After a few relatively unexciting years, gaming monitors have finally rounded a corner and today, gamers can choose from screens up to 35 inches in size (with and without curves) with crazy resolutions, fast refresh rates and various frame-sync technologies. In short, monitors are exciting again.
But with all the new technology being packed in, they’ve also become rather expensive: you can spend as much on your screen as you would on your entire desktop system should you opt for certain 35-inchers, for example.
So when a company like ASUS comes along and packs in a lot of cutting-edge tech into a screen, but uses an older panel technology that keeps costs low without compromising too much on image quality, you’d do well to sit up and take notice.
And that’s exactly what has happened with ASUS’s new MG248Q 24-incher. It’s been built specifically for high-speed gaming and as such is capable of the highest refresh rate available on monitors today (144Hz), it has a ridiculously low response time of 1ms and it ships with Adaptive Sync support. All three of these things are important to gamers, although that last one is only relevant to people with AMD graphics cards, as Adaptive Sync only works with those. More on that in a bit.
But what makes this particular screen so special is that ASUS has eschewed the use of In-Plane Switching (IPS) display technology in favour of less-expensive Twisted Nematic (TN) tech. While some may think that’s cause for alarm – IPS screens have traditionally been much better at true-to-life colour reproduction and their viewing angles are superior to the older TN tech – in reality, TN technology has come such a long way that when it comes to those things, the MG248Q performs better than expected.
Perhaps more importantly, the use of a TN panel manages to keep the cost of the screen low.
Getting back to Adaptive Sync, it’s a technology that prevents the ugly tearing effect that occurs when the screen and the graphics card are operating at different refresh rates. It does this by synchronising the output of the graphics card with the screen’s refresh rate, a technique that eliminates screen tearing entirely but which also makes games running at high frame rates look buttery smooth.
Sure, 30 frames per second is perfectly adequate for gaming, but gaming at 60Hz and above is in a league of its own. It needs to be experienced first-hand to be truly appreciated, and once you have, there’s no going back. It’s so good, not even 60Hz will be good enough for you anymore.
This, together with the 1ms response time guarantees that games perform at their absolute best, with no ghosting at all and beautifully smooth visuals all around. That the screen’s colours aren’t quite as accurate as that of an IPS panel is really not a problem at 100fps+, and gamers with high-performance systems will love it. Well, AMD gamers will – GeForce gamers won’t get as much benefit from it as Adaptive Sync doesn’t work with their systems.
Interestingly, Adaptive Sync is also supported by graphics chips made by Intel, but as these aren’t high-performance graphics chips that hit 60fps+ in games, it’s a bit of a puzzle as to why Intel climbed on board.
To sweeten the deal even further, ASUS has taken advantage of an oft-overlooked feature of modern displays – the ability to communicate with the monitor over a display cable. This allows the user to adjust the screen exactly as they would using the built-in OSD interface, just with software. It’s a lot easier to click on things than to mess with physical buttons to get to the desired option, so its presence here is greatly appreciated.
Still, with all of this goodness packed into a screen that’s considerably less expensive than other gaming monitors, the MG248Q offers a great deal of value to the discriminating gamer who’s more interested in raw speed than pristine image quality or ultra-wide viewing angles.
- 144Hz refresh rate is insanely high
- 1ms response time means no ghosting
- Being able to access the OSD via software is very cool
- TN tech means lower cost
- Colours and viewing angles not quite competitive against IPS panels
- Adaptive Sync only works with AMD and Intel graphics chips