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New 3D HD Monitors: Acer Vs. Alienware

New 3D HD Monitors: Acer Vs. Alienware
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3D gaming monitors go HD. We compared the two newest 23.6 HD-ready displays—one from Acer and one from Alienware. Don’t forget the glasses!

3D displays are all the rage, as we saw at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) earlier this year. Stereoscopic vision is slowly creeping into movies and will soon make its way into the living room with 3DTV sets and different technologies for viewing those televisions.

One of the larger players in the 3D space, Nvidia released its stereoscopic solution over a year ago. It is known as the 3D Vision and is made up of shutter glasses that only work with a television or computer screen that can output at 120 Hz or 120 frames per second (FPS). Since it requires the use of a powerful Nvidia graphics card, this means all 3D Vision tech revolves around the home computer.

TV manufacturers including Samsung, LG, and Panasonic are developing 3D technologies for LCDs, However, only two LCD displays with 120 Hz support have hit the market and they’re small at 22”.

A major development took place at CES when Acer and Alienware, now partnered with Dell, announced their own 23.6” 3D-ready displays. These are full HD monitors, compared to last year’s 22” displays from Samsung and Viewsonic.

Our experience with 3D gaming is that it works, but that a larger screen is necessary to truly appreciate the addition of depth. While 22” displays are simply too small and the quality hasn’t measured up to that of non-3D capable monitors, Acer and Alienware aim to change that. Acer’s GD235HZ and Alienware’s OptX AW2310 are both 23.6” displays with nearly identical specifications. They retail for $399 and $499, respectively, and as you’ll read, the price plays a huge role in the differences between these two models, although you may be surprised by the results.

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  • 6 Hide
    rags_20 , February 21, 2010 5:51 AM
    Don't call them 3D monitors. There's nothing 3D about them. They are just capable of refreshing faster.
  • 3 Hide
    Chris_TC , February 21, 2010 8:45 AM
    "22” displays are simply too small".

    Assuming average PC gamers sit maybe 1.5 feet away from their 22" monitors, in terms of perceived size that's the same as sitting about 3.5 feet away from a 50" TV.

    Since people love to talk about "the big TV in the living room", I wonder how close they sit to it. If a 22" PC monitor is too small, then a lot of couches will need to be moved for 3D console gaming and 3D movies.
  • 2 Hide
    Anonymous , February 21, 2010 12:05 PM
    "Acer, on the other hand, lists its monitor at 3ms grey to grey, and as expected, performed significantly worse on the response time test."

    So, uh, wheres the test results? Why would it be 'expected' to perform slower?
  • 2 Hide
    UmeNNis , February 21, 2010 2:39 PM
    Uhm how did the earlier 22" models 'not measure up'?

    Last I checked, the Samsung 22" model was widely reviewed as (albeit pricey) possibly the best gaming monitor you could buy at the time? (I know, I did the research, then bought it; not surprisingly, I am very happy with it)
  • 4 Hide
    MagicPants , February 21, 2010 5:21 PM
    I just got the Alienware monitor on Thursday. It's sitting next to a 26" S-IPS monitor that blows it away for anything but 3d games, still it's okay.

    One thing I've noticed is that there is a sweet spot distance-wise for the 3d effect which is maybe 18". Sitting closer than that actually kills some of the depth effect.

    By far the worst thing about the 3d experience is hovering gui elements that are at the screen depth. Portal and L4D have cross-hairs focused at infinity which is very nice.
  • -4 Hide
    MagicPants , February 21, 2010 5:21 PM
    I just got the Alienware monitor on Thursday. It's sitting next to a 26" S-IPS monitor that blows it away for anything but 3d games, still it's okay.

    One thing I've noticed is that there is a sweet spot distance-wise for the 3d effect which is maybe 18". Sitting closer than that actually kills some of the depth effect.

    By far the worst thing about the 3d experience is hovering gui elements that are at the screen depth. Portal and L4D have cross-hairs focused at infinity which is very nice.
  • 0 Hide
    jamezrp , February 21, 2010 7:49 PM
    Chris_TC"22” displays are simply too small".Assuming average PC gamers sit maybe 1.5 feet away from their 22" monitors, in terms of perceived size that's the same as sitting about 3.5 feet away from a 50" TV.Since people love to talk about "the big TV in the living room", I wonder how close they sit to it. If a 22" PC monitor is too small, then a lot of couches will need to be moved for 3D console gaming and 3D movies.


    The effect of 3D, as we've seen in theaters and such where images pop out of the screen and give the sensation of actually existing in the real world, just don't happen when there is so little space between you and the screen. That's why the size of the display is important for 3D gaming: ultimately, the best home 3D experience should rely on a large TV that you still sit very close to. Clearly, this is not an economic possibility for most of us, so various technologies are being explored to broaden the appeal of 3D at close range. It has not as of yet managed to do so.
  • -1 Hide
    soldier37 , February 21, 2010 8:43 PM
    22 and 23.6 monitors are too small. Ive had a 24" 1920 x 1200 since before anyone had one 3 years now but now that everyone and there brother can pick one up cheap its time to move up to a 30 incher at 2560 x 1600. I sit 6 feet away from my 46" LED 240htz Samsung and it runs fine. 3D isnt all that by the way. If you cant afford it then dont comment on something you know nothing about those of you with the puny 22 inchers.
  • -2 Hide
    jamezrp , February 21, 2010 9:49 PM
    Ritorix"Acer, on the other hand, lists its monitor at 3ms grey to grey, and as expected, performed significantly worse on the response time test."So, uh, wheres the test results? Why would it be 'expected' to perform slower?


    When a company lists response time, it means how fast the connection is to your computer, essentially. 2ms is the fastest for LCDs today. When the number says 3ms grey to grey, it doesn't mean it's 3ms period. It means that the response time for different shades of grey, and only grey, is 3ms. But reading a box or looking at online specifications, you wouldn't necessarily know that if you're interested in buying it. That's why we pointed it out.

    UmeNNisUhm how did the earlier 22" models 'not measure up'?Last I checked, the Samsung 22" model was widely reviewed as (albeit pricey) possibly the best gaming monitor you could buy at the time? (I know, I did the research, then bought it; not surprisingly, I am very happy with it)


    That is based on my previous time with Viewsonic's VX2265WM 22" 120Hz FuHzion display (long name, I know). It only had relatively good quality, and at the time I wrote the review (for Total PC Gaming Magazine UK), it received a 6/10. I've only had a limited time with Samsung's model, and more research on it proves that you are in fact correct. Samsung's display is not to be discredited, as it is rated quite well by several trusted hardware publications.
  • 4 Hide
    Cons29 , February 21, 2010 11:15 PM
    darn i clicked the wrong button/icon :) 

    Quote:
    22 and 23.6 monitors are too small. Ive had a 24" 1920 x 1200 since before anyone had one 3 years now but now that everyone and there brother can pick one up cheap its time to move up to a 30 incher at 2560 x 1600. I sit 6 feet away from my 46" LED 240htz Samsung and it runs fine. 3D isnt all that by the way. If you cant afford it then dont comment on something you know nothing about those of you with the puny 22 inchers.

    well, is it cold in here or what? yeah yeah we know we cant afford your 46" LED and im sure it runs "fine".
  • 2 Hide
    jamezrp , February 22, 2010 12:02 AM
    soldier3722 and 23.6 monitors are too small. Ive had a 24" 1920 x 1200 since before anyone had one 3 years now but now that everyone and there brother can pick one up cheap its time to move up to a 30 incher at 2560 x 1600. I sit 6 feet away from my 46" LED 240htz Samsung and it runs fine. 3D isnt all that by the way. If you cant afford it then dont comment on something you know nothing about those of you with the puny 22 inchers.


    The issue right now with 3D monitors is that, because monitors are not made to be TVs, that is they are made to be viewed from a distance so the screen does not look pixelated, it's very expensive. Sure, you can sit close to a full screen TV, but do you actually game on it? And how many people actually do that?

    Ultimately, the issue is that gaming is evolving to be more interactive, but image projection and user interfaces aren't advancing at the same pace. Realistically, having a dedicated room in the house for gaming, where all the walls, the ceiling and the floors can be projected on, and where the hardware recognizes where you are in accordance to the game...that would be optimal. That, however, is at least a decade away.

    Such a thing might be worth investigating, however...
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , February 22, 2010 1:25 AM
    The article specifically says the Acer "performed significantly worse on the response time test."

    What response time test methods were used? High-speed camera, cloned or split video with CRT, etc.

    Where are the results?

  • -1 Hide
    Anonymous , February 22, 2010 4:12 AM
    This review sucks, wheres there numbers.
    If you want to learn how to review a monitor, check this site
    http://www.prad.de/en/monitore/reviews.html
  • -4 Hide
    baracubra , February 22, 2010 5:46 AM
    woot, gonna pick up 3 of these acer bad boys and hook them up to my 2x "soon arriving" Fermi GTX485's...or i might just end up buying a pair of GTX495 (x2)to go with these monitors
    oh yeah, also picking up BFBC2 to go with them

    :D  woohoo :D 
  • -1 Hide
    Anonymous , February 22, 2010 7:13 AM
    man you are really testing waters with this review.
    3D nowadays with LCD does not exist!!!
    All LCDs ghost like hell everything is unplayable...
    if you want 3D you have to buy a DLP which costs a fortune..
  • 3 Hide
    Transsive , February 22, 2010 8:28 AM
    Info I would have like to see
    - what panels are they? TN I'd guess
    - how bad is the backlight bleeding
    - how bad are the viewing angles
    - do the monitors buzz (high pitched sound)
    - is black actually black or gray
    - can aspect ratio be configured (4:3) or will everything be stretched on the screen on non 16/9 resolutions
    - how is gaming on 120Hz without the glasses

    Thankfully you mentioned image persistence (blur, ghosting) which for 120Hz LCD monitors seems to be a fleeting problem. My 24" LCD blurs like crazy.

    I'm dreaming of a 120Hz IPS 1920x1200 screen...
  • 4 Hide
    memeroot , February 22, 2010 8:35 AM
    I have the Acer

    - what panels are they? TN - you cant get the refresh rate with IPS

    - how bad is the backlight bleeding - fairly poor - comparing to my dell

    - how bad are the viewing angles - fine

    - do the monitors buzz (high pitched sound)- no

    - is black actually black or gray - slightly blue... will have a go at changing settings at some point

    - can aspect ratio be configured (4:3) or will everything be stretched on the screen on non 16/9 resolutions - yes... like anymonitor???

    - how is gaming on 120Hz without the glasses - very very smooth and nice


    its a nice monitor - not IPS nice (or even realy good TN nice) but decent...
  • 1 Hide
    Transsive , February 22, 2010 8:41 AM
    Good info, thanks.

    Another thing I forgot to mention is input lag.
  • 1 Hide
    memeroot , February 22, 2010 12:09 PM
    lag is not noticable... but I'm not a pro gamer

    the move to 120htz is noticable however.

    I'd say for the cash go for a good ips (say the nec) for a main monitor

    if you have a main monitor you're happy with pick up the acer as a second and use it for gaming.
  • 0 Hide
    memeroot , February 22, 2010 12:11 PM
    Oh and the 3D is amazing in my view... and that of the wife/kid

    but it's not for long term use - more of a wow!! thing
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