Asus PG27AQ review: 4K gaming ready

G-sync monitor fails to stand out

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Introduction

This year both AMD and Nvidia will introduce new GPU architectures, that should be a giant leap forwards in terms of performance, partly because of the switch to a smaller production process. This means that 4K gaming, gaming at a resolution of 3840x2160, will be possible at higher frame rates meaning it is more interesting to play at this resolution. Asus already introduced a new monitor to be ready for this: the RoG Switft PG27AQ. An ultra hd monitor with an IPS-panel and support for G-sync. You can find our test results in this article.


For now, in order to game at 4K resolution with acceptable frame rates you need at least two of the fastest, most expensive, graphics cards available now; like the Nvidia GeForce GTX 980 Ti. Even then you will need to turn down the graphics settings in modern games in order to have a fluid experience. As there are not a lot of people that spend this much money on their graphics cards, it is safe to say that 4K gaming is more of a promise than a reality in this day and age.

ASUS RoG Swift PG27AQ
Asus made the PG27AQ available for those that do have an extreme budget for gaming.

Which is a shame, because games look a lot better at such a high resolution than for example full hd or even wqhd. The biggest challenge when reviewing a monitor is always that the difference in a certain technology, be it IPS (or VA) versus TN-panels, 144Hz versus 60Hz, or ultra hd versus full hd, is hard to explain in words. You have to experience it. In the case of a higher resolution there is an example that most people can experience themselves: take a look at your smartphone, most likely to have at least 1280x720 pixels, and think back to the time that this was 640x360 – maybe even less. You would not want to go back. The same is the case for high resolution monitors: when you are used to them, you never want to go back.

Because of the ultra hd-resolution games suddenly get a lot closer to the ideal of photo realism. Certainly modern games engines that can generate an abundance of detail thanks to the high resolution textures and modern api’s with tessellation, the increase in detail is enormous. It results in a more immersive experience. An added bonus is that the need for anti-aliasing diminishes; this lowers the load on the GPU and results in a sharper picture.

 

If you do not own two high-end graphics cards, but want to be prepared for the future, you can always decide to game at a lower resolution on an ultra hd monitor. Because of the relatively small pixels the viewing of anything but 1-on 1 pixel scaling is not bothersome in our opinion. In 2D applications and with less demanding games you can use the native resolution- if the load becomes too much for your GPU to handle you can scale down to a lower resolution, for example 2560x1440.

The fact remains that a fluent experience in ultra hd for a single GPU is pretty difficult for now. Especially here a synchronisation technique, which automatically adjusts the refresh rate to the incoming video signal, is an advantage. As regular visitors know there are two main standards for this: Nvidia Gsync and AMD Freesync. The latter being used by a lot more monitor manufacturers, but the former being used by a lot more graphics cards that are actually used by the target audience. A difficult situation and especially annoying for gamers because G-sync makes a monitor a lot more expensive than Freesync.

The Asus Republic of Gamers Swift PG27AQ, the main subject of this review, is clearly more expensive because of this added feature. Looking at our Price Comparison we can find it for 671 pounds / 870 euros and see it averages well over 730 pounds / 950 euros. This is about 115 pounds / 150 euros to 155 pounds / 200 euros more than a comparable monitor, in terms of specifications, without G-sync. But, this monitor being the second ultra hd monitor with G-sync to arrive in our lab, we were very eager to find out how it would perform in practice.

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ASUS RoG Swift PG27AQ

27 inch, 3840x2160, 163 ppi, IPS, Nvidia G-Sync, 60 Hz, HDMI input, DisplayPort input, 4 ms, 300 cd/m², 1000 : 1

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