LG announces the world’s first 21:9 gaming monitor with AMD FreeSync support
Next week, at CES 2015, LG will introduce what it calls the world’s first ultra-wide (21:9) gaming monitor with AMD’s FreeSync technology — AMD’s alternative to Nvidia’s proprietary and expensive G-Sync. I say “world’s first,” but considering LG hasn’t yet released the monitor, nor given us an expected release date or price, that seems a little bit rich.
As you may have noticed, ultra-wide desktop monitors are shaping up to be the next thing. Over the last few months, we’ve seen ultra-wide panels from most big display makers — and recently, Samsung has taken it to the next level with a curved ultra-wide monitor (the S34E790C). These 21:9 screens usually have a resolution of either 2560×1080 or 3440×1440, depending on the diagonal width and how much you want to spend. Ultra-wide screens are mostly being marketed at gamers who want an increased field of view in FPS games (i.e. dirty cheaters) — but they also make a pretty good alternative to having two 16:9 or 16:10 monitors on your desk.
In the case of LG’s “world first” ultra-wide gaming monitor (model 34UM67), all we know is that it measures 34 inches diagonally, and that it supports AMD’s FreeSync technology. LG hasn’t revealed the resolution of the screen, nor any other vital statistics (latency, panel type, viewing angles, etc.) So, for now, I guess all we can really discuss is FreeSync.
These slides show you how Nvidia’s G-Sync tech works, but FreeSync works in a similar fashion
Last fall, Nvidia unveiled G-Sync, which promised to reduce frame stutter and tearing. The problem is, G-Sync doesn’t work with your current monitor: You have to buy a new monitor with a special G-Sync logic board hidden inside. A few months later, AMD announced FreeSync, a technology that does much the same thing, but without using fancy, proprietary hardware. Your monitor does need a DisplayPort 1.2a controller to support FreeSync, however — which means that your current monitor almost certainly can’t use FreeSync, but that your next monitor probably will.
Earlier this week, Iiyama actually released (as in, you can buy it right now) the first FreeSync monitor — the 28-inch 4K ProLite B2888UHSU-B1, priced at around $600. Curiously, this monitor reportedly uses the same LCD panel as the 28-inch 4K Acer XB280HK — but that monitor, which is instead outfitted with Nvidia’s G-Sync tech, will set you back around $1,000. The price difference is probably (mostly) explained by the special logic board that every G-Sync monitor must be outfitted with. If the Iiyama unit performs well, $600 is a very good deal for a 4K monitor with FreeSync — and it should mean that the ultra-wide LG, and any other FreeSync monitors that arrive over the next few months, will be priced very competitively.
We haven’t reviewed FreeSync yet, but if it’s at all comparable to G-Sync then Nvidia will have a tough sell on its hands.
Now read: The state of 4K gaming: We’re glitching our way to gaming nirvana
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