NVIDIA plans to make 1440p/360Hz the new esports standard

It thinks the time is right for pros to move on from 1080p.

Aly Song / reuters

For basically the entire modern history of esports, 1080p has been the sweet spot for competitive gaming. The wisdom goes that a 1920 x 1080 pixel grid gives enough clarity to follow all of the gameplay, while also being light enough that the GPU can process hundreds of frames per second, giving a competitive advantage (or, at least, leveling the playing field).

GPUs today have outgrown 1080p in a big way, though, with flagship cards being able to pump out framerates way above the peak of monitor refresh rates in certain titles. Valorant, for example, can be played at High settings well in excess of 500 fps on NVIDIA’s latest and greatest, while older titles like CS:GO hit over 700 fps.

NVIDIA says that an RTX 3080 paired with an Intel i9-12900K can play Valorant, CS:GO, Overwatch and Rainbow Six Seige in excess of 360 fps at 1440p. With that in mind, the company thinks the time is right for the leap beyond 1080p.

Obviously NVIDIA is motivated by the need to convince gamers to buy expensive GPUs, but apparently there’s a competitive benefit to playing at higher resolution. NVIDIA's own researchers found that a 27-inch 1440p display can improve aiming “by up to 3 percent” over the 24-inch 1080p sets used by current pros.

This new “1440p esports category” begins with four NVIDIA-certified displays: the ASUS ROG Swift 360Hz PG27AQN, the AOC AG274QGM - AGON PRO Mini LED, the MSI MEG 271Q Mini LED and the ViewSonic XG272G-2K Mini LED. The ASUS set is a 360Hz monitor, while the others feature Mini LED backlights but cap out at 300Hz.

All four monitors support G-Sync adaptive refresh rates, an “Esports Vibrance” color mode and, more importantly for the target audience, support NVIDIA’s Reflex latency analyzer. Intriguingly, the new monitors also come with a “1080p mode,” which blanks out the outer edges of the screen to provide a 25-inch 1080p “display” for gaming. There must be some clever scaling going on here, as a 1:1 1080p rendering on a 27-inch 1440p monitor would be a 21-ish inch image. Either way, this mode would be vital for some games – newer esports titles can be more graphically intense than the stalwarts, and playing at 1440p could sacrifice the sort of refresh rates esports pros want for competitive play.

There’s no word on pricing yet, although don’t expect them to be remotely affordable for the average gamer. As for when they’ll be available, NVIDIA has only given out the vague “soon.”

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