Think I'm Gonna Buy a BenQ XL2720Z

MacLeod

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Because I'm gutless and need to vet all my big purchases on this forum I would like some input. I'm wanting a little bigger monitor and I really want to get into some 120+ Hz gaming and I think I've decided to get the BenQ XL2720Z. Its 27" but only 1080 and I know the resolution purists are gonna scoff but my thinking is that if I go with a 1440 screen, it'll cut my frame rates pretty much in half and that would ruin the whole point of a 144 Hz monitor.....right?

BenQ has a FreeSync model thats out at 1440 but its $200 more and again, my 290x will have a hard time keeping a lot of games in the 100+ fps range. Right now me and my boy are playing a lot of co-op Borderlands 2 and Im in the mid 120-140 fps range most of the time. If I were to go to 1440, that would drop to around 50-70. I'm also 43 years old with contacts so I don't know if I could actually see the difference in 1080 and 1440 at 27 inches anyway.

So that is my thought process. I also dont want to buy online as I prefer an easier process if I have to return it. The Frys in Atlanta is 81 miles away so I can pack up the wife and kid and take a little day trip and buy from them hassle free. I know this limits my options but its worth the peace of mind knowing Im not going to have to go thru an act of Congress to return it should it be defective or I just dont like it. And I'm an impatient bastard and I want it right the fuck now! LOL

It reviews extremely well (of course these were before the Swift came out), it has the features and performance I want and the price falls within the max I really want to spend on a monitor ($500) so, thoughts? I'm probably gonna pull the trigger on it tomorrow unless you guys think I'm way off course here.

Reviews:

Tech Radar
Tom's Hardware
TFT Central
PC Mag
Digital Versus
 

MistaSparkul

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If you do not upgrade your displays often then I have to say go with the XL2730Z. The 1440p resolution and Freesync will last you a much longer time than the 2720Z. Sure the 290x may not give you the performance you want at this time but once you upgrade your gpu in the future to a 390x or 490x or beyond, you wouldn't have to worry about not getting the best out of your new gpu by going with the lower resolution, non freesync version.
 

Comixbooks

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I'm never buying another BENQ until they get their shit together.....

I have two 24" they look nice when calibrated but the default settings and overall brightness and lack of image quality with blacks at lower settings kinda irks me. Yet I still use one for gaming but use a ASUS for everything else.

I'm wait around for the next 5 years till something better looking (Panel Image quality wise) comes out...
 

MacLeod

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That's kinda what makes me hesitate a little, the default colors. I don't have the stuff to calibrate it so I'd have to go off the settings on reviews like the Digital Versus I think it was. Hopefully I can get it pretty close.

I do want great picture quality like my HP has but for 120+ Hz it really seems like my choices are limited.

The thing about FreeSync and G-Sync is that I don't always buy the same brand GPU. My last GPU was a GTX 670 and the one before that was a 5870 and I usually upgrade GPU's every couple years and don't know if I like the idea of being locked into one brand or the other without changing out my $700 monitor.
 

tonyftw

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The thing about FreeSync and G-Sync is that I don't always buy the same brand GPU.

Same issue I have, as I tend to buy from both camps all the time. I'm looking at the benq xl2730z and acer xb270hu (hard to find at the moment). Buying either one will essentially lock me up to one brand.

Depending on how often you upgrade or switch monitors, I'd probably recommend the xl2730z if you need to buy one now. Waiting for more monitors to pop up is another option.
 

MacLeod

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I dont "need" one now. Its more just wanting to scratch the "buy something new" itch. My 25" looks great but I would like a little more screen real estate and 120 Hz gaming does appeal to me a lot. Fuck it, maybe youre right and I should just wait a little longer and see what comes out now that FreeSync is just starting to come around. Maybe there will be some more options that dont cost $700+.
 

maro

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I was in the same boat a couple months ago. I decided to wait it out while the newer panels come down in price and gsync/freesync have time to mature and evolve.
However I still had that urge to try something new, so to tide me over for the next year or two I got a AOC G2770PQU. 27", 1080p, and 144hz - and at around $350 it wasnt too expensive.
 

Dcode

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The XL2720Z on the desktop is a bit fugly. It does very well with pictures and photo's though. In games it really shines and provides a great image (after you have spent 5 mins twiddling knobs and such) and its low DPI does not interfere with the image quality too much in the area of gaming.
 

MistaSparkul

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It really does suck to be vendor locked, but at least having variable refresh rates for one brand is better than not having it at all. If you skip out on both freesync and gsync then no matter what gpu you buy you will not get that benefit. At least choosing one will let you have that option every now and then if you have the right gpu.
 

cybrnook

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I use the XL2720Z and I love it. It's a great monitor at 1080p with 144hz. I honestly find that I dont even use the BenQ motion blur option at all. Even though I have monitor firmware version 2 and have adjusted it with BlurBusters utility, I really don't need it. << Google This - http://www.blurbusters.com/benq/strobe-utility/

I will say that I had three of them, and while I loved having three, out of the box they were all "brothers" more than "twins". I had to adjust them all individually (and differently) to get the colors where I wanted them. But once that was done, no issues at all.

Still using one of them now, and will continue to use it until my 1440P 120+ IPS panels release that are not the current Acer offering.
 

cybrnook

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Correct, that's the one I'm holding for. Hope it comes in gsync also.
 

MacLeod

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Thanks for the link but I'm scared to death of refurbished stuff even with a warranty. With the brand spanking new ones going for $430 shipped, I'd rather cough up the extra cash for a little peace of mind. ;)
 

FMX

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I personally don't see the need to upgrade from what you have to the Benq. You're gaining 2 inches diagonally, but losing pixel density, negating any benefits of a larger screen IMO. You're also going from 3ms to 1ms - not enough to matter.

I guess 144hz is the kicker. But these days, why even bother when G/FreeSync is getting more prevalent and your options will likely be vast within the next year?

If you're competitive, I don't think going from 76hz to 144hz will make the difference between you moving up the leaderboards even another 10%. If you're not competitive, I'd still refer to paragraph 2.

Just one man's opinion.
 

cybrnook

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FWIW, I just ordered an XL2720Z from BenQ's website yesterday. $353 shipped after coupon, no tax, 1-year warranty, prepaid return within 30 days, and you can request them to check for imperfections before they ship it.

Link: http://shop.benq.us/benq-outlet/refurbished-monitors/xl2720z-refurbished-27-gaming-monitor.html

Enjoy! That's a great price, especially for everything your getting with it.

1080P and 144hz, no need for freesync or g-sync as long as you keep those FPS at 144+ :) which at 1080p is quite easy to do these days!
 

MacLeod

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I personally don't see the need to upgrade from what you have to the Benq. You're gaining 2 inches diagonally, but losing pixel density, negating any benefits of a larger screen IMO. You're also going from 3ms to 1ms - not enough to matter.

I guess 144hz is the kicker. But these days, why even bother when G/FreeSync is getting more prevalent and your options will likely be vast within the next year?

If you're competitive, I don't think going from 76hz to 144hz will make the difference between you moving up the leaderboards even another 10%. If you're not competitive, I'd still refer to paragraph 2.

Just one man's opinion.

I totally agree with you and its why I just cannot make myself buy this damn thing. Almost hit SUBMIT a couple times over the 4 days since I made this thread but cant pull the trigger. This HP 25 is such a great monitor. Great color, very good black levels, 1100:1 contrast, absolutely no lag or ghosting that I can perceive and its a glossy screen which is unheard of these days it seems. Id be willing to bet that the picture quality on this HP is as good and maybe better than the BenQ. The screen itself is literally 25" diagonal so its closer to some 27's than it is to some 24's since a lot of manufacturers count the bezel when measuring so I actually may not be gaining much of anything in screen real estate.

I think it might be best to wait for a true upgrade over this HP. Something like a good quality IPS or VA 32" 1440 screen with excellent picture quality but can still be a capable gaming screen. Something like a 32" version of the LG 27MB85R-B maybe. Or hell, maybe I should just buy the 27MB85R-B and call it a day! :D

Who wouldve thought a $200 monitor from Best Buy would be good enough that I cant make myself "upgrade" from it?
 
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Dcode

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Why don't you save your money and get something high end like the MG279Q or Acer Predator with a 144Hz IPS panel?
 

MacLeod

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Why don't you save your money and get something high end like the MG279Q or Acer Predator with a 144Hz IPS panel?

Possible. The Predator is a G-Sync model so I wouldnt be interested in that but the MG279Q is very attractive to me. Pretty much everything I want. IPS picture quality with 144 Hz gaming. But at 1440, I wouldnt be doing a lot of 144 Hz gaming so thats the downside. Getting 40-60 fps in everything kinda negates the benefit of FreeSync/G-Sync.
 

dosinu

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fine choice imo if you got the bucks for it. IPS and 144hz, what can go wrong?!
 

MacLeod

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Went and looked at the Asus MX279H at my local Best Buy thinking I might get it as they had it on sale for like $250 but didnt like it. I tried some tests off Blurbusters and especially Lagom's websites and while ghosting was fine and colors were good, input lag and overall picture quality was not. I never could get it set up to where I liked it and not as good as my trusty HP.

It did however make me realize that 1080 is too low a resolution for a 27" monitor. Even with my 43 year old eyes, test was not as sharp as it is on my 25" and on larger text, I could see the individual pixels.

So yeah, anybody looking at this Asus, I would pass on it. Its going for a great price now and it looks bad ass but the performance just aint there.
 

Falkentyne

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If you choose the XL2720Z, make FULLY sure that it either comes with V4 firmware or you flash it yourself with V4. You will have to check the blur busters' forums for more information. The overdrive is -massively- improved compared to V2. I absolutely can not stress that enough. You see the pictures of the OD on the XL2730Z V4? that's how it looks.
 

Elderblaze

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getting 40-60 FPS is exactly what Freesync was designed for, and it makes a huge difference in those frame rate ranges. It's not even close.
 

MacLeod

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Fuck it, I bought it (XL2720Z). It'll be here Friday from Amazon. Can't wait to try it out and hoping like hell I didn't screw up. Haha!
 

Falkentyne

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You made a great choice.
check the firmware when you get it by entering the service menu.
You can enter the service menu when the monitor is powered off, by holding MENU down for 5 seconds, then press power while keeping menu held down. (if the wrong key is pressed, the monitor will refuse to power on when you are holding down a second touch sensitive button. This helps with people unlocking the service menus successfully). The eyecare logo will be bypassed if this is done correctly and Menu will enter the service menu. The firmware version should say V002--XXX ,V003-XXX or V004-xxx.

The factory menu (menu #2) can be entered by menu+enter while powered off (buttons 3 and 4) instead of just menu. The same way.

If it's not V004, we'll help you get it flashed to v4. The v4 firmware has been dumped on blurbusters but you will need to prepare an Ubuntu flash boot disk to flash the firmware. (You will NEED a second video card, or input source or monitor to do this, because the Benq must be powered off and in standby mode! You can not flash if the Benq is the active monitor (Unless you are using the official Mstar ISP unit). Well I do NOT know if you can flash with the Benq as the active monitor. Having a (reasonably modern) laptop with the Benq connected passively (plugged in) through VGA is the easiest method.
 

MacLeod

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Ok thanks a lot! I'll definitely give that a try once I get it. I can use my wife's laptop so that shouldn't be a problem.
 

stiltner

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I use the little cousin XL2411 (pretty sure thats the right one).

Strapped to a 290x, its boner inducing for FPS gaming. The black level thing it does is absolutely game breakingly awesome. There's no more dark spots, so campers, no campin :D
 

chenw

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Possible. The Predator is a G-Sync model so I wouldnt be interested in that but the MG279Q is very attractive to me. Pretty much everything I want. IPS picture quality with 144 Hz gaming. But at 1440, I wouldnt be doing a lot of 144 Hz gaming so thats the downside. Getting 40-60 fps in everything kinda negates the benefit of FreeSync/G-Sync.

Actually some argue thats where majority of the benefit comes from with those Syncs. It helps to make the slightly lower frame rates feel smoother, and not jerky.
 

MacLeod

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Not to mention other bugs like only working up to 80 Hz or something. For $200 more, half the frame rates and buggy software I just decided to pass. I'm sure it will mature but that would mean waiting and that's just crazy talk. :D
 
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Falkentyne

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I use the little cousin XL2411 (pretty sure thats the right one).

Strapped to a 290x, its boner inducing for FPS gaming. The black level thing it does is absolutely game breakingly awesome. There's no more dark spots, so campers, no campin :D

Make sure you update to version 4 firmware, if that isan XL2411Z and not an XL2411T.
Another user, who is very bad at English, was able to understand my cobbled instructions and flash his to V2 firmware from V1. Flashing to V4 is the same as V2 except different file name. If he can do it, so can you.

V4 firmware has some big fixes: profile fixes, LBL works in gamer presets, last saved preset is activated when monitor is powered on, new hidden AMA overdrive (AMA high with LESS overshoot) mode unlocked with a toggle on 2411Z and 2420Z (XL2720Z has this as default mode now, as the panel is completely different. The new toggle on XL2720Z turns all inverse ghosting into normal ghosting).
 

MacLeod

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So Ive got this beauty unpacked and hooked up and I love it!!

I did some tinkering in the menu using the calibration settings on TFT's review and just played a couple hours of Borderlands 2 on it. First off I cant believe I waited this long to get into 120 Hz gaming. Man it makes a huge difference! I dont think Ill ever be able to go back to 60 Hz gaming again. I jumped over to my boy's rig who was playing co-op with me for a few seconds and its a stuttering, jagged mess!

Picture quality is surprisingly good. After changing the settings the color quality is just as good as my old HP 25" with the HP having just slightly more pop in the colors due to the it's glossy screen adding more pop to the colors but it aint by much. The colors on this BenQ are every bit as good as the HP which I considered excellent to my untrained eye. Still with the 144 Hz refresh rate, it more than makes up for it. Im still messing with the settings and trying different things so I may be able to get it looking even better.

1080 is no problem either with text for my eyes. Dont know what was up with that Asus 1080 27" I was looking at at Best Buy. I dont see any jagged pixels or text anywhere although some of the text in Windows boxes arent quite as clear as they were on the 25 so I guess there is a small difference but not enough to bother me really.

Bottom line is Im very happy with this thing. Zero dead/stuck pixels, excellent build quality and this S Switch remote for the menu is pure genius! If youre on the fence about 120/144 Hz gaming like I was, take the plunge. Its more than worth it!
 
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isiTrue

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I received my monitor as well, and coming from an IPS, feel the same way about the colors.

This post has more info about settings, in case you're interested. They work better for me since I don't like high brightness settings for a prolonged length of time: http://hardforum.com/showthread.php?t=1830591

If I'm sitting arms-length away from the screen, I've found that 1080p on 27 inches is fine! I only notice the pixel pitch if my face is close to the screen.

By the way, how is the backlight bleeding on your monitor? I'm getting some around the edges.
 

MacLeod

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I do notice some but I dont think its a lot. If I look for it I can notice some around the edges but I think that might be viewing angle because if I shift to where my head is in front of the left or right edge, it disappears on that side. I don't think it's gonna be an issue for me. I'm not a super critical viewer so I'm sure there are some flaws I'm not noticing but it looks all good to me. I've still got my HP hooked up on my son's rig and I've got a 18" Sony 4:3 screen next to it running monitoring software and it looks great.

This test for whites I notice a problem in that youre supposed to be able to distinguish all the squares on my settings. I switched the Picture Mode to Photo and now I can see them all the way down to 253 and the slight backlight bleed is not as bad. However for the Black Level test I cant see or can only barely distinguish the first 6 blocks.

My current settings are:

Brightness 30
Contrast 60
Black EQ 0
Color Temp User (R= 75, G= 77, B= 78)
AMA high
Instant Mode On
Sharpness 6

This is the best Ive been able to get it to look but Ill keep messing with it and see what I can come up with.

**edit**
Trying the settings found on Tom's Hardware its brighter but now I can see all the squares on the Black Level test and the White test I only lost down to 252. Think Ill live with this one a while. Its awful bright though.
 
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Falkentyne

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DID YOU GUYS UPDATE TO VERSION 4 FIRMWARE?
IF NOT, do it !!

You can check the FW version by going into the service menu.
1) power off
2) hold the menu button for 5 seconds.
3) power on with menu still held down, then release.

if done correctly, the optical assault (*chuckle* eye care) logo won't appear.

if it's not version 4, please follow the instructions CAREFULLY on this page.
It works. Even someone (read the last page) who was really confused at first was able to do it. TWICE (first V1 to V2 then V2 to V4 in two flashes).

http://forums.blurbusters.com/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=779&start=210

P.S I have no blacklight bleed at all. I'll take two pictures later and update.
 

Falkentyne

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Here's why you should update to V4.
I bought this Samsung F90 camera for the sole purpose of taking a screenshot to show people the massive improvments in overdrive from V2 to V4 (NOTE: I do NOT know about V3 firmware. It had profile fixes but I do not know what else was native to V3 or just V4 or not).

-------------

Benq silently released version 4 firmware updates for their Z series monitors at the end of last year, but for some bizarre reason, with no marketing or mention of them anywhere. There were no change logs, no mention of fixes, and the firmware files are (still) not even downloadable on their website! They were only made available by people who dumped the firmware from the Ubuntu/Linux (non Mstar ISP) flash methods that are used to flash the firmware without needing a Mstar ISP unit (the monitor uses a Mstar 8556T scaler.

All of the Z series were improved by the V4 firmware update, but the update turns the XL2720Z into a completely -new- screen, as far as blur reduction quality is concerned. The fixes are so drastic that it's worth a review site actually doing a review update for the monitor, but it seems most or all of the sites don't have the monitor anymore.

For those people that do have the XL2720Z and are sitting on V2 firmware, I took some pictures with a camera I just bought (for this purpose) to show why flashing to V4 is worth the risk (and literally a 1% chance of bricking the monitor; people have even been able to reflash bricked monitors with this method) and maybe Benq will actually get around to marketing their V4 firmware. They could get so many more sales if people actually communicated.....

Ok before the pictures, please note that there was a V3 firmware update also, again with no change logs, except a benq message to a user saying that it 'fixed' profile issues and improved the game mode loader (e.g. Low blue light now is usable when saved to a gamer preset), but no one else tested V3 directly, so it is unknown whether the overdrive improvements were part of V3 or V4.

Here are the known changes from V2.

1) fix: random initial loss of signal when connected to displayport (V4 specific fix confirmed)
2) fix: profile fixes and updates. If using a previously saved gamer preset #1-3, Monitor will automatically recall and use the last saved preset settings instead of the last saved OSD settings, when the monitor is powered on. This only applies to the gamer presets.

3) fix: custom strobing adjustments now instantly work when single strobe is set to off, when blur reduction is toggled from off to on, at 100, 120 and 144 hz refresh rate. Unknown if this was a V3 or V4 fix. On V2, custom strobe settings were ignored and defaults used if single strobe were set to off, when blur reduction was toggled off to on at 100, 120 and 144 hz, however any change to brightness, strobe phase, strobe duty or single strobe (service menu) would instantly activate the custom strobe settings. It was interesting that just changing brightness would activate it. If single strobe were on, then custom settings took effect instantly always. This was a nice fix. It's unknown if XL2411Z or XL2420Z were affected by this issue. Now on v4, single strobe On is only needed for strobe adjustments under 100 hz refresh rate (e.g. custom resolutions with lower refresh rates or lower refresh rates with vertical total tweaking).

4) Massive changes to overdrive settings. (This would be worth a tftcentral review relook if they still owned the monitor). Pictures speak a thousand words, so i'll just let the camera do the talking here.

Ok first this is Premium AMA (hidden/toggle) on V4, which is about equal or equal to what V2 was at default on high.
(the default premium is even worse), since I don't have V2 anymore, this is a good place to start comparisons. This is what V2 looked like, more or less. It looks like benq took the V2 original settings and moved them here to the hidden premium toggle.

http://i.imgur.com/ObjKqFE.jpg
ObjKqFE.jpg


Ok this is the AMA high under normal settings on V4.
Contrast 43. Default new settings for V4.

http://i.imgur.com/q9jwDh4.jpg
q9jwDh4.jpg


Looks -much- better, right? The XL2730Z seems to look like this now.
*please note* lowering contrast with the default AMA settings does nothing to improve anything. It just gives many normal ghosting (especially black to white) transitions a white spectral appearance that is very ugly, making things much worse. TestUFO's alien invasion won't catch this, but other tests and the basic windows desktop catch it in spades. Contrast 43 is best for V4 default :)

Ok this is the new AMA high toggle, with contrast 43. You can toggle it by one of two ways: highlight AMA, press enter once, then press back or "exit" (pressing enter again seems to do nothing), or move up or down to off or premium then back to high.

Took two because I couldn't seem to get it perfect.
Pic#1:
http://i.imgur.com/aunM90Q.jpg
aunM90Q.jpg


Pic#2:
http://i.imgur.com/N6PFHqJ.jpg
N6PFHqJ.jpg


This new toggle is undocumented and did not work in V2 (in V2 it just intensified the overshoot). It seems to remove all of the inverse/overshoot by lowering the overdrive intensity, at the cost of more normal ghosting. Despite big improvements on testUFO, the increase in normal ghosting on sharp image transitions actually makes this a worse overall setting than the default untoggled one. But now there's some nice magic with this new setting. watch!

New AMA high with contrast set to 0. There is no 'spectral' ghosting drawback now! :)
#1:

http://i.imgur.com/zuDfOar.jpg
zuDfOar.jpg

#2:
http://i.imgur.com/VAxNalP.jpg
VAxNalP.jpg

#3:
http://i.imgur.com/KqUmsYv.jpg
KqUmsYv.jpg


This screenshot(s) does not do the quality improvement full justice.
If you test black to white transitions in windows, from contrast 43 to 0, you will see that (around the center of the screen) there is literally zero ghosting. It's very similar to the untoggled default with contrast 43, on white to black (which is good also), but without any inverse ghosting :) Just lackluster contrast. This looks better than Lightboost mode, folks.

Yes this is at contrast 0, but this amount of overdrive quality seems to exceed anything on even the new Gsync/Freesync boards! Someone will have to do a reduced contrast test to compare. Note: any changes to strobe phase, strobe duty, single strobe or brightness value will reset the hidden overdrive toggle back to defaults. Contrast and Gamma will not reset it, though.

With a Vertical Total 1500 tweak, the default settings should be good for most users. The toggle with reduced contrast would probably be best for 2D side scrolling games, where inverse ghosting would show itself much more than 3D FPS games.
 

cybrnook

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I read your posts in blurbusters. If I have the mstar flashing unit (which I do, since I needed it to flash from V1 to V2), what would be my steps to upgrade from v2 to v4 on my XL2720Z? (I.e. I notice you make mention of extending the ROM image)

It's a bit exhausting to follow in BB, there are links to other threads which point to other threads. Dare I say you seem to be the only one having great results from patching V4 firmware from XL2411Z onto your XL2720Z. (Seems this is not nativly for XL2720Z, and seemed to also cause issues on the XL2420Z?)

I'm a bit hesitant...... Fill me in
 
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Falkentyne

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You don't need to extend the image on the mstar unit.
That's only for Ubuntu with flashrom.
The mstar is the official flasher for mstar scalers.
There may be other instructions that I don't know about for it though.
there should be a faq for flashing with the official mstar flasher on the main page of blur busters.
If you already flashed v1 to v2 just follow the exact same instructions :)
 

cybrnook

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I updated my post above. Can you please shed a little light on me :confused:
 
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