Samsung brings 240Hz refresh rates to 4K monitors

Samsung Odyssey Neo G8

Samsung

4K has saturated the TV market, but the sharpest consumer display resolution isn’t as common on PC monitors, due to price and limitations. PC gamers specifically opt for PC monitors as they can typically achieve higher refresh rates than TVs, which are typically 60Hz or 120Hz, making the fast-paced gaming action smoother. But refresh rates above 144Hz usually require sticking to QHD or lower resolution. Samsung’s introduction today of a 4K monitor up to 240Hz changes that.

Samsung told me it would announce the monitor’s price and release date, as part of the brand’s CES 2022 announcements, “later this year.” If it arrives in 2022, it should be the fastest 4K monitor on the market, assuming another brand isn’t announcing a similar screen (who knows what else we’ll be hearing about at CES; the technical show doesn’t even officially start until Wednesday).

4K @ 240Hz

The Odyssey Neo G8 has a GTG response time of 1ms and is capable of refreshing 8,294,400 pixels 240 times per second. When asked, Samsung didn’t say whether the monitor uses compression to do this, but it apparently does because its port selection consists of two HDMI 2.1 and one DisplayPort 1.4.

On its own, HDMI 2.1 can only achieve 120Hz at 4K resolution, but using VESA’s Display Stream Compression (DSC) it should be able to reach 240Hz, as explained by Tom’s gear. Likewise, DisplayPort 1.4a runs 4K content up to 120Hz natively, but with DSC, a supporting 4K display could outperform that. There are plenty of 4K monitors out there that already use DSC to run 4K at 144Hz, but 240Hz is unprecedented.

Monitors that use DSC claim that there is no reduction in picture quality. In fact, VESA claims that its compression technique is visually lossless. Most people shouldn’t be able to tell the difference, but occasional artifacts will inevitably appear.

Another option could have been DisplayPort 2.0 With 80 Gbps of bandwidth, DisplayPort 2.0 would allow 4K at 240 Hz without any compression. As of yet, we don’t know of any confirmed DisplayPort 2.0 monitors, but that could change, potentially during CES. In January 2021, VESA said that DisplayPort 2.0 products are expected to arrive in the second half of 2022.

Of course, to use a DisplayPort 2.0 it would also be necessary to see the announcement of graphics cards with DisplayPort 2.0. Neither Nvidia nor AMD have officially confirmed such cards, but AMD’s Linux graphics driver fixes spotted by Phoronix this summer, support from AMD may be on the way.

Either way, to push 4K to 240fps, you would need not only the necessary port, but also a very powerful graphics card. Note that achieving such frame rates with graphics-intensive AAA games is still out of the question.

If your graphics card and monitor fail to sync, the Odyssey Neo G8 also supports G-Sync to combat screen tearing and stuttering with Nvidia graphics cards, and FreeSync Premium Pro does even with AMD graphics cards. The “Premium Pro” addendum means that it also works with HDR and low frame rate compensation.

Teaching old tricks to a new dog

A light on the back of the monitor can match the colors on the screen.
Enlarge / A light on the back of the monitor can match the colors on the screen.

If the Odyssey Neo G8 doesn’t seem so new to you, it’s because it’s been designed to look like the Neo G9 49 “Odyssey, the flagship product of the range announced last July, and the Odyssey G9 49 “, which was one of three monitors to introduce a 1000R curve when Samsung announced it at CES last year.

The Odyssey Neo G9 at $ 2,500.
Enlarge / The Odyssey Neo G9 at $ 2,500.

Samsung

The monitors all have a 1000R curvature (the steepest you can find on PC monitors today), a white back with spaceship-shaped carvings, and a bright light, called CoreSync, that s’ lights up according to the displayed colors.

Samsung told me that the Odyssey Neo G8 is a VA panel using a Mini LED backlight. It can achieve up to 2,000 nits of brightness and should offer deeper contrast than a standard LED monitor because you can fit more LEDs into the screen.

While it’s still a short walk from OLED, these factors all make the monitor a prime candidate for HDR gaming and watching movies. Samsung did not mention any VESA HDR certification, although the monitor claims to exceed the brightness requirement (1400 nits) of the highest level (DisplayHDR 1400).

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