Introduction

120Hz panels are definitely still market newcomers - in fact, look no further than Newegg, where there still isn’t a 120Hz category, much less a refresh rate field for drilling down products. The necessity for 120Hz panels arose entirely out of the ongoing 3D obsession across the entire consumer electronics segment, something that remains a difficult sell for many gamers. On a technical level, the necessity for 120Hz arises from the need to drive two discrete 60Hz images - one 60Hz image for each eye. In its current incarnation, consumer 3D technology relies primarily on active shutter glasses - parallax barrier 3D displays are still too expensive, and I’ve yet to see passive polarization methods used outside the movie theatre. But you probably already know most of the 3D story.

Though the 120Hz refresh frequency does make games playable in 3D, there’s another important benefit of using a faster refresh rate - everything looks smoother, and you can now drive up to 120 FPS without tearing. The ASUS VG236H was my first exposure to 120Hz refresh displays that aren’t CRTs, and the difference is about as subtle as a dump truck driving through your living room. I spent the first half hour seriously just dragging windows back and forth across the desktop - from a 120Hz display to a 60Hz, stunned at how smooth and different 120Hz was. Yeah, it’s that different.

If you’re the kind of person that cares about squeezing every last FPS out of your box - regardless of how you feel about 3D - don’t even bother reading the rest of this review, just run, don’t walk, to the store and get this 120Hz display. I’m serious.

ASUS’ VG236H isn’t perfect, like any product there are a few caveats. That aside, honestly, the completely unparalleled level of smoothness on a 120 Hz display has made me hyper attuned to just how flickery 60Hz looks on all the other LCDs I’ve got.

Oh and my initial skepticism about 3D? I’m still shocked about it, but I've completely changed my mind.

Let’s dive into this review.

Overview and Specifications
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  • user72 - Saturday, August 07, 2010 - link

    I have some molecular modeling programs that use OpenGL QuadBuffer for 3D rendering. Do you know if this monitor is compatible with QuadBuffer? Thanks! Reply
  • Sp12 - Saturday, August 07, 2010 - link

    Until I can get 120hz IPS technology I'm unimpressed. 120hz is in no way worth it for the dithering and inconsistent colors TN brings. Especially if it comes at a premium like that.

    I may be waiting forever until blue phase or autostereoscopic displays come around.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_Phase_Mode_LCD

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autostereoscopy
    Reply
  • Soldier1969 - Saturday, August 07, 2010 - link

    1080 monitors suck after having 1920 x 1200 since Jan of 2007 I will never go backwards in resolution. When they make a 2560 x 1600 LED backlit 120hz panel I'll get one but these 1080 ones cater to the poor folk. Reply
  • Daeros - Saturday, August 07, 2010 - link

    This review just highlights why I still use a pair of HP 1230 21" crt monitors. Sure, they weigh about 70lbs each, but they are like 6 years old and have no problem running at 2048x1536 @ 110Hz . Show me any lcd that can do that. And don't even get me started on gamut or black levels. Reply
  • Zok - Saturday, August 07, 2010 - link

    Well, without getting into the old CRT-LCD argument too heavily, my desk can't handle a 30" CRT - size or weight. Reply
  • DarkUltra - Sunday, August 08, 2010 - link

    1536x110hz = 169Khz horizontal frequency. That is amazing.. I thoght my lacie electronblue22 III was good at 1440x85hz :) Reply
  • Luke212 - Sunday, August 22, 2010 - link

    yeah its a nice story but his crt can only do 91hz at that rez.
    (140k/1536)
    Reply
  • adonn78 - Saturday, August 07, 2010 - link

    I think its over priced for a 23 inch monitor. I'd rather get a larger screen than one with features I'll never use such as 3D. Reply
  • DarkUltra - Sunday, August 08, 2010 - link

    It's not just the 3D. 120hz give you a much smoother Windows experience, and the lack of RTC artifacts is also good. Reply
  • SunLord - Monday, August 09, 2010 - link

    Any monitor over $300 isn't worth buying even fi its 120hz and the newest gimmick to get stupid people to pay more Reply

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