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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  • Gigaplex - Saturday, September 20, 2014 - link

    It's funny you reference ethernet as an example. Gigabit ethernet has been a bottleneck for my home network for years, and there's still no sign of 10Gbit coming to consumers any time soon.
  • Asmodian - Sunday, September 21, 2014 - link

    Yes, 1GbE had been limiting my home networks for several years now too. The same bandwidth block happened with Ethernet. We had pretty ubiquitous 10Mbps, then ~5 years later 100Mbps was cheap, then after another 5 years 1000GbE then.... 10 years later 10 GbE is just starting to become affordable.

    Recently I finally got 10GbE at home, but only between the server and one client as switches are still priced and designed for business use. 10GbE can run over passive cables, either over twin-ax cables which cost quite a bit (a 5m cable is ~$75) or over 10/100/1000 compatible Cat-6a but with Cat6a it uses coded packets of data for 10 Gbps. This would not be an issue for a display interface, the increase in latency is very small, but the coding and decoding increases power use and cost.

    That is one of the funny things about modern computer interfaces, think how many years went by with the first bw and then color TV formats.

    Going higher and higher is harder and harder, I wonder if the market would accept a fiber optic monitor cable at some point in the future? For now 2560x1440@144Hz or 4K@60Hz (very similar bandwidth) seems to be the "cheap cable" limit, next we start adding lossless compression or even "visually lossless" compression.

    I would love DP 1.4 to have 300 Gbps but I would not like needing to pay the prices 100GbE cards/switches go for.
  • Daniel Egger - Sunday, September 21, 2014 - link

    10GBase is actually quite affordable if you plan it wisely and only connect system that *really* need that much bandwidth. Problem is more finding devices that can handle 10GBase physically and then also on the OS level. We recently decided not to go 10GBase yet on some of our already equipped servers because we couldn't saturate the link to make it worth the effort.

    I don't quite get what you're saying about Cat.6a. There's always going to be some form of "encoding" going on and especially when going over copper wires it absolutely makes sense to have some form of error detection and correction which is adding the overhead here.

    Question: If you consider Twinax expensive (and no, it's not considering that you'll have two SFP+ modules included) and don't mind having a fixed non-twisted-pair setup, why don't you use Multi-Mode fibre instead?
  • chrnochime - Sunday, September 21, 2014 - link

    If you really have a need to have 10GbE at home, then obviously you're doing something that should be generating income, at which point all equipment purchased should be tax deductible anyway. If you're still balking at the cost, then obviously you are not making enough money to justify the equipment cost.
  • fade2blac - Friday, September 19, 2014 - link

    I don't get the choice between 4k@60Hz or 1080p@144Hz for a 27-28" size display. I want to upgrade from a 5-year old 23.5" to a 27" display but the sweet spot is in between the extremes of these two products. And yet, it is as if display manufacturers are actively avoiding it. I imagine people would jump on a quality monitor with variable refresh that doesn't cost as much or more than the GPU(s) required to drive it.

    Compared to a 23.5" 1080p@60Hz monitor (a very common and affordable display with good PPI at arms length):

    A 27"@1080p is essentially like stretching the image so the PPI drops. I guess the thought is to sacrifice spacial detail (pixel density) for temporal detail (refresh rate). It feels a bit like paying a premium for a compromise.

    A 28"@4k makes the PPI is so much higher (unnecessarily so) that it breaks typical DPI scaling and signal bandwidth places hard limits refresh rates. Not to mention that you'll want to keep high image quality settings to take advantage of that overblown PPI, but then no single GPU can deliver solid frame rates at this resolution. The mainstream enthusiast doesn't have $2k to spend on a monitor and the GPU's to drive it to it's full potential.

    As for variable refresh, if I can regularly push 120+ FPS then I have to think that variable refresh has a greatly diminished effect. And if graphical settings result in frame rates swinging between 40-140 FPS then I would expect that minimum frame rates would still dominate the "smoothness" of the experience even when using variable refresh (ie. 144Hz is overkill).

    Finally, there is the disproportionate pricing of display size vs. resolution. Aggressive 4k pricing cuts have helped make those displays less ridiculously expensive starting at about $500-600 while good 1440p displays have been stubbornly stuck around $400-500 for a couple of years. Meanwhile, a solid 23" 1080p IPS display can regularly be found for around $130 or so.

    Is it asking too much for a display that can do the following?
    1) use a good 27" 1440p non-TN panel
    2) support a variable refresh range of at least 24-96 Hz
    3) not lock buyers into a single GPU vendor
    4) cost less than $300 or so

    If you build it...we will buy!
  • SunLord - Friday, September 19, 2014 - link

    1080p and 4K are tv standards so everyone will focus on them for marketing and multiple markets namely monitors and TVs. 1440p is only really used in monitors so it will likely fade away soon as 4k panels ramp up. Eventually we will see 1080p on all monitors less than 23" and 4k on everything 23" and bigger. Supporting 1080p and 4k only also means you only need to develop/carry 2 controllers.

    So don't hold your breath on $300 name brand 1440p monitors
  • ArtForz - Friday, September 19, 2014 - link

    If you think a FHD 23.5" at arms length is good PPI, you probably have really long arms or really bad eyesight. ;)
    I'm looking at a 28" UHD at ~70cm distance right now, and for displaying high contrast line drawings I still have to choose between annoying jaggies or annoying edge blur.
    If there were "affordable" (< $600 for TN, < $1k for IPS) 20-24" single stream UHD@60Hz monitors I'd likely get 2 or 3, but sadly no such thing exists yet.
  • fade2blac - Saturday, September 20, 2014 - link

    I do sit just a bit further than 70 cm, more like 80 cm or 32". So maybe just beyond arms reach would be more accurate. As for "good" PPI, "good enough" would be referring to 20/20 equivalent or 60 pixels per degree. This is about exactly the case for a 27" 1440p @ 32" distance.

    Your use case of high contrast line drawings is likely the sort of thing the new 5k displays are intended for. As another Anantech article pointed out, "...human vision systems are able to determine whether two lines are aligned extremely well, with a resolution around two arcseconds. This translates into an effective 1800 PPD."
  • eddman - Friday, September 19, 2014 - link

    I might upgrade from my current 21.5" 1920 x 1080 display, but don't want to go bigger than 23".

    Why no one seem to be making smaller 4k monitors?

    Technical reasons? Financial?
  • fade2blac - Friday, September 19, 2014 - link

    Do you have a specific reason for wanting 4k at such a small size? Unless you sit about 12-18 inches away from your monitor, I would say 4k is a waste of pixels on such a small screen. Your 1080p 21.5" monitor has ~102 pixels per inch (some AV guides for human visual acuity estimate 108 PPI is enough for a 32" viewing distance, 123 PPI gets you to about 28" away). 4k @ 23.5" jumps the pixel density all the way to ~187 PPI which seems hard to justify. This would put the ideal viewing distance at ~18" which is rather close for desktop use. A better compromise might be maybe 1440p @ 21.5" which would give you ~125 PPI or ~28" ideal viewing distance.

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