CES — one of the world’s largest annual tech conventions — has been home to countless silly gadgets for years. We’ve seen finger-gnawing robots, live-cooking ovens, and even RGB face masks.
But today I want to draw your attention to a goofy device at CES 2023 that you may not have realized was even so ridiculous: the Asus ROG Swift Pro PG248QP; a gaming monitor with a ridiculously high maximum refresh rate of 540Hz.
On the face of it, Asus’ new monitor isn’t silly. Having a high refresh rate is an amazing feature – if a brand wants its monitor to rank on our list of the best gaming monitors, it’s one of the main factors we use to judge its technology.
This is because increasing the refresh rate of your game settings can give you an advantage, especially in multiplayer games. Thanks to smoother gameplay and lower input lag, you’ll be able to follow your opponent’s movements more easily and react better to on-screen information than you would with a lower-spec system.
But you don’t just need a fast-paced monitor, you also need a gaming setup that can take advantage of the screen’s high refresh rate by running games on the high end. Unless you want your graphics to look like blobs of pixels too ugly to recognize, you almost certainly don’t have a rig that can hit 540 frames per second (fps) in your favorite game.
Who needs a monitor this good?
If you’re a console gamer at all, you shouldn’t even be concerned with the general direction of this monitor, let alone consider buying it. The PS5 and Xbox Series X top out at 120Hz, a far cry from the 540Hz maximum offered by the Asus ROG Swift Pro PG248QP.
Instead, this monitor is aimed at PC gamers, but for many of you, Asus’ latest screen still won’t be the right fit.
Let’s take a look at the number one Asus ROG Zephyrus G15 in our best gaming laptop guide.It packs an AMD Ryzen 9 5900HS CPU, an Nvidia RTX 3070 GPU, and 16GB of RAM, an above-average setup (based on steam user data (opens in a new tab)). In our tests of Total War: Three Kingdoms and Metro: Exodus — both running at HD resolution and low-quality graphics — the laptop managed only 164 fps and 125 fps, respectively.
As for our pick for the best gaming PC we’ve tested, the Maingear Turbo, things are a bit better, but still not good enough. The model we received topped out at 320 fps in Total War: Warhammer III and 221 fps in Cyberpunk 2077 (both HD Low Quality) Graphics Settings). Only the Swift Pro PG248QP monitor can achieve 60%.
So what happens if we switch to an Nvidia RTX 4090? In our testing, we found that Nvidia’s best (and most expensive) graphics card delivered around 55% higher frame rates than the RTX 3080Ti. Factor this into the Maingear Turbo’s performance, and you’ll see Total War: Warhammer III’s overall frame rate was 498 fps, and Cyberpunk 2077’s was 344 fps — still short of the 540 target.
With the right expertise (and game selection), you might be able to push this setup and other similarly capable PCs to the production line. But most of us aren’t using an RTX 4090 — heck, many of us don’t even own a 3090 (or 3080).
ASUS’ latest monitor is certainly impressive, but based on the rest of the PC world, it’s a ridiculous project that hardly anyone uses. If you’re thinking of picking it up when it goes on sale so you can say you have the fastest gaming monitor in the world and then give you power, but I’m telling you right now: it’s probably a waste of your money.
Those looking for a more sensible starting point might want to check out our best gaming monitor buying guide, and should keep an eye out for monitors that better match the performance your PC can actually achieve.