Have you ever looked at one of those smart new wide-screen monitors and thought to yourself "... nah, that wide screen is just not wide-screen enough!" Then look no further as Samsung reveal a brand new ultra-wide monitor which bucks the conventions and delights Microsoft Excel users, as well as two additional designs that will bring the first implementation of AMD FreeSync 2 to the market.
Samsung's new CHG90, which can be pre-ordered in the US today, is one of those rare products which at first glance is awe-inspiring. The launch model is a huge 49" ultra-wide curved display with a 32:9 aspect ratio, a monitor which will absolutely dominate any desk that it's placed on. The sheer size of the base alone - needed to keep that panel stable - may well push early adopters to look hard at switching to a VESA mount; but we're getting ahead of ourselves.
The CHG90 utilises Samsung's VA panel technology for fast response times, but doesn't push the pixel density too high. With a resolution of only 3840x1080 it's twice 1080p; certainly taxing for conventional graphics cards, but not nearly as demanding as 4K. Gaming enthusiasts who appreciate fact-paced action will be pleased to know that it's a 144Hz panel for silky-smooth gameplay, GPU output frame-rate permitting of course.
Moving on to the slightly more familiar we have the CHG70 monitor range, which comes a standard aspect ratio and 27" or 32" size. Once again a 144Hz VA panel is the order of the day, but the resolution is a higher than usual 2560 x 1440 (1440p); that's a little larger than is typical and once again indicates that it should be paired with a GPU that is on the slightly more powerful end of the spectrum.
So far, so impressive, but these new monitors also come with technologies that the manufacturer is quite keen to show off.
AMD FreeSync 2
Current HDR transport formats were designed primarily for movie content displayed on televisions with tone mapping handled by the displays, often leading to higher-than-acceptable latency for PC gaming. AMD's new API for FreeSync™ 2 offers a lower-latency alternative that shifts the workload to the powerful pipeline of a Radeon™ GPU, allowing the game to tone map directly to the display's target luminance, contrast, and color space. Radeon FreeSync™ 2 technology offers over 2x the brightness and color volume over sRGB.2
Huzzah, FreeSync 2 is finally here. Unveiled at CES, the updated FreeSync standard is now compatible with HDR content and monitors. Oh, and yes, both the CHG90 and CHG70 conform to the HDR spec. This means that rendered HDR gameplay in titles such as Mass Effect Andromeda will be silky smooth over a wide frame rate, something that's pretty critical as both the resolution and the refresh rates the panel is capable of increases.
Of course the other benefits of FreeSync also extend to FreeSync 2, most notably Low Framerate Compensation which ensures that the smoothing effect of FreeSync doesn't fall apart if the rendered frame rate is lower than the monitors' minimum frame rate. FreeSync, however, is a technology exclusive to AMD GPUs, and the resolutions of all three monitors will push AMD's current flagship GPU quite hard at high image quality settings. Certainly food for thought.
FreeSync continues to develop, and as the first monitors to support both it and HDR you would be getting in at the ground floor for FreeSync 2. Don't be surprised if more updates are rolled out over the course of the panel's lifetime to further improve your gaming experience.
QLED Quantum Dot technology
Both the CHG70 and CHG90 models also feature Samsung's QLED Quantum Dot technology], a feature first unveiled at CES Las Vegas earlier this year as part of their television range. Compared to conventional panels those equipped with QLED Quantum Dot technology boast substantially improved reproduction: 125 percent of the sRGB color space and 95 percent of the DCI-P3 color space. That means you'll get better colour reproduction and, as an HDR panel, benefit from improved contrast giving shadows better definition and an overall more vibrant image.
There is no current UK and EU pricing and availability guidance for these new monitors, but they can now be pre-ordered from retailers in the US. The 49-inch CHG90 is available for pre-order on Amazon.com for $1499, whilst the 32-inch CHG70 is available exclusively on Newegg.com for $699, and the 27-inch display can be pre-ordered on Samsung.com for $599.
More information on each of these new gaming monitors can be found at Samsung.com.