Buying a monitor? Please refer to this post before purchasing.
July 13, 2017 at 7:16 am #43863m_chief_p
First I would like to say thanks for the great site. It has been very helpful in researching monitors. I would like some help in suggesting a 4k 32″ display.
My use cases / requirements:
– Monitor will be used by both a 2016 13″ Macbook Pro and P7-6700K Windows 10 PC with a nvidia GTX 1060 video card.
– Primary purpose will be for coding, email, and documents so text legibility and screen real estate are really important which is why I want 4k. I expect I will use some text scaling.
– Secondary purpose is for games (PC only) although I don’t play that much (a few hours a week)
– built in monitor KVM switch would be a huge bonus.
1. My primary concern with the BenQ PD3200U and other 4k displays is that obviously my PC video card won’t be able drive games at 4k, and I don’t want to spend the money on one that can for the amount I play. Ideally I would just change the resolution to 1080p for my gaming, but the interpolation softening effect has me really concerned. Would you be able to take some pictures (4k display at 1080p vs a 1080p display) so I can see what this looks like? Are there any 4k displays that don’t have this problem? Any technology you see on the horizon that might improve this?
2. I understand that with the LG 32UD99-W display I won’t be able to use FreeSync because I have an nvidia card with g-sync. This display also says it supports HDR10 but I haven’t been able to determine if I will be able to use HDR10 with this display and video card? or is HDR10 tied to the freesync or gsync technology?
3. Do you know if the LG 32UD99-W has a kvm switch? i understand the BenQ does.
Any other display recommendations that I have not mentioned would be welcomed.
PaulJuly 13, 2017 at 7:25 am #43865PCM2
Hello and welcome to the forum,
I’m glad you liked the review, so to answer your questions:
1) I’m afraid it’s impossible to highlight differences in interpolation accurately using photographs or videos. It would give an extremely misleading idea of how the monitor appears when running non-native resolutions, which is why I didn’t do it. Some models are better than others, in fact (going by memory at least) the older BenQ BL3201PT/PH was quite good at this compared to the PD3200U – it uses a different scaler even though the panel is the same. Is it possible to use 2560 x 1440 instead, for gaming? Your GTX 1060 should do alright at that resolution at 60Hz and I feel the compromise in sharpness isn’t as bad. Depending on the games you play you might find there is a ‘resolution scale’ slider or something like that which would allow you to lower resolution a bit (the amount would depend on the game and your frame rate tolerances) and generally get things looking decent with superior performance compared to 3840 x 2160. I actually did this myself with my GTX 1070 when playing multiplayer just to leverage some extra frame rate.
2) ‘HDR10 support’ on the LG 32UD99 seems to be what is broadly dubbed ‘fake HDR’. According to user feedback there are few if any dimming zones, so the backlight can’t deliver a proper HDR experience and therefore neither can the monitor. It’s more like a glorified Dynamic Contrast setting which can pulse to very high brightnesses (which can be a nice addition in some scenes) but can’t simultaneously handle dark content properly. And it certainly can’t enhance the depth of blacks or dark colours effectively regardless. I wouldn’t concern yourself with that feature on current monitors, to be honest.
3) No KVM functionality on the LG as it only has a single USB 3.0 upstream port.July 13, 2017 at 12:29 pm #43866m_chief_p
Thank you. This helps. Going with 2560 x 1440 is my plan B but I don’t want to give up on 4K yet. I think I’m going to wait to hear how the LG 32UD99 does with interpolation when they become available. I’ll likely order one of the two monitors and try it out. I can always return the 4k display and get a 2560 x 1440 display if I don’t find a good gaming mode.
Additionally on the issues of scalers and interpolation I came across this change.org petition asking nvidia and AMD to support integer scaling in their graphics card drivers: https://www.change.org/p/nvidia-amd-nvidia-we-need-integer-scaling-via-graphics-driver
It seems to me this is going to become a bigger issue as 4k+ displays become more popular. At least until graphics cards catch up to be able to drive games at those resolutions at an affordable price.July 13, 2017 at 12:52 pm #43868PCM2
It is good to have 2560 x 1440 models in your mind as a fallback, but really I think you should just go for the BenQ and see how you find it. That would give a much more adequate impression of how it performs at various resolutions (including 2560 x 1440) or by adjusting in-game resolution scaling than anything you’d read would. And with the sort of returns policy that is in place as backup, you’ve got little to lose. Other than a bit of time of course, but waiting around and seeing how alternatives turn out (and they may not be any better for what you need) would be even more of a time commitment.
And yeah, it would be very nice if Nvidia and AMD did support proper integer scaling and it is something that makes sense given the rise of ‘4K’ UHD displays. The real icing on the cake would be if it can be done without the sort of latency penalty that generally applies to GPU scaling as well. Although that it not something everyone is sensitive to, of course.July 18, 2017 at 5:29 pm #44109lillo
Hi i’m a new user.
I have a system with a laptop Dell XPS 15 9550 (2016 model) and an old dell 27″ U2713hm. Now i’d like to turn to a bigger screen in order to watch better netflix /sky movies. I use my pc to edit also my photos so wide gamut’d be important but seen my budget of 1000€ i think i could sacrify it.
I prefere a 4k for it’s better resolution and because i think it’ll be the resolution standard of the future, so i want to invest one time only. I don’ t play games with my system.
Which model do you suggest me?
thanksJuly 18, 2017 at 5:36 pm #44117PCM2
There is a recent thread on exactly this topic, so I’ve merged yours with it.
Given your budget and uses I’d strongly consider the BenQ PD3200U. The only issue is that you’d need a USB-C to DP adaptor – or even better given the potential DP flickering issues raised in the review – USB-C to HDMI 2.0. I wouldn’t let that put you off mind, I think you’d find the monitor excellent once you’ve got it up and running. As I’m reviewing a 1920 x 1080 at the moment and have just switched from the PD3200U, I’m finding the screen ‘real estate’ horrendous for work purposes. Which unfortunately I’ve been doing an awful lot of recently. 😉July 19, 2017 at 11:16 am #44126BardLucyHumeXI
Thanks for all the great info.
I’m buying a PC for my new home office so I’m choosing a monitor. I’ve already hardwired the connections to the pair of 4k TVs on the wall, so it would seem appropriate to get a 4k/UHD monitor for consistency.
32 to 34 inches should work fine, although I will have to check the height as anything more than 450 to 500mm will start to block the TV screens on the wall.
Any ideas on which UHD monitors around 32/34 inches I should be researching?
ThanksJuly 19, 2017 at 11:20 am #44136PCM2
There is ongoing discussion specific to 32″ UHD models here, so I’ve moved your reply over to this thread.
As per the PD3200U review, the monitor sits ~495mm above the desk at lowest stand height. So it will be a tight fit but should in theory be okay. What GPU are you using?July 19, 2017 at 2:36 pm #44139BardLucyHumeXI
Thanks for the reply. I’m still configuring my PC order so I was also going to ask what I would need to ensure good 4k output and enough HDMI ports!
ThanksJuly 19, 2017 at 2:49 pm #44140PCM2
Ideally the PD3200U would be connected via HDMI 2.0, to avoid the ‘flickering’ issue noted in the review. With the Nvidia GTX 1070 this was so infrequent and short-lived that it was a non-issue. But with my older AMD Radeon 290 it was really quite bad. The TVs would have to be connected via HDMI 2.0, they wouldn’t have DisplayPort.
Generally modern GPUs come with plenty of DisplayPort connectors but not many HDMI connectors. In fact Nvidia tends to give a single HDMI port and up to 3 DPs on their mid-high end parts. This is sort of the opposite of what you’d ideally have. But I reckon if you got a recent GPU you would be okay to connect the monitor via DP and the TVs via HDMI I simply don’t think my old Radeon 290 was cut out for high bandwidth displays 😉 . Most AMD Radeon RX 570s provide 2 HDMI 2.0 ports and 2 DP 1.4 ports, although this varies between manufacturers. This would be the sort of GPU I’d be considering in your situation.July 20, 2017 at 2:13 am #44141m_chief_p
A local computer store had a AOC U2879VF on display I was able to play with. This was my first hands on experience with a 4k monitor and I was impressed. I compared it to a 1440p model and the 4k screen is so much nicer for screen real estate and clarity. This has confirmed 4k is my preference.
I did set the resolution to 1080p in Windows 10 to observe the interpolation effect and it did not look bad at all on this display. If I got up close enough it was a little bury but not enough to bother me. Any idea how this display would compare to the PD3200U when it comes to this issue? Also are 28″ 4k displays better at displaying 1080p because they are smaller or would it not matter?
My plan right now is to wait a little longer to see if the LG 32UD99-W does a better job at displaying 1080p for gaming. If not or I get impatient I’m going to give the PD3200U a try like you have suggested. I also see LG is releasing a cheaper version of this display called the 32UD89, but the release seems further away.
PaulJuly 20, 2017 at 7:59 am #44143PCM2
Really it’s something you’d have to see for yourself. And as above, I don’t see that as a difficult option. Smaller displays generally get a away with more from the same viewing distance, yes, but in my experience it’s only really when you get to ~24″ that this bonus really comes into play. And were you sure the monitor itself was even handling the interpolation and it wasn’t just the GPU scaling when you observed the AOC? GPU scaling is even softer, so if you didn’t mind that then there’s nothing to worry about.July 20, 2017 at 3:59 pm #44146BardLucyHumeXI
Thanks again for the information.
ASUS GeForce GTX 1070 ROG STRIX 8GB GDDR5
This seems to be good for my purposes; I would need to use DP for the 32 inch monitor and 2xHDMI for the TVs. It’s also rated as very quiet and I was hoping for a silent PC. I guess under light, non-gaming use it will be largely silent.July 20, 2017 at 4:16 pm #44147PCM2
Yeah it likely would be. I have an MSI Armor X GTX 1070 and it is blissfully quiet under light load. At least I think so… I certainly think so when I compare it to the Radeon 290 I sometimes have in the system, which is like a hoover.July 20, 2017 at 4:48 pm #44148lillo
thanks for the information.
BenQ PD3200U is in my list but for now i’s use it with the hdmi (1.4 on dell xps) because i don’t need 60HZ for watching movies.
the others in my list are the lg 31mu97 or waiting for lg 32ud99 but i can’t understand id it’ll be better than benq as technical featuresJuly 20, 2017 at 5:37 pm #44149PCM2
For your uses they’re unlikely to be better, but it’s difficult to tell without testing. No review samples have been made available to us for the LG models yet I’m afraid.July 20, 2017 at 6:25 pm #44150m_chief_p
Okay I ordered the PD3200U (using your amazon affiliate link) to try it out. I’ll let you know how I like it next week.July 20, 2017 at 7:41 pm #44151PCM2
Your support is appreciated. I definitely feel seeing it for yourself was the right thing to do, I hope the monitor works out for you. 🙂July 29, 2017 at 1:25 pm #44253m_chief_p
I’ve had the PD3200U for a week now and I’m extremely happy with it. I will be keeping the display. The scaling/interpolation softening effect when running at lower resolutions (1080p, 1440p) is not very noticeable at all. In fact I’m fine running my slower work laptop at 1440p and working all day at that resolution. When running at 4k on my main Windows 10 PC (GTX1060) it looks beautiful, and the screen clarity and real estate are exactly what I was looking for.
My only complaint is the built in KVM switch is not very useful for two reasons:
1. There are only 3 user customizable buttons on the puck. This is one button short as you need at least two buttons for switching video inputs, and two buttons to switch between the USB inputs.
2. When the display sleeps the USB port becomes inactive and therefore the keyboard or mouse won’t wake the computer screen back up.
I solved the problem by purchasing a usb switch for the keyboard/mouse switching, and the PD3200U puck buttons are for my video inputs only . (https://www.iogear.com/product/GUS432/)
Thanks again for the great site and recommendation.
PaulJuly 29, 2017 at 2:22 pm #44254PCM2
And that’s great to hear, it definitely sounds like two thumbs up for the monitor then! I was hoping you’d find the interpolation acceptable; it’s certainly something people need to see for themselves as you have done. I’m also pleased you were able to solve the KVM issue – would’ve been nice for the integrated function to work properly for your uses, but at least you’ve solved it with a little external device. 🙂
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