AOC has announced a new pair of high-end gaming displays designed for ultra-low-latency gaming and quick response times. The AOC Agon AG251FZ2 and AG271FZ2 feature 1080p resolutions, 400 nits of brightness, and a dynamic refresh rate up to 240Hz, with FreeSync supported from 48Hz – 240Hz.
AOC also includes features like Shadow Control, to increase the contrast of dark areas, low lag input (to reduce latency caused by the display itself) and a low-light mode to reduce blue light output without causing the panel’s overall color temperature to change. Both panels share a common set of inputs: DisplayPort 1.2, HDMI 1.4, HDMI 2.0, DVI-D, and D-SUB. There are also a pair of built-in 3W audio speakers.
The panels also support AMD FreeSync, albeit not FreeSync 2. FreeSync support will be kind of marginal in a product like this if you’re buying it to use it the way the manufacturer intends (namely, running at very high frame rates). The weird thing about putting FreeSync and G-Sync on high-end displays with fast refresh rates is that FreeSync and G-Sync are features that shine in exactly the opposite scenarios. FreeSync and G-Sync work best when you are playing at low frame rates; the lower the better. G-Sync and FreeSync are primarily a way of making games look better at low speed. At 240 fps, even a repeated frame will only be on-screen for 8.33ms.
The other interesting question monitors like this raise is when we’re going to see enthusiasts moving past 1080p. At $ 339 and $ 379, these displays are affordable and offer enthusiast features, along with a few practical nods to capabilities that users with older systems might want as well. But it also underscores exactly why 1080p has held on to the gaming market with such a vicelike grip. Put simply, the resolution continues to hold sway, even in a lot of enthusiast panels.
This may be linked to monitor size. In the TV market, manufacturers have often nudged people towards higher resolution displays and larger displays at the same time. Desk space tends to be at a higher premium than living room space, however, and not everyone has room for a 32-45-inch panel in their work area. Absent larger panels, resolutions like 1080p may hit the sweet spot for 24-inch and 27-inch displays for the indefinite future. And that means we’re going to see 1080p remain as an important target resolution, which means we’re going to see increasingly powerful GPUs continued to be tasked to run a display resolution that started becoming mainstream 12 years ago.
If you think about it, the staying power of 1080p has simply been extraordinary. In 2007, I was running 1680×1050 (not quite 1080p, but not far off it). Jump back to 1995, and 640×480 was solid, with 800×600 as a “reach” resolution on most displays. Panels like this continue to push the envelope in terms of integrating features at relatively low prices — but without bumping resolution in the process.