CES – one of the biggest annual tech conferences in the world – has been home to a lot of silly gadgets over the years. We’ve seen finger-picking robots, ovens that can live-stream your cooking, and even an RGB face mask.
But today I want to bring to your attention a silly device from CES 2023, a device that you may not have realized was even that funny: the Asus ROG Swift Pro PG248QP; is a gaming monitor that boasts a ridiculously high maximum refresh rate of 540Hz.
At first glance, the new Asus monitor does not seem stupid. The high refresh rate is a fantastic feature – if a brand wants their display to be on our list of the best gaming monitors, it’s one of the main factors we’ll be using to judge their tech.
That’s because increasing the refresh rate of game setups can give you an edge, especially in multiplayer matches. Thanks to smoother gameplay and lower input lag, you can track your opponents more easily and react better to the information displayed on the screen than if you were using a weaker system.
But you don’t just need a fast monitor, you also need a gaming setup that can take advantage of the screen’s high refresh rates, running games at a high level. And unless you want your graphics to look like ugly unrecognizable blobs of pixels, you almost certainly don’t have hardware that can hit 540 frames per second (fps) in your favorite games.
Who needs such a good monitor?
If you’re purely a console gamer, you shouldn’t even be looking in the general direction of this monitor, let alone thinking about buying one. PS5 and Xbox Series X peak at 120Hz, very far from the 540Hz maximum offered by the Asus ROG Swift Pro PG248QP.
Instead, this display is aimed at PC gamers, but for many of you, Asus’ latest display is still not quite right.
Let’s look at the number one in our best gaming laptop guide, the Asus ROG Zephyrus G15. It features an AMD Ryzen 9 5900HS CPU, an Nvidia RTX 3070 graphics card, and 16GB of RAM, which is an above-average configuration (based on Steam user details (opens in a new tab)). In our tests of Total War: Three Kingdoms and Metro: Exodus – both running at HD resolutions and low quality graphics – the laptop was only able to hit 164 fps and 125 fps respectively.
When it comes to our pick of the best gaming PC we’ve tested, the Mainear Turbo, the situation is better but still not enough. The model we received used an AMD Ryzen 7 5800X3D, Nvidia RTX 3080 Ti, and 32GB of DDR4 RAM to max out at 320fps in Total War: Warhammer III and 221fps in Cyberpunk 2077 (both in HD with low quality graphics settings). Only 60% of what the Swift Pro PG248QP can achieve.
What if we traded for the Nvidia RTX 4090? In our tests, we found that Nvidia’s best (and most expensive) graphics card boasted frame rates around 55% higher than the RTX 3080Ti. Including this in Maingear Turbo’s performance, you’d see a total of 498 fps in Total War: Warhammer III and 344 fps in Cyberpunk 2077 – still below the 540 target.
With the right knowledge (and game selection), you can probably move this setup and other similarly capable PCs overseas. But most of us don’t have an RTX 4090 – heck, a lot of us don’t even have a 3090 (or 3080, for that matter).
Asus’ latest monitor is certainly impressive, but considering the rest of the PC’s space, it’s a ridiculous item that virtually no one has any use for. If you want to pick it up when it goes on sale so you can say you have the world’s fastest gaming monitor, that’s power for you, but I’m telling you right now: it’s probably a waste of money.
Those of you looking for a more sensible place to start might want to check out our ultimate gaming monitor buying guide and should keep an eye out for monitors that better match the performance your PC can realistically achieve.