For years now the computer industry has been stuck with the industry standard resolution imposed on it by the sale of cheap notebook and television display panels – 1080p. Its better than the smaller 4:3 panels we used to have back in the day, but 1080p was great up until a certain point where cell phones and tablets have now started to outstrip computers with better quality displays and much higher PPI ratios. The coming wave of Ultra HD or 4K monitors promises us a staggering display area measuring 3840 x 2160 pixels. ASUS was at Computex with the PQ321 and an unnamed 39-inch variant shown below, the first such screens designed for the commercial PC market.
The PQ321, which visually looks similar to its larger brother pictured above, is the first monitor that’s actually designed for regular PC use. It dives into a market already cornered on the professional side by brands such as IGZO and on the consumer side with Seiki. The PQ321 is a massive 32 inches across, with the actual display area measuring 31.5 inches. Its probably going to be advertised as another one of those bezel-less designs even though its inevitable that the bezel itself extends underneath the glass. But no matter, because that 4K resolution more than makes up for it.
An interesting aspect of the 39″ display that TechpowerUp noticed is that it either uses Displayport 1.2 or HDMI 1.4a. One of the limitations of the Seiki 50″ 4K TV being sold in the US is that the HDMI ports only deliver enough bandwidth to enable display of the 4K resolution at 30Hz. Monitors like the one by IGZO, designed for professional use, requires two dual-link DVI ports to enable 4K at 60Hz. The PQ321, with Displayport 1.2, supports the Ultra HD 4K resolution and provides enough bandwidth for a solid 60Hz refresh rate. Higher speeds, like 75 or even 120Hz, will need to be accommodated in future but its unlikely, even with two GTX Titans in SLI, that anyone will be pushing more than 60FPS with all graphics settings turned up.
TechpowerUp also queried an ASUS rep who was at the stand about the monitor and confirmed that this 39″ beauty should be cheaper than the 32″ variant which uses a much more expensive panel. No pricing or availability information was forthcoming.