Gigabyte Aorus CV27F Monitor Review: 27" Of 165Hz Curved Gaming Bliss

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Gigabyte Aorus CV27F Review: Gaming At 165Hz and G-Sync Compatibility

Now's a good time to address the apparent elephant in the room: the CV27F is a big 27" display with what seems like a relatively low-resolution 1080p panel. In a lot of older games, and even some of today's biggest hits, high-powered graphics cards can go to waste at 1080p since the GPU can potentially put out more pixels than the panel can process. Fortunately, NVIDIA and AMD both have features baked into their latest drivers that allow us to bump up the resolution beyond 1080p. That lets us add some visual flair to what the CV27F outputs, and the FreeSync 2 support (or G-Sync for GeForce owners) makes sure there's no tearing. Upscaling isn't quite as nice as a native 2560 x 1440 display would have been, but games still looked sharp and moved very fluidly. On the other hand, the lower resolution can provide relief if your PC's GPU isn't up to the task. If your graphics card isn't as powerful as our RTX 2060, 1080p might be the ideal resolution, since high frame rates are the biggest draw for the CV27F. 

Speaking of high frame rates, how do you describe the insane smoothness of high refresh rates and VRR gaming using only words? You can watch videos on YouTube, but those cap out at 60 frames per second, and screenshots don't move at all. As a result, describing it can be pretty hard, and 165Hz needs to be experienced to be fully understood. Games that can even come close to hitting the maximum refresh rate of the CV27F are buttery smooth, and since FreeSync can take care of any tearing, "close" is certainly good enough. That's true of any fast panel, but the rate at which the CV27F can push frames was particularly jaw-dropping because the display also showed no signs of ghosting. Aorus rated the panel for a one-millisecond response time, and personally, it's beyond my perception with a naked eye.

diablo iii

What we could perceive was some mighty high frame rates in Diablo III: Reaper of Souls. This game is rather addictive, and the CV27F made it very pleasant to waste hours of my life just grinding through the post-game content. As the relatively high contrast ratio we measured might suggest, the dimly-lit corridors of Bastion's Keep were dark and detailed, and the special effects of our Crusader's Shield Bash attack were bright and colorful. The image popped, even at standard dynamic range lighting levels, the contrast and saturation were quite nice. 

When the framerate dips below the monitor's refresh rate, the CV27F performs exactly as advertised. NVIDIA's G-Sync toggle made sure there was absolutely no tearing or stutter in the image. If frame rates do get beyond the panel's 165 Hz limit, tearing can happen. To combat that, we turned on frame limiting in games that support it to keep the frame rate within the bounds of the display's capabilities. 

wolfenstein youngblood

For example, in Wolfenstein Youngbloods, the default High settings at 1080p resulted in frame rates north of 200 frames per second. That did result in some tearing until we turned the v-sync setting to Adaptive. We also used DSR to make the graphics card work harder, and G-Sync kicked in to ensure that there was no tearing in the image. While Youngbloods doesn't support RTX yet, it does support Vulkan, and there were no problems with G-Sync and the Khronos Group's cross-platform low-level API. 

quake ii rtx

The most important thing about VRR support is how the monitor handles frame rates that aren't an even divisor of the panel's refresh rate. To punish our graphics card, we fired up Quake II RTX and started turning the options up. Turning on all of the RTX features and setting Global Illumination to medium resulted in a mid-60s framerate at 1080p. That's nowhere near a divisor of 165, so this would be a good test of the monitor's G-Sync features, and as expected there was no tearing or stutter. 

gta5 dx11

Vulkan and OpenGL aren't the most popular gaming graphics API on the planet, though—that honor falls to DirectX 11's Direct3D API. As expected, Grand Theft Auto V had no issues with the CV27F, and there wasn't a torn frame to be found. This time we dialed in some settings that kept urban areas chugging along at around 100 frames per second, again far from any even divisor of the CV27F's 165 maximum refresh rate. 

Let's not forget that the CV27F has a 1500R curved panel, too. That's a little tighter than the typical 1800R curve in some larger monitors like AOC's 32-inch AG322QC4 or Samsung's 27-inch C27JG5. Personally, I normally sit far enough back from a monitor that there's not a lot of benefit to the curved display. However, if you sit up close to a a flat display, the edges of the screen are farther from your eyes than the center, causing the edges of the image to get a little distorted. You can also start to see the world around you, and that can break up the illusion of being immersed in the game world somewhat.  In 2016's Doom reboot, the curves helped draw me into the world.

doom

A curved monitor like the CV27F helps mitigate that distortion by gently bringing the left and right edges of the display closer to the eyes. On a big shared experience like a TV, that has the downside of limiting the optimal viewing angle. However, viewing a PC is usually a one-person experience, and the VA panel in the CV27F makes sure you can still move your head around a bit without causing too much of color shift. 

starcraft ii

If you're like us, your PC is for both work and play, and therefore you might need to Get Stuff Done with the CV27F. We'll take a look at that next, and come to our final conclusions.

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