpolation or anything) - it may be different with TV LCDs which is probably where you read about it. As for the bandwidth limitation it won't work with regular DVI cable - you need a dual link DVI cable to enable 120Hz which has more pins and most certainly will be packed with the monitor. I am currently running 1920x1080@120Hz so don't expect any problems there.

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Re: 120hz monitors and gaming

Post by Luke M » Sat Nov 27, 2010 5:06 pm

All the 120Hz monitors so far use low quality TN panels. So motion is better, but then you have the ugly TN vertical color shift.

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Re: 120hz monitors and gaming

Post by doveman » Sat Nov 27, 2010 5:55 pm

appletree wrote:Hm... CRT is definitely the best - if it was possible to use it with 1920x1080@120Hz resolutions - which sadly isn't.
I am afraid LCD on the same refresh rate will never feel as smooth, lagfree and ghosting free as CRT although some 120Hz might be getting close (or very close). Also note that there are major differences even between 60Hz displays - you could have came across some LCD that was simply a bad 60Hz display. Good thing about 120Hz LCDs is that they are usually optimized to have low input lag and low ghosting etc.

If you are running CRT at 85Hz chances are that good 120Hz LCD could feel smoother. I am mostly concerned with 120 Hz for playing games and if you can get around 120 fps it makes a huge difference on a 120 Hz screen. You might also want to check out 120Hz screens with LED backlighting. The Benq panel is already out and few others are expected to hit the market soon. LED should help with contrast + colors, backlight uniformity and viewing angles a bit (if you are concerned about such things). Sadly all currently available 120 Hz displays are just TN, wonder if we will ever get some good quality 120 HZ IPS :/
The LCD I tried (Benq G2420HDBL 24") was actually one with LED backlighting, and I wasn't impressed with the colour uniformity or viewing angles. I guess I'm easily distracted/irritated, so it bugged me that even when keeping my head still (and who can do that whilst using a PC?) I could notice that some parts of the screen were lighter or darker than they should be.

That probably just wasn't a particularly good monitor though, so hopefully I can find one I can afford that is more acceptable. I got some good advice in another thread but there's just not enough quality reviews available, particularly of 120hz LCDs, for me to be able to choose one at the moment.

I'm actually still running a massive 36" CRT TV as well but I'd have little hesitation about replacing that with an LCD. For one thing, I can't say I've ever noticed any colour discrepancies or problems with viewing angles when watching TV/movies or playing Xbox360 on my friend's one, which is probably down to sitting further away from TVs than PC monitors. The other thing is the focus is just not good enough on the CRT for using it with my PC. It's OK for some games, but those with any amount of text in are unplayable because it's just unreadable and the same goes for the desktop/applications.
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crypt0r
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Re: 120hz monitors and gaming

Post by crypt0r » Sun Nov 28, 2010 5:03 am

In regards to games not running over 60FPS...

Hardware reviews tend to review newest, most demanding games on high resolutions -- 2560x1600 or higher with full graphics options enabled. If you aren't playing the most demanding games and are only playing on 1920x1080 or so, exceeding 60FPS is very possible with a reasonable gaming system.

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Re: 120hz monitors and gaming

Post by doveman » Sun Nov 28, 2010 5:53 am

I'm not so sure that's true. They reviews I've looked at test at a variety of resolutions, including 1920x1080, and with a variety of games, including Crysis which is very demanding, but also games that are less so such as Batman: Arkham Asylum, Hawx, etc.

I certainly want to be able to play as many games as possible at my monitors native resolution, which will be 1920x1080, and I can't recall any of the reviews showing these games running anywhere near 60fps@1920x1080 without an SLI or Xfire setup, or maybe the most expensive single card available, so I don't hold out much hope of being able to run anything at 120fps with something affordable like a 460, 6850 or 6870. It looks like I'd be lucky to get most games running at 30fps, which hopefully would give a fairly decent experience but I'm not sure whether it would be improved with a 120hz monitor over a 60hz one.
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Re: 120hz monitors and gaming

Post by Bradshaw » Sun Nov 28, 2010 7:20 am

Luke M wrote:All the 120Hz monitors so far use low quality TN panels. So motion is better, but then you have the ugly TN vertical color shift.
There is actually a new 23 inch IPS panel from LG in the works that uses 120 hz refresh rate and also scanning backlights so that it can reach 240 Hz.

Se this link:
http://www.flatpanelshd.com/news.php?su ... 1290587259

And according to this article the panel is indeed 3D capable:
http://www.flatpanelshd.com/news.php?su ... 1290699072

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Re: 120hz monitors and gaming

Post by appletree » Sun Nov 28, 2010 9:33 am

Assuming that IPS LG is a true 120Hz LCD then it indeed looks exciting though it isn't a PC monitor. Hope they will come with something similar for PC soon. I am wondering what could be the epxected price...

doveman: I just think that 30 fps won't feel good on any monitor - especially for first person shooters it's just barely playable. But you would be definitely able to play most of the games on 60+ fps (80 - 120) if you are willing to play on mid to low settings with low antialiasing. In some games I prefer to lower visuals for higher fps. If you want to play on "High" then 120 Hz monitor would probably help by reducing ghosting on sub 60 fps when compared to standard 60 Hz LCD

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Re: 120hz monitors and gaming

Post by doveman » Sun Nov 28, 2010 5:28 pm

Fair enough, I don't really have enough experience to say whether 30fps is or isn't enough for first person shooters, although I'm sure I've played a few on weak graphics cards at around that fps on my crt and found them OK. I'm not talking about online though, where it might be more critical. I'll have to check what fps I get with BF2, which I do play online from time to time, and yeah I get smegged most of the time but I don't think I can blame that on anything but myself and maybe my trackball.

But at the end of the day, of course I'll turn down the settings to make a game playable (not much point otherwise!), so let's assume I can run my games at 60fps (which seems more realistic than 120fps). Returning to my original question, would games running at 60fps look any better on a 120hz monitor?
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Re: 120hz monitors and gaming

Post by alecmg » Mon Nov 29, 2010 6:03 am

doveman wrote:But at the end of the day, of course I'll turn down the settings to make a game playable (not much point otherwise!), so let's assume I can run my games at 60fps (which seems more realistic than 120fps). Returning to my original question, would games running at 60fps look any better on a 120hz monitor?
Interesting question

If fps fluctuates, it will likely look better/smoother on 120Hz as was mentioned earlier.

But if its capped steadily at 60... (like some strategy or quest games do) I'm afraid you'll be better off with PVA/IPS LCD with 60Hz, for better colors, contrast and viewing angles

I am quite happy with my Benq V2400W for gaming, its quite good as far as TFTs go, but 60Hz really pisses me off in dynamic shooters.
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Re: 120hz monitors and gaming

Post by doveman » Mon Nov 29, 2010 10:23 am

OK. I'm thinking most of my games will fluctuate, so I guess I'll be better off with a 120hz monitor.
alecmg wrote:I am quite happy with my Benq V2400W for gaming, its quite good as far as TFTs go, but 60Hz really pisses me off in dynamic shooters.
How can you be quite happy with and pissed off by the same thing? ;)
Last edited by doveman on Tue Nov 30, 2010 12:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 120hz monitors and gaming

Post by crypt0r » Tue Nov 30, 2010 7:22 am

doveman wrote:I'm not so sure that's true. They reviews I've looked at test at a variety of resolutions, including 1920x1080, and with a variety of games, including Crysis which is very demanding, but also games that are less so such as Batman: Arkham Asylum, Hawx, etc.

I certainly want to be able to play as many games as possible at my monitors native resolution, which will be 1920x1080, and I can't recall any of the reviews showing these games running anywhere near 60fps@1920x1080 without an SLI or Xfire setup, or maybe the most expensive single card available, so I don't hold out much hope of being able to run anything at 120fps with something affordable like a 460, 6850 or 6870. It looks like I'd be lucky to get most games running at 30fps, which hopefully would give a fairly decent experience but I'm not sure whether it would be improved with a 120hz monitor over a 60hz one.
It really depends on what you're playing...for instance:

http://www.tomshardware.com/charts/2010 ... ,2478.html
http://www.tomshardware.com/charts/2010 ... ,2469.html
http://www.tomshardware.com/charts/2010 ... ,2474.html

Keep in mind that these are on 1920x1200, which has about 10% more pixels than 1080. Another thing to keep in mind is if you play with vsync on, the monitor's maximum frequency affects your frame rate where it has to sorta split evenly into the max frequency...something like that...my memory is kinda hazy on this particular point.

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Re: 120hz monitors and gaming

Post by doveman » Tue Nov 30, 2010 12:16 pm

Thanks, those charts certainly show that the MSI 460 Hawk, for instance, can do 60fps or more in all the games tested, which are a fair spread of different types of games. So if there was a way to cap games to 60fps, it might be worth sacrificing the extra fps and using a PVA/IPS LCD @ 60hz.

I'm afraid I'm rather fuzzy about v-sync as well, but I don't think it can be used to make games run at a fixed 60fps and I'm not sure there's any other way to do this, although I believe some games have frame limiters built-in. Apart from those and in the absence of a way to cap all the other games at 60fps, I'm looking at fluctuating fps, which it seems would be handled best by a 120hz monitor.
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Re: 120hz monitors and gaming

Post by Modo » Tue Nov 30, 2010 12:48 pm

doveman wrote:So if there was a way to cap games to 60fps, it might be worth sacrificing the extra fps and using a PVA/IPS LCD @ 60hz.
That's exactly what vertical synchronization does. Triple buffering can reduce the performance hit considerably.
Can you keep it down? I'm having trouble hearing the artillery.

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Re: 120hz monitors and gaming

Post by doveman » Tue Nov 30, 2010 1:13 pm

Thanks for the info. It's been so long since I've had a decent graphics card that I've forgotten loads of stuff about them!

Hmm, so now I've got the option of using V-sync with a 60hz PVA/IPS LCD, but then I might still find it not smooth enough browsing, reading documents, etc, so perhaps the 120hz LCD is a better option, as then when gaming I can run it at 60hz and use v-sync to limit games to 60fps, and switch to 120hz mode when not gaming.

I think it's probably going to be the 120hz LCD, but first I need to get a look at them and try them out a bit.
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Re: 120hz monitors and gaming

Post by darkb » Tue Nov 30, 2010 3:36 pm

I have the first 120hz monitor, the Samsung 2233rz, and I can't stand gaming on an ordinary monitor after using this. The main benefit of a 120hz monitor in games for me is the complete lack of tearing, regardless of frame rate. I constantly got tearing with my old monitor, but I can get 900+fps in counterstrike source without any tearing, it's completely smooth. The other benefit is less blur when you move quickly, meaning you can see and aim at fast moving things eg: someone runs past you while you are running, you can actually turn and aim and see what you are aiming at, instead of everything being blurred.

edit: In my experience vsync can never completely eliminate tearing in 60hz LCD monitors, just minimise it. It also can reduce frame rate alot, sometimes halving it completely.

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Re: 120hz monitors and gaming

Post by doveman » Tue Nov 30, 2010 4:08 pm

Sounds pretty nice darkb. Less blurring is obvious a major bonus, particularly for competitive online fps.

I read the article Modo linked to, and it did mention that vsync can halve framerate sometimes, so is only really useful if the game produces quite high fps (like 90+ maybe) with vsync off, so it might sometimes be necessary to reduce graphical detail to get the fps up before enabling vsync.

It also suggests that if you don't want to use vsync, it's worthwhile setting your graphical detail as high as necessary to reduce your fps to as close to your monitor's refresh rate as possible, which will help reduce tearing even with vsync disabled.
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Re: 120hz monitors and gaming

Post by appletree » Tue Nov 30, 2010 5:37 pm

doveman wrote:Sounds pretty nice darkb. Less blurring is obvious a major bonus, particularly for competitive online fps.
Not only less blurring but also less ghosting and less input lag - those are three different things & for 120 fps games it will be incomparably much more smoother to any 60 Hz panel. I am afraid no IPS currently at market can beat 120 Hz TN in any of those parameters. At the same time IPS will destroy any of the 120 Hz screens in color quality, viewing angles etc. With activated response times improvement features of the 120 Hz panel, the colors on most will look particularly bad in dynamic scenes (to be more specific - like cr*p). So there is no ultimate answer, there are only compromises when it comes to LCDs.

It almost makes me wonder - and if I may ask - have you considered option of buying some used CRT ? You cold probably get used 24" Trinitron (16:10) for 200-400$ on ebay. Such CRT - if in good condition - would completely destroy (with a difference of many classes) any new LCD in that price range in almost every important aspect like excellent color reproduction, 180 degree viewing angles, zero input lag, zero ghosting, zero blur, above 120Hz refresh rates, no fixed "native" resolution (possibility to run more demanding games on lower resolutions without significantly reducing image quality), etc. If you can tolerate the increased weight, space and power requirements and you don't want to make compromises CRT is the only option. Otherwise I recommend going to local shop and see different LCD's for your self and decide which of the compromises is the most acceptable for you.

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Re: 120hz monitors and gaming

Post by doveman » Wed Dec 01, 2010 2:25 am

I'm currently running a 19" CRT and I haven't really got the room for that (well, to be able to sit at a proper distance back from it), so I can't get a bigger CRT!

As you say, I'll have to get a look at some LCDs in action to see which compromises I can live with, and if none, I'll have to stick with my CRT until they come up with something better.
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Modo
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Re: 120hz monitors and gaming

Post by Modo » Wed Dec 01, 2010 3:10 am

Unless you scroll through images a lot, you might just switch to using the Page Up/Down keys. A non-moving picture is perfectly static on an LCD, so even a cheap one is better for reading than any CRT.
Can you keep it down? I'm having trouble hearing the artillery.

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lm
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Re: 120hz monitors and gaming

Post by lm » Wed Dec 01, 2010 3:21 am

darkb wrote: edit: In my experience vsync can never completely eliminate tearing in 60hz LCD monitors, just minimise it. It also can reduce frame rate alot, sometimes halving it completely.
wikipedia wrote: Screen tearing is a visual artifact in video where information from two or more different frames is shown in a display device in a single screen draw.
...
Vertical synchronization is an option found in most systems, wherein the video card is prevented from doing anything visible to the display memory until after the monitor has finished its current refresh cycle.
By definition, vsync eliminates tearing. You must be experiencing some other artifact instead.

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Re: 120hz monitors and gaming

Post by doveman » Wed Dec 01, 2010 4:32 am

Modo wrote:Unless you scroll through images a lot, you might just switch to using the Page Up/Down keys. A non-moving picture is perfectly static on an LCD, so even a cheap one is better for reading than any CRT.
Using Page Up/Down isn't much of a solution, as they do what they say and I like to scroll slowly with the side-bar or arrow keys as I'm reading, or when I'm looking for a section of the document and want it in the middle of the screen.

I can't see any movement in static pictures on my CRT, so I don't understand what advantage you're alluding to there. And no, even a cheap (or not so cheap) LCD is NOT better for reading if, as I've found on several LCDs, the text loses definition/pulses so badly when scrolling that it distracts the user and makes it hard to track the text.
Main: Asus Z97-A, i5-4670k@4.4Ghz, Scythe Kotetsu HSF, Corsair Vengeance LP DDR3 4x4GB, eVGA SuperNova G2 750W, Powercolor 6950 2GB GPU, Samsung 840 Evo 256GB SSD, Samsung 2TB and WD 2TB HDDs, Coolermaster HAF XB case

2nd PC: MSI 990FXA-GD80, Phenom II X4 955@3.5Ghz, TRUE Rev. C/Nexus, HD6850 1GB, Yate Loon 140mm intake, Nexus 120mm exhaust, HD103UJ, WD6400AAKS, Nexus Value 430W, Bach VX case

Modo
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Re: 120hz monitors and gaming

Post by Modo » Wed Dec 01, 2010 4:54 am

doveman wrote: Using Page Up/Down isn't much of a solution, as they do what they say and I like to scroll slowly with the side-bar or arrow keys as I'm reading, or when I'm looking for a section of the document and want it in the middle of the screen.
I see your point. Maybe LCDs are just not for you yet. (No sarcasm here.)
doveman wrote: I can't see any movement in static pictures on my CRT, so I don't understand what advantage you're alluding to there.
I'm talking about the constantly pulsating picture on CRT monitors, which is tiresome to some people, even if not really visible as an artifact. It doesn't seem to be a problem for you.
Can you keep it down? I'm having trouble hearing the artillery.

Current rig
Old PC

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