Hands-on review: Gigabyte Aorus G27QC and G27FC 27” gaming monitors
Everybody is getting excited about NVIDIA's new RTX 3000-series graphics cards. But before you go rushing off to spend the same amount of money of a GPU as you did your first car, is your monitor up to it? We were sent a couple of Gigabytes Aorus 27" curved monitors, the G27QC and G27FC to test out.
Desktop PC upgrades are a necessary evil. If you want to keep your machine running for the maximum amount of time, without having to junk it and start again, I recommend upgrading something every couple of years. CPUs, memory, GPUs, hard drives and even motherboards easily come to mind.
It's easy to forget about the literal window into all that cool tech, your monitor. Like most technology, monitors have come a long way in the last few years. Chances are that the cool flat-screen that you purchased to replace the CRT screen that you pilfered from work back in 2005 is way past its prime. And, if you are running a decent PC using a crusty old TN monitor, you are probably doing yourself an injustice.
Gigabytes Aorus G27QC and G27FC are two favours of the same monitor that you may want to consider. Apart from the G27QC's higher resolution and HDR functionality, they are practically identical.
The G27QC runs at a resolution of 2540 x 1440, which is what I'd really consider to be the minimum for PC gaming. The G27FC is the lower spec of the two. Running at a rather pedestrian 1920 x 1080 the native resolution the 27” curved panel, as with the higher-spec G27QC, nevertheless produces a crisp display. Resolutions aside, these are both fully-featured devices.
The VA (Vertical Alignment) panel gives the monitors better colour reproduction and viewing angles over TN panels. Whilst the display is theoretically not as good as an IPS panel (but to be honest, you'll not notice it), VA panels are capable of better response times (that's less streaking of fast-moving pixels) and higher refresh rates.
Both the G27QC and the G27FC have a 1ms response time and a blistering 165Mhz refresh rate (that's up to 165 frames per second). With a decent GPU, you will enjoy some incredible visuals in your games. And, as they say, frames equal wins. The combined response time and refresh rate makes fast-moving games like Fortnite and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare run so smoothly aiming and taking a shot is so much easier than on a jerky old display.
My personal favourite, however, is that whilst the monitors are compatible with AMD's FreeSync, they have also been certified for Nvidia G-Sync. And as a gamer, this is a big deal.
Over the past few years, lots of monitors have been compatible with AMD's software-based vertical synchronisation technology. Nvidia, on the other hand, required manufactures to licence their technology, usually adding a few hundred dollars to the price. Recently, Nvidia has relaxed this stance certifying a lot of FreeSync monitors to sync with their GPUs.
Why should you care? Most games have a V-Sync option. V-Sync or vertical sync is an old technology developed to synchronise a game's frame rate with the refresh rate of a monitor. On a regular monitor, if a game runs faster than a monitor can refresh, or the frames-per-second and refresh are out of sync in any way, screen tearing occurs. If you are a console gamer, you can see this is a lot of games.
This technology works by limiting the data that is sent to the monitor. The downside is that the fps can suffer as a result of this delay as well as control responsiveness, both of which are bad in a competitive setting. Traditionally, for fast games, a lot of players would turn off V-Sync and put up with the screen tearing for more responsive controls.
FreeSync and G-Sync allow the monitor and GPU to better communicate with each other overcoming the disadvantages of V-Sync. By switching this feature on in your graphics card setting the G27FC will give you responsive controls, a smooth image and better performance.
The 1500R curve in the monitor screen is something that very much depends on personal preference. It's a very subtle curve. The idea is that as you move your head side to side, your eyes remain the same distance from the screen. For playing games, and most PC tasks, this is fine.
If you are working with graphics or CAD, you may not like it. Personally, whilst I found it OK for games, when using Photoshop and Sketchup, I was concerned that I was looking at a distorted image, compared to my regular monitor. I might just be me, and I might have got used to it, but I'm just saying, be mindful.
The monitors both have a 3000:1 contrast ratio, but the 2540 x 1440 G27QC is HDR ready, whilst the G27FC is not. Both monitors produce stunning images, but the higher-spec G27QC with its higher resolution and HDR looks a lot nicer.
The design is stylish and subtle, it doesn't light up and provides a neutral look that'll go with any setup. The monitors are VESA compatible, so can be used with 3rd-party mounts. The on-screen display is easy to use via small joystick on the rear right side. This may present an access issue if you have multiple displays butted up to one another. The screen high and tilt can be adjusted. The stand has a hole for keeping your cables tidy.
The G27QC has 2x HDMI 2.0 ports and 1x Display Port 1.4. The G27FC has 2x HDMI 1.4 and 1x Display Port 1.2. Both monitors have 2x USB 3.0 ports and two reasonable-sounding 2W speakers.
I'm really taken by the capabilities of the VA panels. On both monitors, they offer a crisp and beautiful colour gamut with a really wide viewing angle. The colours are uniform and vibrant, on par with my IPS screens, with none of the shadowing that you get around the edges with a TN panel. Very impressive.
I can't say that I'd recommend the 1920 x 1080 Gigabyte Aorus G27FC, purely on the resolution. The incredibly good 165Mhz refresh and 1ms response time are a bit wasted when there's more to be gained from a 1440p monitor running at, say, 144Mhz. But, if a 1080p monitor is what you are after, the G27FC is a stunning example.
The 2540 x 1440 Gigabyte Aorus G27QC is everything that you'd want from a monitor. A decent GPU will be able to fill the screen and, hopefully, reach towards that 165Mhz, although you may need to splash out on a new Nvidia 3000-series to really get the most out of the display. With FreeSync, G-Sync and HDR this is a high-performance monitor that'll do you proud.
Probably the best thing about both these monitors is the price. And they are, quite frankly, astounding. The 2540 x 1440 HDR Gigabyte Aorus G27QC is around AU$500/NZ$700 and the 1920 x 1080 Gigabyte Aorus G27FC AU$400/NZ$550.