If you’re having a strong sense of déjà vu, you’re not alone — last January, I brought you word of the first prototype 500Hz gaming monitor, and Asus announced what should have been the first actual 500Hz gaming monitor nearly seven months ago. But today, I’m here to tell you about the Alienware AW2524H, which will be the actual first 500Hz gaming monitor you can actually buy.
See, we hadn’t heard a word about the Asus monitor between its original announcement and this very morning — when Nvidia namedropped a “ASUS ROG Swift Pro PG248QP 540Hz 24” 1080p G-SYNC display with Reflex.” As it turns out, Asus is relaunching that monitor today, and Asus says it won’t ship until Q2. Alienware will be first.
But I digress. Why would you want to buy a 500Hz gaming monitor? You might not! I mean, unless you already have the reflexes of a hummingbird and will pay any price to make sure technology doesn’t hold you back. That’s because the response time difference between a 360Hz panel and a 500Hz one is less than one-thousandth of a second — 0.78 milliseconds, to be exact — and only in games where your graphics card or chip can actually deliver 500 frames per second. When Alienware put 480Hz screens in its 17-inch gaming laptops, DigitalTrends found they couldn’t actually drive most games that fast.
But if you do have your heart set on a 500Hz gaming monitor and have the desktop to power it, the 24.5-inch Alienware might be the obvious pick. Not only has it seemingly beaten the Asus to having a release date — it’s due out in China on February 8th and March 21st in North America — it’s a fast IPS screen rather than a TN panel, which should mean better colors and viewing angles by far.
Otherwise, it’s a G-Sync screen with an anti-glare coating, two HDMI 2.1 ports alongside its primary DisplayPort 1.4 connector — you only get 240Hz over HDMI — four 5Gbps USB-A ports, customizable RGB backlighting, a pull-out headset hanger, and a pair of 3.5mm audio-out jacks in addition to Nvidia’s Reflex Latency Analyzer.
The downside, as you might expect for an ultra high-refresh-rate screen, is that you’re limited to 1080p resolution, which translates to just 90ppi on a monitor this size. Also, while probably not a big deal, you should know that the 500Hz refresh rate is with the panel overclocked. It’s nominally a 480Hz panel, just like many 165Hz panels are nominally 144Hz ones.
If you don’t like its included stand for some reason, there’s a standard VESA 100 x 100 mounting pattern, and it also comes with a USB-C to DP cable if you plan to connect a laptop. Lastly, there’s a DisplayHDR 400 certification, though, in our experience, that simply means it can reach 400 nits of brightness, not that it has any amount of HDR worth writing home about.
Dell says that its price will be announced closer to its shipping date. Personally, I’m a lot more excited for fast OLED than I am for fast IPS — 240Hz OLED monitors are making waves here at CES. And — thanks to Alienware’s excellent AW3423DW — I can’t wait to see what’s next for QD-OLED panels, too.
Update, 4:55PM ET: Confirmed that Alienware’s monitor should beat Asus’ to market, in case you’re keeping score, which you probably shouldn’t because delays are better than bad products. I just think it’s amusing that Asus announced it as a world-first, and it won’t be one after all.