Jul 18, 2018 Written by: Shawn_Sanders

The ROG Swift PG258Q 240Hz gaming monitor raises the bar for speed and seamless motion

Articles: Hands On Monitors
Article Tags: Hands On

High-refresh monitors are a key ingredient for cooking up smooth gameplay and visuals in your favorite games. Though they defy the 60Hz convention, they often top out at 144Hz. But high-end graphics cards like our ROG Strix GeForce GTX 1080 OC Edition pitch frames at an insane rate that far exceeds 144 FPS in many titles, and the refresh rate limitation can have a huge impact on hardcore gamers and esports professionals who demand the smoothest experience possible. 

The ROG Swift PG258Q is a more aggressive take on high-refresh monitor game. Its retina-searing 240Hz maximum refresh rate keeps up with the best GPUs and is 67% faster than typical gaming monitors in this category. The result is superior motion in fast-paced games and newfound clarity in your favorite titles. Action sequences look rich and animate fluidly without stuttering or visual anomalies, which deepens immersion and makes the game world feels vibrant and alive.

More speed, more fun

pg258q_panelHigh refresh rates are only part of the equation, though. Unsightly screen tearing can occur when your GPU's frame rate fails to match the refresh rate of your monitor. V-Sync can correct this, but it introduces input lag and can lead to stuttering when performance falls below the peak refresh rate. NVIDIA's G-Sync technology provides the second half of the one-two punch by dynamically adjusting the monitor’s refresh rate to match the GPU’s frame rate, which eliminates tearing and reduces stuttering, so visuals remain consistent even through chaotic sequences. G-Sync uses proprietary hardware to provide a consistent experience for compatible GeForce graphics cards. If your system uses an AMD graphics card, you'll want a monitor that incorporates AMD’s FreeSync, which is based on the Adaptive-Sync component in the DisplayPort standard. Check out the ROG Strix XG258Q, which boasts similar specs and aesthetics and is made for Radeons with AMD FreeSync.

The ROG Swift PG258Q is crafted for speed throughout. Its 1080p native resolution is the sweet spot for most gamers and professional players. Gaming at higher resolutions increases the demands on the GPU, which makes it more difficult to reach frame rates that fully exploit the 240Hz refresh rate. We chose a TN panel for its blazing 1-ms grey-to-grey response time, which busts the blurring and ghosting that can occur in fast-paced titles. The ultra-fast pixel response produces cleaner images that let players focus on what matters. Viewing angles are a nonissue; this display was built for gamers who sit front and center and fully immersed in the action. To increase versatility, the stand offers pivot, tilt, and height adjustment and also allows the screen to rotate 90° for portrait or landscape view.

Competition-bound

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The PG258Q’s exceptional performance has already earned it a seat at the esports table. It’s used in multiple professional leagues for games like PUBG, Fortnite, Rainbow Six Siege, CS:GO, and Overwatch just to name a few. Professional teams including Ninjas In Pajamas and Mythic have also added it to their arsenals to ensure players have unmatched fluidity and a clearer view for tracking, aiming, and dispatching enemies.

You will need a worthy graphics card with a DisplayPort output to unlock the monitor's full potential. HDMI input is supported for connecting an auxiliary machine or console, but the included DisplayPort cable is required to reach 240Hz and use G-Sync. I used our ROG Strix GL12 esports-focused gaming PC to ensure triple-digit frame rates for my test sessions. It’s bred for competition and can be configured with up to a GeForce GTX 1080, making it a perfect match for the display.

Bleeding-edge gaming

I went hands-on with a collection of old and new titles to test the monitor's mettle. Each game features hectic action sequences that call for razor-sharp reflexes and precise execution. This is a tall order for slower monitors, where inferior panels makes it more difficult to decipher the fast action on-screen. 

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Gameplay in CS:GO was noticeably improved over playing at 144Hz, allowing me to track enemies with ease in the midst of blistering firefights or while hunkered down sniping from a distance. Zooming in and out was also much smoother, without any of the annoying snapping effect that can impact your focus. In COD Black Ops, landing successful tomahawk kills felt more intuitive in close quarters and at range.

Fresh out of Steam Early Access, Quake Champions is a near-picture perfect candidate for this display. The exchanges between players are fast and brutal, which is a big nod to the original arena-style shooter. Gameplay was ultra smooth on the PG258Q, with frame rates averaging 227 FPS, so the frantic pace of the action was far more manageable than with a typical 144Hz display. Slash and Anarki are the game’s ice-skater and hoverboard experts, respectively, and they glide seamlessly across the maps when playing with this setup. Slash’s plasma trail leaves a wake of deadly electricity that is easy to lay down but tricky to pull off tactically due to the slick nature of her movement. Flawless motion makes it easier to control her and other characters as you move through the chaos and strike with intent.

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Rocket League feels silky at 240Hz, which is great when you’re trying to maneuver, evade, and control the ball with split second reaction time. You don't need GTX 1080-class graphics to pump out frame rates high enough to keep up with the display in this game.

Overwatch easily runs at over 240 FPS, and with a matching 240Hz refresh rate, movement is insanely responsive, even when things get chaotic and your entire team is fighting to control the point. There’s a good reason why top teams favor the PG258Q for Overwatch competition.

In battle royale mega-hit Fortnite, the monitor improved awareness to let me clearly identify enemies and loot during intense firefights. You need more than shooting skills to win; the game requires you to build structures quickly on the fly. It’s not the most intuitive mechanic for new players, but the enhanced motion makes it feel more natural and less disorienting.

Sub-200 is a satisfying second choice

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Modern games can often be too demanding to hit 240 FPS with full graphics detail, but sub-200 territory can still feel awesome. Titles with wildly fluctuating frame rates, like PUBG and Warframe, benefit from G-Sync's ability to smooth out performance wrinkles for a more consistent experience.

Warframe in particular has so much happening on screen. The flying, shooting, swordplay, gunplay, explosions, screen shake, and dynamic particle effects dominating the training demo can be horribly overwhelming when accompanied by the stuttering and screen tearing seen on less capable displays. Those anomalies introduce stilted character animations and distortions to the game world that yank you from an immersed state. It's easier to register the frantic movements when the animation is smooth from start to finish. The game ran at around 165 FPS during my test session, combining with a perfectly matched refresh rate to help me make sense of each engagement.

Wrinkle-free at 30

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Stutter-free motion is increasingly important at the lower frame rates that are unavoidable in some games. For example, crowdfunding juggernaut Star Citizen (ver 3.2 tested) is available to backers in a very rough alpha that has not been fully optimized. When servers reach capacity, GPU utilization decreases and frame rates are crippled. Gameplay fluctuates between 30 FPS and 75 FPS on a good day, and the upper end of that bracket is only achievable after a server restart.

Obstacles frequently appear out of nowhere when I'm playing, which is jarring to the senses and has caused more than a few fiery wrecks. G-Sync integration on the PG258Q ensures refresh rates and frame rates are synced perfectly, making the appearance of asteroids and space debris feel less abrupt. Even though the frame rate isn't the silkiest, Star Citizen is more enjoyable thanks to G-Sync's ability to reduce the stuttering produced by lower performance.

Behind the scenes

A collection of other features subtly enhances your gaming sessions. GamePlus assists your quest for victory with a variety of on-screen overlays. The crosshair provides four bold targeting options even when you're zoomed out; there are two designs and colors to suit the game's environment. I'm also a fan of the timers, which help keep track of things like ability cool-down times and day-night cycles.

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There are physical enhancements to the monitor, too, including a customizable light signature that lets you leave your mark in a more literal sense. The monitor stand projects a beam of light onto your desk through a swappable cover emblazoned with the ROG logo. A marker can be used to doodle and draw whatever you like on three blank covers included in the box, so the sky's the limit for customization. You can fly the flag for the Republic, project your team's logo, or show off personal style with your gamertag.

  ROG Swift PG258Q
Panel 24.5" Twisted Nematic
Full HD (1920x1080)
Refresh rate G-Sync up to 240Hz
Response time 1 ms (GTG)
Colors 16.7 million colors
Brightness 400 cd/m²
Contrast 1000:1
Backlight TUV Rheinland-certified blue light filter and flicker-free backlighting
Viewing angles 170°(H) /160°(V)
Ports 1 x DisplayPort 1.2, 1 x HDMI 1.4, 2 x USB 3.0
Price $599 USD / $719.99 CAD
Availability (USA) Newegg, Amazon, Best Buy, Micro Center, Frys, B&H, Walmart
Availability (Canada) Amazon, Memory Express, Staples, Canada Computers

Smooth criminal

The ROG Swift PG258Q launches you into a new realm that blazes past the 144Hz refresh rate typically found on regular gaming monitors. Flying, driving, shooting, and gliding happens with unparalleled fluidity when playing at 240 FPS and a matching 240Hz. In more demanding games with lower FPS, G-Sync is on hand to synchronize frame delivery and ensure the smoothest experience possible. This setup is favored by pros for good reason, and it's ideal for any gamer seeking competition-grade performance to edge out the enemy. The ROG Swift PG258Q is priced at $599 USD and $719.99 CAD. Check the table above for U.S. and Canadian retailers stocking the PG258Q near you. If you're outside of North America, check with your local ROG representative for international pricing and availability. Gamers with Radeon systems should check out the ROG Strix XG258Q with FreeSync. You can also read more about other FreeSync offerings from ASUS and ROG in this gaming monitor guide.

Articles: Hands On Monitors
Article Tags: Hands On
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