Gaming has become quite demanding over the years, and so have PC’s and consoles in general. As frame rates increase due to gaming hardware improving, so too must displays. To make use of the frames output from the graphics card, we need monitors that can exceed or match the refresh rate. Not only that, but the resolution of games have also increased over the years, and so have shading techniques, textures, models, everything graphical has improved exponentially. Gaming monitors have come a long way, side by side with graphics performance and quality. Over the years, different panel techniques have been made to fulfill certain aspects of gaming. However, one must usually choose performance over graphical quality or vice versa. Today, OLED monitors are becoming more and more available, and more popular to boot. This is the latest in panel technology, and they have been successful enough that some say it is the next step of evolution in monitors.
We will discuss the differences between LCD panels (TN, VA, and IPS) against OLED, and investigate the advantages and disadvantages of each medium.
TN panels are considered to be the oldest panel type for LCDs. It has been in use since the 1980s. Today, they are better known as outdated panels that still suit most competitive games in the fighting game and first person shooter space. TN panels are known as the fastest LCD panels. This is in reference to response time, the time it takes for a pixel to change colors. Gray-to-gray is often used as a measure of how fast a pixel can change, from gray to gray. When we are discussing LCD panels, then TN will have the lowest gray-to-gray response time, which means images will stay sharp with very minimal or no motion blur. This is where TN drops off. They are known to have terrible viewing angles and colors are usually very washed out and lose vibrance.
TN panels are mainly sought after by competitive players. They are seldom used from much else because IPS and VA are just so much better when it comes to color, brightness, and viewing angle
VA panels are next. One of the biggest advantages of a VA panel is that it fixes the issue with viewing angles that TN panels had. They are also bright and have the best contrast ratio of the three main LCD panels, usually at about 3000:1 to 4000:1 contrast ratio. This allows the monitor to show truer black ranges on the color spectrum. Also, due to this technology, VA panels can be curved. This gives the user a more immersive experience. Where it falls short is that ghosting is a common issue. Ghosting is when an image seems to produce an after-image, like a ghost of an image when it moves. This is not to be confused with motion blur, as VA panels can have response times that can match TN panels today. They are not known to be as fast, but LCDs have developed in a way that VA and IPS panels can catch up to TN panels.
Finally, we have IPS panels. These produce the brightest, and most vivid colors. There are some IPS panels that can cover up to 99% of the DCI-P3 color gamut range. IPS is certainly the way to go for accurate color reproduction for art and professional use. Its benefits are not limited to that only, but video games as well as ghosting is much less of an issue vs VA panels and their response times can now rival TN panels as well. The trade-off with IPS panels is the inherent backlight bleed, or “IPS-glow.” There are cases where it is very bad, but a lot of IPS panels have this glow on them due to the high amount of brightness they can produce. The issue is so common, it is seen as a characteristic, and with IPS you either get some backlight bleed or way too much. They also usually only have about a 1000:1 contrast ratio, so black is a little more grayed.
OLED TV’s have been around much longer than monitors. The reason why they are not as viable for PCs setups is because of their size and limitations to refresh rate and input latency, among other things. Recently, OLED monitors have started becoming more popular and available. Although they are in a much higher price bracket, there are reasons why we have decided to enter this market as well as believing that OLED technology will be the future of PC displays, especially for gaming.
Oftentimes, gamers have to choose between the fastest response time of TN, the vivid, colorful picture of IPS, or the immersive, high contrast VA panels. OLED seems to give all of those options at the same time. It is almost like the best of all worlds. It uses a different technology from TN, IPS, or VA panels, which are LCD panels. OLED is its own technology, utilizing true pixel illumination. Whereas LCD’s require an LED backlight to show the picture, OLED’s pixels are the illumination itself, so whenever something needs to be shown as black, the pixel is literally turned off, giving the inky, true black that VA strives to be. Not only that, but the color reproduction is some of the best, topping that of IPS. This is especially true in HDR applications. Finally, because the pixels are the lights themselves, their response time is top-notch, possibly better than TN, where most response times for OLED are reported to be under 1 millisecond. It almost seems like a dream come true, however like all nice things, there are caveats. OLED panels are very expensive to produce at this time due to its relative infancy in the display market and it is also known for burn-in. This is when static images seem to imprint themselves on the screen, so it produces what seems to be a burnt-in image of what was displayed before. This alone causes gamers to stray from investing into OLED. OLED also has a different pixel format than LCD, and Windows is adjusted to RGB and not RBG. This causes text to become blurry, so using OLED for productivity seems to be an issue currently until Windows properly implements displaying for the OLED pixel format
However, the reason why we think burn-in is not too bad of an issue is when used for gaming, images are dynamic, so it is harder for images to imprint to the panel. Also, as time goes on, OLED will become cheaper. Not only that, but if OLEDs are mainly used for gaming, blurry text on static white backgrounds will be of no concern, and with settings and measures given by manufacturers nowadays in order to mitigate burn-in, it is possible this will be a non-issue in the future.
We believe the OLED panel is the next step in gaming displays at sizes of 27 inches, 32 inches and so on. And as the technology becomes more developed and more available, it will become more affordable for the average gamer. The specs are just too good to pass up:
- Fastest response time - check
- Wide color Gamut - check
- Extremely High Contrast Ratios - check
- Non-ghosting display - check
- No Backlight Bleed - check
- Extremely accurate color production - check
Our OLED monitor, the PX277OLEDMAX, is slated to release mid to late March. We plan to keep it more affordable than most available options on the market currently, and it will still sport one of the best OLED panels available. Stay tuned, as there is more news to come!
Work Hard. Game Harder.