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IPS 144 Hz is great (if your PC can handle it)

Last update: 15 Oct 2017

My PC had the same CRT monitor throughout its whole life. I loved CRT because of great colors, true blacks and more than 60 Hz which makes games much more fluid. Then there were TN LCD monitors in the 2000s. There were all shit. Then there were IPS monitors in the 2010s. Sure, better colors but still 60 Hz. 60 Hz suck. And now looks like my wait has come to its conclusion. I bought an IPS 144 Hz monitor. So, does it beat CRT? Not fully.

So here’s my old CRT monitor: Sony CPD-E230.

CRT1 CRT2

16 inches, optimal resolution 1024x768@85Hz, 80 ppi. Can go up to 1600x1200@60Hz but 60 Hz will make your eyes bleed very fast.

And here’s my new monitor: ASUS MG279Q.

IPS1 IPS2 IPS3

27 inches, 2560x1440@144Hz, 109 ppi.

During my very first test, I used laptop and HMDI connection which can only do 60 Hz and it was like any other 60 Hz monitors with all their weaknesses. However, when I plugged it into my PC via DisplayPort, 144 Hz were set automatically. No more xrandr scripts for CRT to set 85 Hz without EDID. First, the default brightness is blinding. I’ve lowered it to 25. Then, of course, I started Xonotic and HOLY FUCKING SHIT. 109 PPI and 144 Hz. I’ve never experienced such glorious gaming. Though, after 16” monitor my brain needed a lot of time to adjust. But, whenever FPS dropped below 100, it was very noticeable.

Next, 0AD. Since it’s written in JavaScript, it requires supercomputer to have stable FPS. My PC produced somewhere between 10 and 80 FPS and it was like with any other 60 Hz monitor. However, I’ve noticed slight blur when moving camera. I’ve moved camera near the edge of the map where I got stable 100+ FPS and yes, blur was noticeable. 0AD has very detailed assets that are viewed from a large distance so individual pixels start to matter. On the other hand, I never noticed any blur in Xonotic.

Next, Teeworlds. This game has very cartoony graphics with vector-like assets and that’s where blur was noticeable. Pitch black outlines moving to blue sky or orange ground lose their contrast.

OpenArena. For some reason it has com_maxfps 85 by default which produces 90 FPS. On a 85 Hz CRT I didn’t bother to change it but now I set it to 200. The difference was huge. I easily won several single player campaign matches that I’ve struggled with before.

Red Eclipse - stable 200 FPS. After Xonotic and OpenArena the fluidity was no longer that stunning.

Next, I’ve just messed around. I was able to see some tearing in 0AD and Xonotic when I looked very very hard. It’s never noticeable during the regular gameplay. This monitor supports FreeSync but can only do 90 Hz with it. I have no idea why someone would want that. 144 Hz really changes your experience. I no longer feel comfortable when FPS drops below 100. Back with CRT I could notice a drop to about 80 FPS.

After more time with it, I can say that IPS still can’t match CRT when it comes to color reproduction. Even when sitting in front of the monitor, you can still see that colors in the corners are a bit distorted. But the worst thing is brightness based on vertical angle. The pixels below your eye level are brighter, the pixel above your eye level are darker. The most extreme case was when voting for a map in Xonotic and there was Glowplant in the upper corner. That way the darker parts of its image were almost black. But I’m not saying that this is a bad monitor. It’s the best LCD monitor I’ve ever seen.

So, in conclusion, is 144 Hz IPS worth it? Only if your PC can do stable 100+ FPS in games. I play pretty much only libre games and my GPU - AMD Radeon R9 380X with libre AMDGPU driver - does its job well. Interestingly, the FPS at 1024x768 and 2560x1440 was almost the same, which means that my PC is CPU bound (AMD FX-8350). But if you want 100+ FPS in modern proprietary games at max settings, you’ll definitely need Fury or Vega. If you have TN or IPS 60 Hz monitor then it will definitely be an upgrade. But I would still love to have 144 Hz monitor that has the same colors as CRT.

Funny trivia: I wanted to buy AMD Radeon RX 480 but found that it lacks analog DVI and I needed that for my CRT monitor. I’ve gone through previous models and found that R9 380X is the last AMD GPU with analog DVI. So R9 380X is the best GPU for CRT monitor without DAC.