Acer Predator X34 Curved G-SYNC Monitor Review

Article Index

Subjective Testing: Content Creation, Video Playback And Gaming

Productivity and content creation work on the Predator X34 is a pleasure with lots of extra horizontal screen real estate and not much missing vertically, versus the 2560x1600 30-inch panels we tend to do most of our production work on here at HotHardware.com. At this resolution and aspect ratio, there’s lots of room to fire up both Photoshop and PowerDirector side by side and still have plenty of room on either side for a chat window or a Pandora or Spotify pane piping in some inspiration.

Acer Predator Content Creation
Desktop Work

In fact, this could be the single most useful feature of the Predator X34's ultra-wide 21:9 aspect ratio. There's so much real estate side-to-side that it's hard to go back to more standard aspect formats. Also again, though you lose a little vertical height versus say a 2560x1600 panel, if you're coming from a 2560X1440 display already, you're only gaining more width and not losing anything in terms of height.

HD Video Playback And The Joys And Struggles At 21:9

Watching video content on the Predator X34 is pretty fantastic, though its 21:9 format will cause black bars and framing depending on the content you’re viewing, even in full screen mode. Your source content needs to have 21:9 format support or the video player you use will need to support scaling to that aspect. However, HD video at 2K or up in native 21:9 format is pure geek greatness. Technically speaking, the Predator X34 is an UltraWide QHD display that offers almost two and a half times the number of pixels versus standard HD 1080p, or roughly 4.953 million pixels total. For reference, 4K panels (or what's approximated as such currently) offer roughly 8.251 million pixles.

Acer Predator X34 Cap America Civil
Captain America: Civil War

Acer Predator X34 Guardians
Guardians Of The Galaxy

Above we're showing the Captain America: Civil War trailer actually streaming from a 4K source file, but because that source file via YouTube wasn't in 21:9 format, it doesn't fill the screen. Below it, we're showing the Guardians Of The Galaxy movie trailer in full 21:9 format. It's actually 2K resolution and doesn't perfectly fill the display but it's close and looks pretty fantastic; and we're not just talking about Zoe Saldana aka "Gamora". Incidentally, pixel response time in fast-action scenes was perfectly acceptable with no noticeable ghosting or artifacting getting in the way of the Predator's afformentioned great saturation and IPS pop.

Glorious G-SYNC Gaming, GPU Firepower Requirements And 21:9 Again

So let’s wrap things up on the gaming front. After all this is an NVIDIA G-SYNC enabled panel that supports adaptive refresh rate and allows the monitor to keep in lock-step with an NVIDIA GeForce graphics card. The effect of adaptive refresh rate (ARR) technology is dramatic and it’s similar to experiencing HD or Ultra HD video content versus standard def. Once you’ve seen G-SYNC and adaptive refresh rate technology do its thing, you can’t un-see it and you won’t want to go back to anything else. One word of caution with respect to the Predator X34 is that you’ll want to have a fairly robust graphics card to push pixels at 3440X1440 resolution. We would recommend a GeForce GTX 970 or higher if you want to game at native res with maximum image quality settings and anti-aliasing. We extensively tested the Predator X34 on a 2GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960 card and it was passable but required turning down detail to Medium High settings with low or no anti-aliasing. Perhaps a 4GB frame buffer would have offered a bit more headroom but we’d recommend more GPU firepower as well. 

Acer Predator X34 Mordor
Middle Earth: Shadow Of Mordor

Acer Predator X34 GTAV
Grand Theft Auto V

Acer Predator X34 Unigen
Unigine Benchmark


Unfortunately, you'll occasionally meet some of the same challenges gaming in the 21:9 format, as you'll find viewing video content. Not all game engines currently support the resolution (without some advanced tweaking in ini settings or whatever) and when you bump into one that doesn't, you're going to have to accept a bit of black banding on the left and right sides of the display. Grand Theft Auto V is an example of a game that supports 21:9, as does Thief. Middle Earth: Shadow Of Modor, on the other hand, offers more fine-grained scaling than most games but even at its "100%" setting only outputs at 3360x1440 on this display, not quite native res, but close. We're hopeful that more game developers will bring out support for the 21:9 ultra-wide format. In general, more fine-grained controls and capability over rendering resolution and scaling would be good for the industry.

Regardless, gaming on the Predator X34 with G-SYNC enabled was nothing short of wonderful. The smoothness and responsiveness with G-SYNC and 100Hz combined is pretty delicious.  And with time, the experience will only get better as new game engines come out in support of all the extra horizontal real estate afforded with the 21:9 format.

Related content

Comments

Show comments blog comments powered by Disqus