ASUS PQ321 Ultra HD 4K 31.5-inch Monitor Review

Gaming & Web Browsing at 4K

What is it like to game and browse the web on a 4K monitor? We're glad you asked. To find out, we ran some tests using a testbed consisting of an Intel Core i7 930 processor, ASUS P6X58D Premium motherboard, 4GB Corsair DDR3-1333 RAM, 240GB OCZ Vertex 3 solid state drive, XFX Radeon HD 7970 Black Edition graphics card, and Windows 8.1 Preview Edition. For the video card, we installed Catalyst 13.6 Beta.

Metro 2033
DX11 Gaming Performance

Metro 2033 is your basic post-apocalyptic first person shooter game with a few rather unconventional twists. Unlike most FPS titles, there is no health meter to measure your level of ailment, but rather you’re left to deal with life, or lack there-of more akin to the real world with blood spatter on your visor and your heart rate and respiration level as indicators. The game is loosely based on a novel by Russian Author Dmitry Glukhovsky. Metro 2003 boasts some of the best 3D visuals on the PC platform currently including a DX11 rendering mode that makes use of advanced depth of field effects and character model tessellation for increased realism.

There are a couple of things we can extrapolate from this test. First, gaming is possible on the PQ321's native resolution with a single graphics card, though there isn't much breathing room, even when running a high-end graphics card like the Radeon HD 7970. We saw over 38 frames per second in Metro 2033 at the Low setting with 4xAA and 16xAF. Turning those down bumps the framerates even higher and put us the neighborhood of 50fps. Not bad for 4K. Your mileage will vary depending on the game.

The second thing take away from this is that you need some serious horsepower to drive a 4K display. Even though we managed playable framerates, higher settings take their toll, and that effect will only be enhanced on newer, more demanding games.

Aliens vs Predator
DX11 Gaming Performance

Aliens vs Predator taps into your DirectX 11 hardware and takes advantage of geometry tessellation, advanced shadows, and other graphical goodies. The game itself is a science fiction first person shooter based on the Alien and Predator movie franchises and features a combination of characters and creatures from each one.

Aliens vs Predator proved a lighter workout, allowing our testbed to pull over 50fps at the PQ321's native 4K resolution. Once again, as we crank up the settings, framerates fall off a cliff. Nevertheless, this reiterates that you can game on a 4K panel with the right GPU.

Web Browsing

Left to right: 100%, 125% and 150% font size

At 4K, text starts to become hard to read. Most people will find text too densely packed, and depending on the font a particular website uses, you may need to increase the font size to 125 percent or even 150 percent (shown above from left to right is 100 percent, 125 percent, and 150 percent, though the effect won't be the same when viewed on a non-4K monitor. You can, however, get a sense of scale).

Once you find a font size you're comfortable with, the PQ321 will start to shine, especially as you take advantage of all that real-estate with multiple windows. Simply put, there's a ton of space to work with. Note that you may also need to adjust the size of icons in Windows if you find yourself squinting.

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