Introduction

120Hz panels are definitely still market newcomers - in fact, look no further than Newegg, where there still isn’t a 120Hz category, much less a refresh rate field for drilling down products. The necessity for 120Hz panels arose entirely out of the ongoing 3D obsession across the entire consumer electronics segment, something that remains a difficult sell for many gamers. On a technical level, the necessity for 120Hz arises from the need to drive two discrete 60Hz images - one 60Hz image for each eye. In its current incarnation, consumer 3D technology relies primarily on active shutter glasses - parallax barrier 3D displays are still too expensive, and I’ve yet to see passive polarization methods used outside the movie theatre. But you probably already know most of the 3D story.

Though the 120Hz refresh frequency does make games playable in 3D, there’s another important benefit of using a faster refresh rate - everything looks smoother, and you can now drive up to 120 FPS without tearing. The ASUS VG236H was my first exposure to 120Hz refresh displays that aren’t CRTs, and the difference is about as subtle as a dump truck driving through your living room. I spent the first half hour seriously just dragging windows back and forth across the desktop - from a 120Hz display to a 60Hz, stunned at how smooth and different 120Hz was. Yeah, it’s that different.

If you’re the kind of person that cares about squeezing every last FPS out of your box - regardless of how you feel about 3D - don’t even bother reading the rest of this review, just run, don’t walk, to the store and get this 120Hz display. I’m serious.

ASUS’ VG236H isn’t perfect, like any product there are a few caveats. That aside, honestly, the completely unparalleled level of smoothness on a 120 Hz display has made me hyper attuned to just how flickery 60Hz looks on all the other LCDs I’ve got.

Oh and my initial skepticism about 3D? I’m still shocked about it, but I've completely changed my mind.

Let’s dive into this review.

Overview and Specifications
POST A COMMENT

121 Comments

View All Comments

  • Gris - Monday, August 9, 2010 - link

    "Manufacturers need to create circularly polarized monitors before it is really usable."

    I think you may be right, (if that's even viable), but more so for tv's than computer monitors where viewing in a vertical position is more the norm.
    Reply
  • zoxo - Monday, August 9, 2010 - link

    Yes indeed, but why settle for a half-solution?
    But I agree, that anything that uses passive glasses is a huge step-up. Those active glasses drive me nuts.
    Reply
  • ChongDOTcom - Monday, August 9, 2010 - link

    I guess this display is quite popular, since it's sold out at nearly every online retailer. The only site I could find that has some in stock was Best Buy, where I luckily just ordered one last night.

    I was originally going to get the Alienware Optx, but that's the same price but doesn't come with the glasses. It looks a little cooler, but they seem extremely similar. I don't even need the glasses, though (I have an ATI card). I'll likely sell them.

    Anybody know any workarounds to get 3D to work on this screen? I'd be willing to purchase another 3D kit.
    Reply
  • meldog11 - Tuesday, August 10, 2010 - link

    i think most of you are missing the point...the point is true functioning 3-d gaming on almost 24 inches of landscape @ true 1080p.....i hear you throwing out a huge wish list of things that arent available now nor where they available before....but this is closer to your wish list of demands, at a price point that 3 months ago you could only get 22 inches and 1680 x 1050.....what i took from this whole review is that the reviewer was overwhelmingly impressed with the 3d technology...meaning it actually "works" and a worthy skeptic is converted!...so if your not a fan of 3d technology then fine, if you wont be impressed with a new level of immersion in the games that you play fine, if close to 24 inches of landscape dont improve on the previous 22 inches of landscape fine.....but make no mistake about it this is a definite step in the right direction in terms of gameplay and performance for an imerging tech and at a price point that is impressive or at least competative to its predeccesors......just my humble opinion Reply
  • RaZz! - Thursday, August 12, 2010 - link

    Nice review. In the conclusion you mention the Acer and Alienware monitors - in my opinion the LG W2363D should be named in this league as well.

    Since reviews of these monitors are cluttered all over the web on different sites with different test methods etc, it's pretty hard to really compare the monitors respectively the results from these tests.

    I'd really love to see these 120Hz monitors tested with the same test methods - compared from one source.

    Anandtech would do a lot of people a favor with a 120Hz monitor roundup ;) Many forums have threads going on with exact this topic and a lot of people are unsure which monitor is better. Facts and detailed field reports are very rare, even though some of these monitors are out there for quite some time already.

    On a side note: there have been a lot of issues reported for the Acer, like too aggressive Overdrive which makes fonts too sharp and hardly readable as well as green and red coronas when doing fast turns in games. Videos of these problems can be found on Youtube for example.
    Reply
  • Sabresiberian - Thursday, August 12, 2010 - link

    I'm sooo glad to read an up-to-date article that describes the 120Hz LCD monitor in a discreet state. The previous articles I read (back when they first came out ) left me with the impression that they weren't really 120 Hz, just 60Hz gimmicked-up, and not much better. Brian has answered that question and I am thrilled to know we aren't entirely hampered with 60Hz as a standard for future video.

    Looking forward to a real quality unit along the lines of the Dell U2711 or HP ZR30w in true 120 Hz capability. Better yet, true 240 Hz so that each eye can live with 120 Hz in a 3D setup! Heh.
    Reply
  • Orip - Saturday, August 14, 2010 - link

    Seems to be doing whatever the Asus VG236H is doing (except that the 2233RZ is 22" but is also a 16:10).

    What am I missing?
    Reply
  • Orip - Saturday, August 14, 2010 - link

    Being keen on the sanctity of my fps I'm still using my good ole' trusted Iiyama CRT.
    Now that LCDs are nailing down 120mhz I could finally grab one but there seem to be no concensus as to where one's money would be best spent.
    The samsung is cheaper by far out of all the 120mhz LCDs out there (atleast in israel that's the case).

    A lil' help here would be welcome :)
    Thanks! :)
    Reply
  • fingerbob69 - Tuesday, August 17, 2010 - link

    As the subject line says 120hz ips panels are the way to go; colour reprodution and fluidity of movement... with no issue regarding viewing angles.

    I have one of those NEC ea231wmi panels and I have to say it's fantastic. I play a lot of fps games and have not noticed any colour distortion, left to right, ghosting or lag and I've had no problem with the anti glare coating. Maybe I'm just too easily pleased!
    Reply
  • DarkUltra - Thursday, August 19, 2010 - link

    I don't see any black level impressions. Just that contrast is good and MEtro 2033 needs a bump in the gamma setting in 3D mode. Other reviews have found the black level on this monitor bad:

    The display was equally unable to separate very dark grays from absolute black. As a result, we had a difficult time seeing what was happening in the Blu-ray version of Watchmen’s opening fight sequence.
    http://www.maximumpc.com/article/reviews/asus_vg23...

    This is not acceptable to me. I don't wanto mess with gamma settings in games and reduce the color representation further. I guess I'll get the LG W2363D or wait for a 16:10 or LED backlit 120hz monitor.

    The other 120hz monitors have other issues, AW2310 have blurring and smearing in 2d mode despite the 120hz performance, GD245HQ have serious sharpness issues, the others are "only" 22" panels.
    Reply

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now