The Ultra HD 4K monitor market is awash with choices for gamers, but the most hindering aspect of the UltraHD shift is that many of these monitors use Displayport’s multi-stream transport protocol. To Windows, that makes your single monitor appear as two monitors in portrait mode, which means that you’ll be using Eyefinity or Nvidia Surround to achieve 60Hz gameplay on a single panel. For most people, this isn’t a good way to go about it and introduces some weird anomalies that only occur when gaming on two monitors.
Luckily, monitor manufacturers figured this out long before the first 4K monitors became available on the market and their successors, with a single Displayport stream now capable of running a 4K panel at 60Hz, are much simpler. The first of these are beginning to hit the American and European markets and it’s only a matter of time before they become available here. Hit the jump to find out which one you’ll be saving for.
The first is ASUS’ brand new PB287Q, first unveiled at CES 2014. Its a 28-inch TN panel with a native resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels and it is expected to hit the market at a retail price of US $649 (approx. R6800 as of 5 May 2014). The stand allows for both height and orientation adjustments, which means that you can run it in portrait mode if you wish. There are VESA mounts on the back, touch-enabled buttons on the front and it’ll also scale down to 4K at 30Hz if you’re using HDMI.
Phillips is also launching a new UltraHD 4K monitor. With the entirely uninspiring name of 288P6LJEB, it’s also a 28-inch Ultra HD 4K panel and the stand supports the same kind of movement as the PB287Q. Its also a TN panel, but Phillips’ response time is only quoted as 1ms grey-to-grey. Realistically, this will be closer to 5ms in most conditions. Other niceties added on are stereo speakers, a four-port USB 3.0 hub, DVI-Dual and D-Sub connectors (both limited to 1600p and 1200p respectively), a Displayport 1.2 connector, a MHL connector, a HDMI 1.4a connector (no HDMI 2.0 for this beast) and LED backlighting that isn’t driven through pulse-width modulation, which means less flickering and eyestrain.
Phillips hasn’t detailed the pricing yet, but it should be around or just under the US $700 mark. In practice this will probably retail for about R10,000 when it reaches our shores (and so will the ASUS) but at least things are moving in the right direction and it’s getting more affordable as the months pass. Pretty soon, 4K performance will be the industry’s biggest concern, not 1080p.