Buying a monitor? Please refer to this post before purchasing.
April 8, 2021 at 5:14 pm #64139rudemario
So, for a long time I’ve wanted to experience ultrawide gaming. Along the way I discovered the massive variance in panels affecting images and slowly began learning. I like space games quite a lot, see, they’re stunning and breathtaking when done right. This lends itself to contrasting colours and deep blacks, the inkier the blacks and the juicier the nebulae’s colour the more amazing the scene looks (of course, without looking harsh or aggressive, gaming modes I’m looking at you)
This came to me once I was given a monitor that was visually more colourful and with deeper blacks then the cheap AOC 27 inch IPS monitor I bought years ago. I discovered it was a VA panel. I had heard IPS was what you wanted and just bought the cheapest IPS panel when I got the AOC that had great reviews. With this newfound comparison in front of me I began realizing the monitor I was using had prevalent backlight bleed, or, at least, very grey blacks, almost bluish grey. This may have contributed to the more washed out colour profile I was seeing, as people say that IPS panels are supposed to have the most vibrant and best looking colours.
So, naturally, I wanted VA over IPS for my space games. That’s fine and dandy, the VA I had was a strange one since I didn’t purchase it. It was bought by someone that was just looking for something and didn’t really pay any attention to it. It was a Samsung LC32F391FWN Curved 32″ VA LED, and I live in Canada, and apparently there’s some regional differences in the SKUs, but, this is what it’s commonly sold as in the US. It’s reported to have no variance at all between SKUs, just the SKU difference. This is the US SKU: Samsung LC32F391FWNXZA
So, when I learned Ultrawides are dominated by VA panels, that was awesome to hear!
So, I was shopping around and began to hear the fear mongering of the VA panel black-level smearing. The dreaded when-you-move-everything-turns-darker/to-blur. I wasn’t really sure what people were talking about as I couldn’t see it on my cheap VA monitor, but I saw other people showcasing how bad it can be, like that Skyrim rock that’s passed around forums highlighting the issue. Most of these videos were older, so I chocked it up to simply the older VAs with less regard for that sort of thing. Still, I was worried, and persisted testing my own monitor and looking at reviews of ultrawides. I learned that my monitor has sub-pixel partial illumination, which lead to blurry text because of the “fringing” if that’s the correct way to describe it, and you know how people complain that 32 inches at 3 feet away with 1080p is like, horrendous? even at that distance the text bugged me, but it was livable because it was only if I focused on problem characters, like Os. That went away, that was a truly livable issue, and I would like to avoid it if spending more than 500 on a monitor, but for my free one it was perfectly okay. Like, it didn’t bug me at all, the blacks and the colours were so nice it was fine. But in regards to the actual black level smearing? My monitor didn’t really seem to have much trace of it, so I figured it was all behind us now. I did notice smearing compared to my IPS monitor on r/Monitors with their black on grey setup with white text they had going on. It was noticeable, but not bad. I noticed that my OLED display phone does this too and it gets worse and worse the lower the brightness. So, I noticed it when browsing a webpage like that, but in games I barely noticed it at all. So I could identify the issue, but it wasn’t really a problem at all, just “blurry” sorta when scrolling on a dark page, and I was used to that from my OLED phone at night. Games this issue was nigh impossible to notice
Insert Hardware Unboxed’s amazing videos. They truly are great and in-depth, and do good things for the monitor enthusiast community. I was trying to somehow find some way to pin a quantification onto my monitor so I could actually understand what numbers meant when comparisons were thrown around. My monitor was fine, but that was useless without knowing it’s measurement to learn what I’m looking for. I found an LG monitor that an owner complained about and returned, picking up another LG monitor. Then, I noticed that that monitor had two versions of itself with the same panel, and the other was more popular. Well, this monitor was reported as having next to no issues when compared to the last one in regards to black-level smearing, so I was elated. I noticed that it’s counterpart was reviewed by Hardware Unboxed many moons ago before they did their Dark Level Performance graph, so I was out of luck. By chance, one day, explaining the situation to my girlfriend I mused that “Well, I guess I could try and see if it appeared in retrospect on an older video after they began testing for black level performance” and looked.
Turns out, they did. So, it was 13ms of black transitions and Hardware unboxed do their testing as an average at the best overdrive setting with the highest refresh rate on the monitor. So, one guy that was sensitive to a bad monitor said this one was good, and now Hardware Unboxed reviewed the identical counterpart to that monitor and said it was 13ms. Finally! A qualification and a quantification. So now I could gauge things to purchase something.
I was willing to spend a lot of money on a good ultrawide but I noticed the more expensive ones were IPS anyway, and the higher end VA ones were older. Hardware Unboxed had a sample set of 3 comparable cheaper monitors that all share the same panel I believe, the Xiaomi Mi Curved 34 and the G34WQC are two of them.
I gravitated towards the G34WQC because supposedly the colours and response time were better on this monitor, especially at the high end of the 144hz range, so it was truer 144hz than the Mi Curved. Overall, Hardware Unboxed like the Mi Curved the most, though.
The biggest factor to me finally purchasing the monitor, other than having to wait 4 months for Amazon to have it back in stock was that they said on review that it had a roughly around 10.67 dark response time. That’s lower than 13, and 13 was okay, people said through that rigmarole I did before. This is great! Maybe this is similar to the monitor I have then. Okay, that’s worth my money.
I buy it and it comes in. Cue excitement and fitting this 18 pound monitor onto my monitor arm and mounting it onto my desk with only one person and using my non dominant arm to hold the stand and monitor like the Leaning Tower of Pisa while I try and screw it the clamp in with my other hand was definitely something. Once I got it on and plugged everything in, I was excited to fire up Elite Dangerous and try things out. Things were cool.
But once I got out of the station I was in and into the expanse, I noticed the stars were dimming! and they wouldn’t be full brightness unless I was completely still. And things blurred when I moved! Oh no, it’s happening to me! So I played with the settings, made sure to try 144hz on Speed (link to the HU graph at the top), which was supposed to be around 10.6 Ms. Still the same issue. Tried on the really poor setting of 100hz using the frame limiter (HU graph above) (setting the monitor to that would cause it to constantly black out, load, show up for a second and black out again making it really hard to revert back; the monitor really didn’t being told to run at 100hz that way) the 100hz option as you can see in the photo, while riddled with disgusting levels of overdrive error rates, has the lowest black transition time of 7.6ms or around there. That’s like a 30% reduction in black smearing! I gave it a try. Basically the same issue, almost really didn’t do anything. Which gave me pause and concern. If 7.6 is still bad, anything more is either a 2000 dollar G7 monitor (not ultrawide) or it’s IPS. And even then, 5ms and 3ms is the range for IPS I believe, so it shouldn’t be that far off. What confuses me is the Samsung monitor didn’t have this issue…
I tried running at 60hz since that was a more fair comparison to the Samsung monitor, but no dice. Same issue. I tried the “Balanced” mode, since that was closer to the VRR mode for the display, and of course, that had a higher transition time, so that never fixed anything.
So, sad, I busted out the old monitor laying on my bed off of the Vesa mount, put the stand back on tucked away in a drawer, and plugged it in. When I had Elite running at 1080p 60 on the Samsung monitor, which is a Samsung SVA panel I’m told, by god there is almost no smear!
To quantify it, almost 40% of the stars in the first video go dim, when compared to the Samsung panel, only like 1-5% of the stars go dimmer. You have to really look at it to even notice it. At the very end of the second video, for some reason the smearing is more pronounced, That might be the FPS of the phone I used to record it, it’s not accurate to how it actually looks. in the video they disappear completely, in real life, they dim ever so slightly. Don’t let this fool you though, if you watch the third video, which is me showing one and then the other in real time, it is like a punch in the face. you go from having almost all of the stars smearing to basically 5%.
Okay, the part that throws me for a loop and makes no sense is the part where this is a cheap Samsung monitor that Samsung didn’t really care about and nobody else did. It barely has any reviews. Definitely no detailed ones. Why does this weird cheap samsung monitor of like 300 bucks have such good pixel response? This makes no sense. What is going on? The delay the G34WQC has is considered a normal level of delay, and it’s even a bit better in it’s class. How can anyone really play like this? Like, it literally looks like when stars smear when people enter spacewarp in star wars or old 50s sci fi movies. I tried playing with it to ignore it but it’s bad. I even decided to try Rimworld, a 2d topdown view game similar in style to Prison Architect and low and behold, because some furniture pieces have sharp outlines, like beds have a black outline, even though I was fully immersed in just looking at something I was doing in the game and enjoying the extra left and right screen space I noticed it immediately and it pulled me out.
How does this stupid unknown Samsung monitor have response times that feel like they rival the two Samsung G monitors? What’s going on here? I don’t have anything tricky going on, the nebulous HDMI black level is turned to low on the Samsung monitor and the contrast is at 65/100, the brightness at 100, and I have overdrive disabled on it because it never improved anything anyway, it just added ghosting. It’s called like “Speed” or something on the Samsung monitor
Can someone more informed help me out? Sadly, this in depth monitor stuff like sub-pixel partial illumination and the differences between VA panel technologies aren’t something you can really ask anyone just at the computer store or even on r/Monitors. I would just get people telling me this is normal and that the Samsung monitor I have either isn’t VA, which all the listings, including Samsung’s website do, and the black levels are measurably deep, or that it’s just some random fluke. I’d like to know why this is going on so I can seek out some remedy to it. Maybe there’s just some setting I’m missing? Is this actually overdrive and not black level smearing? No idea why it wouldn’t be, but I just can’t explain how this weird Samsung monitor has next to no smearing. Is it the panel type? Supposedly the Samsung has an SVA type.
Is there anything I could do to measure anything or identify anything that would help figure this out? There’s no way this cheapo monitor rivals a G7, lol. Somethings gotta be going on.
Thanks for the help! I really appreciate it. I was really saddened after trying to navigate my way through comparisons and such and figuring out what people mean by “satisfactory levels of smearing” and how that translates to the image on the screen and finally buying something only for it to turn out basically unplayable besides bright 3D games (and then pretend everything is okay when the sun sets in game)
Thanks, I really appreciate it : )
Edit: Sorry, I forgot to post links to the images I have about the G34WQC‘s responses from Hardware Unboxed at various refresh rates. Here they are:April 8, 2021 at 5:50 pm #64144PCM2
Hi rudemario and welcome,
I think you’re living up to your name there by coming here praising Hardware Unboxed and then writing an absurdly long post…
Just kidding 😉 .
I’m a big fan of Hardware Unboxed reviews myself, but I have a few points to make. I will bullet these so it’s easier for people to read and in doing so will summarise my understanding of the comparison you made. I also apologise if you’ve covered any of my questions, I admit to skim-reading your post.
– There are 255 different grey levels to consider for pixel transitions. Sometimes VA models have significant weaknesses at particularly narrow bands which could be missed off if only a subset of these values is looked at. Averages can be very misleading for this reason as well.
– Hardware Unboxed has now changed their methodology so that it better reflects what the eye sees during the transitions. I’m a big fan of this change as before they were only looking at part of the transition and also ignored the sensitivity of the human eye to different shades. Their new data should better reflect some of these weaknesses that you’re referring to here.
– The preferred shorthand designation for the Samsung monitor you’ve used in your example, that didn’t cause the stars to disappear during movement, is simply C32F391FW. Additional ‘L’ prefix simply means ‘LCD’ and the rest of the suffix beyond ‘FW’ is region-specific.
– That is a 60Hz monitor. The Gigabyte G34WQC is a 144Hz monitor. The pixel response requirements for good performance are much lower at 60Hz / 60fps than 144Hz / 144fps. The sort of weaknesses you’re exposing with the star field are more likely to occur at higher refresh rates. Do you observe this with the Gigabyte set to 60Hz as well? You would need to switch to a different response time setting for optimal performance there, too. ‘Speed’ would be overkill in terms of overshoot.
– The 27″ Samsung Odyssey G7 models are very special when it comes to pixel responsiveness. They can’t really be compared to a 60Hz monitor, even if it (the C32F391FW) is quite a competent performer at 60Hz. The C27G75T performs well at 240Hz and indeed lower refresh rates, for its panel type. It isn’t perfect in that respect but is one of few VA models that wouldn’t exhibit the sort of blending in of very light shades against dark backgrounds that your post highlights at high refresh rates. I’d highly recommend reading this post.
I’m not sure if you’ve spent much time absorbing our reviews, but I go to great length to demonstrate weaknesses such as those you highlight due to weaknesses in pixel responsiveness. I know some people find numbers easier to deal with, but others prefer visual and descriptive representations. As I’ve mentioned above there are some shortcomings to providing data from a subset of numbers and also if you’re only looking at part of the transition. The subjective assessment fills in a lot of gaps and eliminates a lot of potential misinterpretation that the numbers-based approach is prone to. I really like that Hardware Unboxed makes good use of pursuit photographs as well, it cements their data nicely. The VA weaknesses and intricacies can stem beyond that, though, as they don’t always manifest as distinct ‘smeary’ trailing. The weaknesses you mention with the star field example, for example, can be seen in others ways. For example, in our review of the AOC CU34G2X – which performs pretty similarly to the Gigabyte G34WQC as it’s based around the same panel:
“Sometimes the weaknesses in pixel responses manifested themselves as a sort of ‘flickering’ effect, very commonly observed on VA models. Where there were fine alternations between bright and dark shades, such as thatched roofing, the brighter shades were dimmed during movement due to being blended with the darker shades.”
This was visible at times in the video review, but I neglected to specifically mention it there. I have done so in other reviews such as the more recently reviewed AOC PD27. See the video section below which gives an example of this ‘blending’ during movement even for weaknesses between dark to somewhat lighter shades. I even included some example of similar this behaviour on the desktop a bit later in the same video. And there are some good examples of ‘smeary’ trailing in the more conventional sense in that video as well, as there were on the CU34G2X video.April 8, 2021 at 6:34 pm #64149rudemario
First off, I want to preface this by saying I’ve loved the reviews you guys put out here, but I haven’t found any on any similar monitors to those that I would be purchasing. That, and I didn’t think to cross reference your reviews with Hardware Unboxed to sort of map out a cross reference of experiences to monitor performances because I just haven’t tried a good consumer grade monitor myself yet. Like theorizing what it’s like to swim underwater without ever have taken a bath. I basically went “I don’t have enough experience to make sense of this, but one day.”
I have BF1, so I can go ahead and try and replicate some of your tests now that I’ve got 3 different monitors and I can start to identify all of the words to actual experiences.
I meant no offense! I mentioned only Hardware Unboxed as a numerical gauge, and I’m glad you cleared that up. Once again, averages really don’t show the whole story, more than people realize (myself included). Reading your reviews actually taught me about subpixel partial illumination, which explained why the 1440p screen at the store looked worse than my monitor at home with a higher resolution than mine—that model I confirmed to suffer from it. Not that it looked horrid, just not up to the hype people say 1440p should have.
Some answers are hard to find without speaking to the right people. I’m really appreciative of what you guys do. I’ve learned a lot from reading your reviews. Whenever I saw a monitor I considered buying, the first thing I would do is check if you guys had a review on it.
On to your responses,
– Thank you for clarifying the naming convention of the monitor, it was definitely throwing me for a loop. I was trying to explain why it was different in my post that I just thought it was a regional difference, but now I can actually see where the regional code is.
– I was testing both at 144hz, 100hz, and 60hz. In the photos I posted in my edit, you can see the average black level transition time between the different modes and refreshes. The methodology of my thinking was the lower that number, the less pronounced the starfield’s warp should be. At 100hz and on Speed, the highest overdrive mode, that average was the lowest, but I didn’t notice any significant decrease in warpage. That refresh rate specifically has really bad overshoot all the way down to 60hz, so in my 60hz testing I switched to Balanced, which is the less overshooty and better balanced mode across the VRR range. At 60hz the problem was still very pronounced, but I wasn’t running the game in fullscreen when I was getting tests, so there’s a small chance Elite Dangerous was being refreshed at 144hz. When I get home after work I’ll put it in fullscreen at 60hz and set the monitor to 60hz in the Nvidia control panel to triple check myself and see if it makes a significant improvement, when I checked initially, it didn’t, though, much to my sadness.
– So if I’m understanding correctly, the variance in pixel responsiveness isn’t inherent to the panel type, but multiple factors? I thought the default was poor performance, and cheaper monitors would be guaranteed to perform worse. That’s what’s so perplexing about the Samsung monitor I have. Could you think of any explanation as to why it performs so well at 60hz compared to (what my non-rock solid remembering of I have to fact check when I get home) the 60hz performance on the G34WQC? I guess another mistake I made was assuming that 10ms black average at 60hz is the same roughly as 10ms black average at 144hz (or, at least, 120hz, because I don’t think 10ms is enough for true 144hz).
I’m going to read the two articles you linked and watch the videos in them where you demonstrated the issue (didn’t know that AOC had the same panel type as this, really should’ve checked that review out before I bought this one, drat) and I’ll get back to you, hopefully with some more informed things to say on the matter. I will also do a check when I get home to confirm the issue is not any better at 60hz with the monitor set in the control panel AND in fullscreen at 60hz
Thanks!April 8, 2021 at 6:41 pm #64152PCM2
No offence taken, I was just joking with that opening paragraph. But I’m glad you’ve found our reviews helpful as well and I appreciate we haven’t reviewed the specific models you’re looking at. Most of the curved 100Hz+ UltraWide VA models use similar Samsung SVA panels and they share similar weaknesses. The only VA UltraWide that really stands out currently would be the ASUS VG34VGL1B which instead uses
an AUOa CSOT VA panel. This and indeed most of the other ‘budget’ UltraWide options are covered in this thread, with this specific post sharing some thoughts on the ASUS. Unfortunately it isn’t a model I’ve used myself and isn’t a model ASUS have available for review here in the UK.
The Samsung CF391 (yeah, let’s shorten it even more – haha) could have better 60Hz pixel responsiveness than the Gigabyte*. But either way, it is certainly important to make sure the Gigabyte is running at 60Hz and the content at 60fps to allow an apples to apples comparison to be made with the Samsung. It certainly isn’t the case that cheaper VA models are less responsive. In fact I’d say the current crop of high refresh rate UltraWides based on Samsung panels are a bit weaker than some cheaper options. The AOC C24G1 is one I often compare to in the VA reviews as whilst it’s not fantastic it still performs better than any of the VA UltraWides I’ve personally used for some of these troublesome transitions.
*Relevant to what you may be observing even at 60Hz. If you compare how the C24G1 performs at 60Hz vs. the CU34G2X (pursuit photos), you’ll see it fares better. I’ve never really found any of the VA UltraWides I’ve used to be great performers even at 60Hz to be honest.April 9, 2021 at 7:29 am #64153rudemario
After getting home I confirmed my suspicions.
Although, performance does improve, even at 60hz it feels as though it is still double as bad or triple as bad as the Samsung CF391. So, in subjective qualifying terms, the visuals on the CF391 are considered “not really noticeable unless you look for it.” The visuals on the G34WQC at 60hz are “better than 144hz, but still pull focus away with flickers if you move back and forth and a noticeable dimming of the screen in motion. It’s noticeable enough to be a problem, but it’s not so severe it’s horrific. It’s just like really bad, like a constant motion blur that also dims the screen.”
Keep in mind this is with overdrive on Speed, which has horrible overshoot characteristics and should be avoided in all other cases. Switching to the Balanced mode which does not suffer from overshoot makes it no longer “eh, not so bad” to being “this is bad” again. But even the eh is annoying, otherwise I’d ignore it. Switching back up to 144hz, a selling point of the monitor, is actually horrific.
Interestingly, (to me) if the performance at 60hz was closer to the CF391 and what the G34WQC does at 60hz, overdrive on Speed, was what I experienced at 144hz, I think I would consider keeping the monitor, because for 144hz that would be an acceptable trade-off since I could just go for supersampling 1.75/2x for “4k” quality and aim for 60fps for games where there’s lots of blacks.
So, I guess that leaves me with two questions.
1. Going off of what you’ve said about it, it sounds like maybe the only option for an ultrawide currently that doesn’t suffer from this is an IPS. Before I give up hope and start researching IPS ultrawides, are there any VA ultrawides that have this effect minimized to the degree, or almost to the degree that the Samsung has? I don’t mean to be unrealistic, because if there isn’t, that’s okay, but you’ve had more hands on experience than me so if there WERE any, you’d know of the ones close to what I’m looking to avoid. Even close to what the 60hz with overdrive on highest brings. If all of them do this, then to IPS I shall go, but if there are any that perform better, I’ll look into ordering that one and give it a try at least before I give up my deep blacks and go charging treasonously towards IPS territory.
2. I’m interested in why the Samsung CF391 has better response at 60hz than the G34WQC. Is it likely because it has a more stable average over all 255 grey transitions compared to the G34WQC? Could it be something in the panel technology itself, like a backlight strobing method? This panel achieves something that the G34WQC can’t even achieve with an aggressive overdrive. This could lead me to being able to figure out the specific feature I’m looking to find in a VA monitor. The C27G75T you mentioned is also a Samsung monitor using an SVA panel, so maybe this is something one of Samsung’s SVA panels specializes in that others don’t?
Thank you so much for the help, by the way. You’ve given me lots of information to mull over, a few articles, and some testing to do to figure out how to get the product I want. I will be looking at the monitor videos and articles you linked and the discussion forum posts over the next few days because there’s lots of good info in there. Don’t worry it will fall on deaf ears, I just didn’t have much time today to look it over before replying.April 9, 2021 at 7:36 am #64156PCM2
1) I’ve addressed this already in my previous post where I mentioned the ASUS VG34VQL1B as a possible alternative. These issues should be reduced, but by how much I really couldn’t say – it isn’t a model I’ve tested myself. It certainly isn’t as competent as the IPS-type options when it comes to pixel responsiveness and it’s tough to say how it compares with your 31.5″ Samsung.
2) The main cause will simply be that the G34WQC performs the problematic transitions slower than the CF391. Slow enough for clear issues to be identified even at 60Hz. PWM shouldn’t be used on the Samsung and certainly isn’t on the Gigabyte (also – PWM and strobe backlights are not the same thing). Although Samsung sometimes employs a hybrid dimming solution which uses PWM below a certain brightness, or occasionally flat out lies about PWM usage or ‘flicker free’. Set the monitor to ‘100’ brightness and see if this alters what you see, that will disable PWM if it is used below that.April 9, 2021 at 1:59 pm #64160uncia
From what I can glean from user reviews of the Asus VG34VQL1B, some have overdrive issues with overshoot and vignette of green and/or purple. Some have worse pixel transitions, especially with elements of higher contrast. It looks possible the worse issues occur for Nvidia users, including screen flicker problems. I’m beginning to think G-Sync compatible is not nearly as good as G-Sync certified for users of their graphics cards. Meanwhile, FreeSync with AMD users works without similar issues, for the most part. I’ve been reading a lot of reviews because I’m curious about this type of monitor myself. The highly rated colour production and often, not always, positive rating for pixel responsiveness (For a VA) has me intrigued. The panel isn’t used by any other manufacturer yet. So it’s hard to say how good or bad it really is. Asus, evidently, doesn’t provide a gamma adjustment option in the OSD. I asked someone who’d posted about it on YouTube. So that sounds like a negative if you care about that kind of thing. Viewing angle is supposed to be about the best yet for a curved ultrawide VA. So here’s hoping we continue to get more positive news than negative. The $500 USD price point for the feature set is also quite nice. The cheapest IPS of comparable specs is from LG and costs $800 USD.
One thing I’ve learned is not to skimp on your display. It will last through several builds, or generations of PC. So make it something you can stand to look at for 4-6 years. If you do professional work, get an IPS. I’m going to relent and get the LG 34GP83A or wait to see if they have a successor to it later this year. I’m waiting to hear back from LG regarding this, actually. At the moment, LG has inventory available in the U.S., on Amazon at least. Asus is out of that particular model. With tech supply issues, I’m not sure when they’ll have more.
Also worth noting with the Asus here, it looks like the pixel lines are less squat with narrower black spaces between them. So text clarity is rated fairly good by customers so far. I know this is important for me. It doesn’t matter to everyone, of course.April 9, 2021 at 2:11 pm #64163PCM2
Good feedback and summary of user experiences there, Uncia. Certainly food for thought and I’ll link this post in the other thread for further reading. I’ve had my fair share of issues with ‘G-SYNC Compatible Mode’ and the worst offenders have been those of the VA variety. My RTX 3090 has fared a lot better in that respect than my old GTX 1080 Ti, even though both GPUs supposedly support the technology. But there are often weird quirks with ‘G-SYNC Compatible Mode’ such as a higher floor of operation for no apparent reason. And if that floor is raised to 60Hz (as it sometimes is) instead of 48Hz, the monitor jumps all the way from 60Hz (60fps) to 118Hz (59fps) or vice-versa. The voltage regulation is dramatically different for such high refresh rates compared to much lower refresh rates, which can cause brightness fluctuations (a.k.a. flickering) that wouldn’t necessarily occur on AMD GPUs. Although large enough fluctuations on AMD GPUs can cause similar issues. On some models there is indeed more widespread and noticeable flickering on the Nvidia side, with seemingly smaller fluctuations in frame rate in a game. I’ve noticed this even with my RTX 3090 and I’m not sure on the technical reasons for it. For example, on the AOC PD27 where I noted the following:
“We observed more widespread and noticeable flickering than when using FreeSync on our AMD GPU…. With FreeSync on our AMD GPU, flickering only occurred during very large drops and other very large fluctuations in frame rate. On our Nvidia GPU it was triggered by less dramatic fluctuations. It became particularly noticeable if the monitor crossed the LFC boundary, often triggered by in-game menus and cut scenes. This was in addition to the stuttering observed when passing the LFC boundary, as discussed earlier with reference to FreeSync.”
The only thing I would add is that the squat subpixels of the Samsung SVA panels shouldn’t have a significant negative impact on text clarity. Unless it’s accompanied by partial subpixel illuimination. It could have a mild impact, though, just as it can make ‘static interlace patterns’ more likely to occur. It’s the sort of issue that a good sharpness algorithm should overcome, but as with many things this is very subjective. And even slight changes from the norm can still cause issues for some users. It’s always preferable to have taller subpixels with smaller vertical gaps as seen on the VG34VQL1B‘s CSOT (not AUO as was originally reported) panel. 🙂 There’s an upcoming VA model from Dell (S3422DWG) which I’ve known about for a while now. It has now been confirmed as a VA model, although the panel isn’t currently known. I believe it will be based on a Samsung SVA panel, it only has a 144Hz refresh rate rather than 165Hz+. I was hoping it would be an alternative with the AUO panel. Models using the new AUO panels will become more common going forwards as Samsung have been winding down their LCD panel reproduction.April 9, 2021 at 4:56 pm #64168rudemario
Well, maybe regrettably, I went ahead and purchased a VG34VQL1B very quickly from decision to action. Amazon should have me covered if I need to return it.
I will compare the F and the VG34VQL1B side by side to compare and contrast the dark level smearing, the higher contrast (sounds like a nice addition) and possibly any extra issues related to G sync. I have also ordered a Vesa Certified (from their database) Startech.com DP 1.4 cable which apparently the G34WQC does not ship with, which was giving me genuine problems in CoD Cold War for screen flickering, as the one in the box supposedly can’t support the bandwidth.
There are also suggestions as well with using a program that lets you change the graphics driver to move the VRR limits around from 48-60hz to modify how G Sync engages LFC higher than it should, etc. I need to look into this more, but I will figure out exactly what’s causing the flickering (is it the constant entering and exiting of LFC below 60hz? If so, why do people suggest raising the floor instead of lowering it? etc etc, there’s more to it I need to look into) and I will report back to let you guys know.
Feel free to ask me any questions about the VG34VQL1b if you guys are interested once I receive it. Should come mid next week.
I’m giving this a shot because I love the deep blacks offered by VA, so I will try this as a last-ditch effort to find something acceptable to retain it (bonus is it’s got an even higher contrast ratio than the G34WQC, but sadly a name that rolls off the tongue less)
Side-note: Would be nice if more monitors were sold glossy, though. The VG34VQL1B is more matte than my G34WQC, and I dislike matte finishes. The glossy Samsung monitor I have just reminds me of that fact every time I look at it, colours are so much more “colourful,” for lack of a better word, obviously, because anti-glare is a two way street. I heard of a heatgun trick to remove the adhesive on the anti-glare material many years ago, I wonder if I could come up with the courage to give that a try on a 800 CAD monitor I purchased myself? Hmm…April 9, 2021 at 4:58 pm #64171PCM2
Giving the VG34VQL1B a shot is absolutely the right thing to do and I very much welcome your feedback. Your insights and comparison with the G34WQC will be hugely appreciated by others reading this thread, too. Sometimes flickering is triggered at quite specific bands and not just during large framerate fluctuations, so raising the floor of operation could alter that. The utility is called CRU (Custom Resolution Utility) but it’s not something manufacturers like reviewers to openly discuss or test during reviews. That’s not to say you shouldn’t try it yourself, if you carefully follow advice on how to use it. But it won’t solve flickering during large fluctuations in frame rate – and sometimes ‘G-SYNC Compatible Mode’ has more widespread flickering when framerate seems quite stable in the game which that wouldn’t alleviate. I added an example to my previous post.April 16, 2021 at 3:49 pm #64229rudemario
Hey there, guys!
Sorry I haven’t gotten back to the thread. My girlfriends car broke down an hour away in another city yesterday and I still don’t have it fixed, heading out there today after work again.
I do have some first impressions though! Straight up, almost immediately, if you use the Windows dark theme and scroll through the display settings menu, you can see that the pixel responsiveness out of the box is much better in that suspect range. It’s phenomenal. The G34WQC on it’s highest setting is less effective than the V34VQL1B at “60”, which leaves two settings above it as options. On the V34, the overdrive is increments of 20 from 0-100. Overshoot becomes apparent at 60, which is the out of the box experience. Point is, you have more options. You can eliminate almost all of the smear and trade it for overshoot/inverse ghosting, or you can do the opposite . The smearing is pretty horrendous at overdrive 0.
I have the same flickers on both monitors using Freesync up and down the range, but I’m not sure if setting the screen from 165hz down to 120 and back up again, a trick that reddit users pointed out worked as well as using CRU, works on the V34. The G34 I believe had the flickering go away using the 144>120>144 in windows display settings>advanced display settings trick I just mentioned in the Final Fantasy 15 demo as well as Call of Duty: Cold War when I tested, BUT I want to compare side by side to actually corroborate that claim. I will link the reddit post when I can get the final comparison up. I will also have to test with CRU proper and see. The reason why I mention this trick found on reddit is because I was getting flickering in Cold War in the 110-144hz range on the G34WQC. LFC is not triggering there at all. So what is CRU gonna do? I tried the reddit trick of just toggling the refresh rate it and seemed to do the trick, so I was satisfied, but it might not do on this monitor. I will look into this properly.
That star field I was posting? At 60, this smearing is actually so good I was comparing the Samsung monitor to the V34 and the G34 was basically an entirely different world it was so bad. Like at it’s best it’s a smeary mess, where the V34 and the Samsung was a more interesting comparison to me. I will have more data on that.
The brightness being higher and the contrast being larger is also more noticeable out of the box. The image in dark scenes is noticeably improved over the G34 because the brightess are much brighter and the darks are darker at 100% brightness. I’ll have comparisons of that too.
I’m not sure about the HDR performance because as far as I’m aware, HDR10/HDR 400 certified are pretty trash examples of HDR and these panels are along those lines. HDR 1000 certified is where I hear it gets spicy provided there are enough local dimming zones. If this is not true and this is something worth testing, let me know.
Sorry for the lame update post, but some things came up that I need to clear up before I can attend to this. I’ll keep you guys posted and hope this was interesting to hear until then. Let me know if there’s anything specific you would like to test!April 16, 2021 at 3:59 pm #64232PCM2
Thanks for the update, rudemario. It’s not a ‘lame post’ at all and I appreciate you taking the time to share your impressions. Especially with the other more pressing issues you’ve had. It really sounds like you’re enjoying the VG34VQL1B, particularly with respect to its motion performance and indeed contrast. So do you prefer having the ‘TraceFree’ set to ’60’ rather than ’40’ at 144Hz+? What GPU are you using, for reference?
One thing I’d be particularly interesting in are some pursuit photos at 144Hz so they can be compared to the models with Samsung SVA panels. These are quite easy to do with most smartphones – easiest way would be to take a video and just track the motion on this page matching the speed as best you can. You can even do several ‘swipes’ of the camera from left to right and at least some of the footage should give a nice clean pursuit capture. And be enough to help allow some comparisons to be drawn. I appreciate any further thoughts you’re willing to provide as well. How are you finding the colour reproduction in comparison to the G34WQC (SDR)?April 21, 2021 at 10:11 am #64258rudemario
Hey guys, just wanted to let you know I have found some really interesting stuff. I’ve got a page of notes to go through and about 46 comparison videos weed through and upload, and I plan on doing that after work tomorrow (hopefully before 11pm Eastern Standard Time).
I’ll leave you now with a video highlighting the majority of the findings
Left is VG34, right is G34WQC
G34WQC: Conservative overdrive resulting in black level smearing but no visible overshoot.
VG34VQL1B: Aggressive overdrive at the lowest settings eliminating smearing in scenes and adding way too much overdrive even at the lowest setting.
G34WQC: Stars disappear and trees dim in the daytime quite noticeably—very distracting, as has been well documented.
VG34VQL1B: Coal, all edges of blocks, and many scenes in general have heavy amounts of ghosting, but starfields like the night sky no longer disappear, they remain rock solid with a hint of brightness increase from ghosting depending on the setting, which would be very good news except see the inverse ghosting yourself from the link. Trees also have artifacting but they don’t dim like black smearing.
Both might be variants of unplayable to me : /
More information to come! Hope this teaser shows I haven’t abandoned you guys.
PCM2, to quickly answer your questions, the ‘Variable OD’ setting set to 60 in the previous starfield made stars slightly bloom on movement, and 40 slightly dim on movement. I preferred 60 before I discovered that even at 20 at 144hz+ had unbelievable levels of inverse ghosting. I am using an EVGA RTX 3080 FTW3 Ultra. I will also capture some pursuit footage as well, as long as some footage from my Samsung monitor to compare. The colour reproduction is hard to measure because not only do I recognize I am a layman, but I have no way to colour calibrate either display before adjusting. Defaults, anyway, including gamma curve adjustments, I much prefer the VG due to the much higher brightness and contrast, as well as the overall punchier colours. But this might just be because of the brightness playing a trick on my brain.April 21, 2021 at 10:15 am #64264PCM2
Thanks for sharing your video and further impressions, rudemario.
With what you’ve said and demonstrated, plus measurements I’ve seen from RTINGS and the like, it does indeed seem it’s a compromise that has been made with the VG34VQL1B. It uses aggressive pixel overdrive to overcome some issues, but some slower than optimal pixel responses still remain and then you have overshoot on top. You can balance the two out to some extent with the ‘Variable OD’ overdrive control, but even the lower levels are a bit on the aggressive side for some transitions. It’s really unfortunate no other VA model has quite managed to offer what the Odyssey G7 models do, particularly the 27″ variants. But then, those models don’t really deliver a true VA contrast experience in the same way the ASUS does. Always a compromise.April 21, 2021 at 9:37 pm #64268rudemario
I’m getting really discouraged now.
I dug out my IPS AOC and set it next to the two.
The smear is bad on the G34WQC and it’s brightness and colours are no longer so good, likely due to the high nits at 100% brightness on the VG34 spoiling me.
The VG34 has really nice brightness and colours, is 165hz which is a noticeable step up, but it has horrible inverse ghosting at even the lowest setting. The only time the ghosting is not visible is at 60hz and Overdrive set to the lowest value (20), but that’s honestly a waste of the 100 extra hertz available, why buy an $800 monitor for just 60hz? And for some reason at 60hz there is a very small noticeable almost blur? that isn’t present on the other monitors. I’m not sure what this is, I might be tricking myself, but 60hz might as well just use another monitor.
The IPS of course has that nice grey black issue. All blacks are grey, they aren’t deep. And of course, backlight bleed, but the two ultrawide panels have backlight bleed in various spots around the screen when black, which is garish and non-uniform, so that’s not the issue. The issue is that blacks are washed out. You could just say “Then just buy an IPS Ultrawide” but the issue there is prevalent no matter the price point. and speaking of which, the IPS ultrawides are typically more money, and they have poorer blacks compared to the cheaper VAs
So the G34 has distracting smearing which is unplayable in terms of the whole screen’s brightness constantly fluctuating, i.e. trees in Minecraft (not just space or dark scenes)
The VG34 has inverse ghosting that is noticeably worse in dimmer scenes but not dark ones (think cave lighting or sunset) where the colours pop out violently in inverse ghosting, which is unplayable in the sense that you have rainbows smearing everywhere. The G34WQC looks good in these scenes, but then you have the issue of the scene brightness shifting and the stars disappearing.
and the IPS I have is indicative of all IPS’s poor contrast ratios.
You really just can’t win.
You could buy a G7, but then you lose ultrawide and contrast ratio.
You could buy a CRG90, but now you’ve got super ultrawide and while you have high brightness, HDR1000, etc, I believe it has comparable smearing (although I can’t find a comparison to what I’m seeing in the time I looked, so I’m not sure if its worse or better) super ultrawide is really quite large anyway, but more importantly, it’s an entirely different price bracket. Not to mention it doesn’t solve the smearing.
You could buy a Samsung G9, but who’s got that kind of money? Also it’s got the same 2000:1 contrast as the G7, while also being super huge and costing much more performance to handle. The 240hz is nice, though.
Despite all of this, the Samsung CF391 manages to handle it all. It’s got smearing, but pretty diminished. Glossy screen and VA deep blacks. Now, it doesn’t have 144hz, but running 60hz on the VG34 and the G34WQC both resulted in all the overdrive settings as being worse compared to the CF391.
How does this monitor hold up when more expensive ones can’t? That’s what confuses me. Like as a manufacturer, why not continue in this direction? Why go worse?
I don’t know what to do anymore. Maybe I should just buy three CF391s? Lol.
I’m kind of disheartened at this point. The only options seem to be giving into IPS (more expensive and worse blacks), or going with the G9. If you want ultrawide you can’t get a normal 21:9 monitor without either bad blacks, bad smearing, or bad ghosting. Honestly if I could just make the inverse ghosting a lot more minimal I’d take the VG34.
Maybe I’m just nitpicking, most people use IPS anyway. But if most VAs have smearing like this, how did the CF391 get so good? It’s so good I can’t find comparable monitors to it. It’s hard to let go of VA when I have one right in front of me that does it so well.
You can’t get rid of this inverse ghosting on the VG34 because overdrive off is much worse than the G34WQC and with overdrive at 20 (lowest) it has insane inverse ghosting, and not enough overdrive to match G34wqc, so no benefit at all.
I will upload more comparison imgur videos soon.April 21, 2021 at 9:45 pm #64272PCM2
I’ve been pretty disappointed with the lack of progression in the VA UltraWide market in terms of responsiveness. And actually just the VA market more broadly, with those rare exceptions you’ve already named. I absolutely agree that higher refresh rates have been pushed even with pixel responsiveness that just can’t make proper use of them. There are always those standout weaknesses, either ‘smeary’ trailing or overshoot. They don’t affect all transitions, but if anything that makes them stand out even more clearly when they do occur. It won’t help you right now, but I’d like to think the AUO panel used in the ASUS is capable of more and another manufacturer (or ASUS with an alternative) might be able to tune it better. Samsung has wound down their LCD panel production so I don’t expect them to provide further innovation with their own VA panels. There are even some rumours circulating that their mighty upcoming S49AG95N (Odyssey G9 with Mini LED) may be using an AUO panel. But that is entirely unconfirmed at this stage.April 21, 2021 at 10:18 pm #64273rudemario
Sorry to be a bother, but, now that I might have to make the decision to go IPS Ultrawide, could you name drop any that I should look into?
I like the brightness on the VG34, so maybe an IPS with that sort of brightness that makes the colours pop despite the matt coating would be a good consolation prize. I’m not sure, I haven’t done much research into IPS ultrawides, if you name drop some to point me in the right direction I could start looking into them. Maybe I don’t give them enough credit.
Thanks for the help!
Also, anything in particular you want me to test besides pursuit video/photos on the monitors?April 21, 2021 at 10:25 pm #64275PCM2
There are a few that might be suitable, but the recommendations section is a good starting point as it makes my current 34″ recommendations very clear. 🙂 And points out appropriate threads on the forum for further reading and alternatives.
I’d also be quite interested in whether you notice better colour consistency on the ASUS compared to the Gigabyte. Easiest way to assess that would be a screenfill of a single shade, seeing how much of a saturation shift can be seen comparing the centre to edges. You’d need to be directly in front of the monitor at a normal viewing distance, being careful not to observe off-centre (to the side). Which I appreciate can be tricky with multiple UltraWides!
And I’m not sure if you generally watch movie or video content on the monitor, but I’d be quite interested in your thoughts on the VG34’s responsiveness for such content. With the monitor set to 144Hz (or whatever you’d usually use on the desktop), do you notice obnoxious overshoot or obvious weaknesses there? With the content being a much lower frame rate, you should find weaknesses are less apparent. But strong overshoot in particular might still cause issues, so that’s really what I’m mainly curious about.April 26, 2021 at 10:10 am #64307PCM2
Well, here’s a twist. Turns out the VG34VQL1B doesn’t use one of the new AUO panels. Despite its specs lining up seemingly perfectly, it is actually based on a CSOT panel which I wasn’t aware of until today. Or more specifically, it’s based on the CSOT SG3402H01 CELL with a custom backlight solution. So we (collectively) have yet to see a model using the AUO M340QVR01.0 or similar new AUO UltraWide panel.May 15, 2021 at 3:49 pm #64603SergioS
I was 99% determined to buy the VG34VQL1B (or 95% the G34WQC-EK) when I read this thread. Of course, the LG 34GN850 remains my favorite, but it is really very expensive (and a proverb in my area says that “xe più giorni che luganighe” – Trad: “there are more days than sausages” – so saving some money is never mistaken) .
But the video (https://imgur.com/a/br5luTm) posted by Rudemario again plunged me into doubt, and reopened the VA-IPS wound.
However, just about that test I would like to express my perplexities.
It is true that both VAs show defects in that video, and that the defect of one is not present in the other, and vice versa. But does it make sense to judge a monitor for what it can express in a game with extremely simplified graphics? Doesn’t a too simple test bench risk bringing out defects that in “real life” will be of minimal importance?
I don’t play minecraft and I don’t know if it’s fun; but i think if i played mostly minecraft i doubt i would buy a monitor of that level.
And ok, the VG34 shows green ghosting, and the G34 makes the stars disappear. But maybe we notice it only because there is little else to see around? In a game with more elaborate graphics, can these flaws really damage the gaming experience? For example, when Arthur Morgan tries to escape the O’Driscolls, or when Trevor has to pass under a bridge with the airplane?
I haven’t put the IPS aside yet. It really is better. I understood this when I saw a video on YouTube comparing the 34GP83A and VG34VQL1B. Made it seem that the LG is like dressing a more comfortable pair of shoes. If the reviewer hadn’t pointed this out (mod edit: using non-pursuit video with Test UFO), I don’t think I would have noticed. But looking at VA and IPS side by side (even with the obvious technological limitations)… well the winner is clear which one it is!
- You must be logged in to reply to this topic.