A prototype 500Hz gaming monitor has broken cover

The world’s fastest esports gaming monitors can refresh at 360Hz — that’s 360 times every second — but display panel manufacturer BOE thinks it can do better. This past week, it revealed a 27-inch prototype monitor with a 500Hz refresh rate, according to a Sina.com news report from an account dubbed OLEDIndustry (via Videocardz and Wccftech).

It doesn’t use OLED, though: in what little description we have (via Google Translate), BOE is bragging that it’s made “important breakthroughs in the field of oxide semiconductor display technology” and “mass production of copper interconnect stack structures” that, combined with “high refresh rate, high resolution, low power oxide display technology,” can make this 500Hz gaming display possible. That sounds like it’s an oxide TFT screen of some sort, but it’s not clear which. We’ve been following one such technology, IGZO, for years, which once allowed screens to achieve higher resolutions (like 4K and 8K) more affordably than in the past.

To put 500Hz in context, your graphics card would need to send a frame to this monitor every 2 milliseconds to max out that speed — down from 2.78ms for a 360Hz panel, 4.17ms for a 240Hz one, 6.95ms for 144Hz, or a comparatively pokey 16.7ms for a traditional 60Hz screen.

One downside, as with today’s 360Hz monitors, is that you’re only getting it to that speed at a fairly low 1080p resolution. (Nvidia recently introduced a new type of monitor that switches between a 25-inch 1080p esports mode and a 27-inch 1440p mode for less demanding gaming.) BOE’s video suggests the prototype is driven over eight lanes of embedded DisplayPort and only offers 8-bit color right now.

As we’ve discussed recently in our work-from-home monitor buying guide, higher refresh rates aren’t just for twitch gamers — they can also make your desktop computing experience feel smoother throughout. But 500Hz is most likely overkill.

There’s no telling whether BOE will make a product around this screen at all, nor have we seen any evidence of journalists seeing the screen in person, but BOE is one of the world’s leading display panel manufacturers.

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