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LCDs with 480 Hz Refresh Rate Incoming

(Image credit: AUO)

Displays with a 360 Hz refresh rate and a 2.8 ms frame time are the best gaming monitors with high refresh rates you can get today. But that will soon change. Two leading makers of LCD panels are developing display panels that feature a 480 Hz refresh rate and a 2.1 ms frame time (as well as lower overall latency). These panels will be ready sometimes in 2022, so actual displays will arrive in 2023. 

Both AU Optronics and LG Display are working on LCD panels with a 480 Hz refresh rate, according to two reports by TFTCentral (12). LG Display is reportedly working on multiple 480 Hz panels with the first one being a 24.5-inch with a 1080p (1920x1080) resolution. The unit is projected to be ready for mass production sometime in Q4 2022, so if everything goes well, the commercial displays based on the panel will be available in the first half of 2023. AU Optronics is also developing a 1080p panel with a 480 Hz refresh rate and aims to start mass production in 2022, but there are no further details.  

Not a lot of information is available about AUO's and LG Display's 480 Hz panels now, which is not particularly surprising given that they are so far out. Today's ultra-high-performance 360Hz displays use a TN panel, though the brand new 390 Hz LCDs use AUO's AHVA (IPS-like) panels. 

To handle a panel with an extremely wide variable refresh rate range — think about 30Hz ~ 480Hz — a very high-performance display controller logic will be needed. This set of chips (or one highly integrated chip) will have to include a very high-performance image processing unit, an appropriate overdrive processor, a very fast TCON (timing controller), and a general-purpose processor that will manage operation of the said units. 

For example, modern 360Hz G-Sync displays use logic specifically designed by Nvidia. In fact, the logic behind high-end displays is just as important as the panel and the backlighting, which is why development of expensive monitors takes so long.  

These 480 Hz panels are designed for monitors aimed at professional gamers who want maximum performance to maximize their potential in various eSports competitions. The market of such displays is rather small, yet lucrative. Furthermore, such high-end displays serve the same purpose as other halo products — they promote the manufacturer's brand.