I recently purchased a 120hz monitor, and thought it would be a good idea to blog about my experience as it has changed my experience of PC gaming once you tweak things a bit. The monitor in question is a Benq XL2720T 27 inch panel, known for its fast refresh rate and esports pedigree.Once you fix the gamma and tone down the brightness, this is a fine looking matte display, so its not as though this monitor isn’t great for normal desktop use, which many commentators seem to suggest. When you get used to the 120hz mode even on the desktop it can be hard to go back. One of the exciting things about this monitor and a few other 3d enabled 120hz models is that by enabling a lightboost hack, it is finally possible to elimate motion blur, making the LED panel finally equal to that of the venerable old CRT displays.I won’t go into why this hack makes the difference, but I can confirm that it does.
Setting it up means going here: www.blurbusters.com/zero-motion-blur/lightboost/
I installed the ToastyX Custom Resolution Utility on that page, and that gives me 2 modes on the Nvidia control panel, 120hz with lightboost enabled, and 121hz without.This fixed a few other problems as well, as some games will default and switch to the lower 60hz mode when they have the option. So on the desktop I run things in 121hz but switch to 120hz when I run a game. Having done all this, I can talk about the games I’ve run on my i5 2500k and GTX 570 rig so far, and talk about the obvious changes.
Shooters – So far I’ve tried Unreal Tournament 2004, and this was an incredible difference, likewise for Counterstrike: GO, Rainbow Six Vegas 2 and COD: Black Ops. Aiming in all these games feels much more precise and all ran smoothly and consistently at 120 fps without any fuss.Playing Mirror’s Edge was fantastic as well. When I tried Black Ops 2 though, this did not run as well, ranging between about 110 to 70 fps. I’m not really a Battlefield 3 guy but I know that if you want to run that at 120fps you will need some more hardware or be ready to seriously gimp the settings. I couldn’t get Borderlands to run higher than 60 fps, there might be a way but I gave up on that.
RPGs and RTS – When I tried Warcraft 3 my jaw just about hit the floor, this was as good as this old game can look and run. Diablo 3 also sees big improvements, seeing all the spell effects and animations at a solid 120 fps really adds to the experience. I was surprised that it ran better than Torchlight 2 as well, which would slow down to 60 fps whenever you were in combat. Starcraft Brood War looked great as well.
I just ran Street Fighter Alpha 3 on MAME and this really made it obvious how a flatscreen panel has reached parity with CRT, this is a great monitor for retro gaming, especially because you can rotate it vertically for old school shoot em ups. Last game I’ll mention is Dead Space, I played it on PS3 before but got rid of my copy before finishing it, resolving to play it again when I got my gaming PC. When I started again on PC I got frustrated and quit though, after dying 3 or 4 times on the asteroids minigame. Tried it again with the new monitor and it was almost ridiculously easy, so that’s the kind of difference it can make.All this has meant that I’m not as interested in the new consoles as I might be otherwise, if a GTX 780 can let me run games like Watch Dogs at 120 fps then that’s what I’ll be doing instead! Anyway hopefully someone finds this helpful, I thought about getting a 120hz panel for a while before doing it, never really seeing a good summary of what kind of changes to expect.