Asus PG279Q ROG Swift 27-inch 165Hz Gaming Monitor Review

We have the highly-anticipated ROG Swift PG279Q in the lab today. It’s a 27-inch IPS-type panel with QHD resolution, G-Sync, ULMB and an unprecedented 165Hz max refresh rate.

If you're more than a casual game-player then Asus' Republic of Gamers series of products should be very familiar to you. Users looking to build a no-holds-barred rig can literally create an all-Asus system made up of premium components that deliver only the highest performance.

The monitor portion of the line includes several models that run at 144Hz and support both FreeSync and G-Sync adaptive refresh rates. Last year, the very first G-Sync display to hit the market was the 27-inch ROG Swift PG278Q. It was also one of the first screens to support 2560x1440 resolution at 144Hz. The only downside: It is TN-based.

Since we reviewed it gamers have been patiently waiting for more IPS gaming monitors to appear. In early 2015 the gates finally opened and several shiny new products became available. Asus was once again at the front of the pack with the MG279Q FreeSync monitor. And Acer followed quickly with its XG270HU. Both are based on the same excellent panel part and did extremely well in our tests.

But leave it to Asus to trump all with the world's first 165Hz computer monitor: The ROG Swift PG279Q.

Specifications

Asus turns to AU Optronics for an AHVA panel in the 27-inch size running at QHD resolution. Native refresh is 144Hz but an overclock option is incorporated into the OSD that allows rates up to 165Hz over DisplayPort. Each screen is tested for stability before leaving the factory so you can be sure that every sample runs at the advertised speed.

We've looked at other AHVA monitors before and we want to make sure there's no confusion. AHVA is a variation of IPS that offers superior off-axis performance. It's not the super-high contrast AMVA technology seen in screens like the Philips BDM4065UC and BenQ XR3501. So what you have here is essentially an IPS screen with better viewing angles and all the other benefits associated with the tech.

The PG279Q is a premium product and no gaming features have been left out. In addition to a 165Hz panel you get Nvidia's G-Sync adaptive-refresh technology, ULMB motion-blur reduction, GamePlus, a hot-key to switch framerates on the fly and the usual lineup of gaming-specific image modes. It's an impressive package wrapped in a nicely-styled chassis with a solid stand. There is no doubt that you'll call attention to yourself when you show up at a LAN party with one of these.

The price is high-end as well—over $700 at this writing. But if you buy one now, you'll be getting a completely unique product and what is likely to be the ultimate gaming display for at least the near-future. Will it measure up to the hype? Let's take a look.

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  • TechyInAZ
    That is one sweet monitor! I can't imagine how good the OLED versions will be. : )

    It's interesting to note that this monitor is actually more demanding than a 4k 60hz monitor. Even though this is only a 2k monitor, it actually has nearly 3x the Hz compared to it's 4k counterparts, making it not supprising that you need at least dual GTX 980tis/Titan Xes to run everything at good settings.
  • Epsilon_0EVP
    This isn't the first 165Hz+ monitor. Plenty of CRT's could achieve around 200Hz at low resolutions, and that was over 10 years ago.
  • Uri___Pisarev
    I don't know, i went from a 32 inch TV to a 34 inch ultra wide Dell. I feel like i can still use a bigger monitor, anything sub 30 is just too small.
  • ubercake
    What I like about these G-sync monitors is you don't have to use an SLI setup to push maximum framerates to minimize perceivable tearing. Ever since the GTX 980 and the Asus PG278Q, all I've needed for great smooth video performance is a G-sync monitor and a single video card. I don't need 165Hz/165fps. I just need smooth gaming through the gamut of my GTX 980's performance whether the framerates are in the 30s or 100s, it's still smooth; no tearing. This G-sync is great tech.

    Now add the PG279Q's fast IPS performance and better contrast to the mix and it seems like an intriguing proposition...
  • Robert Dunlop
    I bought the Acer XB27HU with 165hz and what l wasn't prepared for was how fun these types of monitors make playing games again.

    The reviewer is spot on.
  • Uri___Pisarev
    Quote:
    That is one sweet monitor! I can't imagine how good the OLED versions will be. : ) It's interesting to note that this monitor is actually more demanding than a 4k 60hz monitor. Even though this is only a 2k monitor, it actually has nearly 3x the Hz compared to it's 4k counterparts, making it not supprising that you need at least dual GTX 980tis/Titan Xes to run everything at good settings.


    So you need to spend over 2K to really enjoy the product? That's insane to be honest. If you are a regular person out there and all you are willing to spend is $200 on the card (most common option that people chose) that means you will be able to buy that card and fully maxout this monitor oh in about 7 years or so, that's how long it will take for a GTX960 equivalent to be as powerful as 2 980ti's.
  • TechyInAZ
    2160553 said:
    Quote:
    That is one sweet monitor! I can't imagine how good the OLED versions will be. : ) It's interesting to note that this monitor is actually more demanding than a 4k 60hz monitor. Even though this is only a 2k monitor, it actually has nearly 3x the Hz compared to it's 4k counterparts, making it not supprising that you need at least dual GTX 980tis/Titan Xes to run everything at good settings.
    So you need to spend over 2K to really enjoy the product? That's insane to be honest. If you are a regular person out there and all you are willing to spend is $200 on the card (most common option that people chose) that means you will be able to buy that card and fully maxout this monitor oh in about 7 years or so, that's how long it will take for a GTX960 equivalent to be as powerful as 2 980ti's.


    G sync will help with that.

    Plus, like the reviewer said, this monitor is has future proofing in mind. It's designed for future cards that can handle this kind of product.
  • toddybody
    I sold my G-Sync 4K panel for a DELL 2716DG (27"@1440p G-Sync 144hz)...90fps has become the new 60fps for me. Can't tell folks how huge it is to go past 60hz.
  • agentsi1511
    Quote:
    That is one sweet monitor! I can't imagine how good the OLED versions will be. : ) It's interesting to note that this monitor is actually more demanding than a 4k 60hz monitor. Even though this is only a 2k monitor, it actually has nearly 3x the Hz compared to it's 4k counterparts, making it not supprising that you need at least dual GTX 980tis/Titan Xes to run everything at good settings.



    This is totally wrong, don't mislead people researching things. I have the Acer XB270HU and run everything at max settings on single GTX 970. IT is not more demanding than a 4k monitor in anyway. As someone with Techy in their name I would imagine you had a clue about this.
  • TechyInAZ
    893570 said:
    Quote:
    That is one sweet monitor! I can't imagine how good the OLED versions will be. : ) It's interesting to note that this monitor is actually more demanding than a 4k 60hz monitor. Even though this is only a 2k monitor, it actually has nearly 3x the Hz compared to it's 4k counterparts, making it not supprising that you need at least dual GTX 980tis/Titan Xes to run everything at good settings.
    This is totally wrong, don't mislead people researching things. I have the Acer XB270HU and run everything at max settings on single GTX 970. IT is not more demanding than a 4k monitor in anyway. As someone with Techy in their name I would imagine you had a clue about this.


    What games do you play?
  • agentsi1511
    Quote:
    Quote:
    That is one sweet monitor! I can't imagine how good the OLED versions will be. : ) It's interesting to note that this monitor is actually more demanding than a 4k 60hz monitor. Even though this is only a 2k monitor, it actually has nearly 3x the Hz compared to it's 4k counterparts, making it not supprising that you need at least dual GTX 980tis/Titan Xes to run everything at good settings.
    So you need to spend over 2K to really enjoy the product? That's insane to be honest. If you are a regular person out there and all you are willing to spend is $200 on the card (most common option that people chose) that means you will be able to buy that card and fully maxout this monitor oh in about 7 years or so, that's how long it will take for a GTX960 equivalent to be as powerful as 2 980ti's.


    No, he is wrong, a single GTX 970 will handle this just fine at 1440p and 144hz ( Assuming you have a decent i5 or i7 cpu or amd equivalent ). The refresh rate itself doesn't add to system performance degradation, but scaling the resolution would. Hence why you need 2 high end cards to run anything at max settings on ''4k'', and even that isn't enough most of the time.
  • agentsi1511
    1695593 said:
    893570 said:
    Quote:
    That is one sweet monitor! I can't imagine how good the OLED versions will be. : ) It's interesting to note that this monitor is actually more demanding than a 4k 60hz monitor. Even though this is only a 2k monitor, it actually has nearly 3x the Hz compared to it's 4k counterparts, making it not supprising that you need at least dual GTX 980tis/Titan Xes to run everything at good settings.
    This is totally wrong, don't mislead people researching things. I have the Acer XB270HU and run everything at max settings on single GTX 970. IT is not more demanding than a 4k monitor in anyway. As someone with Techy in their name I would imagine you had a clue about this.
    What games do you play?


    Been playing a lot of CoD Black Ops 3 lately, Guild Wars 2, Diablo 3, Shadows or mordor when really bored.
  • Thomas_123
    A TN + Film Panel is an Advantage.
    IPS is too slow.
  • TechyInAZ
    I guess what I'm not understanding is how a gtx 970 is fine for 165fps at 2k while it can't even do well at 60hz in 4k? That doesn't make sence to me.
  • agentsi1511
    2182520 said:
    A TN + Film Panel is an Advantage. IPS is too slow.


    1695593 said:
    I guess what I'm not understanding is how a gtx 970 is fine for 165fps at 2k while it can't even do well at 60hz in 4k? That doesn't make sence to me.


    The objective of 165hz isn't for you to reach that many frames per seconds(would be great if you could, but not realistic) . It allows for more refreshes in-between frames as well. That with the addition of G-Sync allow for the "smooth as glass" type images you see from people using these monitors. 2560x1440 is only 3.686 million pixels, 3840*2160 is 8.294 million pixels. HUGE difference when it comes to processing power on your GPU. If you get 60 fps on 1440p, you'll get less than 30 fps on 4k.
  • DookieDraws
    Note: The Amazon link for buying the monitor is linking to the older model! Here's the link to the monitor featured in this review, the ASUS ROG SWIFT PG279Q
    http://www.amazon.com/SWIFT-PG279Q-Screen-LED-Lit-Monitor/dp/B017EVR2VM/ref=sr_1_1?s=pc&ie=UTF8&qid=1456168896&sr=1-1&keywords=Asus+PG279Q
  • TechyInAZ
    893570 said:
    2182520 said:
    A TN + Film Panel is an Advantage. IPS is too slow.
    1695593 said:
    I guess what I'm not understanding is how a gtx 970 is fine for 165fps at 2k while it can't even do well at 60hz in 4k? That doesn't make sence to me.
    The objective of 165hz isn't for you to reach that many frames per seconds(would be great if you could, but not realistic) . It allows for more refreshes in-between frames as well. That with the addition of G-Sync allow for the "smooth as glass" type images you see from people using these monitors. 2560x1440 is only 3.686 million pixels, 3840*2160 is 8.294 million pixels. HUGE difference when it comes to processing power on your GPU. If you get 60 fps on 1440p, you'll get less than 30 fps on 4k.


    Oh ok. Cause for me, when I want to buy a monitor, I want to get the fully blown 165fps out of it. Not being able to max out the refresh rate on a monitor your buying that expensive is dumb in my opinion.
  • ubercake
    If you're shooting for full details and high minimum or average framerates close to 165Hz/165fps at 2560x1440 and have the hardware to do this, I'd say don't spend the premium on something that says G-sync as the strength of G-sync tech lies in eliminating tearing from a range of 30Hz/30fps to the monitor's maximum potential refresh rate (and a matching corresponding framerate).

    You either pay for the performance once with the G-sync monitor or you keep buying a multi-card setup to push framerates higher to reduce perceivable tearing (even though it's still there).
  • Robert Dunlop
    It's not dumb at all its called planning for the future. When nVidia gets their new cards out this year l will be all over it. I have a 970 and a i7 4790K and yeah its certainly not the best card out there but it will do for now. Techy it's not just about fps dude! If it was then l wouldn't have upgraded. Its about the IPS and Gsync for me. The color on this monitor is what l notice the most, it's beautiful to look at. So what l can't do 165 fps but l will in this monitors lifetime. Oh and l got the new October model of the XB27HU for $566 on sale. :-)
  • TechyInAZ
    1752750 said:
    It's not dumb at all its called planning for the future. When nVidia gets their new cards out this year l will be all over it. I have a 970 and a i7 4790K and yeah its certainly not the best card out there but it will do for now. Techy it's not just about fps dude! If it was then l wouldn't have upgraded. Its about the IPS and Gsync for me. The color on this monitor is what l notice the most, it's beautiful to look at. So what l can't do 165 fps but l will in this monitors lifetime. Oh and l got the new October model of the XB27HU for $566 on sale. :-)


    Understood. Yeah sorry, I'm typically an FPS dude. I really don't like the latency that comes from not being at the maximum/equal refresh rate.

    I also forgot that the monitor included G sync. My bad. :)
  • 10tacle
    I've been on a Dell IPS 60Hz 1440p monitor with 970 SLI for nearly two years now. I do overclock the monitor to 80Hz for games and then Vsync cap it since it's a waste of GPU power/heat beyond that anyway.

    The two primary reasons I have not gone for a G-Sync monitor in the past were because of price and them being TN panels. Sure, TN panels these days are much better than in years past and when calibrated with a decent tool like from X-Rite or Datacolor, can be real close to IPS quality. But a TN's viewing angle still falls short of IPS.

    Optimally I'd like to run 100-120FPS in games at the full capability of my GPU power. G-Sync would fit that bill, but at the price point even though it's AHVA-IPS, I'm still not feeling the love at $800(US). For $600, then I'll seriously consider it even though I've tried two different ASUS PB278Q 1440p monitors and had to return them both due to poor quality (too many dead pixels on one, severe light bleed on the other)...the reason I gave up and went Dell.
  • Robert Dunlop
    I didn't understand the difference between TN and IPS but l sure do now, it's a real treat. I also didn't understand how important the color gamut error was either but trust me, l don't need 165fps to kill you in any fps. :-)
  • sect
    "Each screen is tested for stability before leaving the factory so you can be sure that every sample runs at the advertised speed."

    I'm sorry to inform, but this monitor has been riddled with unacceptable QC problems. A quick google and you will find countless comments of people RMA'ing upto 5-6 panels before they got a good one.

    I strongly encourage anyone interested in buying one of these to check this video where they compared a big pool of the monitor, and around half and over were terrible with bleed.

    https://goo.gl/arzccq

    Add to that Asus not saying anything officially should inform you about what you're getting into.

    If you get a good sample, awesome. Be prepared to spend a lot of waiting around and stress though if you luck out (high chance of this). Pretty unacceptable for such a pricey product.

    Did reviewers not know about this?
  • chenw
    I currently have PG278Q (the TN one) and have seen the PG279Q personally at one of the IT conventions in Taipei near the end of last year, as well as XB271HU (the refresh version of XB270HU), they have the PG279Q on both static display and for racing. I was in the market for an IPS monitor to complement my PG278Q, but the largest constraint was that the IPS glow MUST be less noticeable than PG278Q's BLB.

    My immediate conclusion to the monitors are:

    1) The response times on the PG279Q wasn't noticeable (they were demonstrating a racing game). Actually the only time I really notice blurring was when I switched from PG278Q and BL3201PT to compare the IQ of the two, but the blurring largely disappears after several minutes. So, IMHO, the response time difference between the monitors are mostly on paper. Some people may notice it more.

    2) IPS Glow: XB271HU completely blows PG279Q out of the water on this one. The Acer stand allowed me to see a fully black screen, and my immediate reaction was that XB271HU's glow is comparable to that of PG278Q, but PG279Q was woeful. I concentrated on a black patch of a webpage (the Asus stand won't let me change the picture), and it was placed right next to a white background, which should make IPS glow less noticeable (due to perceived contrast), but it was actually MORE noticeable in that configuration than Acer's completely black screen. So for all intents and purposes, I struck off PG279Q as a possible purchase. I was completely unwilling to sacrifice black levels for viewing angles.

    3) Price: PG279Q and XB271HU costs the same here, but cost is somewhat irrelevant to me at the price range (sub $1000), I was more than willing to spend extra on a better monitor.

    In the end, I settled on BL3201PT. XB271HU might have swayed me if I was looking into replacing my PG278Q, but I wasn't, though if I was doing it all over again, Acer would be my first pick, followed by PG278Q, THEN PG279Q. YMMV as I have a greater tolerance towards TN and far less tolerance towards IPS glow.