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Gaming LCD Review - A Must Read For Any Serious Gamer!

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December 14, 2006 4:40:50 PM

I purchased both a Samsung Syncmaster 204B (comparable to the BW) and a ViewSonic VX922 specifically for a gaming PC and found a few huge differences in spite of what the ZDNet reviewers had to say on each. Here is my review:

Comp Specs:
===================================
Intel Core 2 Extreme X6800 2.93GHz (liquid cooled - overclocked)
4 Gig DDR2 800MHz (overclocked)
2 Radeon X1950 running in Crossfire (liquid cooled - overclocked)
2 150GB 10K 16MB SATA-150 HDD running in RAID 0

I play mainly Half Life 2 mods and was looking for the best LCD monitor for gaming. I read all the reviews and spoke to several store clerks at BestBuy and Fry's. Based on my research I decided to purchase the Samsung 204B with a 5ms response time. I was told by everyone that there would be little difference with any times lower than that (lol).

After plugging in the monitor and firing up the game I set all of the settings to max and a resolution of 1600x1200. The colors on this monitor are the first thing to stand out ... they are amazing. The display is bright and crisp and the overall look of the monitor is very stylish. BUT ... then I start to move around in the game and immediately I see these 1 inch bars start redrawing the screen in front of me as I move around. It is completely unplayable. So the first thing I do is go back to ATI adn get the latest drivers. I uninstall the old ones, restart, install the new ones, and restart again. Still the same choppiness. So I start to crank down my settings. The display improves slightly, but it is still unplayable and my eyes quickly begin to hurt. I crank my settings back up to max. net_graph is giving me a FPS of around 120-130 average (sometimes going as low as 100 and sometimes as high as 200). Then I try turning on V-Sync in the game and the choppiness goes away, but my FPS drops to 60! Moving around in game is smoother now, but it is blurry and hard to get that pinpoint accuracy in the heat of battle. I try lowering resolution to 1280x1024 and my FPS goes up to 75, but it is still pretty blurry when I move quickly and my in-game performance is suffering because of it.

Frustrated I swap out the monitor with an old CRT to make sure it is the monitor and not something else. Sure enough performance improves, but my CRT is so old the colors are washed and the display is smaller of course. I switch back to the 204B and struggle for a week with the poor performance. Now don't get me wrong, it is playable, but it is defiantely not living up to the hype and after spending over 5K on hardware, I expect a lot better. After all testing I stick with 1280x1024 with all other settings maxed out and V-Sync enabled. The FPS stays a solid 75 and the overall brilliance of the game is still amazing, but the performance is less than stellar due to the low FPS. (Latency btw, is anywhere from 30-80 depending on the server).

After about 2 weeks of this poor performance I can't stomach the thought of the money I spent on this anymore and the piss poor performance. So I decide perhaps it is time to bite the bullet and purchase another monitor to see if it helps. My wife still wants an LCD to replace her old CRT so if anything I'll just be making her happy and not be out a whole lot. This time I decide to give the ViewSonic VX922 with the 2ms response time a try. Everyone swares to me that I will not notice a difference, except that the VX922 can only support a max resolution of 1280x1024 and that at that resolution I am only going to get 4ms response time (apparently the 2ms is only on 1024x768). But whatever, it can't get any worse at this point.

I get the thing home and plug it in. The first thing I notice is that while the display is nice, the colors can't compare to the 204B. I'm a little dissapointed in this, but it is not enough to stop me just yet. The overall style of the monitor is very good, though I still prefer the 204B at this point. OK, so now into the game. I crank up all the settings and max out the resolution at 1280x1024 and disable V-Sync. Once in game again I notice the colors aren't quite as bright, but it is not bad and much better than the old CRT. I am getting around 120-130 FPS. Then I start to move and WOW! There is zero choppiness and next to no blurriness at all. The display is smooth and fast and my game performance goes way up. Then I try turning on V-Sync just for the heck of it. Again, no blurriness and the game runs fast with an FPS of 75. But this time even with the 75 FPS, I can barely notice the difference between when V-Sync is on and off. Eventually I opt to disable V-Sync and enjoy the 120-130 FPS and I am loving it.

So to conclude, the VX922 far exceeds the 204B no matter what the reviewers have to say on this. Their benchmarks mean nothing if it can't live up to the claims once in-game. Needless to say I am keeping the VX922 for myself and my wife can enjoy her Sims2 with the 204B.

One final thing to note ... I run all of the above tests with Doom3, Quake4, and F.E.A.R. as well just to make sure it wasn't HL2 going wacky on me and experienced the same performance with all of these games.

Sure a large CRT would be the best option for a gamer, but with them being so hard to find and so expensive, the best option in my opinion after this experience would be to go with the ViewSonic VX922. And hopefully in the next year or two monitors can finally catch up to the rest of the PC hardware.

I truly hope this helps anyone looking to purchase a new LCD for gaming.
December 14, 2006 10:14:50 PM

What do you think about the Samsung 941bw or the 931c? I read your thread and saw it was a different model than these, do you have any knowledge on these? I was leaning towards the 941bw (widescreen). Im pretty content with 1024x768 setting. I don't play any FPS's. Lately Ive only been playing Civilization 4, Simcity4000 and Caesar 4. Im tryig to get back into RCT 3. Anyway I was going to check the 2 Samsungs I mentioned (941bw, 931c) at Bestbuy. I saw on their website that they have the 2 LCD monitors on display in the bestbuy near me so i was going to check them out. Do you know of any issues with LG? If they are good? Bestbuy and newegg have LG LCD monitors too. Thanx
December 14, 2006 10:28:40 PM

I have not tried the other two you mentioned, but with the ViewSonic being only $250 with 2ms, I don't know why you would pass it up. I picked up my ViewSonic from Fry's (not sure if there is one around you, but they have the samsung and viewsonic side by side there to look at).
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December 15, 2006 2:23:28 AM

i was reading about the widescreen samsung that newegg is having a special, $186 and free shipping. I looked it up in reviews and has high ratings with no "cons". I was torn between the viewsonci 922 and the samsung widescreen one.
a b 4 Gaming
December 15, 2006 3:05:01 PM

If it helps any, the Samsung 204B has a real response time of 10 to 30ms with 20ms in most cases. On the other hand, the VX922 has a real response time of 5-10ms. The box numbers are almost always wrong.

So, if, according to your statement, the VX922 is indeed noticeable better because of its response time, then all of the following monitors should have similar results:
VP191b 12-15ms
Samsung 930BF 5-10ms
VX924 5-12ms
NEC 90GX2 2-20ms with 8ms most of the time
AL2032WA 5-60ms with 8ms most of the time except for the dark peaks up to 60ms
Acer F-20 5-55ms with 10ms most of the time except for the dark peaks up to 55ms
NEC 20WGX2 5-10ms with 7-9ms most of the time
MFM-HT205 7-10ms with 8ms most of the time

Note, that the last two are all 8-bit color; the last two are S-IPS, while the two before that are MVA.
December 15, 2006 7:01:55 PM

Do you have any numbers or information on the Samsung 941bw or the 931c? Is the viewsonic vx922 the one to go with?
a b 4 Gaming
December 17, 2006 1:05:21 AM

Quote:
Do you have any numbers or information on the Samsung 941bw or the 931c? Is the viewsonic vx922 the one to go with?

no info. xbitlabs.com has tested the real response times on a number of monitors; you can read the reviews in the other section.

Here's a few other models:
Samsung 940BF 1-7ms, however it has large overdrive errors, which is almost as bad as slow response times
BenQ FP93GX 1-6ms, but with large overdrive errors like the above monitor
Samsung 960BF 1-22ms with 8ms most of the time
!