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The real cap on your GPU is not the CPU

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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April 6, 2010 8:35:14 AM

It recently came to my attention today while listening to people bicker back and forth about 1156 vs 1366 that yeah 6 core chips will be nice one day. But I don't think we are CPU capped at this point.

In fact I don't think we are GPU capped either. No my fellow enthusiast I think the current cap we are facing is a cap created by our monitors. What good is it if our $1,000 GPU/CPU tandem produces 100fps if our monitor can't accurately deliver 100fps.

The way I understand it is if you have a 60hz monitor it will give you a maximum of 60fps? Is this true or a misconception being spread as fact? So if I have a 120hz HDTV will I be able to get 120fps? 240hz/240fps?

You know what I blame for all of this, 3D TV's. Major companies putting the cream of their crop to work on designing 3D TV's instead of ways of handling 2D motion better.

But as far as the monitor technology we have available to us today,
PC monitors like the Dell Ultrasharp, HDTV LCD's like the Samsung 8500, and Plasmas like the Panasonic V10.

Which of these technologies do you think makes the best computer monitors? I mean in regards to handling motion.

Thanks.

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April 6, 2010 8:47:59 AM

All of these technologies are useless if your PC can't keep 60 FPS in all games at very high settings. I would prefer to have the best GPU with a good CPU and get 60 FPS in all my games, than to have a 120Hz monitor.
Until that time arrives I will be happy with my monitor.
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April 6, 2010 9:03:00 AM

Ok so its an extreme example i know but looking at this i don't think a 60FPS cap is going to be an issue anytime soon http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/HIS/HD_5770/10.html

Also everyone i know runs at 75 ish Hz not 60, 60 hurts my eyes, don't know about anyone else.
Fps are what makes the games smooth and if you can run at 100 ish FPS then when it dips due to a mass of action on screen you wont notice it because its still up at playable, even when the hardware is at Minimum FPS. That's The real performance guide we should be looking at not Max.

Mactronix
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April 6, 2010 1:12:38 PM

The Refresh Rate of a moniter is how many individual frames per second a moniter is physically capable of displaying. So yes, 100 FPS is useless on a 60Hz LCD [except in a few oddball cases where the increased sampling effects gameplay in some way, a la CoD:MW]. Likewise, a LCD's Response Time, or the time on average, it takes a pixel to change state from one color to another, also is a factor which effects how many frames can be reliably drawn to a moniter. [8ms is fine for 60Hz, 5ms is fine for 75Hz, but above that, only 2ms or below is acceptable, otherwise ghosting will likely occur].

Hence why Max FPS is a silly statistic; minimum and average gives you a far better picture of a cards performance, especially as the average approaches [and passes] the 60 FPS mark for a given game.
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April 6, 2010 1:29:57 PM

Your brain and eyes have physical limiations on perceiving what is smooth. 60hz is already really really smooth. 120hz is uncessary but makes a little bit of difference. For example, a mointor over 9000hz is probably only a little bit better than a 60hz monitor. Let me explain. Try waving your hand infront of your face. Now assumine that is unlimited FPS, does it seem blurry even at medium speeds? Thats why we have been at 60hz for the longest of times. You would start to percieve motion blur on fast moving objects anyway. Slow moving objects are already really really smooth on 60hz. 120hz is only marginally better. No point refreshing slow or still objects more.

Also more TVs rated for 120hz and 240hz doesn't actually run on higher signals. Rather they simply take a regular image and create additional frames inbetween on its onboard GPU to make motion seems slightly smoother. Not that a HDMI or regular DVI cable can even carry a 120hz signal. You have to be getting something 3D cappable. If you want true 120hz.

Theres better to places to put your money than faster refresh rate. Higher resolution is where it is at. 2560x1600 is a resolution you would definitely notice. Puts 1080P to shame. Crysis at 40FPS XD

Don't forget color. Any normal video card would have a 24bit color output. Most monitor can't actually display 16.7 million colors within that 24 bit signal. Pretty much 90% of all monitors are limited to a 256K color pallet. They employ dithering and HI-FRC to mimick colors they can't reproduce.

There are more things to monitors than just motion.
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April 6, 2010 1:33:45 PM

120Hz HDTVs (and 240Hz) do not operate the same way as 120Hz PC monitors.

Basically 120Hz HDTVs creates intermediate frames between every two actual frames it recieves from the source and inserts them in between those actual frames to "improve" smoothness and video quality. Some people do not like that effect. For gaming purposes, the technology actually increases input lag because of the time required for such video processing.

240Hz HDTV probably inserts more frames and also does edge detection which only mean additional video processing and higher input lag.

For best gaming results on a HDTV you need to set it to 60Hz mode.
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April 6, 2010 2:37:23 PM

mactronix said:
Also everyone i know runs at 75 ish Hz not 60, 60 hurts my eyes, don't know about anyone else.


I believe you are bringing up experiences from CRT's. CRT's, due to not being solid state, hurt people's eyes, and 75Hz was what most of us considered acceptable, and often I like to push it to 85Hz.

However, with the LCD, that refresh rate almost doesn't exist and is not needed to exist, as LCD's do not flicker, like CRT's did.

And as others have mentioned, for older, and less demanding games, the faster GPU's aren't needed, but there are plenty of new games that will push the limits of your system. Also, as our computers go faster, we often move up to higher end monitors with higher resolutions, which put more strain on your GPU.

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April 6, 2010 4:15:27 PM

Well, a higher Refresh Rate helps eliminate the lower cap on FPS with VSync enabled, and it does allow for smoother motion. Not a big thing, but higher Refresh Rates do help, hence why in competition, I still use a CRT screen.

And BTW, theres a difference between being able to "see" and "percieve". Show a 85Hz and 120Hz LCD side by side, and the majority of people could tell you there is a difference. I'd suspect the same for 120 v 240 Hz (assuming you had anything that actually RAN that fast...)
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April 6, 2010 5:47:15 PM

Dude that one guys example with waving your hand in front of your face was great. That really makes it clear how bad our eyes our at processing fast motion. This whole time I thought it was the 57hz refresh rate on my plasma.

Thanks guys for all the responses I'm learning a lot.
So you guys would suggest a 120hz PC monitor as being the best monitor in regards to motion and color?

What would be second a 600hz plasma?

Followed by an input lag laden LED/LCD TV.

I guess I won't be gaming on a LED/LCD TV.
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April 6, 2010 6:51:33 PM

Bystander posted


Quote:
However, with the LCD, that refresh rate almost doesn't exist and is not needed to exist, as LCD's do not flicker, like CRT's did.


Just to be clear on this in case others are wondering the refresh rate signal that would be present in a CRT is emulated when using a LCD screen because its needed as a flag to the card to know when to send the next frame.

As gamer said its more of a perception thing, i can tell at work when a screen is set at 60Hz, usually one i haven't used before as its unusual for people to feel a need to turn it back down. It just looks wrong. Don't even get me started on the control screens i have no control over those at all and they really do my head in.

Mactronix
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April 6, 2010 7:16:21 PM

I mentioned this "bottleneck" in a post a while ago. (maybe last year?) When $100 cards can hit 2560x1600 and provide 60FPS avg something has to change. There will always be games like metro2033 or Crysis that cause you to not be able to do this, but most of the time you can now. Add in that few people have these screens, and you can see that the monitor is or will be soon the bottleneck for most games.

While 2560x1600 screens are expensive, smaller ones are not. Thankfully AMD (and to a lessor extent Nvidia) are allowing us to use more then one smaller screen. Technology like Eyefinity is the way of the future. I can spend $200 on two 1680x1050 22" screens, then other $200 or so on a DP monitor. For around $400 or so I can have a 5040x1050 setup. I'd take this over a 2560x1600 setup. and it allows the GPU to become the bottle neck again, requiring GPUs to become faster again.

Exciting times.
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April 6, 2010 7:18:51 PM

mactronix said:
Bystander posted


Quote:
However, with the LCD, that refresh rate almost doesn't exist and is not needed to exist, as LCD's do not flicker, like CRT's did.


Just to be clear on this in case others are wondering the refresh rate signal that would be present in a CRT is emulated when using a LCD screen because its needed as a flag to the card to know when to send the next frame.


Correct. The moniter basically sends out a signal when its "ready" to draw a new image (60 Hz = 1/60th of a second), which tells the GPU to send the last complete frame to the screen. Technically, LCD's don't refresh, just change state; the same image being sent results in no net change, but a new image is still sent to the screen.

A lot is perception; I like 120Hz (I mean real 120Hz) moniters simply due to the higher FPS limit with Vsync enabled.
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April 6, 2010 8:17:27 PM

^Can you give me an example of a 120hz monitor?
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April 7, 2010 1:09:48 AM

Monitors that use the technology inside them to add the frames must not help with input lag. If you connected your PC up to a TV that does this you should not see a difference between 60FPS and 120FPS because the TV is only receiving 60 frames and is adding the rest in itself, right?
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April 8, 2010 4:51:36 AM

Dark Comet said:
Monitors that use the technology inside them to add the frames must not help with input lag. If you connected your PC up to a TV that does this you should not see a difference between 60FPS and 120FPS because the TV is only receiving 60 frames and is adding the rest in itself, right?


Exactly that's the same question I have. I have to assume the answer is yes.

So everyones saying it's best to just get a LCD monitor.

Idk I think I'm going to buy a Panasonic V series plasma and game on that. My current 720p Panasonic is showing it's age.

It only refereshs at 57hz :( 
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April 8, 2010 5:37:39 AM

noobz1lla said:
Dude that one guys example with waving your hand in front of your face was great. That really makes it clear how bad our eyes our at processing fast motion. This whole time I thought it was the 57hz refresh rate on my plasma.

Thanks guys for all the responses I'm learning a lot.
So you guys would suggest a 120hz PC monitor as being the best monitor in regards to motion and color?

What would be second a 600hz plasma?

Followed by an input lag laden LED/LCD TV.

I guess I won't be gaming on a LED/LCD TV.


That's somewhat of a common misconception.
The current generation plasma TVs' 600hz figure refers to the sub field motion, which is not the actual refresh rate capability but rather something completely different and in this case, irrelevant. The actual refresh rate on those things is actually a 72hz or so and the stores or sites that advertise that 600hz number are simply purposely being misleading in order to sucker people who go for bigger numbers without doing their homework.
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April 8, 2010 6:02:02 AM

kravmaga said:
That's somewhat of a common misconception.
The current generation plasma TVs' 600hz figure refers to the sub field motion, which is not the actual refresh rate capability but rather something completely different and in this case, irrelevant. The actual refresh rate on those things is actually a 72hz or so and the stores or sites that advertise that 600hz number are simply purposely being misleading in order to sucker people who go for bigger numbers without doing their homework.


Yeah everyone says the 600hz is a marketing gimick. That 72hz number is a new one though thanks for that.

So what would be better for gaming? a HDTV LCD or plasma?
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April 8, 2010 6:43:44 AM

noobz1lla said:
Yeah everyone says the 600hz is a marketing gimick. That 72hz number is a new one though thanks for that.

So what would be better for gaming? a HDTV LCD or plasma?


This is somewhat outside of my area of authority either way.
If you plan on going with a 3D setup and need a real 120hz, you don't have any choice in the matter since only lcds and projectors can do it AKAIK. However, I believe all of the solutions available are still well more expensive than their marginal benefit justifies at this point. If you don't need 3D, either is perfectly fine IMHO...
There's still way too high of a percentage of enthusiasts out there who could not tell the difference between a full 1080p video and 420p upscaled from a dvd. From an outsider's perspective, the real life difference is quite honestly, minimal. I don't have the one in a thousand eyeballs that can see the difference but if you're looking for the sharpest picture possible, nothing will beat high quality computer monitors' pixel density but the whole point of using a big screen tv is that you can relax much further away from it.
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April 8, 2010 1:39:07 PM

To be fair, CRT's can get to 120Hz without much issue. And even most LCD's can do 85Hz, albiet at 1024x768. There isn't much incentive to increase the Refresh Rate for LCD's though, because unless you bump up the response time as well, you will get a lot of ghosting...
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