GTX 1070 Laptop, G-Sync vs 120/144Hz vs QHD/UHD

Discussion in 'What Notebook Should I Buy?' started by CivicJDM, Feb 12, 2019.

  1. CivicJDM

    CivicJDM Notebook Consultant

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    Hi there. I currently I have a Clevo P650SE with i7-4720HQ, GTX 970M 3GB and 1080p 60Hz IPS display. I'm looking to purchase a laptop with the GTX 1070 within the next 3 months once prices have dropped following the release of the RTX series.

    Debating between 120Hz/144Hz, NVIDIA G-Sync and QHD/UHD displays

    First of all, I'm interested in buying a laptop with NVIDIA G-Sync as I find myself experiencing bad eyestrain if the framerate drops below 60FPS causing stuttering and screen-tearing. But I know the GTX 1070 can run almost everything at 60FPS without framedrops which makes me wonder whether it is even necessary to have G-Sync at the expense of NVIDIA Optimus battery savings?

    Also, I was hoping to upgrade in terms of screen resolution to either QHD or 4K UHD for photo editing and content creation. I'd still be gaming at 1080p in most scenarios. But I've been stuggling to find any laptops which have both QHD/UHD and G-Sync. So far I have only found the Aorus X5 v7 which comes with both. Would gaming at 1080p on a QHD/UHD display provide less sharpness in comparison to a native 1080p display?

    Finally, I see a lot of hype surrounding 120Hz/144Hz displays but I don't know whether it's something worth considering in a GTX 1070 laptop. None of my favourite games can run at maximum settings at 120FPS on the GTX 1070 so I would have to lower the graphical settings down by a preset to achieve this framerate. Personally I have no problem gaming at 60FPS but then, I have never experienced 120FPS so I don't know whether it's worth it. Is gaming at 60FPS on a 120Hz display is any worse than 60FPS on a 60Hz display?

    Which do you consider to be most important between G-Sync, QHD/UHD & 120Hz/144Hz (on a GTX 1070 laptop) and in which order of priority?
     
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  2. Dennismungai

    Dennismungai Notebook Deity

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    It really is.

    Optimus, and similar switchable graphics systems, are not exactly silver bullets when it comes to battery savings. Most gaming notebooks take severe compromises on battery life and as such, trading in G-SYNC for Optimus is a bad bet. Look at reviews for systems such as the Asus GM501GS, etc. Optimus won't fix bad battery life on a laptop with a low capacity battery for its' hardware configuration.

    Beats the point of getting a high resolution panel if you're going to downscale the in-game resolution to match expected performance. See the next point.

    The hype is real, especially if you're into first person shooters. Infact, with a GTX 1070 (or a 1070 Max Q, even) driving a high refresh panel AT 1080p, nearly all modern first person shooters will take full advantage of the high refresh rate (120Hz+) and with G-SYNC, provide an excellent tear-free experience for these situations where hitting an FPS at or beyond the display's refresh rate is unattainable.

    And to summarize:

    1. G-SYNC. (Also pay attention to the display outputs available to your laptop and to what GPU(s) they're wired to, especially on switchable graphics systems. Rule of thumb: If your machine is branded as VR Ready, its' display ports are wired solely to the discrete GPU, and that's what you want to guarantee that G-SYNC is also available with external displays, where available.).
    2. High refresh rate.
    3. Resolution.

    In that order:

    (a). Insist on getting a G-SYNC capable laptop.
    (b). High refresh rate is a second priority. Even where G-SYNC isn't available, equip yourself with a high refresh panel.
    (c). Resolution: For a 1070, stick to 1080p. Here, using (b): High refresh panels is a viable option, as you'll be able to hit these frame rate targets. Yes, you will have to lower some settings. And this can be done with negligible loss in perceived visual quality, especially in fast paced first person shooters.

    With that said, it still comes down to your personal preferences and the budget available to you. This is your rig. And it should only exist to both serve and meet your needs, so take any feedback, even this one, with a grain of salt. What works for me may not be ideal for you, especially if you're into production-grade video editing (where a wide-color gamut + a high resolution display beyond 1080p may serve you better, for example).

    Good luck, and all the best!
     
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  3. CivicJDM

    CivicJDM Notebook Consultant

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    Well, first of all thanks for the helpful and informative response. I really appreciate the feedback as I have no experience with any of these technologies and therefore it's difficult to decide which matters the most.
    Yes, I see your point about how G-Sync doesn't matter as much as battery capacity. I only expressed concern in regards to this because in the NotebookCheck review of the Aorus X5 v7 they mentioned how the always-active GTX 1070 contributed to high power consumption. But it's not a huge deal because I have my laptop plugged into the mains about 85% of the time, anyway. And it sure beats having sore, irritated eyes as a result of framerate stuttering.

    I don't play a lot of first-person shooters. I'm mainly into games which involve cars and racing. My favourite titles are GTA 5 and Forza Horizon 4. I'd be buying the laptop mainly for these two games in particular, and also DiRT Rally 2 when it comes out. That said, 120Hz refresh rate does sound very appealing, even if it's just to experience it on the Windows desktop. (I used both the Razer Phone and iPad Pro in my local tech store and was blown away by the smoothness of 120FPS on a touchscreen. So it would be nice to have this in a desktop environment as well)

    Yeah. I do still think that screen resolution is something that would come in handy for my photo editing and stuff. It was always one of the key things I wanted to upgrade over my current laptop. Unfortunately there don't seem to be many laptops with both G-Sync and QHD displays, let alone 120Hz as well. If there was a laptop with all three technologies it would be the ideal solution. But sadly there isn't, which means a difficult choice between them. I do think that your suggestion of G-Sync & 120Hz is probably the best way to go. And there are A LOT more laptops available with that combination. I just wish there was a way of getting at least QHD resolution in there as well. :( I'm still worried about what 60FPS would look like on a 120Hz G-Sync panel, though. Would it be worse than 60FPS on a 60Hz panel, or would there be no perceivable difference?
     
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  4. rlk

    rlk Notebook Evangelist

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    The big consideration for image editing is gamut. Most screens seem to be around 72% NTSC (i. e. somewhat less than a CRT). There are some that are 100% or close to it, and a screen like that will make your life a lot easier. My previous laptop (Dell Precision M6500) had a 72% display (not spec'ed, but I measured it with DisplayCAL). Colors were always washed out, and as a result I went way too hard on the saturation/vibrance. My current laptop (Lenovo ThinkPad P70) has a close-to-100%, UHD screen, with much better color rendition.

    What you really, really want to avoid for image editing is a TN screen. Those screens have big color shifts if you're off axis; if you go far enough, the colors can actually reverse. If you think about it, if you're looking at the center of the screen the edges and especially corners will be significantly off-axis. For that purpose, you want an IPS or PLS type display. However, TN screens have faster response, hence higher usable frame rate.
     
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  5. CivicJDM

    CivicJDM Notebook Consultant

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    Some interesting points. The viewing angles of the 120Hz TN panel was one of my concerns although I didn't think about it in regards to the effect it would have on image editing. Ah, I had a similar experience with my old Acer Aspire V3-571G. Horrid laptop. The glossy screen was the most godawful thing I have ever used with a contrast ratio of 132:1, maximum brightness of 205 nits and the worst viewing angles you've ever seen. Thankfully the IPS screen on my Clevo has been MUCH better with 886:1 contrast ratio and 96% sRGB coverage.

    If it comes down to a choice between resolution vs. refresh rate, then I'm slightly more tempted towards resolution for the obvious advantages with image editing and viewing angles; since I don't have any problems gaming at 60FPS and I rarely play any FPS games. But it is hard finding a laptop that has both QHD/UHD and G-Sync. It also leads me back onto my previous question, for those games that can't run 60FPS at maximum resolution, would gaming at 1080p on a QHD/UHD display provide the appearance of less sharpness in comparison to a native 1080p display?
     
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  6. aenews

    aenews Notebook Enthusiast

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    Personally I'd only get 2160P/60Hz. Though it's probably not an option for most Clevo resellers, having a 1440P/120Hz Display would be optimal. Definitely far better than 1080P yet still allowing for very high refresh rate. I just wouldn't ever consider 1080P/144Hz. For gaming purposes, you'll want higher refresh rate.

    As long as the display is not Pentile, then gaming at 1080P on a 2160P Display will be perfectly fine with no disadvantages. Gaming at 60FPS on a 120FPS Monitor does not matter at all.
     
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  7. CivicJDM

    CivicJDM Notebook Consultant

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    Thanks for the response! After thinking about this for a while and I definitely agree it'd be a mistake for me to invest in another laptop with a 1080p display. It's one of my biggest criticisms with my Clevo P650SE when working on photo-editing projects in Photoshop. So it would make no sense to purchase another laptop with the same problem.

    Yes, I do believe a 1440p/120Hz panel would be ideal but I can't seem to find many 15.6" laptops with the luxury of both high-resolution and 120Hz refresh rate. Although I heard these may start becoming more commonplace (at least in in Clevo models) around May 2019 in RTX laptops.

    Your last few points are very helpful. Good to know that gaming at 60FPS on a 120Hz monitor does not make a difference. Likewise with gaming at 1080p on a 1440p or 4K panel.

    Back in 2015 I actually used an MSI GS60 for a couple of days with a Pentile (4K) panel. It was not good at all. I have also tried smartphones with Pentile (1080p) and thought they looked awful in comparison to a typical RGB arrangement.
     
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  8. aenews

    aenews Notebook Enthusiast

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    Glad my advice was helpful! Unfortunately, my own Sager NP8153 has a 4K RG-BW Pentile 60Hz G-Sync Display.

    Just as an aside, it's very different for smartphones. Samsung's OLED displays for mobile are RG-BG Pentile which is far superior to the RG-BW we see on laptops. Essentially, the former has the full number of G subpixels but half the number of R and half the number of B subpixels. The logic behind the technology is that our eyes are most sensitive to changes in G resolution. Pentile for laptops is much worse because rather than having the G subpixel, there's simply a W sub-pixel for additional brightness. Hence, the number of all subpixels are halved. Not to mention that most Pentile displays for laptops are not particularly good panels in general whereas Samsung's OLED are top of the line in almost every area.

    An RG-BG 4K Pentile Display would have the same number of R and B subpixels as a 1528P display while G subpixel density would be 1:1 unchanged. An RG-BW 4K Pentile Display would have the same number of all (R, G, and B) subpixels as a 1528P Display.
     
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  9. CivicJDM

    CivicJDM Notebook Consultant

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    That makes sense. I seem to remember reading about this a few years back, but I had completely forgotten the technical details about it. Honestly I didn't realise that AMOLED panels on Samsung's smartphones used a Pentile arrangement. Whenever I've seen Samsung displays in phone stores they always look fantastic. Maybe it's because they are QHD rather than 1080p. I was more thinking of phones like the OnePlus 3 which is 1080p Pentile. You don't have to look that close to see the lack of sharpness and 'fuzzy' appearance on those panels.

    Either way, I will definitely make sure to research the displays on any laptops I consider before purchasing anything. I find that NotebookCheck is very helpful in most cases. Even if they don't have a review on a specific laptop, you can often find other laptops they have reviewed with the exact same panel.

    I found that the display used in my Clevo P650SE is also the same panel as found in the Acer Aspire V5-573G, Gigabyte P55K and MSI GL62.
     
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  10. aenews

    aenews Notebook Enthusiast

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    Yeah the OnePlus 3 (and all later OP Phones) uses a S-AMOLED panel from Samsung. In general, all [modern] OLED for smartphones are Pentile. Unless it's from LG, it's also a Samsung panel. Most likely you just noticed that the 1080P Pentile display was less sharp but didn't notice the same on the 1440P Pentile display since you didn't look closely enough to differentiate, given the higher pixel density. Personally, I have a Note 9 and OnePlus 6T currently. I know it won't happen, but I hope that there's a QHD Display on the OnePlus 7. I also know it won't happen, but it would be nice if Samsung started using Full RGB OLED panels in smartphones. I own a Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 which actually does have a Full RGB QHD Display (similar to its predecessors).

    Knowing that Samsung will start making 4K OLED panels for laptops in the hopefully near future, I wonder if they'll be Full RGB or RG-BG Pentile.
     
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