Alienware AW3423DW: How to play on a QD-OLED panel from the future

The launch of this monitor caused a stir in the gaming world. The first OLED monitor that garners one positive review after another. The designation as the best gaming display of all time is no exception. Moreover, it is reasonably priced. It’s really great, but it also has a few annoying quirks and there are scenarios it’s not really suited for.

Dell’s Alienware AW3423DW panel (not to be confused with similarly labeled IPS panels) is the first QD-OLED gaming display on the market. In addition, it is the first OLED monitor that can be called affordable, even if it is at a price higher than 32 thousand it cannot be said that it would be cheap.

Unlike previously mentioned OLED monitors, it uses Quantum Dot technology (quantum dots), which combines the advantages of displays with quantum dots and OLED. It uses quantum dot technology to display individual color components at subpixels, and thanks to this, it can achieve higher brightness than conventional panels with OLEDs and color filters.

The display parameters are absolutely bombastic on paper and meet most of what a modern gamer would want on a table.

Well, judge for yourself:

  • 34″ diagonal with a resolution of 3440 × 1440
  • refresh rate up to 175 Hz
  • modul G-Sync Ultimate
  • HDR True Black 400
  • option up to HDR 1000
  • And most importantly, a modern QD-OLED panel from Samsung.

All this for a solid price of around 33,000 CZK for such a specification. Other available OLED monitors cost almost twice as much or more. Only the Gigabyte AORUS FO48U with a price starting at around CZK 30,000 can directly compete with it. It offers a higher 4K resolution, but with a 48-inch diagonal, it can be used more as a TV than as a desktop monitor, in many respects it has worse parameters and a lower refresh rate of 120 Hz.

Several other manufacturers have already announced monitors with the same panel under their brands at Computex. For example, MSI and others, the parameters are basically the same, only the chassis, internal firmware and applications will differ, which each manufacturer has colored in its own colors. However, they should not differ from this model in their basic characteristics.

Panel flex is a matter of personal preference. It is not straight, but curved with a bend of 1800R, which may bother some. Personally, I’m not a fan of curved panels, but it’s the standard for ultra-wide panels these days. But it depends more on what you prefer, some people like it more when the surface of the panel and in the corners is less distorted.

No backlight needed

We had another article about OLED technology here some time ago, the main reminder in brief. The main aspect of an OLED panel is that the colored pixels on an OLED panel light up by themselves. Unlike LCDs, they do not have full-surface or zone backlighting, which subsequently darkens the layer with liquid crystals, but only the points that are supposed to light up.

This guarantees high luminance, homogeneity of the backlight and the fact that when the individual points are turned off, they are truly black because the backlight cannot shine through them. Thanks to this, OLED panels offer extremely high contrast and also a large dynamic range for HDR content. For players, a high redraw speed and thus a low response of the panel is essential.

Burning is prevented

The disadvantage of OLED is the degradation of the material, which causes the image to burn when lit. Even monitors with LED backlighting are not immune to a decrease in LED brightness and a change in their color over time, but they change the backlighting of the entire image at once. With OLEDs, where individual points are lit, it can happen that if some pixels consistently shine more than others, they degrade earlier, and then when you display a solid color on the display, they will have a different shade than their surroundings – leaving “burnt shadows” on the screen.

During normal gaming or watching movies, where the image is constantly changing on the entire screen, you don’t have to worry that something has been seen after a while, but the display should not always show the same static image. Already with old TVs and CRT monitors (or plasma TVs) in such a case, the logo of the station was burned into the phosphors, if the same channel was running on them from morning to evening, which has the logo always stuck in one place, and it is similar with OLED.

It also prevents the same pixels from staying lit for a long time by moving the image around the display regularly and renewing it once in a while after turning it off. Samsung apparently already considered moving the image when designing the display itself. If you look closely in the corner, you will find that the image is not rendered to the very edge, but a few pixels around the display area are unused.

You can see it well on the overexposed macro. In the image with the full resolution of the monitor 3440 × 1440 pixels, there was a white square at the top right right up to its very edge. You can see in the photo that there are still twelve points left on the display to the right of it and nine above it.

Spare pixels for QD-OLED display

The electronics of the display use this reserve to regularly shift the image on the display. It moves the image one pixel up or down and one pixel left or right every three and a quarter minutes or so. Similar to how it used to be DVD saver the image gradually travels across the entire surface of the display. And precisely thanks to the spare pixels, it is impossible for the monitor to crop the image, it always displays full resolution. You can see how it works in practice accelerated of record:

You will not notice that the image is moving even during normal work, not so much in the heat of gaming. You will find out that the image jumps under your hands only when taking macro photos. The scale in the corner of the video is 30 x 30 pixels, which at 109-110 PPI means about 0.7 cm, and a jump of one pixel up and to the side means a shift of only 0.3 mm.

No tearing

The monitor is equipped with a dedicated modulem G-Sync Ultimate. In addition to full support for GeForce, it also supports Radeons with Adaptive Sync. It has an elaborate OSD menu with “gaming” features including a Windows app to set the RGB backlight and synchronize it with other Alienware products.

If you accept the slightly exotic resolution and curvature, it will certainly not disappoint you as a gamer with a bloated PC. But only players on consoles need to be careful, this panel is quite unsuitable for them. They count more on TV formats, not a single console can natively support 3440 × 1440 resolution today, so there are always black bars on the sides. Plus, you’ll be playing in 1080p, which is the closest resolution the panel can handle.

It’s more a matter of console software, but they are usually used in combination with TVs, and for manufacturers and game developers, it probably doesn’t make much sense to deal with the support of computer monitors with a bunch of less common resolutions, which even have a small share on the PC itself.

Source: Pctuning – Všechen obsah by

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