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Hitting the G-Spot with NVIDIA's G-SYNC on the ASUS ROG Swift PG278Q

By: Anthony Garreffa | Monitors in Displays & Projectors | Posted: Aug 26, 2014 6:10 am

Gaming with NVIDIA's G-SYNC

 

Before you purchase the ASUS ROG Swift PG278Q, there are a few things you need. First, you need a compatible GeForce GTX video card that starts from the GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost and up. Driver wise, you're going to need 340.43 or higher, and of course the ASUS ROG Swift PG278Q monitor - or any other G-SYNC capable display, but at this stage, we would only recommend the new ASUS monitor thanks to its 2560x1440 resolution.

 

hitting_the_g_spot_with_nvidia_s_g_sync_on_the_asus_rog_swift_pg278q_04

 

We tested a few games with G-SYNC enabled and disabled for our testing, including Battlefield 4, Team Fortress 2 and Metro: Last Light.

 

 

Battlefield 4

 

Battlefield 4 is a big favorite of mine, and whilst it's not perfect, it's a great title to stretch the legs out on your hardware. It really pushes everything against the wall when you've got everything cranked up to 1440p (or beyond to 4K), and even more so when you're needing to drive 144FPS for the 144Hz refresh rate. But, this is where G-SYNC comes into play - you don't need to hit 144FPS as you're still going to get a smooth experience.

 

I played Battlefield 4 extensively for the purposes of testing out G-SYNC to its limits, dropping the detail in the game to Medium, and playing it at 2560x1440. Most maps I was achieving 100FPS+ most of the time, with the assistance of G-SYNC making it a much smoother experience. On my previous 120Hz-capable LCD, if I was getting 80-100FPS, I would feel the drop. It was noticeable to me when it dropped, but on the G-SYNC monitor, this was no issue whatsoever.

 

Battlefield 4 is an entirely different game when it is powered by G-SYNC, and you're hitting the 100FPS+ mark. It really is in a league of its own when everything is so smooth, your aiming improves, and you're finding yourself pulling off stunts and shots that you've never done before. You're able to spot people running against buildings or through bushes, thanks to the lack of motion blur and screen tearing.

 

 

Metro: Last Light

 

This is something where the effects of G-SYNC really kicked in, especially when I had the ROG Swift monitor set to 60Hz. Sitting at 60Hz with G-SYNC enabled, there was absolutely no screen tearing, making the game feel like it was closer to 100Hz or so (but not quite 120Hz). Thanks to the beginning stages of Metro: Last Light being underground, there isn't that much to render, so it's easy to get decent frame rates.

 

My GeForce GTX 780 SLI setup was pushing 60FPS+ constantly at the highest settings possible in-game (without AA), something mixed with G-SYNC makes it feel liquid smooth. Flicking the button on the side of the ROG Swift monitor and cranking things up to 144Hz was an entirely new beast - liquid smooth first-person gaming. 144Hz and G-SYNC is something that simply needs to be seen in order to be believed, making the Metro: Last Light experience completely new.

 

 

Team Fortress 2

 

This is one of my favorite go-to games for testing high refresh rate monitors, as it's easy to get past 120FPS on even mid-range hardware, but the look and design of the game makes the smoothness of G-SYNC and high refresh rate screens really pop on the screen.

 

Team Fortress 2 at 2560x1440 at 144Hz, so 144FPS minimum, is absolutely gorgeous. It is the best test to show off to friends who don't believe in the benefits of high refresh rates (oh, but my IPS-based panel has true color!) or better yet: G-SYNC. At 144Hz with G-SYNC enabled, the experience in TF2 is nothing short of amazing. It is so smooth that the entire time I was playing, it felt really fake - like it was butter melting in a hot pan - just so, so unbelievably smooth. Screen tearing is something of the past with G-SYNC, so TF2 feels like something really special with NVIDIA's technology behind it.

 

 

Gaming At 144Hz Isn't Always Perfect

 

The problem with having this beautiful, highly specced monitor sitting in front of me is that it requires quite a few things to hit its stride and really take off. Apart from the fact that you need some serious hardware to pump 2560x1440 out at a massive 144Hz, you need to be rendering closer to 100FPS or so for G-SYNC to play well with the refresh rate magic it does.

 

With my testing, I found that if I was gaming at 60Hz - knowing full well in the background that I'm rendering at well over 100FPS - that it still felt laggy. Not laggy in the sense of my ping, but I could definitely feel that it wasn't 120 or 144Hz.

 

G-SYNC does step in, removing the screen tearing and reducing the motion blur and lag, but it isn't a one-stop shop magic trick that fixes all of these problems. I found that at 144Hz, if I was getting around 100FPS that G-SYNC kicked in much stronger, and the experience was liquid smooth - much smoother than I thought it would be on paper, without testing it in front of me.

 

I think where my experience with high refresh rates comes in, is this technology from NVIDIA. I've been using a 1920x1080 capable 120Hz panel for years now - the Samsung S27A950D. This monitor was my gaming monitor until the ROG Swift PG278Q. Running 120FPS minimum was hard with most games, and whenever my frame rate dipped to 80-100FPS, I could feel it not synching the frames at 120Hz.

 

Achieving over 120FPS in most games is next to impossible without some seriously powerful multi-GPU hardware, but that's when you have to take a trade off if you're not willing to spend the money on the additional hardware required. From here, you have two options.

 

First, throw more money at more hardware. In order to push 2560x1440 at 144Hz, where you're aiming for close to a minimum of 144FPS, you're going to require at least two GeForce GTX 780 Ti GPUs, or better yet, two GeForce GTX TITAN Black Edition GPUs. 3GB of VRAM might be enough, but I would recommend going for the 6GB GPUs.

 

The second option would be to drop the detail in the games down, something I had to do in Battlefield 4 in order to creep closer to 144FPS. But, you don't want to be dumping down $800 on a new monitor, and $1500+ on new GPUs to drop the detail in your games, right? This is where G-SYNC helps, a lot.

 

G-SYNC feels like it connects the dots between ~80-100FPS and 144FPS, so you don't necessarily need to buy another GPU or start overclocking them like crazy to reach the 144FPS minimum mark, which would be close to impossible on two GPUs in something like Battlefield 4 or Metro: Last Light at their highest in-game graphics quality settings.

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