CES – one of the world’s biggest annual tech conferences – has been home to numerous silly gadgets over the years. We’ve seen finger-nibbling robots, ovens that can live stream your cooking, and even an RGB face mask.
But today I want to call your attention to a daft device from CES 2023, an appliance you might not have realized is even that ridiculous: the Asus ROG Swift Pro PG248QP; it’s a gaming monitor that boasts an absurdly high max refresh rate of 540Hz.
On the surface, Asus’ new monitor doesn’t seem silly. Having a high refresh rate is a fantastic feature – if a brand wants its display to be ranked on our best gaming monitor list it’s one of the main factors we’ll judge its tech on.
That’s because boosting your gaming setup’s refresh rate can give you the edge, especially in multiplayer matches. Thanks to your smoother gameplay and lower input lag you’re able to more easily follow your opponents’ actions and react to the onscreen information better than if you were using a lower-specced system.
But you don’t just need a fast-paced monitor, you also need a gaming setup that can take advantage of your screen’s high refresh rates by running games at a high end. And unless you want your graphics to look like ugly unrecognizable blobs of pixels, you almost certainly don’t have a rig that can achieve 540 frames per second (fps) in your favorite games.
Who needs a monitor this good?
If you’re exclusively a console gamer, you shouldn’t even be looking in this monitor’s general direction, let alone thinking about buying it. The PS5 and Xbox series X top out at 120Hz, a very long way off the 540Hz maximum offered by the Asus ROG Swift Pro PG248QP.
Instead, this display is aimed at PC gamers, but for a lot of you, Asus’ latest screen is still not a good fit.
Let’s look at the number one pick in our best gaming laptop guide, the Asus ROG Zephyrus G15. It packs an AMD Ryzen 9 5900HS CPU, an Nvidia RTX 3070 GPU, and 16GB RAM which is an above-average setup (based on Steam user data). In our tests for Total War: Three Kingdoms and Metro: Exodus – both running with HD resolution and low-quality graphics – the laptop was only able to achieve 164 fps and 125 fps respectively.
As for our pick for the best gaming PC that we’ve tested, the Maingear Turbo, the situation is better but still not good enough. The model we were sent used an AMD Ryzen 7 5800X3D, an Nvidia RTX 3080 Ti, and 32GB of DDR4 RAM to achieve a max of 320 fps in Total War: Warhammer III and 221 fps in Cyberpunk 2077 (both at HD with low-quality graphics settings). Only 60% of what the Swift Pro PG248QP monitor can achieve.
So what if we were to swap in an Nvidia RTX 4090? In our tests, we found that Nvidia’s best (and most expensive) graphics card boasted frame rates around 55% higher than an RTX 3080Ti. Factoring this into the Maingear Turbo’s performance you’d be looking at grand total of 498 fps for Total War: Warhammer III and 344 fps in Cyberpunk 2077 – still shy of the 540 target.
With the right expertise (and game choice) you can likely push this setup and other similarly powerful PCs over the line. But most of us aren’t sporting an RTX 4090 - heck, a lot of us don’t even have a 3090 (or a 3080 for that matter).
Asus’ latest monitor is certainly impressive, but based on the rest of the PC space it’s an absurd item that practically no one has a use for. If you want to pick it up when it goes on sale so you can say you have the world’s fastest gaming monitor then power to you, but I’m telling you now: it’s probably a waste of your money.
Those of your that are looking for a more sensible place to start might want to check out our best gaming monitor buying guide and should keep an eye out for monitors that better match the performance that your PC can realistically achieve.
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Hamish is a Senior Staff Writer for TechRadar and you’ll see his name appearing on articles across nearly every topic on the site from smart home deals to speaker reviews to graphics card news and everything in between. He uses his broad range of knowledge to help explain the latest gadgets and if they’re a must-buy or a fad fueled by hype. Though his specialty is writing about everything going on in the world of virtual reality and augmented reality.