AOC U2879VF 28-inch Ultra HD FreeSync Monitor Review

A 28-inch TN screen is the cheapest way to put Ultra HD on the desktop. Today, we're looking at a new example from AOC: the U2879VF. It includes FreeSync for gaming enthusiasts and a factory calibration for the professional user.

Like all new display technologies, Ultra HD commands a premium price. But users have found welcome relief in the 28-inch TN category. Asus was first to market with its PB287Q over two years ago. At the time, it sold for around $650 but that price has dropped to $450, thanks to time and competition. Every other major manufacturer has introduced products based on the same series of panel parts from Innolux. They are characterized by accurate color, reasonably fast panel response and most significantly, low cost.

The world of Ultra HD gaming lives in a rarified atmosphere. At this time even the fastest video cards can manage only 50-60fps at moderate detail levels in titles like Crysis 3 and Far Cry 4. And the genre is further hampered by a maximum refresh rate of 60Hz. Until newer interfaces like DisplayPort 1.3 are included at both ends of the signal chain, that limitation will remain.

But for users who want to push the envelope, there are a few choices available. We looked at Acer's XB280HK in July of last year. It was the first Ultra HD screen to include adaptive refresh in the form of Nvidia's G-Sync technology. While still limited to 60Hz, it represents a major step towards increased resolution for games.

Now that FreeSync is appearing in many new displays, it's only logical that its less-expensive architecture be used in creating a value-oriented hi-res gaming product. There may be a temporary imbalance between the cost of the monitor and the video card needed to drive it, but that is likely to change as hardware prices fall. The latest example here for review is AOC's U2879VF.

Specifications

To the Innolux panel seen in every 28-inch TN monitor, AOC has added FreeSync and a couple of unexpected features. When we unpacked our sample, the first thing that fell out was a calibration data sheet, which is something one doesn't typically see with a gaming monitor. But two of our recent review displays also included them, ViewSonic's XG2700-4K and Acer's Predator X34.

AOC does tout the U2879VF's professional cred on its website and we're always happy to see a company put the effort into color accuracy. On initial assessment, this display looks promising. The panel has a 10-bit color depth courtesy of FRC. And it did report that fact to our AMD Catalyst driver, which allowed us to run 10-bit color with a Radeon R9 285.

The other surprise is a uniformity compensation mode. We've reported on this feature several times in the past, but only associated with dedicated professional displays. To see it here is unusual. You'll see in our tests that it is well-implemented with minimal impact on contrast.

The backlight is flicker-free so users sensitive to pulse-width modulation will have less eye fatigue to look forward to. Given the U2879VF's spec sheet, feature set and low price, we expect it will prove to be a compelling choice for those seeking an easy path to Ultra HD. Let's take a look.

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  • Urzu1000
    I've been using this monitor for month or so now, and I have to say, I'm very pleased with my purchase. I got it on sale though, so it was a bit cheaper.
  • gaborbarla
    Please call me when these monitors are no longer only 60Hz. I still much prefer a 1440p monitor with 144Hz over 4k on 60Hz for gaming.
  • Dynomite54
    Quote:
    Please call me when these monitors are no longer only 60Hz. I still much prefer a 1440p monitor with 144Hz over 4k on 60Hz for gaming.
    I can I agree with that for the people with better eye sight its blurry if its 60Hz but not if its 144Hz or 120Hz.
  • sillynilly
    While I understand that 60 FPS may be the top for high end gaming rigs for this resolution - that is in some games, not all. I agree 2160 at 60Hz is, for me, a step back from 1440 at 120Hz+ since my rig can easily push higher FPS on many games I play regularly.
  • masterofevil22
    I'm currently rocking 3 1440p monitors in Eyefinity and I love them for Gaming at 7680x1440p. They are 60hz panels, but I can OC'd them to 75hz. It's not easy getting 75fps at that res maxed out tho... 11.2 million pixels is no joke, but the FEEL of them wrapping around you is incredible & it's widely supported (hehe) by most games. I'd highly recommend anyone giving it a try. I've got some footage up on XBnPC if you all care to check it out.
  • milk_inc
    Quote:
    While I understand that 60 FPS may be the top for high end gaming rigs for this resolution - that is in some games, not all. I agree 2160 at 60Hz is, for me, a step back from 1440 at 120Hz+ since my rig can easily push higher FPS on many games I play regularly.

    Well right now is not a video card that can be played at 100+fps on 4k with ultra settings, even the 1080 as good it's, not reach those frames on 4k of course and AAA games.
    The monitor is for the present 4k at 60hz even the prices it's good for the spec.
    The speed of hz and the resolution are two different things, of course you will get higher hz at lower resolution. In a near future it will be 4k with 120hz or 144hz, coz 4k will be standard for 5 years as 1080p and 1440 or qhd will just be a transitition as was 720p.
  • photonboy
    *Freesync doesn't work well at 40 to 60Hz.

    You need 2.5X minimum ratio for asynchronous mode (i.e. 30 Hz to 75Hz) or you have no support below 40Hz.

    With the range being so low you are popping in and out of the smoother asynchronous mode any time you go above or below this. If it's setup for VSYNC ON you'll go from smooth gameplay to STUTTERING below 40FPS (or screen tear if setup for VSYNC OFF).

    Same goes for above 60FPS (though I think you can force a Global cap but you have to experiment with that and it may have to be a bit below 60FPS).

    *If you have a 30Hz to 144Hz it's far better. Not only is it hard to go over 144FPS, but for demanding games (or sudden drops even if good FPS) you CAN stay in asynchronous mode.

    The REASON is that AMD has no module like GSYNC does. So if you drop to 29FPS then the drivers tell the GPU to send each frame 2X so the monitor gets 58FPS. You still see it as 29FPS but a SMOOTH 29FPS because you stay in asynchronous mode so the monitor draws each frame as it gets it.

    There is a small DELAY in doing this so you can't get by with just 2X the range. So again, for the 40Hz to 60Hz range if you drop to 39FPS it doesn't work.

    **IMO they shouldn't even sell Freesync monitors like this. If you don't understand what's going on you're going to have an inconsistent experience with many games being smoother then stutter or tear constantly.
  • sillynilly
    Anonymous said:
    Quote:
    While I understand that 60 FPS may be the top for high end gaming rigs for this resolution - that is in some games, not all. I agree 2160 at 60Hz is, for me, a step back from 1440 at 120Hz+ since my rig can easily push higher FPS on many games I play regularly.

    Well right now is not a video card that can be played at 100+fps on 4k with ultra settings, even the 1080 as good it's, not reach those frames on 4k of course and AAA games.
    The monitor is for the present 4k at 60hz even the prices it's good for the spec.
    The speed of hz and the resolution are two different things, of course you will get higher hz at lower resolution. In a near future it will be 4k with 120hz or 144hz, coz 4k will be standard for 5 years as 1080p and 1440 or qhd will just be a transitition as was 720p.


    Umm, ya? That's the underlying point of my entire post! To expand, I am not willing to spend money on a monitor that is "for now" ok, when I find the 1440 experience (on IPS panels) so good. Since I run 27 now, why go a minor increase for a 4K panel that won't look as good while gaming, i.e. low frame rates? And to get even more specific - I am team green so I wouldn't buy an FS monitor in the first place! :lol:
  • Shankovich
    TN panel.........
  • Gurg
    I have an earlier version AOC U2870VQE 28" 4K LED Monitor I bought for roughly the same price.. I really like it. This was an upgrade from another brand 1440 monitor that was returned under warranty for too many dead pixels. This AOC has no bad pixels. Mostly play Total War games with 2x980sli. For reference my everyday overclocked Firestrike Ultra graphics score is around 6650 with max of around 7000. I generally play at high settings rather than ultra because I like to speed battles up 2 or 4 times speed during slower action periods to move them along quicker.
  • Mark_168
    I thought I'd give this monitor a shot as my first 4k. BestBuy is having a sale today at $279., so it's about the cheapest I've seen. Even though I just bought the Nvidia GTX1080 and it doesn't take advantage of the freesync, I don't want to spend the money to get a gsync monitor. Hope it works out ok.
  • slugg
    Mine will be here tomorrow. Chime in with your experience of it Mark_168.
  • photonboy
    Anonymous said:
    I thought I'd give this monitor a shot as my first 4k. BestBuy is having a sale today at $279., so it's about the cheapest I've seen. Even though I just bought the Nvidia GTX1080 and it doesn't take advantage of the freesync, I don't want to spend the money to get a gsync monitor. Hope it works out ok.


    NVidia has a new feature called Fast Sync you may want to check out.

    It's for fast-paced games where you can render over 2X the rate of your monitor. Without getting into the technical details, it's similar to normal VSYNC ON so there's no screen tear but there's slightly less LAG than normal VSYNC because it can grab a newer frame. The GPU runs unlocked, but you still only display 60FPS as you take the last, complete frame prior to the refresh cycle and display that. The higher the number of complete frames you can generate, the less lag you get.

    We'll have a better idea once it's tested.

    So if you like fast paced shooters you may want as low as 1920x1080 if it's a lot smoother than 1440p/4K.

    I also wouldn't recommend playing many games at 4K even with a GTX1080. Playing at 2560x1440 is probably ideal for most games.

    In case you didn't know you can scale by ASPECT RATIO in the monitor or in the GPU. I don't see a difference myself, but with a 4K monitor it MAY be that the GTX1080 is faster at scaling than the monitor's scaler. You can try both and see if you notice a difference.

    (if you scale by aspect, and scale on GPU, it simply always outputs the monitor's native resolution such as 4K and does all the scaling on the GPU first. If you scale on the monitor it sends the output, such as 1920x1080 to the monitor and the monitor scales that up)
  • slugg
    Interesting. Mine showed up at 9:40 last night but too late to set up (have to be up at 4am). Will set it up tonight. Had plans of going with a 1440 144hz monitor but for this price as said above I'll give it a shot. Running a reference 980ti so debating on adding another for sli or sell the one and get 2 1070s. Waiting on more benchmarks and details.
  • Mark_168
    Anonymous said:
    Mine will be here tomorrow. Chime in with your experience of it Mark_168.


    After receiving and setting up my new monitor, I'd have to say I'm pretty impressed with the quality and performance out of the box. No dead pixels or light bleed that I can tell. Seems sharp and crisp, and scales very well in Windows 10. Until my EVGA GTX 1080 FTW comes in, I'm running it off my I7-6700K iGPU. So I haven't had a chance to try it out running games. Playing 4k video content on the web so far has been a great experience. I know there are better 4K monitors out there for a lot more money, but at this price point, it was a steal. I got this from Best Buy during the Memorial Day sale for only $279.
  • slugg
    Anonymous said:
    Anonymous said:
    Mine will be here tomorrow. Chime in with your experience of it Mark_168.


    After receiving and setting up my new monitor, I'd have to say I'm pretty impressed with the quality and performance out of the box. No dead pixels or light bleed that I can tell. Seems sharp and crisp, and scales very well in Windows 10. Until my EVGA GTX 1080 FTW comes in, I'm running it off my I7-6700K iGPU. So I haven't had a chance to try it out running games. Playing 4k video content on the web so far has been a great experience. I know there are better 4K monitors out there for a lot more money, but at this price point, it was a steal. I got this from Best Buy during the Memorial Day sale for only $279.

    I've had mine for a few days. It's great for the amount spent. I'm running a 4770k, 16gb and 980ti reference on ,asrock z97x killer. Titanfall 4k maxed out except no AA (do you even need AA at 4k?) stays at 60fps. Witcher 3 low 30s with hairworks maxed, mid to high 40s with it off. Very slight oc on the 980ti. Still debating whether I'll keep it. I don't see the scaling issues at 4k on a 28" people talk about unless they're blind. Only file explorer so far is too small.
  • Dynomite54
    Anonymous said:
    Anonymous said:
    Mine will be here tomorrow. Chime in with your experience of it Mark_168.


    After receiving and setting up my new monitor, I'd have to say I'm pretty impressed with the quality and performance out of the box. No dead pixels or light bleed that I can tell. Seems sharp and crisp, and scales very well in Windows 10. Until my EVGA GTX 1080 FTW comes in, I'm running it off my I7-6700K iGPU. So I haven't had a chance to try it out running games. Playing 4k video content on the web so far has been a great experience. I know there are better 4K monitors out there for a lot more money, but at this price point, it was a steal. I got this from Best Buy during the Memorial Day sale for only $279.

    You can stream 4k video with i7 iGPU I did it until the evga 1080 came out
  • Samptron
    So they made a monitor with 10 bits of color, but its best mode is sRGB?!?!
  • wifiburger
    garbage monitor, too many dead pixels on mine and judging from the local store they had 7+ open boxes , so I'm not the only one returning this pile of horse shit
  • Dynomite54
    Anonymous said:
    garbage monitor, too many dead pixels on mine and judging from the local store they had 7+ open boxes , so I'm not the only one returning this pile of horse shit
    Bigger the resolution the higher the chance of dead pixels.