How to choose an HDR gaming monitor

The Asus ROG Strix PG329Q is a rugged 32-inch HDR600 gaming monitor.

Lori Grunin / CNET

High dynamic range refers to scenes rendered with brighter highlights, larger shadow details, and a wider range of colors to improve the appearance of the image.for game In contrast to HDR TV HDR, That means more than a more beautiful picture: the better you can see what’s lurking in the bright and dark areas, the more likely you are to avoid hidden enemies and find clues. However, keep in mind that most games are still designed for the lowest common denominator. need You can see enough to see in the middle of the range of brightness.

read more: How to buy a gaming monitor

The game still needs explicit HDR support for optimal results, Automatic HDR Xbox series X / S and Windows 11 Changes: The operating system can automatically expand the brightness and color range of non-HDR games. This isn’t the same as using a game rendered to use an extended range, but you can give it a bump to make it look better than otherwise.

What is HDR? Why do you need it?

To provide that magic, HDR combines several elements. First, use the extended brightness range. This is well beyond the 256 levels that a regular monitor can display, and in the best case, the true 1,024 levels of a good monitor. Also, more colors than the lowest common denominator sRGB color gamut, the profiles needed to optimally map the color and brightness range of the content to the functionality of the display, the monitor decoder to understand the mapping, and everything related. Also discusses the technology of. Together-at least that at least the operating system.

HDR is not important in many games. This is because there aren’t many areas with high brightness or deep shadows, or they don’t take advantage of the wider tonal range in a meaningful way. However, for games that support it, there is the potential for improved visuals in AAA games, more creep from horror games, less ambush from the shadows of FPS games, and more.

The real question is not whether you want it. The question is, how much can you pay for a monitor that offers HDR-related image quality, not just a display that includes “HDR10” in its specs?

Does the HDR Gaming Monitor work on the Xbox Series X / S and PS5?

Yes!Some sets are open to the public Best practices for HDR game development and monitor design Developed by Sony, Microsoft Hosts of other affiliated companies HDR Gaming Interest Group, For them console And Windows. However, HGIG is not a standards body and does not certify products, so you need to pay close attention to the specifications.And it gets even more confusing

“HDMI 2.1” warning

Unfortunately, the HDMI spec is so confusing that you can’t guess the feature based on the version number. Not only will all HDMI 2.0 connections be labeled 2.1a (using the same HDMI 2.0 feature set), but the specification no longer requires any of the important new features. In other words, all the Wizzy features that made HDMI 2.1 desirable are now optional, especially as a console choice.

Conclusion: If you need a monitor for your console that can run 4K at 120Hz and support variable rate refresh and automatic low latency modes, you should check each support individually. The same is true if you need a PC monitor connected via HDMI. This monitor can support a combination of source-based tone mapping (discussed below) with high resolution, fast refresh rate, and high color depth / HDR bandwidth consumption.

The monitor manufacturer is supposed to explicitly list the supported features. If not, go through the monitor or dig deeper. If you need cruel details, TFT Central does a great job explaining the problem..

What to look for on an HDR gaming monitor?

The term “HDR” has become much more sparse, thanks to marketers expanding the definition to include displays in the most popular price range (less than $ 400). Therefore, up to a point, you need to pay attention to multiple specifications to determine if a real HDR experience is possible.

The VESA The display industry group has created a set of standards and standards for communicating HDR quality levels on consumer monitors. DisplayHDR, This is a very reliable way to remove a choice from the list. (The DisplayHDR 400 is funny for HDR because it’s a children’s pool of HDR due to color gamut and brightness requirements, but if you’re just looking for a bright SDR monitor, that’s a good bet.)

read more: VESA updates Display HDR logo specifications to support laptops, OLED screens

Many manufacturers refer to monitors as “HDR 600”, which is confusing. It’s not clear if they’re just using it as an abbreviation for an equivalent Display HDR level and don’t want to pay for the logo certification program, or as a misleading abbreviation for their ability to reach peak brightness levels. There is none. Specific layer. It is possible to run the certification test itself for internal verification without choosing a logo. (you too, Display HDR test utility Available in the Microsoft Store. )


Lori Grunin / CNET

Therefore, it is important to understand the important (less important) specifications related to HDR.

HDR10 and HDR10 Plus games

From a spec point of view, HDR10 support makes little sense as it only means that the monitor understands the data stream and renders it in some way, not that it can actually display the data stream. .. good.. Compliance with the HDR10 standard is the most basic level (and cheapest to include) that a monitor must reach to call itself “HDR”. This simply means that the monitor can support the algorithms required by the operating system to correctly map HDR content to the monitor’s capabilities. Luminance mapping and the ability to handle the 10-bit calculations required for mapping ( EOTF and SMPTEST.2084 gamma), Understand how to work with compressed color sampling in video, and the ability to process and map colors represented within the Rec2020 color space.

and CES2022, The organization behind the HDR10 standard Announced a new level, next HDR10Plus game standard, Variations HDR10 Plus It was available on TV for some time. Add Source Side Tone Mapping (SSTM) to adjust the brightness range at the scene level based on the data embedded by the game developer. HDR10 has a single range that needs to work throughout the game. It also has the ability to automatically trigger the low latency mode of the display, compensate for the additional overhead imposed by HDR data (more important to the TV than the monitor), and support variable refresh rates at 4K and 120Hz on the console. Is also included (currently not implemented in PS5).

HDR10 Plus Accredited and paid licenses For hardware manufacturers (including GPUs), the license also pays the right to use the selected patents of the member manufacturers, but not the software developers. Samsung announced at CES that all 2022 game monitors will support HDR10 Plus.

Color and brightness

Brightness is a measure of the amount of light a screen can emit and is usually expressed in nits (candela per square meter). Most desktop monitors typically run 250-350 nits in SDR (standard definition range), but HDR monitors also have peak brightness that can hit a short time in HDR mode, usually part of the screen. Specify. Displays that support HDR start at a peak of at least 400 nits and now need to run up to 1,600. (Laptop screens are different because they need to be able to display in different types of lighting, such as direct sunlight. Therefore, even if HDR is not supported, there are benefits of higher brightness levels.)

OLED screens tend to have different ratings because they achieve a black level of virtually zero brightness. This results in very high contrast, regardless of brightness. Contrast is one of the biggest factors in deciding how to perceive the quality of an image.

The most interesting color space for games and monitors in general is P3, which has two slightly different flavors, DCI-P3 and D65P3. In reality, they differ only in the white point. DCI is a hair warmer (6300K instead of 6500K) and was devised for film editing. However, I often see DCI-P3 listed in the spec, which actually means D65. That’s fine as the D65 was at the forefront. Apple Because of its unique display, it’s what we care about for game monitors. And since their color gamuts are the same, we simply call them P3 unless we clearly distinguish between the two. (If you have educated eyes, you can see the difference between the two whites, but that’s not important to most people.)

It also shows the color gamut, which is typically displayed as a percentage of Adobe RGB, which is fine. Adobe RGB and P3 overlap significantly. Adobe RGB is slightly shifted to the green / cyan edge of the spectrum. This is easier to create on a good monitor because the printer uses cyan ink, while the P3 is further extended in green / yellow. And, in a nutshell, if the spec says “more than a billion colors” (a number generated using 10-bit math), that’s why it doesn’t make sense. Which one billion is important.


The smallest triangle is the appropriate monitor color gamut, which is roughly equivalent to sRGB (actually Rec 709). The next largest is P3 color, and the largest is Rec2020.

Jeffrey Morrison / CNET (Triangle); Cherry (Base Chart)

Monitors considering proper HDR display must ensure that they cover 100% or more of sRGB. HP In 1996, Microsoft provided Windows with the lowest common denominator color matching, which is similar to the color space of the Rec 709SDR video standard. Looking at the graph above, it’s easy to see why the sRGB calibrated monitor and the image are so green that everything looks relatively low contrast (because most hues can’t achieve high saturation values).

In my experience, a decent HDR monitor should be able to reach peak brightness of 600-1,000 nits and cover at least 95% of the P3 or Adobe RGB color gamut. (If Windows looks terrible in HDR mode, it’s a result of low-brightness features, sRGB-only color gamut, and poorly designed aspects of the operating system and math.)

Backlight type

All screen technologies except OLEDs produce images by shining light through different layers of color filters and LCDs. Outside that OLED with self-luminous pixels.. Most backlit panels may display some artifacts, especially the appearance of light around the edges of a dark screen. This is commonly referred to as backlight bleed (although technically an edge light artifact). New backlight technology, ideal for HDR Mini LED, Let the monitor use Local dimming Produces high brightness with less bleeding and less bright halos when displayed next to dark areas, such as on a television. The brighter the display, the more noticeable the unwanted brightness tends to be. Mini LEDs are used in the latest HDR displays with a brightness of over 1,000 knits.

And just like TV set, The more local dimming zones, the better.

As the brightness increases, so does the price. Therefore, the 400 knit display is very attractive to both buyers and sellers. Throwing in gaming needs like high refresh rates can raise prices even further.

The latest twist Samsung QD-OLED Panels shipped in Alienware 34QD-OLED Gaming DisplayBecause it uses OLED as the backlight, it achieves higher contrast and faster response time, and in combination with quantum dot arrays, provides a wider color array.

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