Skip to main content

Asus' $4,000 4K monitor goes on sale this month, pushes Retina MacBook to its breaking point

Asus' $4,000 4K monitor goes on sale this month, pushes Retina MacBook to its breaking point

/

Inadequate graphics support could prove a bigger hurdle than the price

Share this story

Gallery Photo:
Gallery Photo:

There's no denying that Asus has a real technological marvel on its hands with the newly introduced 31.5-inch 4K monitor that's gracing its Computex 2013 stand. This stunningly sharp IGZO panel can output images and video at a resolution of 3840 x 2160, and what's more, its US release is scheduled for before the end of this month — a true rarity for Ultra HD panels of any screen size. It does, however, come with a significant and somewhat surprising downside. It's not just the price, which Asus told us today will be in the vicinity of $4,000, making the PQ321 unaffordable for all but the most zealous or resolution-needy among us. Users of high-end laptops are liable to find themselves with an even bigger issue on the horizon.

Asus exposes the downside of being too far ahead of one's time

Of course, the target demographic for this new display can be presumed to have beefy desktop machines, but we couldn't resist connecting a 2012 MacBook Pro with Retina display to see how it handled Asus' new screen. In spite of the presence of a 4K-capable GeForce GT 650M discrete GPU inside the 15-inch MacBook, the best we could do was scale up the laptop's content to the 4K resolution (an OS X limitation). Even then, tangible lag was introduced when working in more demanding applications like Adobe's Lightroom, while the mouse cursor also exhibited a troublingly low refresh rate.

4K video content from YouTube was processed well by the Nvidia graphics chip, exhibiting no slowdown, but then it was also being downscaled to the GPU's resolution. To its credit, the PQ321 monitor actually does a very admirable job of scaling the content back up, though the overall user experience isn't one we can recommend. The MacBook Pro's GPU earned plaudits with its multi-monitor support last year, but it struggled most evidently when required to drive both the Retina display and Asus' pixel-rich panel.

Intel's new Haswell processors promise to rectify this ailment, having made 4K support a headline feature of their integrated GPU, but that will do little to console owners of Apple's current-gen best-in-class. What's more, the MacBook Pro we tested here is one of the higher-specced devices on the market, and it's highly doubtful that many people will have laptops capable of reliably satisfying the requirements of Asus' monitor. This is a hurdle likely to be overcome long before the PQ321's price dips to levels affordable to mere mortals, but until then, the usual virtue of being ahead of one's time will be a vice for anyone looking to extend their mobile computer with this 31.5-inch stunner.

N.B. - Asus graciously gave us a few minutes to try out its new display on the Computex show floor, but ascertaining the full set of compatible use scenarios will require more extensive testing in a full review.


Today’s Storystream

Feed refreshed Sep 24 Striking out

E
External Link
Emma RothSep 24
California Governor Gavin Newsom vetoes the state’s “BitLicense” law.

The bill, called the Digital Financial Assets Law, would establish a regulatory framework for companies that transact with cryptocurrency in the state, similar to New York’s BitLicense system. In a statement, Newsom says it’s “premature to lock a licensing structure” and that implementing such a program is a “costly undertaking:”

A more flexible approach is needed to ensure regulatory oversight can keep up with rapidly evolving technology and use cases, and is tailored with the proper tools to address trends and mitigate consumer harm.


A
Youtube
Andrew WebsterSep 24
Look at this Thing.

At its Tudum event today, Netflix showed off a new clip from the Tim Burton series Wednesday, which focused on a very important character: the sentient hand known as Thing. The full series starts streaming on November 23rd.


A
The Verge
Andrew WebsterSep 24
Get ready for some Netflix news.

At 1PM ET today Netflix is streaming its second annual Tudum event, where you can expect to hear news about and see trailers from its biggest franchises, including The Witcher and Bridgerton. I’ll be covering the event live alongside my colleague Charles Pulliam-Moore, and you can also watch along at the link below. There will be lots of expected names during the stream, but I have my fingers crossed for a new season of Hemlock Grove.


A
Andrew WebsterSep 24
Looking for something to do this weekend?

Why not hang out on the couch playing video games and watching TV. It’s a good time for it, with intriguing recent releases like Return to Monkey Island, Session: Skate Sim, and the Star Wars spinoff Andor. Or you could check out some of the new anime on Netflix, including Thermae Romae Novae (pictured below), which is my personal favorite time-traveling story about bathing.


A screenshot from the Netflix anime Thermae Romae Novae.
Thermae Romae Novae.
Image: Netflix
J
Twitter
Jay PetersSep 23
Twitch’s creators SVP is leaving the company.

Constance Knight, Twitch’s senior vice president of global creators, is leaving for a new opportunity, according to Bloomberg’s Cecilia D’Anastasio. Knight shared her departure with staff on the same day Twitch announced impending cuts to how much its biggest streamers will earn from subscriptions.


T
Twitter
Tom WarrenSep 23
Has the Windows 11 2022 Update made your gaming PC stutter?

Nvidia GPU owners have been complaining of stuttering and poor frame rates with the latest Windows 11 update, but thankfully there’s a fix. Nvidia has identified an issue with its GeForce Experience overlay and the Windows 11 2022 Update (22H2). A fix is available in beta from Nvidia’s website.


A
External Link
If you’re using crash detection on the iPhone 14, invest in a really good phone mount.

Motorcycle owner Douglas Sonders has a cautionary tale in Jalopnik today about the iPhone 14’s new crash detection feature. He was riding his LiveWire One motorcycle down the West Side Highway at about 60 mph when he hit a bump, causing his iPhone 14 Pro Max to fly off its handlebar mount. Soon after, his girlfriend and parents received text messages that he had been in a horrible accident, causing several hours of panic. The phone even called the police, all because it fell off the handlebars. All thanks to crash detection.

Riding a motorcycle is very dangerous, and the last thing anyone needs is to think their loved one was in a horrible crash when they weren’t. This is obviously an edge case, but it makes me wonder what other sort of false positives we see as more phones adopt this technology.


A
External Link
Ford is running out of its own Blue Oval badges.

Running out of semiconductors is one thing, but running out of your own iconic nameplates is just downright brutal. The Wall Street Journal reports badge and nameplate shortages are impacting the automaker's popular F-series pickup lineup, delaying deliveries and causing general chaos.

Some executives are even proposing a 3D printing workaround, but they didn’t feel like the substitutes would clear the bar. All in all, it's been a dreadful summer of supply chain setbacks for Ford, leading the company to reorganize its org chart to bring some sort of relief.