Latency in games has its days numbered. This parameter measures the time that elapses from the moment we press one of the buttons of our mouse or control knob and the moment in which that action is reflected on the screen of our monitor. The shorter that time, the more precise our control of the action within the game. And this improvement can have a profound impact on our experience, especially in first-person shooter and fighting games, among other genres.
The ASUS monitor to which we are going to dedicate this article seeks to minimize latency as much as possible, and to achieve this it has two very powerful weapons in its arsenal: a 360 Hz refresh rate and Reflex technology developed by NVIDIA. Together these two innovations promise to reduce the input latency of our PC significantly. In fact, Reflex on its own, according to NVIDIA, is capable of reducing gaming latency and rendering latency by up to 50% . Every millisecond counts, and slightly lower latency can lead to victory, especially in competitive games.
ASUS ROG Swift PG259QNR: Technical Specifications
The two most important components of this gaming monitor are its LCD panel and the G-SYNC module that, among other elements, contains the NVIDIA chip that is involved in both adaptive refresh management and latency measurement and control. .
We will delve into NVIDIA technology and its performance later, so it is worthwhile that in this section of the analysis we take a look at the characteristics of the screen that ASUS proposes, the first that we have the opportunity to test capable of working at a refresh rate of no less than 360 Hz .
The LCD panel of this monitor uses Fast IPS technology, which is a variant of conventional IPS matrices in which the sub-pixels of the panel spend less time to change state (usually 1 ms or less from gray to gray).
These are the characteristics with which this monitor aims to seduce gamers: its 360 Hz refresh, its 1 ms response and its compatibility with NVIDIA Reflex technology.
A direct consequence of this ability is that motion blur is reduced to a minimum, but more importantly, the combination of the 360 Hz refresh rate and the 1 ms response time put the table the competitive vocation of this monitor.
And it is not a device designed for the casual gamer; is a screen conceived for the demanding gamer who wants to fine tune the control of games, especially when competing with other players in the most latency-sensitive genres , such as first-person shooter titles or fighting games.
The choice of an IPS panel reveals that ASUS has not wanted to sacrifice image quality. Even so, users are interested in taking into account that, despite its high price (it costs almost 700 euros and it is a 24.5-inch Full HD monitor), it uses a matrix with a color depth of 8 bits + FRC, and not a 10-bit panel. However, this is the most common choice for gaming monitors.
More features that users are interested in knowing. Its native contrast ratio is 1000: 1 , a value that is not bad at all, especially if we consider that the strength of the IPS panels is not exactly the contrast. In addition, its brightness delivery capacity is 400 nits, which, on paper, allows you to reproduce HDR content with some solvency.
Finally, connectivity is essential: an HDMI 2.0 port, one DisplayPort 1.4 a jack 3.5mm headphone jack and two USB 3.0 ports. As we will see later, one of these USB ports has an essential role in measuring input latency because we will have to connect our mouse to it so that the keystrokes are identified by the G-SYNC module immediately.
|ASUS ROG SWIFT PG259QNR||FEATURES|
|PANEL||24.5-inch 8-bit + FRC Fast IPS Full HD LCD with 16: 9 aspect ratio|
|RESOLUTION||1920 x 1080 dots|
|REFRESH FREQUENCY||360 Hz|
|RESPONSE TIME||1 ms (GTG)|
|ADAPTIVE SYNCHRONIZATION TECHNOLOGY||NVIDIA G-SYNC|
|NATIVE CONTRAST||1000: 1|
|BRIGHTNESS DELIVERY||400 nits|
|ANGLE OF VIEW||178º / 178º|
|CONNECTIVITY||1 x HDMI 2.0, 1 x DisplayPort 1.4, 2 x USB 3.0, 1 x USB hub and 1 x 3.5mm headphone jack|
|DIMENSIONS||557 x (379 ~ 499) x 247 mm|
Asus ROG Swift PG259QNR 24.5 “LED IPS Full HD 360 Hz HDR G-Sync
This monitor’s DNA transforms it into a monster for competitive gaming
The aesthetic design of this monitor is very similar to that of the other models in the ASUS ROG family. And it is very attractive because it easily enters through the eyes. Its frames are thin , and the base of the base is slim and takes up little space on our desk, something that is undoubtedly appreciated. Of course, its finish is not luxurious.
And is that both the frame that protects the panel profile and the back of the screen are made of plastic, although the polycarbonate that ASUS has chosen has good quality. The only metal component of this lampshade is the base of the base , which, as you can see in the photographs of the article, has a beautiful design.
The adjustment possibilities of this monitor are very juicy. We can act on the inclination of the panel, its height, the horizontal rotation and the rotation on its axis. In fact, we can put it in a vertical position , an interesting possibility that can be helpful in some games, such as, for example, shooters, especially the more demanding bullet hell types .
One more point: the fixing of the base of the pedestal to the column that supports the panel is carried out through two screws that we can tighten by hand and without the help of a screwdriver.
To test the image quality of this monitor, I turned to the free Eizo Monitor Test tool , a very useful application not only to check how a display device resolves color, but also what its viewing angles are, if its sharpness is correct. at the height, if the backlighting is completely homogeneous or if it has a defective pixel, among other benefits.
When it comes to color restoration, it is fairly compliant, but it is not up to the standard of the best IPS monitors for content creation. Even so, you do not need it because it is expressly designed for ‘gaming’
The viewing angles of this screen are what you would expect from an IPS panel: wide and very close to 180º. Also, the drive that NVIDIA loaned us so that we can carry out this analysis did not have any defective pixels .
And when it comes to color restoration, it is fairly compliant, but it is not up to the standard of the best IPS monitors for content creation. However, it does not need to reproduce color more accurately as it is not a display intended for photo processing or video editing; It is a monitor expressly designed for gaming .
On the other hand, the backlighting system manages to distribute the light in a fairly homogeneous way throughout the panel, although, like most IPS monitors, it has a slight light leak at the margins of the matrix. However, this feature does not work against you because it is almost impossible to appreciate it when you are playing. Even with office applications and content creation tools it is practically imperceptible.
The mouse that you can see in the following photograph is the ROG Chakram Core model from ASUS , and it is one of the devices that allows the measurement of latency introduced by the mouse itself, which makes it possible to calculate the total latency of the system. Here are a few brushstrokes about it: it introduces an average latency per click of only 0.6 ms , its optical sensor has a resolution of 16,000 dpi, it includes weights to help us act on its resistance to movement and it incorporates a small programmable joystick .
NVIDIA Reflex: This is how you want to make a difference in competitive gaming
The Reflex technology developed by NVIDIA has two objectives: to help us measure latency in a simple way, and, above all, to minimize it . To achieve this, it uses hardware components, such as the G-SYNC module installed in the monitor, and software, such as the drivers or the GeForce Experience tool , from which we can enable latency measurement and decide what types of lag we want to monitor.
At the moment the brands that have monitors with a 360 Hz Fast IPS panel compatible with Reflex are ASUS, Acer, MSI and Alienware, but NVIDIA has confirmed that little by little more monitors will be arriving prepared to take advantage of this technology, and that, therefore, they will also incorporate the latency analyzer and optimizer . As far as graphics cards are concerned we need to have a GeForce GTX 16 series or higher to be able to use it.
The analyzer records changes in brightness that occur in a segment of the panel to accurately measure latency
To measure latency, Reflex technology requires that the mouse be connected directly to a specific USB port on the monitor, as I mentioned a few paragraphs above. This allows the latency analyzer built into the monitor’s G-SYNC module to capture the click and send it to the PC via the USB connection that links the monitor and the computer. Next, the PC renders the following image bearing in mind the action linked to our click and sends it to the monitor so that it can reproduce it on the panel.
As you can see, the process is quite intuitive, but in this explanation we have left a loose end: how exactly does the latency analyzer identify the time that elapses from the moment it captures the mouse click and the moment in which it has effect on the screen? NVIDIA has solved this in a very ingenious way: the analyzer records the changes in brightness that occur in a segment of the panel, so that by indicating which portion of the panel to monitor, it can precisely identify the moment in which it occurs, for example , the flash of the weapon we just fired in the game.
In the slide that you have above these lines, you can see to what extent all the hardware and software components of the PC introduce latency. The mouse, USB controller, graphics controller, rendering engine, panel processing, and sub-pixels are just a few of the elements that introduce latency because they all take a certain amount of time to do their job. If you want to know in detail what exactly each of these latencies consists of, I suggest you take a look at the article in which we explain it .
Reflex technology dynamically manages the render queue to keep the CPU and GPU in perfect sync
We already know how the latency analyzer can accurately measure this parameter, but we still need to find out how Reflex technology can reduce it. Its strategy is to dynamically manage the render queue to keep the CPU and GPU in perfect sync. In this way it manages to reduce the time frames wait until the moment they are to be rendered, which also has a beneficial impact on the latency introduced by other devices, such as the mouse.
We still have one link in the chain that we have not yet investigated: games . And is that to take advantage of this technology they must have been optimized using the SDK that NVIDIA has launched, a tool designed so that developers can analyze the impact that the components of their games have on latency in order to optimize it as much as possible. possible. At the moment these are the games compatible with NVIDIA Reflex: ‘Fortnite’ , ‘Valorant’ , ‘Apex Legends’ , ‘Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War’ and ‘Call of Duty: Warzone’ . NVIDIA has stated that more titles capable of taking advantage of its technology will arrive soon.
In the following image you can see the parameters of the ASUS monitor OSD menu that allow us to enable the latency analyzer built into the monitor’s G-SYNC module. An interesting detail is that the ‘Show Monitoring Rectangle’ parameter is the one that allows us to indicate to the analyzer where to place the box that identifies the panel pixels that must be analyzed in order to detect changes in luminosity in order to measure the latency accurately.
From this option we can act on the position of the box and its size. We are interested in placing it in the area of the screen where the brightness changes that we want to monitor occur , which is the area where the detonation of our weapons takes place.
For the Reflex technology to work properly, it is necessary to activate the ‘G-SYNC Esports’ mode on the monitor . In the ASUS monitor that we have analyzed in this article, this task is carried out from the ‘Gaming’ section of the OSD menu.
To analyze the impact that NVIDIA Reflex technology has on latency, we have used two of the hottest competitive games that currently support this innovation: ‘Fortnite’ and ‘Valorant’ . And the result is fantastic . Working in tandem of the monitor’s 360 Hz and Reflex technology has managed to reduce system latency in our test rig , which incorporates an Intel Core i9-10900K processor and GeForce RTX 3080 graphics card , to a very subdued 30A. 35 ms under optimal circumstances. And control in these conditions is surprisingly accurate.
These two screenshots of the overlay built into NVIDIA’s GeForce Experience application reflect the beneficial impact that Reflex technology can have on games that implement it correctly. By activating it in ‘Valorant’ the average latency of the system is significantly reduced during most of the time, going in the same circumstances from the 68.5 ms that you can see in the screenshot on the left, without using Reflex technology, to the 30.1 ms that we obtain when activating it. As you can see, the improvement in some moments is very important.
NVIDIA Reflex and ASUS ROG Swift PG259QNR: Xataka’s opinion
This ASUS monitor and Reflex technology make a tough team to beat. The image quality of the screen is on par with what we can expect from a good gaming monitor, and its tremendous 360 Hz refresh rate offers us very fluid movement and low latency even when we do not activate the low latency mode of Reflex technology.
Not all gamers need 360 Hz and Reflex technology, but in the competitive field they make the difference
I also like the flexibility with which it allows us to adjust the position of the screen, but it has an Achilles heel: despite all its advantages, the 700 euros that ASUS asks us for it seems excessive for a device with a panel 24.5-inch Full HD. Reflex technology, meanwhile, has proven to work well in all of our tests. And in many moments, in addition, it does it very effectively . There is no doubt that this innovation makes a difference in competitive games where scratching every millisecond matters. However, users should not forget that NVIDIA has designed it precisely for electronic sports. And for this reason, not all of us need a monitor with a 360 Hz refresh rate equipped with Reflex technology.
Racing gamers looking for extremely precise control might pay off investing in a monitor like this ASUS ROG Swift PG259QNR, but the overall experience for the average gamer doesn’t require such a high expense. Reflex technology doesn’t aspire to be popular, but it’s still good news that hardware manufacturers continue to strive to improve the experience for gamers , either by reducing latency or by working in other areas. We will see what NVIDIA, AMD or Intel surprise us with, among other brands, in the future.