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Is Asus' VG248QE Fast Enough?

Asus VG248QE: A 24-Inch, 144 Hz Gaming Monitor Under $300
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There’s no question that Asus achieved its design goals for the VG248QE. This is a gamer's display, through and through. Once all of your other subsystems are suitably cutting-edge, display technology surfaces as the final bottleneck in the ultimate system's performance. With a 144 Hz refresh rate, that limitation is no more. Most enthusiasts are perfectly accustomed to 60 Hz. But the most hardcore gamers, with lightning-fast reflexes to match, need more. You can spend thousands on CPUs, graphics cards, high-speed memory, and SSDs. If your monitor doesn't respond fast enough when you pull that trigger, you're not getting the most from your machine.

To be fair, you pay a price for this kind of display performance. TN technology does cause some issues if you're in the market for uncompromising image quality. Foremost is image degradation when the screen is viewed off-center. You can see from our photos that the VG248QE does much better from one side to the other compared to many TN screens. But it doesn't do well top to bottom. With such excellent side to side performance, though, at least you won't have a problem using three of these displays in a Surround or Eyefinity setup.

The other obstacle is the panel’s six-bit native color depth. On some screens, this results in obvious banding artifacts. However, Asus does a superb job minimizing the issue. It was only noticeable a tiny number of times, and even then only when we were deliberately looking for it. Obviously, the dithering algorithm in play is very effective. Don't be put off by this; it's just not a problem that'd stop us from using the VG248QE.

According to our measurements, Asus didn't skimp on any of the VG248QE's quantifiable performance characteristics. Contrast is most impressive, returning fantastic numbers for both on/off and ANSI. And this is one bright monitor. There is no situation where you won’t be able to dial in a vibrant picture, regardless of ambient light. Grayscale, gamma, and color performance aren’t the best we've seen. But then again, selling for a street price of $270, the display acquits itself well. While a graphics professional will likely seek out a higher-res, eight-bit IPS panel, this monitor should satisfy a majority of desktop enthusiasts with solid image quality and accuracy. And if 3D is important to you, Asus has you covered with Nvidia 3D Vision support.

Of course, we hope to see displays like this based on IPS panels in the near future. And we suspect we will. The aftermarket has already produced overclocked IPS monitors with refresh rates up to 120 Hz. For now though, the VG248QE serves as a benchmark for gamers looking to remove one more choke point from the signal chain. And it represents a terrific value. Among the seven 120 Hz-or-higher screens we found in our research, Asus' VG248QE is the least expensive, and the only one reaching up to 144 Hz. For that reason, we’re giving it Tom’s Hardware 2013 Smart Buy award.

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  • 3 Hide
    CaptainTom , October 2, 2013 10:04 PM
    I gotta wonder if 1 ms vs 5 ms really makes a difference...
  • 4 Hide
    ff6shadow , October 2, 2013 11:45 PM
    I own this. Bought when it was first available. Great monitor for gaming. I use 2x GTX Titans with it.
  • -7 Hide
    iam2thecrowe , October 2, 2013 11:56 PM
    i don't like the sound of this dithering BS, i guess that's why its cheap....
  • 1 Hide
    SWEETMUSK , October 3, 2013 12:08 AM
    if I have $300 dollars I will not buy for 24 inch "TN" screen
    IPS is much better then TN
  • 0 Hide
    Axonn , October 3, 2013 1:37 AM
    People who think 144 Hz is more important than an 8-bit panel are in for a big, big fail.
  • 4 Hide
    ryude , October 3, 2013 2:03 AM
    This monitor uses PWM (Pulse Width Modulation) for the backlight, which causing flickering. The only 144hz monitor that does not use PWM is the BenQ XL2420TE.
  • 2 Hide
    Plusthinking Iq , October 3, 2013 2:25 AM
    they only sell BenQ XL2420T version in my country, so i bought the asus for the double pwm hz. pwm, the scourge og the lcd monitor.
  • -1 Hide
    CraigN , October 3, 2013 5:07 AM
    ryude - yes, it uses PWM, however, as an owner of one of these monitors, I have not noticed any flickering at all. It's a really solid performing monitor. That same PWM comes in real handy when running in Lightboost mode for even more reductions to input lag.

    CaptainTom, 1ms makes a huge difference over 5ms. I didn't think it would at first until I bought one of these. Next to my old 24" HDTV that was my monitor for awhile, the difference is insane.

  • -1 Hide
    CraigN , October 3, 2013 5:08 AM
    PS , Christian, your SmartBuy award photo at the end of the article is the wrong ASUS monitor ;)  Also, would you guys mind releasing the ICC profile you guys calibrated for your tests?
  • -1 Hide
    Turik , October 3, 2013 5:11 AM
    The final picture is not of the VG248QE?
  • 0 Hide
    Turik , October 3, 2013 5:13 AM
    As someone with a high quality 1440p IPS and 2 of these monitors, for most gaming I prefer these. For World of Warcraft or other MMOs where screen space is a luxury, it's hard to give up the high-res IPS, and the color quality is noticable, but with a proper ICC profile and some tweaking, it's a good looking monitor.

    ICC profile is use is here: http://pcmonitors.info/reviews/asus-vg248qe
  • -4 Hide
    ubercake , October 3, 2013 5:17 AM
    The thing is contrast is lacking big time on IPS monitors less than $500. So who cares about color accuracy if you can't see all the shades? Cheap IPS monitors are not only slow because of inherent input lag, but also a fail when it comes to contrast.

    These high refresh rate monitors offer an incredible performance boost for first-person shooters if you have video cards that can produce frame rates close to the high refresh rates (or higher than 60Hz consistently). I've tried 1440p 60Hz monitors and can't stand the lower refresh. I've tried 60Hz surround setups and can't stand the low refresh. Once you go to these monitors, you develop a need for them. Nothing with lower refresh rates compares any longer. If you've never had it, you don't miss it and don't know what you're missing.

    If you don't have the kind of GPU power to consistently get you beyond the 60fps mark at 1080p, 60Hz monitors are the way to go. I still wouldn't settle for cheap IPS monitors with crappy contrast ratios though. For shooters, the input lag is also a terrible characteristic of the cheap IPS monitor.
  • 0 Hide
    finder , October 3, 2013 5:27 AM
    and it's backlight flickering as hell https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sBYnnBfub4E&mode=post-play
  • 5 Hide
    twztechman , October 3, 2013 5:43 AM
    Quote:
    I own this. Bought when it was first available. Great monitor for gaming. I use 2x GTX Titans with it.


    2 Titans for 1980x1080 resolution? That's a bit silly. You have spent $2000 for video cards and you are gaming on one 1980x1080 24 inch monitor!
    You should have at least 3 of these monitors for a surround set-up.
  • 0 Hide
    CraigN , October 3, 2013 5:47 AM
    Turik - I'm aware of the one at pcmonitors.info, as well as the one included with the disk. I was just wondering if it was (possible) for them to release their post-calibrated icc. I have no idea how monitor calibrators work (I didn't need to alter much on my personal VG248QE to be satisfied, but that doesn't mean it couldn't be better) so I just thought it couldn't hurt to ask.

    Also - does anyone own one of these and notice that opening Pictures come up darker/dimmer than they look as thumbnails or in image preview??
  • 8 Hide
    BigMack70 , October 3, 2013 5:57 AM
    I just wonder if/when we'll ever get a panel like this at high resolution (1440p/4k), because I'm done with 1080p.

    ASUS... could you pretty please make us a 144 Hz 1440p IPS screen ??????
  • 7 Hide
    ubercake , October 3, 2013 6:06 AM
    Quote:
    I just wonder if/when we'll ever get a panel like this at high resolution (1440p/4k), because I'm done with 1080p.

    ASUS... could you pretty please make us a 144 Hz 1440p IPS screen ??????


    I second the 'pretty please'.
  • 0 Hide
    moogleslam , October 3, 2013 6:48 AM
    If I understand things correctly, if your monitor updates faster than the frame rate pumped out by your graphics card, you don't have screen tearing anymore, and therefore no longer need vsync?
  • 0 Hide
    jdon , October 3, 2013 6:51 AM
    I've looked at IPS panels and TN panels in some depth, and found that other than the viewing angle, I'm not able to perceive much difference. Then my fiancee laughed at me and said, "You really are THAT colorblind, huh?" ....It actually kind of makes me glad that I can appreciate the better frame rates without being disappointed by the lack of color depth!
  • 3 Hide
    vpnuser , October 3, 2013 7:02 AM
    I own one of these as well as a 27" Dell 1440p IPS panel, and I prefer this one for gaming. 120hz with 2D lightboost has 0 ghosting. Sure the color is crap compared to the IPS, but what good is color when it looks like 24fps movie blur in games? Quoted from my girlfriend, who can't tell the difference between 1080p and 720p movies, within 5 minutes of me setting up the monitor ; "That's really smooth."

    I would prefer the best of both worlds, but I don't think current graphics cards are quite up to the task. (At least not for less than a $2500 machine) Current IPS panels out there can pull the hz, but can't match the response times just yet.

    Add in the fact that the industry will be pushing for 4k soon, and you can kiss 120hz goodbye for a while.
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