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3D Monitors and 120Hz

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a b C Monitor
June 22, 2011 8:49:55 AM

Unless there's a completely simple answer, I think an article would be highly informative answering the questions below as well as providing a review of current 3D monitors that are out there (passive and active). There really aren't many on the market. Are there advantages running with monitors that are "120Hz" even when gaming in 2D without the glasses? Can you run with refresh rates at 120Hz in 2D mode? Check out the verticle refresh rates in my post below. How do you get 120Hz out of this especially when using a digital (DVI or HDMI) connection?

I think an article that reviews the 3D monitors and answers my questions below would help gamers when choosing a 3D monitor.

Here's the post I have out on Tom's forum:
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There are 120Hz 3D monitors out there, though I was wondering if they run games at 120Hz refresh rates when you don't turn on the 3D option in the game and don't use glasses (2D).

Basically, can I get 120Hz refresh rates out of one of these monitors in 2D-gaming mode?

The reason I ask is the listed vertical refresh rate for the Asus VG236H 23" 2ms 1920x1080 Full HD 120Hz 3D monitor ( http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] -_-Product ) on newegg is:

Analog: 50 - 122 Hz
Digital: 50 - 85 Hz

Does that mean I'll only get 85Hz at most from this monitor using a DVI cable while getting higher refresh rates from a VGA cable (122Hz)?

Where does the 120Hz come into play?

This is confusing. I'm looking to get something that can match my frame rates which are well above the 60Hz of my current monitor. Please help me understand this.
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More about : monitors 120hz

August 1, 2011 9:54:19 PM

Yes, I strongly support that! We really need a good article on 3D/120hz monitors. Things like...

Does every 120hz monitor support 3D and if not how to tell which ones do?
Do 3D monitors for NVIDIA work with AMD cards and vice versa?
Do 120hz monitors allow 120hz for non 3D applications (game and software/desktop), and if not how do I tell which ones do?
Is there really difference between glasses that support NVIDIA versus those that support AMD, or is it just marketing?
Does SLI/XFIRE work with 3D?
Is 3D + eyefinity at all possible, as long as your cards can push the game in question with those resolutions to playable framerate, or perhaps the fact that 2 of the monitors are gonna be on the side at an angle would prevent the 3D effect from being, well, effective?
What are some decent card/monitor combos that can be had for reasonable price to give you the 3D experience?

Come on Tom's, this stuff may still not be exactly mainstream but it's out there, people are curious about it and there are a lot of questions.
a b C Monitor
August 2, 2011 9:20:25 AM

Something else to throw out there is the claim that people don't visually notice a difference beyond the 30fps mark and how people claim that you only need a video setup to match it (why all the 60 and up-and-coming 120Hz monitors then?)


They could draw on the knowledge of some cognitive scientist to determine whether all you need is 30fps while gaming. Or is 60Hz perceivable and better? 120Hz? Maybe this could be a separate article?
Related resources
August 2, 2011 2:06:29 PM

Good suggestion! I'll pass it along to the team. :) 
August 3, 2011 3:37:18 PM

We appreciate the feedback. Many of your questions have been already answered in previous articles, which is why it's time to get specific: what would you like to see tested? or rather how do you want us to change our testing from our current LCD format?

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/s22a350h-st2220l-e2...

Cheers,
Andrew Ku
TomsHardware.com
a b C Monitor
August 3, 2011 6:31:23 PM

I guess my last post would cover it. From a gaming standpoint, can I perceive a difference between gaming in 2D mode at 30Hz versus 60Hz versus 120Hz? Is it humanly possible to perceive a smoother gaming experience beyond 30fps? Are there any cognitive studies out there answering these questions?

These questions could be answered followed by a transition to a review of monitors that run @120Hz in 2D mode. I know BenQ and Samsung have 120Hz models. There are ASUS and Acer models that say 120Hz 3D, but will they run 2D @120Hz? Or do only some 120Hz 3D monitors run 120Hz in 2D?

Basically, we'd like to answer the questions:

Is there a reason to game at 30/60/120Hz?
August 3, 2011 6:46:46 PM

ubercake said:
I guess my last post would cover it. From a gaming standpoint, can I perceive a difference between gaming in 2D mode at 30Hz versus 60Hz versus 120Hz? Is it humanly possible to perceive a smoother gaming experience beyond 30fps? Are there any cognitive studies out there answering these questions?

These questions could be answered followed by a transition to a review of monitors that run @120Hz in 2D mode. I know BenQ and Samsung have 120Hz models. There are ASUS and Acer models that say 120Hz 3D, but will they run 2D @120Hz? Or do only some 120Hz 3D monitors run 120Hz in 2D?

Basically, we'd like to answer the questions:

Is there a reason to game at 30/60/120Hz?


http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/3d-polarized-projec...

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/3d-vision-stereo,21...

I would suggest reading those pages. That should answer your most of your questions.
a b C Monitor
August 3, 2011 7:21:39 PM

The first article is over a year old and addresses how 3D is displayed utilizing the power of the 120Hz 3D monitor. The second article addresses 3D versus 2D framerates pumped through the video cards. I already know how these work to trick your mind into seeing 3D smoothly.

Personally, I don't care about 3D in its current form in the consumer electronics market. That's not where I want to put my money. What I do want is the smoothest 2D gaming experience possible. I guess I'm not getting my point across clearly?

I want to know if a 120Hz monitor will provide a better gaming experience than my 60Hz monitor because of the faster refresh rates. I know my 2 cards can give me over 100fps/100Hz with all the details cranked in BFBC2 on my 60Hz monitor in 2D. Would it look better on a 120Hz monitor in 2D? Would it look smoother on the 120Hz monitor? Or do we all only need 30fps / 30Hz to get an optimal 2D gaming experience? Can we perceive a difference between 30/60/120Hz in 2D mode?
August 19, 2011 10:32:26 PM

I would like to see a round-up of monitors / televisions and software that allow 3D gaming on PCs using both nVidia and AMD. It would be informative for readers to recognize the differences between using a 3D monitor and a 3D television. I recently learned this the hard way.

Right now, I think the largest 3D monitor is probably the Acer 27" Acer HN274Hbmiiid Black 27" 2ms 3D Full HD HDMI WideScreen LCD Monitor w/Speakers 300 cd/m2 ACM 10,000,000:1 According to some reviewers, it appears that you can utilize the 120hz refresh rate while doing normal PC work like web-browsing, or watching streamed content. It's not 100% clear however.

I kind of did an impulse buy on newegg. I found a samsung 3D TV product listed in the monitors section, thinking it would be great for 3D gaming on a PC. Big mistake. It enabled 3D gaming but it switched to 1920x1080x24hz so any 3D game with v-sync on ran at a pitiful 24 fps. I suppose this is due to it really being a 3D television, though advertised as a monitor. It's a beautiful product, but that's a huge problem. Some games, like Crysis, would just crash at the start of a level b/c it tried to run the 24p instead of the more standard 60hz. If you switched the game to window mode, it would then switch back to 1080p x 60hz, and fullscreen messed it up again at 24hz. It was packaged with software to enable 3D with AMD graphics. There is also nVidia software for purchase that allows 3D gaming on 3D TVs. Has this been reviewed? I'd like to see comparisons between the software options ran on 3D TVs versus the nVidia 3D Vision kit used on 120hz monitors like Asus or ones with built-in nVidia IR emitters like this Acer above.

I'd like to see a proper round-up of the latest best 3D monitors like that Acer, any Asus, or any other monitor that does 3D right, and which ones to stay away from and how to spot them. (like the one I bought, SAMSUNG T27A750 Black 27" 3D LED BackLight LCD Monitor w/DTV Tuner)
December 27, 2011 5:16:04 PM

Hi all,

Sorry to bump an old post, but I was wondering if any new articles have come out since this topic was discussed. I consider myself to be a very knowledgeable user, and have been relying on this site for over a decade. Never have I found a need to post here until now.

I think I understand everything that's been said thus far, and I have read the linked articles, and they make sense.

But it is SO CONFUSING to go to somewhere like Newegg and compare/contrast all the available options...things like is it REALLY 120hz? Or is it monitor upscaling/frame insertion 120hz out of the 60hz the computer is displaying.

So much marketing hype on these items, and so few clear-cut buying guides...and everyone has opposite opinions about every single option out there.

I need a new monitor, and I need it soon! I have a $200 gift card to NewEgg, and have been researching for 3 days straight, and I think my brain is going to shutdown lol...any recent guides or new articles I'm not seeing?


Thanks in advance, love this site, and all the hard work involved behind it. Has saved me more times than I know, for sure! ;) 
a b C Monitor
December 27, 2011 5:33:21 PM

ocean59 said:
Hi all,

Sorry to bump an old post, but I was wondering if any new articles have come out since this topic was discussed. I consider myself to be a very knowledgeable user, and have been relying on this site for over a decade. Never have I found a need to post here until now.

I think I understand everything that's been said thus far, and I have read the linked articles, and they make sense.

But it is SO CONFUSING to go to somewhere like Newegg and compare/contrast all the available options...things like is it REALLY 120hz? Or is it monitor upscaling/frame insertion 120hz out of the 60hz the computer is displaying.

So much marketing hype on these items, and so few clear-cut buying guides...and everyone has opposite opinions about every single option out there.

I need a new monitor, and I need it soon! I have a $200 gift card to NewEgg, and have been researching for 3 days straight, and I think my brain is going to shutdown lol...any recent guides or new articles I'm not seeing?


Thanks in advance, love this site, and all the hard work involved behind it. Has saved me more times than I know, for sure! ;) 

I ended up getting an Acer HN274H. It runs 2D at 120Hz. All the descriptions out there suck balls, but when you get it running, you see that it indeed runs at 120Hz. The difference in Battlefield 3 in 2D is subtle, but noticeable. Extremely smooth and adds a degree to the realism. Playing 3D in Skyrim is pretty intense. Very immersive.
December 27, 2011 5:47:20 PM

ubercake said:
I ended up getting an Acer HN274H. It runs 2D at 120Hz. All the descriptions out there suck balls, but when you get it running, you see that it indeed runs at 120Hz. The difference in Battlefield 3 in 2D is subtle, but noticeable. Extremely smooth and adds a degree to the realism. Playing 3D in Skyrim is pretty intense. Very immersive.



Good to know, thank you for that info.

If anyone else has more info, I'm all eyes and ears.
December 27, 2011 5:52:19 PM

I've also found it difficult to read consumer reviews due to the rampant ignorance regarding these issues. I thought I understood it up until I started researching 3 days ago, and realized all my preconceived notions were wrong. Not so off it wasn't even wrong like other reviews, but still off. And then you read threads, where everyone giving advice is equally misinformed. I don't think I've seen a better example of confused thinking across the internet, in regards to the issues and perceptions talked about in this thread (and everywhere else).

We need a definitive guide to 3d monitors, and their '2d/D' applications.

I guess there is still one thing I don't understand, and I guess I'll ask while I'm here.

I own a TV that inserts extra frames to create a '120hz smooth motion effect.'

If I buy a true 120hz monitor, and set my Rad 5870 to 120hz with dual-link DVI, will my 2d video instantly acquire that 'camcorder effect' (which I like)? Or will it simply be displaying 24 or 60 fps at a refresh rate of 120. Does that make sense? I haven't been able to find the answer yet...
a b C Monitor
December 27, 2011 6:16:28 PM

The speed by which the monitor can accept frames and that by which it can display frames are different. For instance, my 120Hz monitor (HN274H) can accept up to 120Hz and display 120Hz. Whereas a TV advertised as 120 or 240 or 1zillion still only accepts 60Hz (60fps as input). The speed of the TV as advertised on the box is the post-processing speed (after it modifies and enhances the image with extra frames to reduce blur).

When it comes to first person gaming, though, you don't want the display doing a lot of processing before it shows you the image or the other guy is going to shoot you first.

I did notice a sort of 'camcorder effect' in Battlefield 3 going from the 60Hz to the 120Hz monitor. This is not post-processing though as it would be on a TV.

I played Skyrim as well which looks great for how it was created (graphics are OK compared to BF3), though the speed of that game (slower compared to Battlefield 3) - made me want to play it in 3D. Theoretically, the 120Hz monitor will run 3D up to 60 frames per eyeball per second if your video cards are outputting that framerate.

December 28, 2011 1:20:05 PM

I have a 120hz television. I occasionally run a HDMI to it from the PC for videos. I messed around with gaming on it. It doesn't work. There's noticeable input lag. Meaning, there's a slight delay of some milliseconds between issuing a command, and the command being carried out on the screen. So I won't game on it.

I also use the Acer 120hz monitor. I love it. I've had awhile now and haven't used the 3D mode much, because I really just wanted the raw 120hz refresh. Love it.
December 28, 2011 1:25:10 PM

As a side note, any time you see a news flash about a new 3D monitor or television, if they don't say its a native 120hz refresh and uses 2 1080p60hz signals to produce the 3D, you can almost always count on it not doing it that way.

It'll probably use 3D over hdmi, which is currently the 1080p24hz or 720p60hz. It may also use the checkerboard pattern common on many plasmas, that facilitates the use of passive 3D glasses, like theaters.

In the future, hdmi is getting an upgrade to allow 3D at 2x1080p60hz, but its not there yet. There's also talk of finally allowing 3D at 2x1080p30hz, so a 60hz monitor could possibly supply 3D in that mode with the use of active glasses.

Manufacturers are the cause of all the confusion, but they don't ever like to state their method in press releases unless its a true 120hz monitor. IDK why they do that, but they do.
December 28, 2011 5:48:57 PM

Thanks ubercake and clonazepam for the replies. I hear ya about the hdmi - will be dl-dvi connection for me all the way. :) 
February 10, 2012 2:26:16 AM

ubercake said:
I want to know if a 120Hz monitor will provide a better gaming experience than my 60Hz monitor because of the faster refresh rates. I know my 2 cards can give me over 100fps/100Hz with all the details cranked in BFBC2 on my 60Hz monitor in 2D. Would it look better on a 120Hz monitor in 2D? Would it look smoother on the 120Hz monitor? Or do we all only need 30fps / 30Hz to get an optimal 2D gaming experience? Can we perceive a difference between 30/60/120Hz in 2D mode?


Everything you've ever wanted to know about FPS and the human eye - and more. Way more.

http://www.100fps.com/how_many_frames_can_humans_see.ht...

TL;DR:
- Movies etc are often only 30 fps but look fluid because they _blur_ the images.
- If they don't blur the images (like most video games) 30 fps will appear to stutter badly.
- 60hz can be "good enough" but it can also give some people headaches.

In other words, we still want as many FPS (and therefore hz) as possible - at least for what is standard with today's technology in hardware and software.

I personally recommend V-sync as well - since it means the frames generated by the video card sync up with what the monitor actually displays in hz. I find I get less eye-strain and headaches with it enabled.

And on that note - I still want to know if investing in a 120hz monitor will be worth it for me. I wouldn't be using it for 3D for the most part, but rather the higher refresh rate. From what I can tell it seems like it would be (for health reasons), but confirmation would be nice.
a b C Monitor
May 21, 2012 1:19:47 PM

I know it's an old thread...

V-sync introduces input lag. While v-sync seems ok for games that are less reaction-time dependent (Diablo 3, Skyrim, WoW), the input lag is a factor adding to the difference between you or an opponent winning in a first-person shooter (BF3,MW3).

When I had a crossfire setup, I used to have to turn v-sync on to get rid of the flickering/stuttering.

I don't get any flicker/stutter with my SLI setup, so I'm not so sure there's a reason for V-sync unless you're having a video-performance issue.

Given two equally performing players, the player whose screen reflects timing closest to the game server's timing with the least amount of any sort of input or other lag is going to win a fight in a shooter.

The original suggestion would still make a good article. With the emergence of the low-cost Korean-built IPS monitors popping up all over, it seems like it would be good to have an article with a face-off between the 2560x1600s and 2560x1440s and the 120Hz monitors and 60Hz monitors and see which yield the least input lag and best gaming benefit for the first-person shooters. Let's get 'em all out there!
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