Monitors are getting exciting. Not only are higher resolution panels becoming more of the norm, but the combination of different panel dimensions and feature sets means that buying the monitor you need for the next 10 years is getting more difficult. Today Acer adds some spice to the mix by announcing pre-orders for the XB280HK – a 28-inch TN monitor with 3840x2160 resolution that also supports NVIDIA’s G-Sync to reduce tearing and stuttering.

Adaptive frame rate technologies are still in the early phases for adoption by the majority of users. AMD’s FreeSync is still a few quarters away from the market, and NVIDIA’s G-Sync requires an add-in card which started off as an interesting, if not expensive, monitor upgrade. Fast forward a couple of months and as you might expect, the best place for G-Sync to go is into some of the more impressive monitor configurations. 4K is becoming a go-to resolution for anyone with deep enough wallets, although some might argue that the 21:9 monitors might be better for gaming immersion at least.

The XB280HK will support 3840x2160 at 60 Hz via DisplayPort 1.2, along with a 1 ms gray-to-gray response time and a fixed frequency up to 144 Hz. The stand will adjust up to 155mm in height with 40º of tilt. There is also 120º of swivel and a full quarter turn of pivot allowing for portrait style implementations. The brightness of the panel is rated at 300 cd/m2, with an 8 bit+HiFRC TN display that has a typical contrast ratio of 1000:1 and 72% NTSC. VESA is also supported at the 100x100mm scale, as well as a USB 3.0 Hub as part of the monitor, although there are no monitor speakers.

The XB280HK is currently available for pre-order in the UK at £500, but will have a US MSRP of $800. Also part of the Acer XBO range is the XB270H, a 27-inch 1920x1080 panel with G-Sync with an MSRP of $600. Expected release date, according to the pre-orders, should be the 3rd of October.

Source: Acer

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  • Flunk - Friday, September 19, 2014 - link

    I can't take G-Sync seriously until it's part of the VESA standards... Which it won't be, because they already included Adaptive-Sync (AMD trademark Freesync) in displayport 1.2a. The second displays the support display port 1.2a come out G-Sync is done, which is good because since it's a part of the standard everyone can you it and we'll all get the benefits of this technology.
  • chizow - Friday, September 19, 2014 - link

    But you can take a standard that no one has bothered or bring to market seriously?

    G-Sync is available TODAY with more solutions being introduced daily and the results are impressive, what more do you need to see in order to take it seriously? The competition talks a big game, but they have still yet to perform their big reveal and are only now starting to talk about partnerships to bring their tech to market sometime next year.

    And no, DP 1.2a displays won't spell the end of G-Sync, because the number of G-Sync capable GPUs dwarf the number of DP 1.2a capable GPUs by a greater than 2:1 ratio. G-Sync is supported by all Kepler family and later GPUs, meanwhile DP 1.2a FreeSync is only going to be supported by the handful of GCN 1.1+ GPUs and APUs on the market.
  • Samus - Monday, September 22, 2014 - link

    I have a Philips 144Hz monitor and the TN panel is terrible. From all the monitors I've looked at with 144Hz, or "G-Sync" all have TN panels and they all look pretty crappy. Is IPS not capable of refreshing 144Hz?
  • wolrah - Friday, September 19, 2014 - link

    "The XB280HK will support 3840x2160 at 60 Hz via DisplayPort 1.2"

    So is this saying its 144Hz support is sort of like those cheap "120Hz" 4K TVs where you get either the resolution or the refresh rate, but not both?

    If so what's the maximum resolution for 144Hz mode? Both of my housemates have the 24" 1080p version (though without the G-Sync module installed because for the price it makes more sense to just get a better GPU) and seem to love the higher refresh rate.
  • Flunk - Friday, September 19, 2014 - link

    DisplayPort 1.2 maxes out at 60hz @ 4K resolutions so there is no way it could possibly support 144Hz @ max res, which makes the 144Hz mode utterly worthless, if you want that you'd be better off with a 1080p display with 144Hz support which would cost less than half what this does.
  • know of fence - Friday, September 19, 2014 - link

    This monitor is actually an almost ideal combination of 1080p gaming and 4K for general use. High resolution for still pictures, high framerates and low motion blur for gaming. We can't have both because there simply isn't enough bandwidth, but that's a good thing because the pursuit of high resolution gaming is a futile quest of using however few GPU advances Moore's Law has left to render invisibly small pixels.

    The good thing about the current situation with display interfaces, that they don't create the wrong expectation of 4K@144 HZ gaming. Leave 4K to pictures and text sharpening, use it to perfectly scale 1080p and 720p games and video.
  • nathanddrews - Friday, September 19, 2014 - link

    According to the manuals on Acer's website:

    XB280HK is max refresh 60Hz at all resolutions 4K and below.
    XB270H is max refresh of 144Hz at all resolutions 1080p and below.

    Acer's marketing makes it sound like the XB280HK does 4K@60Hz and other resolutions up to 144Hz, but it is not a jack of all trades. You can't change from 4K@60Hz to 1080p@144Hz. Until I see a hands-on review testing out all possible resolutions and refresh rates, I'm going to stick to the Acer literature.
  • ArtForz - Saturday, September 20, 2014 - link

    If the XK280HK is using the same CMI M280DGJ-L30 panel as all the other 28" UHDs (it's the same 1ms, 1000:1 contrast, 300cd/m^2, 8bpc+frc TN specs, so imo pretty likely), then I strongly doubt it'll do anything > 60Hz.
    According to my info, the only modes the t-con on that panel supports are 3840x2160@30Hz@10bpc over 4-lane v-by-one and 3840x2160@60Hz@10bpc over 8-lane v-by-one.
  • wolrah - Friday, September 19, 2014 - link

    Personally I want the 4K mostly for desktop use, where the higher refresh rate just makes everything look like butter. Gaming-wise I expect to mostly run at 1080p and take advantage of the perfect 2x scaling. I'll be getting a GTX970 before I upgrade my monitor, so older games will probably run fine at native, but I don't expect to run the latest and greatest at 4K with any sort of detail.

    I would just go with a 1440p monitor, but that makes my 2x scaling resolution 720p and that's just too low for a screen that size. I end up dealing with blind idiots running the wrong resolution on nice LCDs all day at work and hate it ("waah I don't want to wear my glasses and it's blurry to me anyways so why not make it blurry for everyone?"), so I refuse to do anything other than native or perfect multiple scaling on my own hardware.

    1080p on the desktop gains me pretty much nothing over my current 1680x1050 20 inchers, and since most 1080p monitors are 22+ inches I'd generally be losing DPI.

    You are correct about the interface bandwidth, which gets me in to the mood for a bit of a rant...

    Is it just me or have the digital display interfaces been really terrible about future-proofing? We had VGA basically unchanged for decades and ran from 640x480 up through 1200p reliably and high-quality implementations went beyond that. DVI single link officially could only match VGA at 1200p60, though for some reason dual link had no restrictions on clock rate and thus could be pushed to more than double that if the hardware allowed.

    DisplayPort and the more recent evolutions of DVI via HDMI have always seemed to be just barely ahead of the hardware. We're finally getting higher resolutions after stagnating for a decade but it seems that every time we end up needing a new generation of interface. For those who primarily care about gaming that's not a big deal, their new monitor will basically require a new GPU as well, but for those of us who want the resolution on the desktop my current GTX550 would handle Aero just fine even 5K just fine if it only had a way to actually deliver that signal.

    We need display interfaces to be more like Ethernet, where updates come more on the decade time span but bandwidth goes up 10x each time leaving plenty of headroom for years of increasing use.
  • extide - Friday, September 19, 2014 - link

    The thing is, these are already very b/w intensive interfaces. DP 1.3 is like 30Gbit, and remember most people aren't even using 10Gbit LAN yet! It's just technically difficult or expensive to make interfaces that go much faster. You start running into issues where you need to go optical, or use active powered cables (expensive) (see Thunderbolt). Getting ~30Gbit over a fully passive cable is quite a feat, honestly.

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