First monitors with HDMI 2.0 are out
The 4K interface has been on everyone's lips since the presentation of the latest UHD TVs at IFA 2014. Now the first computer monitors with the HDMI 2.0 standard are gradually following.
The first UHD LCD monitor with HDMI 2.0 from Acer is waiting in the wings. The S277HK model with a 27-inch IPS panel (68.6 cm) will be available from mid-December. Acer had announced this monitor together with the WQHD monitor H257HU in press releases in September. However, no further information is available about the latter model so far. The Acer S277HK has a lot to offer in return: The sRGB color space is supposed to be covered by 100 percent, and the IPS panel is supposed to come with 10-bit color support. The resolution is 3,840 × 2,160 pixels with an aspect ratio of 16:9. In addition to the HDMI 2.0 port, a DisplayPort 1.2, a Mini-DisplayPort and a DVI port are also available as video inputs on the Acer S277HK.
The Acer S277H monitor is only the third computer monitor to feature HDMI 2.0 support. Even before Acer, Dell and Asus already released their own models. Dell's curved UltraSharp U3451W has been on the shelves since the end of November. With its 34-inch AH-IPS display, the Dell U3451W is quite a bit bigger than the new Acer. The resolution is 3440 x 1440 pixels in 21:9 cinema format. 21:9 is, by the way, the highest possible dimension supported by HDMI 2.0. Beyond HDMI 2.0, there are DisplayPort, Mini-DP and MHL ports on the Acer U3451W 1.2. In terms of ergonomics, the Dell monitor scores over the Acer monitor - which can only be tilted - with height adjustability, tilt and swivel.
The Asus PA328Q is one size smaller than the UltraSharp U3451W with 32 inches. The new Ultra HD monitor from Asus' ProArt line for (semi-)professional use was first presented at Computex in June 2014. It went on sale in November. The resolution of the Asus PA328Q is 3,840 × 2,160 pixels with an aspect ratio of 16:9. Like the Acer S277H, the color space is completely covered, and there is also 10-bit support and a panel with IPS technology. Other connections after HDMI 2.0 are DisplayPort 1.2 and Mini-DP as well as HDMI 1.4 twice.
As with all Ultra HD displays that are currently on the market, these models (still) suffer from the initial problems of 4K: True Ultra HD content is still scarce, Windows menus are sometimes extremely small and software manufacturers charge extra for 4K updates. Whether you can live with these problems and whether the mega resolution is worth such restrictions is ultimately something that everyone has to judge for themselves at the moment.
HDMI cable and graphics cards for 2.0
Those who want to equip themselves with one of the monitors with HDMI 2.0 connectivity do not need to look for special HDMI 2.0 cables. There are no new cables for HDMI 2.0, and the plug and socket of the previous HDMI interface remain the same. To avoid problems with the transmission of 4K video signals, you should use high-speed cables. This article explains what to look for when buying HDMI cables.
The available range of HDMI 2.0 graphics cards is quite small so far. Currently, only Nvidia's GeForce GTX 970 and GeForce GTX 980 are designed for the new interface. Both graphics cards can output UHD resolutions of 3840 x 2160 pixels at 60Hz. However, the cards still lack HDCP 2.2 support.
Conclusion: Should you buy a 4K monitor now?
High resolution and brilliant image display are tempting. Nevertheless, we advise most users to wait and see. Many softwares do not yet support 4K 100% (including Windows, see e.g. the problem with the small menus) or need paid updates for UltraHD support. Internet surfing with 4K monitors might not be much fun at the moment either, since most graphics on the web are in standard resolution (72dpi) and are thus either blurry or quite small on the large displays. In the foreseeable future, these problems will certainly be solved - at the latest when the prices for 4K monitors fall and more users switch to the format. Falling prices for 4K monitors are to be expected for the foreseeable future. We therefore advise: Better watch the offers at the moment and don't buy yet!
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