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ASUS’ RoG SWIFT PG278Q 27-inch Monitor Brings G-Sync to 1440p Gamers

Posted on August 11, 2014 9:00 AM by Rob Williams
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When I first got a glimpse of NVIDIA’s G-Sync technology at a press event last fall, I was impressed from the get-go. So impressed, in fact, that it felt like it’d take no time at all to see the market become littered with displays equipped with the technology. As I look back at that thought, I realize just how naive I was, since up to this point, only a single model has shipped: ASUS’ VG248QE.

At June’s Computex event in Taipei, we learned that the G-Sync dearth would soon be ending, with a number of models slated for release during Q3. Well, it’s ASUS once again first out the door with a new model, this time a 27-inch one. It’s called SWIFT PG278Q, and as it falls under ASUS’ Republic of Gamers line, you’d be right to assume that this is a high-grade display.

ASUS PG278Q G-Sync display

On account of the simple fact that this display’s model number differs by a single character to the one I use every single day (PB278Q), I had figured the specs would be similar. Not so – this RoG SWIFT has gamer written all over it (not literally – that’d be stupid).

The PG278Q is a 27-inch display using a TN panel that sports a resolution of 2560×1440. At that native res, it uses a refresh rate of 144Hz while in 2D mode, and 100 or 120Hz in 3D mode. If you have deep pockets and would like to go the Surround route, a 7680×1440 resolution awaits. So too should a high-end GPU assortment, because 11 megapixels is no joke.

Other specs include a 350cd/m2 brightness, a 1000:1 contrast ratio, a 1ms gray-to-rate response time, a 170° viewing angle, a pixel width of 0.233mm (109ppi), and gamer-specific features like GamePlus and Ultra Low Motion Blur. It also happens to be quite light, coming in at 7KG; the aforementioned PB278Q is 8.8KG, despite having the same display size.

Something that will jump out a lot of people pursuing a monitor like this will be the fact that it has only a single video port (DisplayPort). I have no idea why it has only one, but it’s unfortunate. My PB278Q daily driver has not only a DisplayPort, but HDMI and DVI as well. I can understand that G-Sync might not work with other connectors, but I do feel more ports should be implemented here. On this monitor, I sometimes hook up my SHIELD via HDMI to play some games. That’s simply impossible on the PG278Q. Nonetheless, 2x USB 3.0 ports can also be found at the back.

ASUS PG278Q G-Sync display - Backside

Of course, the biggest thing to set this monitor apart from most is NVIDIA’s G-Sync technology, which can greatly smooth out desynced frames in full-screen gaming. Because this feature ties in straight to the GPU, a G-Sync option must be chosen under the Vertical Sync drop-down inside of the NVIDIA driver – something that will happen by default after installing a GeForce driver. Naturally, for this to be possible, an NVIDIA graphics card must be installed.

I’ve been testing out the PG278Q for the past couple of days, but still need to get some more testing in before I can publish a full review. So far, I am greatly impressed with the display from many different regards. G-Sync behaves just as I expected it to, although that’s what most of my further testing will be dedicated towards. The aesthetics are great as well, with its thin bezels making it an ideal display for multi-monitor, and its red glow at the base simply looking cool. Mechanically, it’s also impressive – it can go into portrait mode in a couple of seconds, and moves up and down its mount with very little effort required.

ASUS’ RoG SWIFT PG278Q is set to hit etail soon, and when it does, it’ll sell for about $799. If there’s anything you’d like to know about the display, feel free to post below, and I’ll tackle it in time for the full review.


  • Kayden

    What about those who want to use G-Sync with Multi-Monitor and the video card has only one display port? That makes no sense.

    • http://techgage.com/ Rob Williams

      For Surround, three identical NVIDIA GPUs (that have DisplayPort) will be needed. It’s a costly endeavor.

      • Joseph C. Carbone III

        You have avoided Kayden’s complaint, the most important thing to note about the ASUS’ RoG SWIFT PG278Q, other than it is G-Sync functional: ‘in this day, what desktop monitor should have only one video input,’ absolutely absurd, and the speed of a 1ms TN panel is going to be questionable when colors are continually washing out from simply shifting your head.

        One cannot call that immersive, but distractive. No screen tears, minimized stutter, but the color are fading in and out. What!

        Oh, and, forget about using it with anything else, like a notebook, etcetera.

        • Chris Pistol

          You obviously don’t understand the concept of this monitor. It’s for enthusiasts that fall under a very particular genre. Specifically, Gamers– most of which run an SLI setup. This monitor is not geared to an average Gamer or computer end user. The use of ONE DisplayPort input makes logical sense as the premiere feature of this monitor is it’s G-sync capability, and the fact that it’s 1440p. The G-Sync requires the DP in order to function, so why bother having anything else? It’s also the second monitor to walk out the door with G-Sync support.

          If you want a monitor with more options, then don’t invest into a Gaming enthusiast’s Monitor, and look for something more plausible for your user type.

          • http://techgage.com/ Rob Williams

            “The G-Sync requires the DP in order to function, so why bother having anything else?”

            For non-PC things. With the PB278Q, I’ve hooked up my NVIDIA SHIELD for when I feel like playing emulated games (could do it on the PC but I find the experience a little nicer with the Android apps), and I also used to hook up a second PC via DVI and flick between it and the DP-equipped PC. If this monitor had more connectors, users would just have to know that DP is required for G-Sync to function. Even my Dell 24-inch I purchased in 2008 had 2x DVI, 1x HDMI, and 1x DP. So to see an $800 monitor forgo everything aside from a DP is just a bit strange (but obviously it’s tied to a technical limitation of making G-Sync work on such a display).

          • Joseph C. Carbone III

            Thank you for sharing your thoughts with me…

        • http://techgage.com/ Rob Williams

          I acknowledged his complaint by saying that three separate GPUs that have DisplayPort connectors is required for multi-monitor. I’m not quite sure how I was avoiding anything.

          I agree with you on the TN aspect, it’s unfortunate. I’m not sure of the reason TN was used here in lieu of IPS, but after reading into things, I am quite certain the single video connector has the G-Sync module to thank. For more video connectors to be added, G-Sync would have to enable them. That’s the route I wish NVIDIA took, but I’m not an engineer so I can’t really claim too much.

          • Joseph C. Carbone III

            I think one video input is likely a limitation imposed by Nvidia’s module, which would mean that the rest of the monitors will have the same problem, and this includes Acer’s 4K G-Sync panel, the XB280HK, again with only one input; itself, also a TN display. However, twisted nematic display technology has evolved so I am hoping for the best but am not holding my breath—to be impressed.

            What frustrates many is when companies cut technological corners, who, like me, have invested in three GTX Titans, and the like, and want more commitment rather than half measures.

            Where is Italy’s Pininfarina for us who have waited for this advancement long before the announcement of G-Sync?

            Asus and Acer may have chosen TN panels to limit their costs. As Chris Pistol above indicated, they are already trying to appeal to a small segment, but, within that segment, what ratio of people will afford for a premium panel with this technology? And, maybe what is needed for each input is another expensive G-Sync module. Therefore, for the same reason they use TN panels, there is only one video input, because they want to keep profits as high as possible.

            What may be suspect here, is why not bypass G-Sync for legacy connections, an implementation that would cost little. Is this an oversight, shortsighted, or greed? I do wonder. What I do know is, this is not technology being correctly implemented, soon we will see it done correctly, but why not do things properly the first time around? Maybe AMD/ATI’s FreeSync will be our answer, as soon as it is adopted, and these measures that frustrate are just quick attempts at making some fast cash and a little corporate backscratching, as well.

          • http://techgage.com/ Rob Williams

            I’m not sure why ASUS went with TN panels, but it seems unlikely that it has anything to do with the G-Sync module. As you say, the fact that there’s one video connector definitely has to do with the G-Sync, which is unfortunate. I am sure NVIDIA would have preferred to not have this limitation, but things have been delayed enough. Again, I’m no engineer so I have no idea what it would take to get G-Sync + other video connectors. I just have major doubts that corners were cut for the sake of it.

            As for this particular panel, it’s definitely the nicest TN I’ve come across, but it’s a TN at the end of the day. I went into portrait mode last night to play some pinball, and even then I found I had to stare at the monitor head on in order to not notice the dimming edges. It’s especially noticeable since I’ve been using the PB278Q for over a year, which doesn’t have that problem (it’s PLS).

          • George Fernandez

            There is a very technical reason as to why this and all the other G-Sync monitors that are planning to come out onto the market are TN and it’s because of, speed & performance. IPS do not have the capabilities to do ULMB and Strobing and cannot match the GtG speeds or high (and stable) refresh rates of TN. Which also ties to why any of this stuff, FreeSync or G-Sync, only works through Display port. It’s the only port right now capable of handling the work load. I agree it would have been nice to have other ports, but it probably would have driven up the cost more. There are some Korean branded IPS monitors out there that only have one port and are cheaper than another monitor with 3+ ports. The PCB inside each monitor has to be able to drive through any of the ports it has built in, so the more ports, the stronger the PCB inside has to be.

            I’m not going to type out a lecture on the technicality of panels, but TFTcentral and Blurbusters offer very comprehensive guides on all this stuff.
            .

          • http://techgage.com/ Rob Williams

            Great info, thanks a bunch! Even the reviewer’s guide for the monitor didn’t go into the detail about WHY the TN panel was chosen, so you’ve cleared a lot up.

          • Joseph C. Carbone III

            Hello George, thank you for contributing to the discussion, I would genuinely like to believe that TN panels are a must for this technology but do not. I have a general distrust, an earned distrust, for corporations—anything run by humans. Paradoxically, I would genuinely like to believe what you have written is not so simple, and they are cutting corners because I have been dissatisfied with panel technology and, how, in many ways, it has dragged us backward, but, going back to TNs, oh, that is painful, because when it comes to the fascinating world of computer animation, storytelling, and how our personal computers can merge these things uniquely, I think I would rather deal with a washed-out screen than one that is stuttering and tearing, which, in itself, is categorically unacceptable and surprising has been tolerated so long. A stuttering and tearing screen is like trying to listen to music completely out of sync with its parts or a film that is continuously in need of repair throughout its presentation.

          • Joseph C. Carbone III

            I may have missed something, but I will share my thoughts with you because I feel they are welcomed:

            I read Kayden saying that the monitor is limited because of a nonsensical decision to give it only one input and no variation at that, however the answer focuses on a side issue, the expense of multiple panels and the rigged needed to support them, rather than the protest of the monitor’s limitations.

            Adapters may be helpful: DVI to DisplayPort and HDMI to DisplayPort, but at the same time understanding neither DVI nor HDMI have the necessary requirements for G-Sync to be fully functional, even with adapters.

            You are kind, and I thank you for your generosity. You are appreciated and thank you for your work and this review. I look forward to more. Sincerely, Joseph; 13 August 2014

          • Joseph C. Carbone III

            I may have missed something, but I will share my thoughts with you because I feel they are welcomed.

            I read Kayden saying that the monitor is limited because of a nonsensical decision to give it only one input and no variation at that, however the answer focuses on a side issue, the expense of multiple panels and the rigged needed to support them, rather than the protest of the monitor’s limitations.

            Adapters may be helpful: DVI to DisplayPort and HDMI to DisplayPort, but at the same time understanding neither DVI nor HDMI have the necessary requirements for G-Sync to be fully functional, even with adapters.

            You are kind and thank you for your generosity. You are appreciated and thank you for your work and this review. I look forward to more. Sincerely, Joseph; 13 August 2014

    • Weston Konik

      HDM (and i Believe Dual link DVI) cannot run 1440p/144hz. Display Port can. ALSO, having only ONE input cuts back on having to have more electronics effecting the input, which means lower input lag.

  • Stuntmonkey

    I think the question on most peoples’ minds is: When will this monitor actually be available to purchase? This has been an awfully long time in coming.

    It’s tempting to speculate that the relative dearth of G-sync monitors (as the article says, just a single model to date), and the 5+ month delay of this unit, are indicative of some kind of engineering challenge with G-sync. The reviews so far of the PG278Q have been very positive, including G-sync specifically, so it appears any kinks have been ironed out.

    • http://techgage.com/ Rob Williams

      Great points. I’ve reached out to ASUS to see if we can get some insight on things.

      Over at the PC Master Race sub-Reddit the other day, someone posted pictures of their new build, and surprisingly enough, they had this monitor. So, it might be available -somewhere-, but I haven’t found it yet.

      • Stuntmonkey

        There are scattered reports of it being available, all from Europe that I have seen. It appears that NA will be among the last to get this. All in all it’s been a somewhat strange rollout, with many missed dates. Asus PR seems to be taking the tack of announcing nothing at this point. I expect that one day it will just be available on Amazon and that will be that.

        • http://techgage.com/ Rob Williams

          I admit that even when I received this monitor, I was oblivious to what led up to its release. I had no idea it suffered such delays.

          On account of the fact that the monitor came to me from NVIDIA, I’d assume that means that the company is pushing ASUS to get these out the door ASAP. Hopefully things won’t take too long.

          Are you going to get one, you think?

          • Stuntmonkey

            Thanks both of you for the information, and Rob for a nice review. Yes I’ll definitely get one of these monitors when they become available. G-sync seems to make a pretty noticeable difference so in combination with 1440 resolution and low input lag, I think this will be the best 1440 gaming monitor for the foreseeable future.

          • http://techgage.com/ Rob Williams

            Feel free to check in with your thoughts on the monitor after you’ve put some time in, especially to say how much you’ve come to appreciate G-Sync. Would be nice to hear some outside opinions that don’t come from TG’s competitors ;-)

        • George Fernandez

          According to PCPER it is expecting to launch in the US on the 26th of this month. After that I guess it’s based on vendors so not sure what (tiger direct, newegg,amazon, best buy) each one will do.

          • http://techgage.com/ Rob Williams

            Aye, I heard back from our rep want was told that. “We launch in North America on 8/26. Units are going into distribution now. As for the delay, it required an enormous amount of engineering work (NV and ASUS) to get it GSync working up to 144Hz.”

            There’s more to the story than that, but the delays were certainly not ideal.

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