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asus rog swift pg278q

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  • asus rog swift pg278q

    I hope the Graphics Cards section is a reasonable place to post this but....

    Last weekend, I was finally able to pick up a Asus ROG Swift pg278q gaming monitor. For those who are wondering, this monitor works quite well in Linux, and G-Sync seems to work pretty well under Linux as well.

    What's so special about it? It has a resolution of 1440p, a refresh rate of up to 144 hz, 1 ms latency, a single display port connection (no hdmi) and Nvidia G-Sync. It's also rather expensive at $800.

    For those of you who don't know what G-sync is, you should really look it up, but here's the short version: With regular vsync (which is necessary to avoid tearing), the draw rate of your GPU must match that of your monitor. If you have a 60hz screen, and if your card momentarily drops down to 58 fps, your framerate will actually drop to 30 hz, so your framerate and refresh rate still match to prevent tearing. This is a big and therefore noticeable drop.

    G-Sync fixes this by doing the reverse. Instead of your GPU having to match the refresh rate of the monitor, the monitor's refresh rate has to match the draw rate of your GPU. So if your GPU drops down to 57 fps, so will the monitor. This means slight dips in the framerate probably aren't even noticeable anymore, and you still have the benefit of no screen tearing.

    Unfortunately, G-Sync is yet another proprietary technology from Nvidia. Fortunately, the Nvidia linux drivers already support it (just enable it under nvidia-settings).

    AMD is creating a standard called "freesync" that will be a part of the display port 1.2a standard, so you'll eventually be able to get this nice experience with most GPU/monitor combinations instead of just Nvidia GPU's with monitors that also have G-Sync support.

    The Asus ROG swift monitor has 3 refresh rate settings. 60 hz, 120 hz, ad 144 hz. In windows, you can easily select between these 3 refresh rates on the fly by pushing one of the bottons on the right back side of the monitor. Unfortunately, this doesn't work under Linux. In linux, I just go to the KDE settings, display settings, and then set the refresh rate so it's almost as easy. If you're running Gnome, Unity, etc, I'm sure the process is similarly as easy.

    For some reason with the same powerful hardware with my old 60hz 1080 monitor, compositing under KDE would give me around 30 fps with vsync. With gsync and 120 hz (144hz works too, but I think it's even more unnecessary than 120 hz on the desktop), compositing is extremely smooth. As far as I can tell, gsync works with compositing in Linux. I'll need to do some more testing to confirm, but using the framerate plugin for kwin's compositor shows the framerate stays at a near constant 100 fps (which suggests to me that kwin's compositing limits the framerate). Occasionally I can get the framerate to drop slightly... but all it does is drop slightly which suggests gsync is in fact working (Ithink I read that windows is unable to work on the Windows desktop). I'll need to do more testing.

    Unfortunately, I'm unable to use my favorite benchmark: Half Life 2 lost coast to provide any numbers. Half life 2 lost coast, episodes 1&2, and vanilla are currently broken for me. HL2 was working for me until maybe around 2 weeks ago. It stopped working on my desktop (nvidia) and my laptop (intel APU) which suggests to me that an update to HL2 broke something rather than anything I did (left 4 dead 2 serious sam, etc all still work fine). Is anyone else having this problem?

    I haven't really been able to do much testing of games in general on this monitor yet, as I'm very busy with work and family. Fortunately, I've found that the increased resolution and the all around smoothness of my desktop on this monitor makes my work much more enjoyable. With this monitor being such a joy to use just on the desktop, I almost don't even care about the gaming benefits. The only problem I have with this monitor is that I miss it when I'm at the office.

    I also still don't understand why compositing was relatively slow at 30 fps on the old 60 hz 1080p monitor as my hardware is pretty powerful. When I find some time, I'll see if I can reproduce the same behavior by setting the refresh rate to 60 hz and disabling G-Sync.

    My system:
    i7 4960x
    Evga GTX 780 Classified
    32GB memory
    Netrunner 14 (which is more or less Kubuntu 14.04)