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Thread: 120Hz Monitor question.

  1. #1
    Member nkh is on a distinguished road
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    120Hz Monitor question.

    Hey folks,

    I have been considering buying a new monitor recently. I have read about the benefits of using a 120Hz monitor as it reduces 'tearing', producing smoother gameplay and helping to improve aim as a result.

    My question is whether there would be any benefit with my current set-up. I play using my laptop, which I connect to an external monitor, keyboard and mouse while gaming.

    The outputs the laptop has are a standard VGA and a HDMI. I've read that to use 120Hz you require a Dual-DVI output.

    My question is, if I connect the monitor to the laptop through the HDMI connection, even if the laptop is not able to output 120Hz, will the screen still refresh at this rate, and thus reduce 'tearing' / provide smoother playback?

    I have no interest in using the monitor for 3D, which appears to be one of the main 'features' most 120hz monitors are offering.

    Thanks in advance to anyone who can clear this up!

    nkh

  2. #2
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    At least my 120hz monitor, Asus VG236H does have lower input lag and less tearing in 60hz mode than my other LCD screens. But most of the benefit will obviously come from 120hz rate and if your PC can't provide that, it's definitely waste of money IMO.

  3. #3
    Member nkh is on a distinguished road
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    So, the processing does not take place in the monitor like it does in a TV panel?

    I have read that HDMI 1.3 supports 120hz, and my gfx card supports the 1.3 standard. A few posts I've uncovered on Google suggest that the 120hz mode is available via the DVI input, and some people have had success using a 1.3 HDMI cable out of the laptop, and using a HDMI-DVI adaptor at the monitor end.

    Has anyone here tried such a set-up?

    I have a feeling its a lost cause, but I may still invest in one for use with my next 'rig' that I'll think about putting together somepoint next year.

    Thanks again!

  4. #4
    Senior Member KETNAR will become famous soon enough KETNAR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nkh View Post
    So, the processing does not take place in the monitor like it does in a TV panel?
    No, this is a common (sadly) misconception from people these days. LCD monitors do not do any 'image processing' (or at least they /shouldn't/ do any, don't buy any that claim to, its just gonna be problematic for you later.)

    Computer displays go by a completely separate set of rules. Thankful, once you know them, they make more sense and are more reliable than the results you will get some 'image processing TV' (been there, done that!).

    Now on to your question about HDMI, yes, HDMI can technically support 120 hz, the question is, does the display you are USING it on really go that high? Chances are 'no'.

    Recently a buddy of mine went through about 5 different TV's because they were all supposedly '3d ready' and 'high frame rate'.. just one problem, unless you were in '3d mode', you were locked at 60 hz. :P and worse yet, the image processor would never turn off and it was causing some really strange jerking and tearing. And it even did it on console games, too. Basically, they are made for MOVIES, not games.

    But again, if you are going for an actual LCD, there is a little light at the end of your tunnel. HDMI, in reality, is just a micro DVI connector with extra pins (for sound and other junk)

    The HDMI to DVI conversion cables? They work, entirely. I use them to put PC display on my 52 inch plasma (which DOES support 120, all the time, all the ways. unfortunately, trey don't make it anymore. ) and other places, and they work just dandy.

    Long post short: HDMI is just DVI with extra pins and DRM, DVI/HDMI adapters work, 'TV' displays are rarely ever really 120 hz when you want them to be, avoid. LCD's that claim to be able to do 120 are rare and often also only do so when being put into some kind of '3d' mode, BUT, you can look up the facts about them more easily online.

    Also, if your machine can't play quake (or any games for that matter) at 125 FPS steady, (or at least hold a 120 solid to match up with 120 hz), you may want to solve that first, but I hope the above information at least helps some.
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  5. #5
    Member nkh is on a distinguished road
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    Thanks for the info KETNAR! It's appreciated!

    I always thought that HDMI and DVI were effectively the same, give or take small differences!

    I get solid 125 on the majority of maps, FPS bops around a bit on Asylum but I could fix it by lowering settings if need be.

    Anyhow, since you seem to know the ins-and-outs... If I can confirm my gfx card can support the desired 120hz output, buy a suitable cable (and adapter) and make sure I buy a monitor which supports 120hz in 2D mode... I'd be good to go?

    Lastly, and forgive me for the silly question but if my current set-up is only outputting 60Hz, then why when switching from com_maxfps 60, to 125 results in an obvious change in smoothness? Like I said, apologies if that is a stupid question!

  6. #6
    Member Scremph is on a distinguished road Scremph's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nkh View Post
    Thanks for the info KETNAR! It's appreciated!
    ...
    Lastly, and forgive me for the silly question but if my current set-up is only outputting 60Hz, then why when switching from com_maxfps 60, to 125 results in an obvious change in smoothness?
    ...
    120 FPS is ideal so that it matches your USB rate which runs at 120 as well to make your aiming smoother. Setting it to 125 makes your frame rate bounce between 124 and 125. For your monitor, you may be able to run your monitor at 800x600 with 75hz refresh (to reduce tearing) which is far superior to 60hz. The lower resolution will not affect gameplay.

    TLDR - Make sure your FPS is 120 locked for smoother aim.

    EDIT - If you decide to use a high end TV, beware of input lag.
    Last edited by Scremph; 11-28-2011 at 03:32 PM.

  7. #7
    Senior Member KETNAR will become famous soon enough KETNAR's Avatar
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    Yep, they are the same. HDMI is basically just DVI with extra pins for audio and DRM negotiation between the screen and compatible systems (usually set top boxes for TV service and disk players, etc)

    And to make things even weirder, often you can use a VGA to DVI adapter, then DVI to HDMI, and it can work, most of them time anyways. :P

    But just stick with DVI, its the modern standard anyways.

    Yes, if you can toss around at (more or less) 120 FPS or so, and you have the proper cables, your video card will be fine for a 120 hz display. there really isn't much more science to it than that which you already stated, as long as the LCD supports 120 in 2d mode, you are good to go. And of course, the display can be used later on any future game rigs you build or buy as well.

    On PC's, the video card is the graphics processor, the display is just the output.

    No, thats a really good question, but the answer is gonna make your brain hurt a little. I'll try and keep it as layman as possible as it really doesn't matter once you make the 120 hz leap anyways...

    The reason you are seeing an obvious improvement in smoothness is because the quake client simply runs better at 125 FPS. It has to do with the way the game calculates its inputs and moments and all that, its basically designed to operate 'best' at 125. sure it can operate at less, but you don't feel as smooth or as responsive because instead of just dropping /video/ frames, you are dropping /input/ frames (mouse, keyboard, etc), and on top of that, dropping video frames.

    Long ago, back in Q3a, if you were at 125 FPS, you could actually /jump higher/ and even further than people who were not reaching 125 FPS. Again this was a side effect of how the game client and server calculate whats known as 'frame time' (which has to do with..well, everything, network packets, physics, hit calcs, etc).

    Later (in QL), this was changed a bit to level the playing field smore, and thus the 'rules' on the effect changes some, to what we have today, which is a drop in smoothness, but 'same capabilities' in terms of movement and jump height regardless of what FPS client is cranking out, you can still jump the same height as everybody else, distance, etc. This also has to do with the network engine, how many snaps and frames a second is closely tied to that and..

    Well, it's just a complicated, confusing mess that really doesn't matter anymore.

    Bottom line: You will notice an even greater increase of smoothness and responsiveness with 120 hz, trust me. When I play on my plasma (or a CRT when I get another one), the difference is insane. I'll shell out for a 120 hz LCD eventually, myself.
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  8. #8
    Senior Member Lorfa has a spectacular aura about Lorfa has a spectacular aura about Lorfa has a spectacular aura about Lorfa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scremph View Post
    120 FPS is ideal so that it matches your USB rate which runs at 120 as well to make your aiming smoother. Setting it to 125 makes your frame rate bounce between 124 and 125.
    Actually the default usb polling rate is 125 hz. However this is not desirable, 500 or 1000 is strongly recommended (usually 500).

    Reason to use 120 hz imo is to match better with sv_fps/snaps which is 40, so you get an update right on every 3 frames.

  9. #9
    Member nkh is on a distinguished road
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    Well, since that clears a few things up! I knew about the 125 affecting the in-game physics, but also learned that it no longer makes a difference in QL!

    I'll take it all on board and decided what I'm going to do, I have doubts on the capabilities of my graphics card, as it's a relatively basic one.

    I appreciate everyone's help here, I'm finally further forward!

    For bonus points, can anyone answer if the ATI RADEON HD 5450 MOBILITY can output 120hz? I'm sceptical.

  10. #10
    Member nkh is on a distinguished road
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    Lastly, and again I apologize if this is a mega-noob question...

    I use a desktop resolution of 1680x1050, running at 60hz. You mentioned I may be able to run 75hz at 800x600, which I've just checked and I can. How would I go about continuing to use 1680x1050 for everyday use, browsing etc... and 800x600@75hz for QL? Is there a way to make this an automatic change?

    Will I need to manually adjust my screen resolution each time, or does setting the FULL SCREEN RESOLUTION in the website settings, to 800x600 mean I'll automatically get the 75hz refresh when I start playing? Headaches.

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