Where are all the 120 Hz IPS displays?


An IPS monitor with 120Hz refresh. It’s the holy grail of PC screens. So why can’t you buy one?

First, let’s go back briefly and lay down some basic benchmarks. IPS refers to a special type of LCD screen technology, specifically in-plane switching. The details don’t really matter, other than understanding that the IPS has the best color accuracy, wide viewing angles, and good contrast.

The comparison here is mainly with cheaper TN panels which have the only advantage of being a little faster to respond. TN is worse in all other objective ways.

To complicate the problem slightly, there is another high-end panel technology known as VA or vertical alignment. VA has some advantages, including great contrast, but IPS is where all the action is, and VA displays have pixel response issues anyway that probably make them less than ideal for monitors. at very high refreshment.

For the sake of argument, let’s just assume that the IPS is where it is. The other part of the equation is refresh at 120Hz. In my opinion, the whole notion of high refresh rate display has been devalued by the HDTV industry and it churns out at 200Hz and beyond. .

I’m not saying high refresh is completely worthless on HDTVs. But given that there is no consumer video content available encoded in frame rates close to 100 MHz, let alone 200 Hz, this is a bit of a hack and all rather misleading.

But not for PCs. Oddly enough, monitors with high refresh rates did not emerge in response to demands for image quality. They exist because that’s what is needed to support stereoscopic 3D

based on active shutter glasses, like Nvidia’s 3D Vision.

Since each eye receives alternate images from a slightly different viewing angle, you need to double the frame rate of a conventional PC. So, twice 60 Hz is 120 Hz.

The point is, as soon as hardware hacks like yours really got their hands on high-refresh 3D monitors, they noticed that 120Hz is ideal for almost everything (except for video playback where, ironically enough, that doesn’t matter. no difference).

In short, 120 Hz makes movements of all kinds more fluid. It means everything from the mouse pointer to moving windows on the desktop and scrolling.

Prices go up, don’t go down

The big deal, of course, is the smooth, smooth 120Hz play. And the 120Hz play is awesome. But it’s the larger impact that excites me. 120 Hz is perfect for everything.

To date, however, 120Hz monitors have been TN panels. Well, almost all of them. Internet forums have been buzzing lately with news of insanely inexpensive 27-inch IPS displays from Korea that support 120Hz (google “Yamakasi Catleap” and sit back for a long afternoon of reading ).

It looks like a bunch of these 120Hz capable things have been handed out on ebay for around £ 200 and as far as I know this is the real deal. Since then the prices have increased slightly and it looks like the PCBs have changed and don’t really support 120Hz anymore. There have also been some creepy failure rate reports and I wouldn’t want to try. an RMA on a product purchased from a Korean ebay seller. By all accounts, the build quality is pretty average.

But I digress. The important thing is that these things seem to have existed, if only briefly, and at a very low cost. So 120 Hz with IPS is clearly doable. And the more people who jump up and down at the idea of ​​getting excited, the more likely one of the mainstream brands is to follow the idea.


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