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  • Soon Kai Hong

We Learnt That ULMB 2 Is Awesome But Wasted On Us

After using this very monitor for a couple weeks, all of us here at the office simply learnt that we’re getting older and our eyes aren’t what they used to be. We capped out at 240Hz and we clearly can’t see what difference ULMB 2 makes, at all. We’re kind of sad now that we know that fact.

But if you’re someone who’s on the other side of the spectrum, perhaps you can consider this. The Asus ROG PG27AQN. A 27” IPS monitor with a 1440P resolution and blazing fast 360Hz refresh rate. And of course, the kicker here is that this fully supports G-Sync Ultra Low Motion Blur 2. Hopefully that’s going to be a huge benefit to you. But unfortunately, not for us.

What Is ULMB 2?

So this monitor is special in the sense that it is currently one of the few monitors that actually supports NVIDIA’s brand new G-Sync ULMB 2 which stands for Ultra Low Motion Blur, and 2, being the second generation of the tech.

Now you might now be wondering, what does that even mean? Isn’t motion blur something that a game developer implements to which you should already turn that darn thing off in the first place? Well in actuality, there still is a form of motion blur and we’re talking about the actual physical form of it that our eyes actually perceive, more so than the kind that’s artificially introduced in games by developers.

So to give a brief explanation on how the original ULMB works, it utilises a technique called backlight strobing. But to achieve it, ULMB essentially disables the backlight 75% of the time. This meant that the resulting image would be clearer but significantly less bright. On top of that, because older monitors had slower response times, ULMB actually reduces the refresh rate to give more time for the pixels to fully transition. So in effect, the resulting image is clearer in motion but is significantly less bright and the refresh rate is lowered as well. Not ideal.

So with ULMB 2, NVIDIA basically solved all that. Half of which is simply thanks to the progression of technology. ULMB 2 now provides backlight strobing at the full refresh rate of the monitor, only reducing max brightness a slight bit while maintaining clear image quality throughout.

So NVIDIA has a full article about ULMB 2 and how it all works, so if you’re interested, definitely do check it out and perhaps learn a thing or two. But for us here and now, the big question remains.

Does ULMB 2 actually work and how much of an advantage can one actually perceive?

Now a huge disclaimer. We do not have the necessary equipment or apparatus to really dive deep down and properly review a monitor’s capabilities, especially down to the technical detail. If you’re looking for such information, we highly recommend searching the other channels out there who can provide that kind of information.

For us here, everything we say is going to be based on my own experience, as well as my fellow colleagues, so ultimately, it’s just our opinion and our opinion alone. With that out of the way, we’re going to be extremely honest.

We're Sad...

We seriously can’t tell the difference. And we’ve played quite a number of hours across many different titles such as Valorant, Apex, CS:GO, Modern Warfare 2 and even Cyberpunk 2077 for the heck of it.

We simply can’t tell when we were fully focused on the game and just experience everything as a whole. This monitor, the ROG PG27AQN, is already plenty capable. We’re talking 1440P resolution, a really fast IPS panel, 360Hz, DisplayHDR 600, all that jazz. It already performs amazingly well and to add on ULMB 2 on top of that is the icing on the cake but at this level, it feels a little like diminishing returns.

We were constantly swapping back and forth with standard 360Hz and G-Sync turned off, against 360Hz with ULMB 2 enabled. It didn’t feel any different. We could still track our targets enemies just as well, with or without and the motion clarity of the image was downright equally as good. We were fragging our enemies left and right in either mode.

So does that mean ULMB 2 isn’t really that big a deal? Not necessarily. If you do actually pixel peep and look for the difference, we daresay you can see the difference especially when it comes to text or edges in game.

There Is Definitely A Difference, If You Look For It

In particular, we could kind of track and read text as it moves from position to position just a tad bit better with ULMB 2 turned on. And that was enough to let us know that the feature is indeed working. So technically, the same advantage translates to the entire display and should give us that well-needed advantage of enhanced clarity in motion. In NVIDIA’s own words, they claim that gamers can now get an effective motion clarity of over 1,000Hz. With the formula they invented, 360Hz with ULMB 2 would give an effective motion clarity of 1,440Hz which is insane.

So overall, is the ROG PG27AQN worth considering? It very much depends on you and where you are in our opinion.

Depends On Your Priority

In the US, we would say it’s a tough choice, simply because of the price. The PG27AQN retails for US$1,049 while the PG27AQDM, which uses an OLED panel, retails for US$999. If you prefer a much better image quality and play games that aren’t competitive in nature, such as Cyberpunk 2077, Final Fantasy 7 Remake, Honkai: Star Rail, you name it, the OLED is probably what you want. But if you really want the best of the best to have that advantage over your enemies in games like Valorant, Apex, CS:GO and more, the IPS will provide you that.

In Singapore where we are however, the PG27AQN retails for a whopping S$1,899 while the PG27AQDM retails for S$1,459 which is far less. If you’re here in SG, just go for the OLED. It just looks much better and 240Hz is still nothing to scoff at. Additionally, OLED does also boast much better response time, of just 0.03ms which drastically reduces the difference between having ULMB 2 and not.

For us who can’t see the difference 90% of the time, it’s a no brainer, we’ll pick the OLED. At the end of the day, ULMB 2 is a fantastic technology and we’re certain that pro-level players can perhaps see the difference much more than we can and be able to appreciate the monitor that much more. For us however, we’ve simply learnt that we’re getting older and that our eyes just aren’t as good.

It’s sad, but the truth.

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