ASUS ROG Previews World’s First Monitor with Display Stream Compression Technology at E3 2019

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After a bit of holiday time and a busy week or so reviewing the Asus ROG Swift PG35VQ we are just catching up on some interesting news pieces we missed in recent weeks. A couple of weeks back at the AMD “Next Horizon Gaming” event at E3 2019 Asus previewed a new 43-inch gaming monitor and the world’s first with Display Stream Compression (DSC) technology. Display Stream Compression technology is an industry-wide compression standard for transporting ultra-high definition video streams across a single interface at high speed with no perceptible loss of visual quality. This will allow Asus to deliver ultra HD resolution (3840 x 2160) at a high 144Hz refresh rate over a single DisplayPort 1.4 connection, without the need to sacrifice colour depth or chroma.

Some background about DisplayPort 1.4 Bandwidth Limitations

You may be familiar with the bandwidth limitations of DisplayPort 1.4 as a connection type, which became most apparent when testing top end gaming displays over the last year. The Asus ROG Swift PG27UQ from Aug 2018 had a 3840 x 2160 resolution and supported up to 144Hz, but in order to reach that res/refresh rate limit you had to make some sacrifices to your colour levels. This is because the total bandwidth requirement to run at those settings exceeds the capacity of a single DP 1.4 connection. On the PG27UQ you had to drop to 4:2:2 chroma sub-sampling in order to run 144Hz. There’s more detail about that, and what it realistically means to image quality in our review.

In December 2018 we reviewed the Acer Nitro XV273K which featured the same 3840 x 2160 @ 144Hz, but allowed you to run at those settings without needing to drop the colour depth or chroma. This was achieved instead by connecting dual DP 1.4 connections from graphics card to screen, increasing the total available bandwidth. The issue with that method was that you couldn’t use variable refresh rate (FreeSync/G-sync) when using dual DP.

The new DSC Solution

With DSC technology, the new ROG monitor can display incredibly detailed and smooth visuals at native 4K resolution with a 144 Hz refresh rate via a single DisplayPort 1.4 connection without chroma sub-sampling, and without the need to use dual DP. This can also allow support for VRR and HDR from the single connection.

Asus haven’t really released any specifics about this new screen they were talking about at the E3 event, not even a model name (update 20/8/19 now confirmed as the ROG Strix XG43UQ). We only know that the prototype model is 43″ in size with a 3840 x 2160 resolution and 144Hz, will feature FreeSync 2 and has a VESA DisplayHDR 1000 certification, 1000 cd/m2 peak brightness capability and 90% DCI-P3 gamut.

There’s no firm word on release date, pricing or other specs yet. There was a similar 43″ model already planned from Asus which is the ROG Strix XG438Q, and so it’s possible this new screen would be an upgraded version of that coming at a much later date. More info as we get it.

Update 20/8/19 – Asus have now confirmed that this screen will be called the ROG Strix XG43UQ, with specs listed above confirmed. No word still on release date or price.

Update 22/8/19 – according to some reports coming out of Gamescom this screen is expected to retail for 1,499 EUR and will be available in Q4 2019.

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