Asus Republic of Gamers Swift PG279Q Review
As you have probably seen on the reviews section of Omgeek, I just had to ask Asus for a compatible monitor to deal with a GT51CH tower. After all, I was pretty sure that such a rig, even in its most basic configuration, would be wasted on my standard issue 60-75fps max panel.
Because of that, I now have one more item to write about.
The Swift PG279Q is one of the best gaming monitors you can get at the moment - well, if you have an Nvidia 10-series card. Getting one of these with a test rig is a rare opportunity to see what happens if I actually had no budget when building a PC - and didn’t stop after pimping the tower.
This is a native 1440p display with a color reproduction depth of 8bits. There are many like it these days, and many more to come in the future, but this is Asus’s line. At 27”, the icons are proportionately sized at native resolution.
With this much real estate there is enough for 4K Digital Super Resolution, if one is so inclined.
The refresh rate setting is going to throw people off a bit the first time they plug the monitor in. It's not 165hz out of the box - but 60hz. And you don’t actually get to change this in any driver software.
To get anything more than 60hz, you need to access the monitor turbo settings, marked Overclock. Only then, will you be able to get the advertised maximum of 165hz.
The major selling point of this monitor, G-Sync - Nvidia’s variable refresh technology - is available at all the refresh rates this monitor is capable of. It is only limited by how many frames a game can push at native in any given setting, and whether the games themselves support G-Sync properly.
Running the monitor at “full tilt” tends to have the user control area heat up like the camera section of a pre-2012 cellphone. This doesn't seem too harmful and isn't actually overheating per se - its just warmer than I'd expect given that I'm not technically "overclocking" the monitor.
This problem doesn’t appear at 120hz and is quite more reasonable at 144hz. Connections:
There’s only a DisplayPort and a HDMI 2.0 port. Nothing else
The meat and potatoes of this monitor is the DisplayPort connector. That’s what G-Sync needs, and that’s what the high refresh rates advertised by this monitor supports.
Advance warnings are in order - the DisplayPort doesn’t seem to accept any old third party DisplayPort cable too. I had to ask Asus to loan me a spare because the one I had on hand - which worked on another rig - didn’t work at all.
There is a HDMI connector, 2.0 spec - but using it as the main display out would be a waste. I’ve not been successful at pushing more than 60fps through HDMI, even with the monitor’s overclock function, nor can I actually confirm that speeds above 60fps are supported and if there’s firmware that can be updated for such support.
What I can confirm is, G-Sync STILL doesn’t work on HDMI.
In my opinion the HDMI port seems to be an afterthought. A backup for troubleshooting the display. This does mean one thing tho - take really good care of that DisplayPort and cable!
Standard issue on the PC279 is a black monitor stand with red ROG-themed LED accents. The stand is height adjustable, and swivels 135 degrees facing front.
It also rotates up to 90 degrees, but only in one direction - clockwise. This will have implications on cable management - to avoid obstruction, gamers are recommended to run cables and place the tower to the LEFT of the PG279Q.
There is a tilt, but tilting only seems to work upwards. The tilt is less than 45 degrees.
The base of the mount is stable, but rather large. If placed on a desk the size of one found in a school classroom desk, you’ll barely have enough space for a keyboard, and very little space for your mouse.
There’s some interesting rubber blocked holes at the back, and if I recall this construction correctly, this means the monitor has VESA-standard mounts, and can be separated from its rather nifty stand to be used on a wall mount.
The PG279 has an integrated USB 3.0 hub, a 1->2 port type that is a convenient place to plug in your keyboard and mouse, or a wifi dongle. The Type B connector here is meant to go to the tower.
Ports are placed comfortably well apart from the graphics ports; and are spaced such that occupying any of them doesn't block the other.
The PG279Q does have a pair of internal speakers and what seems to be a jack for an optional woofer, or pass through for a headset.
Sound over HDMI and DP is actually processed on-chip by the GPU (as opposed to the motherboard's onboard sound card). This is digital sound rather than analogue, and by default has less motherboard interference - with the only disadvantage being few people have the peripherals to take advantage of GPU digital audio.
The PG279Q’s speakers seem to only be an afterthought (just like the HDMI port). Not to say that the quality is terrible - its actually decent in the mids - but for bass and tweets, system builders can probably do better.
To be honest, at the current time, this monitor is overkill. A GTX 1080 has trouble even giving it a sweat, something I didn’t expect - contemporary AAA games such as Battlefield One will have trouble hitting 120hz on native ultra, let alone 165hz.
Only e-sports games using a decade old SDK - perhaps played at HD resolutions or below - have any chance in hell right now of hitting 165hz.
At ~1.2k sgd RRP, The PG279Q represents a trip down the rabbit hole of having a monitor that costs as much as most rigs, if not more.
Its pricey, all things considered, even against its similarly specced competitors from Acer, Benq and Viewsonic.
Plus there are caveats - before you decide to purchase this particular monitor, you need to be sure that you are G-Sync ready - contemporary Nvidia card with DisplayPort 1.2 and all, or most of the benefits of the PG279Q are moot.
That said, when a buyer has all the prerequisites, what he is paying is 27” monitor with the works -and,plenty of future-proofing, unless he's looking for native 4k-8k resolution.
Get past the “some assembly required” clause, and it'll be worth every dollar spent.
I was kind of nonplussed when I got a VGA cable when the PG279Q doesn't have a VGA port. This is a small note to prospective buyers - have your retailers open the box and make sure you have the stuff you need - better than bringing it back home to find you can’t use it out of the box.