Buying a monitor? Please refer to this post before purchasing.
August 9, 2018 at 5:17 pm #49051Dan
I have an RX580 8GB card and am looking for a monitor with the following specifications for gaming and general use:
Ideally, I’d like IPS because I don’t like the washed-out look and poor colours of TN panels (though I do only have experience with older TN panels- perhaps modern ones have significantly better image quality?) Unfortunately, 1080p, 144Hz IPS doesn’t exist.
As far as I’m aware, VA panels seem to be the only alternative to TN for 1080p, 144Hz and whilst not as good as IPS for image quality, they are certainly an improvement over TN?
Whilst the Samsung C24FG73 looks attractive with its quantum dot offering better colours than most 144Hz 1080p panels, the freesync range of 70-144 is a deal breaker for me. Whilst on many games my card can easily output in the 70-144FPS range at 1080p, on graphically intensive titles, such as Witcher 3, Shadow of War and FFXV, my RX580 will hover around 50-70 FPS on ultra 1080p. Therefore, having a minimum freesync range of 70 just doesn’t cut it as I find tearing very jarring. I know it has LFC but I would like my monitor to smoothly freesync at least down to the 40s.
I would also like a 24″ panel. Larger sizes such as 27″ and 32″ do not seem worth it at 1080p due to low pixel density resulting in less sharp text and it adds to the price. Though I may consider a 27″ if it meets all the other requirements without a price tag significantly north of £200.
Unless anyone can recommend a TN panel that meets the above criteria and has good colours, or a good 27″ panel, I believe my options are either the:
MSI Optix MAG241C (or MAG241CR, I believe it’s the same panel just with a different stand and casing with mystic light?)
Both claim to have features such as 1ms MPRT technology or True colours to minimise common VA panel issues such as ghosting and poorer colours (when compared to IPS). I believe they will both release imminently at around £200? Should I set my hopes on one of these or is there a different monitor that fits my needs and has flown under my radar? Would really appreciate any advice from the experts and the community!August 9, 2018 at 5:33 pm #49053PCM2
Hi Dan and welcome,
IPS panels do have more consistent colours than VA panels, meaning that colours maintain their richness and saturation better throughout the screen. VA models loose some saturation towards the sides and bottom. But it isn’t a particularly extreme shift on these modern curved 24″ panels, particularly if you’re sitting in front of the monitor at a desk and aren’t sititng too close (65cm+ ideally). Compared to the obvious vertical saturation shifts on TN models, these changes are far more subtle. If you combine that with a reasonable colour gamut as these monitors do have then it helps give the image a vibrant look overall. This is especially the case with the Samsung, as you mentioned, but I understand what you mean about wanting a better FreeSync range so appreciate why you dismissed that.
To share something I’ve said on some other threads recently, we don’t currently review MSI products and probably won’t do for the forseeable future. We’ve got our hands full with more than enough monitors from the manufacturers who we do review for, and we’ve recently included LG in the mix which has further increased the size of our review pool. I’ve received some user feedback about the
MSI Optix MAG241C(sorry, was the older MSI Optix MAG24C) including some interesting comparisons with the Samsung C24FG70. He only gave brief comments so this may not be of much use to you, but he stated that he liked both monitors. The Samsung he felt had better pixel responsiveness than the MSI, with more tightly tuned pixel overdrive. He also noted that colours on the MSI were less saturated but still looked fine to him (~110% sRGB vs. ~125% sRGB).
Some of the issues that some users have with the Samsung actually stem from the pixel overdrive being too strong, giving ‘purple ghosting’ which is predominantly overshoot (inverse ghosting) from aggressive grey to grey acceleration. So having a looser pixel overdrive may actually help reduce that. Although, annoyingly, it can also be caused by pixel overdrive that’s too weak giving what we refer to in reviews as ‘break-up trailing’. It would be nice if I could see assess the MSI first hand to see how it fairs in that respect, but I’m afraid I won’t be doing that. You’re correct that the ‘CR’ model just had the lighting feature and a different stand design, but the monitor is otherwise the same. The AOC and MSI actually use a slightly different panel than the Samsung, incidentally. With a 1500R curve and 23.6″ screen rather than 1800R curve and 23.5″ curve. Plus a different backlighting solution, as you’re aware of. It will be interesting to see how the AOC performs, it’s certainly an interesting choice (as is the MSI, which unfortunately I won’t be able to share detailed feedback about at the moment).
The AOC C24G1 is actually high up on our review list. The sample isn’t available just at the moment, although I’m hoping it will be soon for when I’ve finished with the ASUS PG27UQ. If that isn’t the case then it’s looking like the review would be delayed until September at the earliest. If you can wait, I’d advise waiting for the review. But don’t be afraid to buy from somewhere with a good returns policy if you were wanting to see for yourself before then.August 9, 2018 at 11:32 pm #49055Dan
Thanks for such a rapid response!
Seeing as neither monitor is available to buy yet and I’m going on holiday for the next few weeks, I’ll wait a bit for your review (and hopefully other reviews for the MSI).
The user feedback you received for the MSI, is that for the MSI Optix MAG241C or the MAG24C? (currently available but older panel- has the 1800R curve and other slight differences in the specs sheet such as a lower brightness).
Thank you for your recommendation about buying from somewhere with good returns policy- not sure on the quality control from these manufacturers but there’s no end to stories of brand new monitors with faults such as dead pixels etc… (The negative amazon reviews for the older MAG24C don’t fill me with hope…)
Here’s to hoping at least one of them is what I’m looking for!August 10, 2018 at 7:02 am #49059PCM2
Oh I do apologise. The user feedback was for the MAG24C, so the older model with 1800R curve.September 6, 2018 at 6:06 pm #49441Dan
Any updates on the availabilty of your AOC C24G1 review sample or a release date? The monitor is still listed as preorder only on Amazon… Also can’t seem to find the MAG241C in UK.
Perhaps there’s a different monitor I should consider?September 6, 2018 at 6:12 pm #49442PCM2
Yes, an exclusive just for you actually. The C24G1 review sample should arrive next week, so the review should be published later this month with any luck. 🙂 There aren’t any other models to consider that haven’t already been mentioned.September 8, 2018 at 10:39 pm #49477Valaska
If you turn off hair works (which looks pretty crappy anyways) you won’t dip below 60FPS on Witcher 3 ultra.September 10, 2018 at 10:49 am #49493Dan
Whilst it’s true that in most areas Witcher 3 runs in the 60s with my RX580 special edition and i74790k CPU, in the most intense areas (lots of trees and lightrays at evenings) there’s still the odd dip to high 50s (hairworks off).
However, even without those rare dips, the above mentioned Samsung panel only freesyncs down to 70Hz so would still be unsuitable for me. Also, a lower freesync range gives me a bit more future-proofing for unreleased graphically intensive titles such as Cyberpunk 2077.September 19, 2018 at 9:57 am #49708Dan
Was wondering how the AOC C24G1 review was coming along? Are there any major problems with the monitor? I think I’m going to go ahead and order the monitor from somewhere with a good returns policy today 🙂September 19, 2018 at 11:16 am #49709PCM2
It’s coming along very nicely. I expect to have the video review up at the weekend and the written review early next week. I’m happy to report that there are no major issues with the monitor. It’s not perfect (no monitor is), but I actually think it’s a great all-round performer and an excellent buy at its asking price. Hopefully you’ll agree with this assessment if you do go for it and any feedback you have on it will be very welcome.September 19, 2018 at 12:48 pm #49712truefalse
I’m also eagerly awaiting this review, thinking of switching from my C24FG70 =]October 11, 2018 at 4:16 am #49890Dan
Just thought I’d leave some feedback on the AOC C24G1. I live in the UK and bought the monitor from a German retailer for £192 including postage and tax (amazon UK still has it listed as pre-order only…)
I am extremely satisfied with the monitor- it seems the only one available for anyone who wants 144Hz freesync (down to a sensible minimum range of 48) at 1080p without settling for a TN panel. The colours and contrast are excellent to my untrained eye and this seems like the perfect monitor to pair with an RX580.
I am particularly impressed by the freesync implementation. I previously had an old Samsung 60Hz VA panel (which I now use as a secondary display) which was one of the first monitors to do freesync over HDMI and let’s say it wasn’t exactly easy. Lots of messing around in OSD, radeon and game settings and results varied game by game. Now I just set the AOC to fressync on, use displayport, overdrive on medium, V-sync off and use RivaTuner Statistics Server to cap my frame rate at 141. I get smooth lagless gameplay (if I render above 141 there’s 1 frame of lag but at such high framerates this is unnoticeable to me) across a variety of framerates in every title I’ve tested including Witcher 3, Dragon Quest XI, Doom, Overwatch and Talos Principle. LFC is also great for cutscenes which are often at 30 FPS- before, cutscenes would often be a mess of tearing and now they’re smooth. LFC is also clearly doing something with films and anime- my frame rate counter will display a fixed 24 whilst the monitor “frame rate” counter will fluctuate around 72. However, this doesn’t work when streaming through PLEX on a browser- monitor frame counter stays at 144. I can’t say there’s any noticeable difference though. LFC is clearly doing something but it doesn’t change how films look- at least to my eyes. Perhaps it’s smoother and my brother swears LFC greatly improves anime, but I don’t see any difference.
I have only noticed some ghosting when looking for it in the Blur Busters UFO tests and in the game Speedrunners- which has fast moving backgrounds made of black blocks and much lighter colours. Completely unnoticeable to me in any other situation. Even on maximum overdrive I cannot see any artefacts during normal gameplay (though my brother can, so I use medium with freesync as PC monitors review suggests).
The curve is not an issue at all, very very little difference from a flat panel and most of the time I forget it’s even curved. Viewing angles also aren’t a problem for me- sure looking at the monitor displaying a black background from above and near 90 degrees means the black isn’t uniform and the edges (mostly corners) are lighter. But from normal viewing angles there’s no problem. If you are looking at the monitor face on, you have to move a significant distance to notice any difference in the display.
Though I use Freesync most of the time (incompatible with MBR) I’m impressed with the MBR feature in the one circumstance I use it- playing competitive super smash bros melee (locked to 60). With MBR on, V-sync Off (Ishiiruka-Dolphin with the Netplay community build) and overdrive to max, the experience is strikingly close to a gamecube on a CRT. Feels extremely responsive and I have no complaints.
I also use the monitor with my Switch- again no issues here, games look crisp and colourful. Monitor switches input fast and its frame rate counter shows that it switches from 144Hz to 60Hz automatically without any issues. I leave the monitor with fressync on and overdrive on medium and this doesn’t interfere with the switch output at all (obviously the switch doesn’t support freesync but leaving it on on the monitor doesn’t present any problems). A 1080p monitor is really the only option for a switch which cannot output at anything higher and scaling is a whole can of worms I don’t want to deal with. My only complaint is input switching is a bit annoying- the buttons are stiff and unmarked so it’s easy to press the wrong one. Nevertheless, this will be an awesome panel for Smash Ultimate.
So overall, my only complaints are some ghosting when looking for it (though 99% of the time it’s unnoticeable to me) and a bit difficult to change inputs fast (or switch from freesync on, overdrive medium, MBR off to freesync off, overdrive max, MBR on for playing Melee). Though the box has a handle, the curve and the stand make the box pretty large and so the monitor is somewhat difficult to transport to tournaments compared to flat panels with smaller stands.
Though a ‘perfect’ monitor doesn’t exist, this seems as close as possible for my needs. I’d recommend this monitor to anyone with similar needs or setup i.e. mid-range AMD freesync compatible card, beautiful variable refresh rates up to 144, a responsive display without taking the image quality hit that comes with a TN panel, wonderful for melee on dolphin and for use with a Nintendo switch. At this price, couldn’t be happier.October 11, 2018 at 4:18 am #49893PCM2
Awesome detailed feedback on the AOC C24G1, Dan. Sorry for the delay in moderation. I’m on vacation so haven’t been able to perform my usual duties on the website or forum, but I’m very happy to share your positive feedback on the monitor, users will find this very useful.October 15, 2018 at 6:41 pm #49946Rhosta
I have MSI Optix MAG241C, so you can ask me anything about it.
Even in case of MAG241C, I agree with Dans impressions about the Freesync implementation and Overdrive tuning.
What I like about MAG241C, is joystick for controls with customizable quick menus in every direction of it. It is not Samsung level with their buttons for custom profiles, but still great. They also put separate power button, to avoid accidental turn off when using joystick. Also, power LED is orange when on standby, which is AWESOME. It is much better than blinking white on other monitors.
Stand is very stable, but too wide (45cm), so I couldnt use books to lift it like my older monitor. It has 1500R curve which is too much for my taste, I would prefer more subtle curve or just flat or horizontal curve, to help negate changing shades based on viewing position. It also has visible backlight bleed on some places at the top.
Out of the box, white was visibly green, so I had to turn down green channel. Gamma settings (Black Tuner) use too big steps for my taste, so one step is too bright and second is too dark, but its not a big deal.
Even though it has more smooth surface finish than my IPS monitor, it seems less smooth for reading. Top of the text and icons, looks more jagged. So it seems more fatiguing, especialy with higher native contrast of VA panel. I have tried to recalibrate ClearType, but it didn’t help much.
Software requires usb connection, it is fast and responsive and allows for creating custom profiles. It can be run at startup, but not minimized. It allows activating keyboard shortcuts for various settings (switching profiles, changing brightness and contrast, …), but tuning with shortcuts is slower, than use joystick. Hopefuly they will work on that.
As usual both OSD and SW contains useless “Gamer” profiles and Crosshairs.October 15, 2018 at 6:45 pm #49956PCM2
I appreciate your feedback, Rhosta, and I’m glad that you’re enjoying the monitor. It certainly sounds like the OSD controls are better than on the AOC model, but performance seems pretty comparable overall. Same panel of course, different options and assistive electronics. By the way, the AOC C24G1‘s power LED also glows dark amber when it’s on standby. That’s not actually all that uncommon.
How are you finding it in terms of responsiveness? Any particular response time setting you prefer? And how long have you been using the monitor for? I find users generally don’t mind the 1500R curve at all once they get used to it. It’s actually relatively subtle given the width of the monitor, certainly compared to significantly wider models (in particular UltraWides). Once users go back to a flat monitor, they often find that looks weird initially.October 15, 2018 at 7:49 pm #49957Rhosta
I have it for about 2 weeks now.
Ye, I really like how they focused on OSD a bit more than for usual gaming monitor, but I am worried about that joystick sturdiness, I think it is not made for daily use.
MAG241C has only 3 Response Time settings – Normal, Fast and Fastest which is MBR, so there is not much to choose from, but I think they tried not to overdo it (which I admire).
On normal it just behaves as you would expect it to, I mean I did not notice any purple trails like on Samsung monitors.
Most of the time I am running it with Fast and Freesync ON and it doesnt have strong overshoot, if it does, it doesnt have some specific color maybe just a slight yellow tint.
MBR does not reduce brightness that much, but also doesnt have as much wow effect I think.
As for the curve, I do not mind it that much, but I do not feel any added immersion because of it. What I do not like about that is that inverse effect of photo taken from very close distance. I can kinda negate that by positioning my eyes at top edge level, but then lower part loses contrast.
I expected it to have consistent blacks at least from the front, but even in this case, it has that TN effect, so it kinda loses its advantage over IPS.
As for the contrast of VA panel, I wonder if OLED has the same effect. To me it looks like the colors are oversaturated and I actualy prefer the IPS look for longer uses.October 15, 2018 at 7:52 pm #49959PCM2
Well yes, OLED would have vastly superior contrast to even VA models and much better colour consistency. And also just general shade consistency as it’s generally free from noticeable gamma shifts even from quite sharp viewing angles. And of course no ‘glow’ or backlight bleed of any description as it has per-pixel illumination rather than a backlight. If they can just iron out the issues (and I have faith they will, this JOLED stuff looks promising to me) it’ll be one heck of a nice technology. I’ve given up “looking forward” to it, though, it’s been too long. So until then, just gotta pick your compromises. 🙂October 15, 2018 at 8:44 pm #49962Rhosta
I hope so too. VA is not perfect, but at least we get decent variable refresh rate nonTN panel in FullHD 24″ category, so I am grateful for that.
I think that people usualy expect good motion clarity from high refresh rate monitors in general (including myself before I bought this one), but its not true in case of nonTN panels. MAG241C hasnt much better motion clarity than my 60Hz IPS Philips 235PQ even with MBR on.
The biggest benefit, I notice and what people should buy it for, is lack of tearing in combination with low input lag, thats where the difference is, while preserving good parameters for general/daily use.
Another thing about MAG241C is 48Hz as relatively high bottom Freesync range, which is considered weakness compared to G-Sync panels (even though there isnt really any direct competition here), but it is more than sufficient imo, I always want fps to stay at least above 50, to feel smooth and fast, so I do not really care about what happens below that.October 15, 2018 at 8:45 pm #49964PCM2
What sort of frame rate are you observing motion at when stating that you don’t see much improvement over a 60Hz IPS model? Because if you’re observing suitably high frame rate content and don’t see an improvement, it’s likely that the pixel overdrive implementation on the MSI is poor in comparison to the AOC. And that would certainly be the case if you don’t see a solid improvement with the strobe backlight mode active.October 15, 2018 at 10:06 pm #49965Rhosta
I have to test MBR more and at more Hz settings I guess. I am still trying to figure out which games can be run at stable high framerates with good frametimes, to really compared the difference.
So far I played the Batman Arkham Knight (which is capped at 90fps) the most and in AR fighting challenges with small spaces I was able to keep steady 90fps. I definitely noticed the difference, but mainly in smoothness and not as much in motion clarity, if that makes sense. I did not try MBR there, because it is mostly dark shades in this case, so I figured it wouldnt make much difference, especialy with 90fps cap.
I also tried a few racing games briefly, namely Forza Motorsport 7 demo, where the MBR made the biggest difference. Forza Horizon 4 demo, there were quite a few frametime hiccups, which distracted a lot. Both I played very briefly, because those demos have annoying “go buy it already” mechanics.
I also briefly tried Dirt Rally on Sweden track, but I struggled to find settings which would at least touch the 144fps.
In those racing games, the minimal input lag made the biggest difference, so it kinda over shadowed other benefits and that forward movement probably isnt the best to demonstrate increased motion clarity.
I tried the Prey for a few minutes, but then again frametime hiccups killed the feeling and I didnt turn off motion blur in ini file, so it completely negated that motion clarity effect, I will try it more here.
Lastly I played a few games of Rainbow Six Siege, where it kept solid 144fps like performance, but then again I used mainly Freesync for that minimal input lag. I will definitely test it here more.
I should say that I upgraded both monitor and gpu from GTX660 to Vega 64, so there are more factors I have to process and differentiate between.
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