Discovering 120Hz-capable LCDs
A few years ago when NVIDIA first rolled out their 3D Vision technology, there were some 120Hz-capable screens released. I grabbed a set of NVIDIA's 3D Vision goggles, as well as a Samsung 2233RZ monitor. Samsung's 2233RZ monitor was a 23-inch screen with a 1680x1050 resolution.
The huge drop from 2560x1600 to 1680x1050 was noticed instantly, as you can imagine, but simultaneously, I noticed the huge benefit of 120Hz. At the time, not many people believed me that 120Hz for 2D gaming (not using 3D Vision) was that much smoother. I still remember posting on forums at the time, and there were countless people who would prefer 30-inch monitors because "IPS technology is so much better".
Yes, better image quality is great - but smoothness in first-person shooters is a much better asset than image quality. 120Hz was the closest LCDs would get to CRTs, and even at 120Hz, they still wouldn't match the buttery smoothness of CRTs - but it was very close.
The next problem was achieving 120 frames per second in first-person shooters at the time of games like Call of Duty 4. At the time I was running an SLI system, which got me very close, if not over the tipping point of 120 frames per second, but as new games like Crysis came out - no system could do it at maximum details, at such a high frame rate.
As hardware got better, as it always does, this got easier - but then new games would come out like Battlefield 3, which put you right back in the position of waiting for new hardware. Then my inner enthusiast called out to me and whispered 'you should get a better monitor, and get three of them'. So, as most enthusiasts would do, I followed my instinct.
I pulled the trigger online for three of Alienware's OptX AW2310 monitors and boy were they an upgrade. Moving from the Samsung 2233RZ which was just 1680x1050 to the AW2310's much better 1920x1080 resolution was a huge upgrade. What came next has been a whirlwind of spending, experimenting and stress.