Tom's Hardware Verdict
If you have the system for it, the Alienware AW2524H is the perfect display to show off next level frame rates and control response. With higher contrast and color volume than its 360 Hz competition, it currently has no equal.
Next level speed and responsiveness
Class leading color saturation and contrast
Solid build quality
Requires premium hardware to maximize its potential
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I’ve been reviewing monitors long enough that occasionally, I have a “remember when” moment. Remember when all monitors refreshed at a fixed 60 Hz? Remember when the 144 Hz Asus VG248QE was the bleeding edge with its TN panel and fixed refresh rate? You could also buy a $200 board to add G-Sync to it.
We’ve come a long way since then, and I now have the privilege of testing the world’s first 500 Hz monitor, Alienware’s AW2524H. It uses an IPS panel running at FHD resolution with G-Sync, Nvidia Latency Analyzer, HDR400 and something most super-fast monitors lack, high contrast and an extended color gamut.
Alienware AW2524H Specs
|Panel Type / Backlight
|IPS / W-LED, edge array
|16 dimming zones
|Screen Size / Aspect Ratio
|25 inches / 16:9
|Max Resolution & Refresh Rate
|1920x1080 @ 480 Hz
|500 Hz w/overclock
|G-Sync & FreeSync compatible
|Native Color Depth & Gamut
|10-bit (8-bits+FRC) / sRGB+
|HDR10, DisplayHDR 400
|Response Time (GTG)
|1x DisplayPort 1.4
|2x HDMI 2.0
|3.5mm headphone output
|1x up, 4x down
|30.5w, brightness @ 200 nits
|21.9 x 15.4-19.7 x 9.6 inches
|(556 x 390-500 x 244mm)
|3.3 inches (84mm)
|Top/sides: 0.2 inch (5mm)
|Bottom: 0.6 inch (16mm)
|14.5 pounds (6.6kg)
One thing that hasn’t changed since the VG248QE is the FHD resolution. The fastest monitors still employ a smaller pixel count to keep frame rates high. In a 25-inch panel (24.5-inch viewable), that means a density of 90ppi. That’s not bad, but you will see the pixel structure if you sit closer than three feet away. The extra motion resolution afforded by these high frame rates means the picture always stays sharp, no matter how fast one pans the camera. Motion blur is simply not an issue over 200fps.
How much will you gain with the AW2524H’s 500 Hz over a 360 Hz display? It’s enough to see a difference, but the the main draw is almost non-existent control lag. Alienware has produced the fastest monitor I’ve yet tested, and in practice, it delivers an advantage. In fact, the panel response is so quick that I wish I could turn off the overdrive; it just isn’t necessary. It includes the latest G-Sync module and the Nvidia Reflex Latency Analyzer, but these enhancements are also unnecessary. At frame rates over 400fps, you will never see a frame tear or motion blur. And yes, you’ll need a serious gaming rig to achieve those numbers.
Picture-wise, the AW2524H doesn’t cut corners. Unlike other panels in this category, it has a bit of extra color. There’s not enough to call it a DCI-P3 display, but it’s certainly more than a 360 Hz monitor. HDR has been given good attention as well. The backlight is an edge array that employs zone dimming to increase contrast. You can use the dimming in both SDR and HDR modes; in the latter, it produces dynamic range of over 82,000:1. That is also a huge advantage over any 360 Hz screen currently available. Color proved accurate in my tests with no need for calibration in the monitor’s default picture mode.
The AW2524H will sell initially for $830, which is nearly double the price of the AW2523HF that I reviewed in October 2022. The AW2524H is better in every way, but is it twice as good? Let’s take a look.
Alienware’s familiar shapes and accents adorn the AW2524H without drawing too much attention. The front view is all business with a super thin 5mm bezel and “500Hz” displayed on the bottom strip. A soft glowing light rings the power toggle at the right. In the center, underneath, is a joystick that controls all monitor functions.
You’ll find the lighting feature in the back: an Alienware head logo and the number 25. You can choose from multiple colors and effects or turn the whole thing off. It’s not too bright and shouldn’t distract you even in a darkened room.
The stand is a solid piece that snaps in place. Underneath is a 100mm VESA mount with fasteners included. Adjustments include 4.3 inches (110mm) of height, 5/21 degrees tilt, 20 degrees swivel and a portrait mode where you can rotate the panel in either direction. Movements feel firm and of the high quality that befits a monitor at this price point.
Inputs include a single DisplayPort 1.4, two HDMI 2.1 and USB ports on the main jack panel and underneath the bezel. You get one upstream and four down. One is labeled for the Nvidia Reflex Latency Analyzer, where you would plug in a compatible mouse. A headphone jack is also found under the bezel. The HDMI ports are limited to 240 Hz but include VRR for consoles.
Speaking of headphones, a hook pops out from the upper left side and is beautifully damped in its movement. This is a small feature, but the attention to detail here is impressive.
Pressing the AW2524H’s joystick brings up a quick menu at the bottom of the screen and a status window at the top. A click up opens the full OSD, which includes many options for picture control and video processing.
We begin our journey in the Game menu, where you can choose from 12 picture modes. Standard is the default and is accurate enough to be used without calibration. G-Sync Esports engages the G-Sync Processor, which I’ll discuss in a moment. The three Game modes allow six-color adjustments and custom setting of the overdrive and dark stabilizer. Custom Color has RGB sliders for precise grayscale calibration and is the mode I used for testing.
Game Enhance is where you’ll find timers, a frame rate counter, and display alignment marks for multi-screen setups. There are no aiming points included.
To run at the full 500 Hz, turn on the overclock. The panel’s native rate is 480 Hz, which delivers the same performance to my eyes. Response Time is the overdrive, and I quickly found that it is completely unnecessary when frame rates exceed 400fps. In fact, it caused slight ghosting on its lowest setting, and I was sad that I could not simply turn it off. Here also is the variable backlight with three levels that effectively increases contrast. In SDR mode, it went from around 1,000:1 to over 8,000:1. HDR contrast is over 82,000:1 in Mode 1, which is impressive.
AlienFX lighting can be used to control the behavior of the power button and the two graphics on the back of the panel. Each can have a different color and you can change the effects to your liking.
The G-Sync Processor offers Nvidia’s Reflex Latency Analyzer. When paired with the correct mouse, it shows real-time input lag on the screen. You can also engage ULMB, a blur-reducing backlight strobe, at refresh rates of 360 Hz and below. You must first turn off G-Sync to make the controls available. Then, you can vary the pulse width to find a balance between blur reduction and brightness. Less blur means lower brightness. As I said earlier, this is unnecessary at frame rates over 400fps. Even 300fps is so smooth you wouldn’t be motivated to turn on ULMB.
There are five shortcuts in the quick menu to set to user preference. This makes jumping right to things like brightness or picture modes easy. Though there is a volume control, there are no integrated speakers. That slider controls only the headphone output.
Alienware AW2524H Calibration Settings
You can enjoy the AW2524H right out of the box without adjustment in its Standard picture mode. If you want a slight improvement, reach for Custom Color as I did and tweak the RGB sliders. There are no gamma options though I measured excellent tracking there. It would be nice to have options, but you can change the dark stabilizer if you have difficulty seeing fine shadow detail. Below are the settings I used for SDR. HDR locks out all picture controls except for contrast, but I recommend leaving that alone. The AW2524H is very accurate in HDR mode as well.
|Brightness 200 nits
|Brightness 120 nits
|Brightness 100 nits
|Brightness 80 nits
|Brightness 50 nits
|5 (min. 40 nits)
|Color Temp User
|Red 100, Green 99, Blue 96
Gaming and Hands-on
We used an Alienware Aurora R15 Gaming PC equipped with a GeForce RTX 4090 to test the AW2524H. I also have an RTX 3090 system on hand, so I started with a few comparisons. Obviously, you’ll need a lot of power to run this monitor to its full potential. The RTX 3090 is very capable, but with Doom Eternal set on full detail in HDR mode, the best I could do was around 200fps. This is super smooth and incredibly responsive, but 200fps is so yesterday.
Once the R15 was up and running, I could play Doom Eternal between 450 and 500fps with detail maxed, which is a superlative experience. First off, you will not notice that the resolution is only FHD. Motion is perfectly smooth. There is no blur, and the ghosting I saw in test patterns did not appear in the game. Though I would still like the option to turn off the overdrive, it isn’t a problem in its current state.
I spent several hours mowing through monsters in Doom’s horde mode and enjoyed instant control response. It’s not a huge jump from a 360 Hz screen, but I perceived a more precise connection between my mouse hand and the screen. Not only are inputs instantly translated, but you can also stop your movement exactly where you want. This means greater efficiency as you’ll spend less time overcorrecting when action gets intense. Changing direction is also a more natural and fluid process.
The image quality matches the best HDR monitors I’ve played on. The AW2524H ups the ante among its 360 Hz competition with more saturated color and better contrast, especially for HDR content. It offers more color volume than anything else at this speed and resolution.
As an everyday screen, FHD resolution is tolerable in the 25-inch size. I’m a bit spoiled by 4K monitors, but I had little trouble reading the fine text in Microsoft Edge or distinguishing between stylish fonts in Word. Spreadsheets take a bit more scrolling than I’m used to, and I would prefer a larger and more pixel-dense monitor for Photoshop. But the AW2524H can get you through work tasks.
I briefly tried out ULMB but quickly found no improvement at any of its pulse width settings. You’ll want to set that value no lower than 30%, or the picture will be too dark. And when frame rates are over 300, it makes no difference in motion resolution.
My final takeaway from the AW2524H’s video processing is that it works best when you can take advantage of its high frame rates. Once you cross 400fps, there is no need for overdrive, ULMB, or even Adaptive-Sync.
MORE: Best Gaming Monitors
MORE: How We Test PC Monitors
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Christian Eberle is a Contributing Editor for Tom's Hardware US. He's a veteran reviewer of A/V equipment, specializing in monitors. Christian began his obsession with tech when he built his first PC in 1991, a 286 running DOS 3.0 at a blazing 12MHz. In 2006, he undertook training from the Imaging Science Foundation in video calibration and testing and thus started a passion for precise imaging that persists to this day. He is also a professional musician with a degree from the New England Conservatory as a classical bassoonist which he used to good effect as a performer with the West Point Army Band from 1987 to 2013. He enjoys watching movies and listening to high-end audio in his custom-built home theater and can be seen riding trails near his home on a race-ready ICE VTX recumbent trike. Christian enjoys the endless summer in Florida where he lives with his wife and Chihuahua and plays with orchestras around the state.
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Its cool and all but only 25 inches?Reply
Just too small for me, really wish there was at least a 27 inch or better yet a 32.
500Hz is pointlessly fast and, it's clear from the test results, the panel is not fast enough to keep up.Reply
Soon panel technologies will push its flaws past what humans can perceive, that is a good day in my book. I long for the day that motion blur, IPS glow, text fringing, pixel density, and many more are all solved by one monitor. That will be the day I get a new monitor.Friesiansam said:500Hz is pointlessly fast and, it's clear from the test results, the panel is not fast enough to keep up.
In a 10 meter room, light fills 30.000.000 times per second, so i don't think 500 or more frames in a monitor is going to break past human perception anytime soon!Reply
I dont know what you are talking about. What are you trying to say? Humans cannot perceive 30,000,000 "fills" of light. Please elaborate.cristovao said:In a 10 meter room, light fills 30.000.000 times per second, so i don't think 500 or more frames in a monitor is going to break past human perception anytime soon!
Inputs include a single DisplayPort 1.4, two HDMI 2.1... The HDMI ports are limited to 240 Hz but include VRR for consoles.
How exactly do you get 1080p 500 Hz? The DisplayPort using Display Stream Compression?
I’ve been reviewing monitors long enough that occasionally, I have a “remember when” moment. Remember when all monitors refreshed at a fixed 60 Hz?
Remember when you opened a Geforce2 control panel on a CRT monitor and got refresh choices up to 120Hz?
Settings to lower the bandwidth include; color subsampling, bit depth of those colors, and DSC are options to increase data throughput for a higher refresh rate. 4k is 4 times the resolution of 1080p and we have 4k monitors that are 144hz+. You can simply quadruple the hz on a 4k monitor and apply it to 1080p to see what is possible for peak hz throughput at 1080p. 4 times 144 is 576. So getting to 500hz or 480 without an OC on the monitor at 1080p is very doable even at 4:4:4 chroma, and 8 or 10 bit color, with or without DSC is my guess.usertests said:Required reading:
How exactly do you get 1080p 500 Hz? The DisplayPort using Display Stream Compression?
The neo G8 does 4k@240hz with only DSC so 480hz 1080p seems to not even need any type of compression for dp1.4helper800 said:Settings to lower the bandwidth include; color subsampling, bit depth of those colors, and DSC are options to increase data throughput for a higher refresh rate. 4k is 4 times the resolution of 1080p and we have 4k monitors that are 144hz+. You can simply quadruple the hz on a 4k monitor and apply it to 1080p to see what is possible for peak hz throughput at 1080p. 4 times 144 is 576. So getting to 500hz or 480 without an OC on the monitor at 1080p is very doable even at 4:4:4 chroma, and 8 or 10 bit color, with or without DSC is my guess.
I would personally would like it to be ultra wide, but it is what it is, this is the ultimate 1080p standard monitor for gaming anyways.Reply