A New Champion
I used the ViewSonic XG2704-GS for just over two weeks for my daily workstation use, writing content and normal use - as well as my gaming side with Overwatch and Resident Evil 7.
Before the glorious 165Hz refresh rate was bestowed upon me, I was gaming on the Acer XB270HU with the same 1440p resolution, but 144Hz refresh rate. It was, and still is, one of the best gaming displays on the market. I'm someone who isn't into 4K gaming (until ASUS and Acer release their upcoming 4K 144Hz HDR G-Sync displays later this year), but I need 144Hz or above for my first-person shooters.
ViewSonic has used a SuperClear IPS-based panel, offering one of the best quality images but with the 165Hz refresh rate and NVIDIA G-Sync on top. On top of that, ViewSonic's display also uses NVIDIA's Ultra Low Motion Blur (ULMB) technology which decreases the motion blur and ghosting when the frames start ticking over 165FPS.
The thing is as I said earlier on, ViewSonic isn't a brand most people look to for gaming monitors, but now we know that we really should. The ViewSonic XG2704-GS is one of the best gaming displays on the market regarding raw specs, with its 1440p native res, IPS panel, 165Hz refresh rate, ULMB, G-Sync... it has it all.
ViewSonic has crafted the XG2704-GS with a mean design, so it doesn't look so 'ViewSonic-y.' There's an awesome looking stand that blends the NVIDIA signature green/black scheme, with a not so in your face green LED on the base.
The bezel isn't too bad, but it doesn't compare to some of the other gaming displays out there with thinner bezels. I'd rather have the guts of ViewSonic's XG2704-GS and a thinner bezel - but we can't have it all, right?
After around 60 hours of Overwatch at 165Hz, I walked away beyond impressed. I always find myself feeling more tired or weighed down with 60Hz. I don't know if it's because the screen isn't refreshing anywhere near as quick as 120/144/165Hz displays, or that 60FPS is just so slow for me in first-person shooters.
I love to judge the refresh rate performance of displays, as it really takes somewhat of a trained eye to feel it. The difference between 60FPS and 120FPS is nothing short of staggering, but when we first received 120Hz displays they had a 1680x1050 native res, and soon moved to 1920x1080.
1080p is a great resolution, but the PPI offered by 2560x1440 on a 27/28-inch panel can't be matched. 4K on a 27/28-inch panel to me is next to useless, with a personal preference of at least 31/32-inch for 4K displays.
So when 1440p received 144Hz, it was a no-brainer. 2560x1440 at 144FPS is sublime. It's the new gold standard of high-end gaming displays. 4K is a buzzword for me until we hit 144Hz, and having HDR mixed into the recipe, has me smelling the sweet silicon of my future Vega and Volta GPUs burning to keep up... with 3 x 4K 144Hz displays.
But is there a difference between 144Hz and 165Hz? That is something only you can see.
Personally, yes. I can feel it, ever so slightly in the fastest, most intense moments of a game like Overwatch. It almost feels like the monitor can slow time down ever so slightly, with those additional 21FPS. It might not sound like much, but you're receiving slightly more frames per second from 144-165Hz, than a console pumps out in a game at 30FPS.
Those additional 21FPS, alongside the ULMB tech on the display, made Overwatch felt incredible. It's a smooth first-person shooter, without the 'rugged' feeling of Battlefield, or something similar. The environments of Overwatch are a great match for 50 hours+ of testing at 165FPS, as they are smooth and nearly cartoon like.
The environment, the fight - with rockets, spells, ice walls, bullets, explosions of Overwatch, is beyond smooth at 165Hz. In the middle of a battle, 165Hz comes into play over 120/144Hz by being completely smooth. It feels like you get to know the screen better and adapt to gaming at 165FPS. It doesn't sound like much - 'Oh, whatever - I can't really tell the difference between 30/60/120Hz' - well, I'm going to be blunt, you're wrong.
There's a huge difference in not just what you see but what you're rendering. To render 165 times per second at 2560x1440, you're drawing a shit load more pixels than 1920x1080 at 60 frames per second. Think about console gaming, at nearly 1600x900 and sometimes even 1280x720 or less - at 30FPS.
The amount of GPU horsepower you need for 165FPS in all games at 2560x1440 is immense. I had NVIDIA's new Titan X and could not keep up in all games. Overwatch and Resident Evil 7 were mostly fine, with Overwatch hitting 165FPS without a problem - Resident Evil 7 was sitting at around 100-140FPS.
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