I TeK things...
5120x1440p. Let that sink in just a little bit. Not a familiar resolution is it? Well Samsung has one upped themselves from last year's model, the CHG90 49” 144hz Freesync 2 panel that fell short in terms of vertical resolution, ie 3840x1080p. Originally debuted at CES 2019, which I had the honor of seeing in person, the CRG9 is a monitor I immediately fell in love with. Again with it’s 5120x1440p resolution, a 120hz refresh rate with AMD’s Freesync 2, HDR1000, on a VA panel, what’s not to love?
So 49 inches is a lot to love right? Let’s start off with the elephant in the room, why on earth would anyone want a monitor this big? Well why do some people have to have a 100 inch 4k HDR television? One word, immersion. Effectively having the equivalent of two 27 inch 2560x1440p panels side by side, the CRG9 fully lets the user be immersed in whatever they are doing. Now again 49 inches is still a lot to love, I have an 80 inch desk that I made from a solid core door and this guy takes up it’s half for sure! So make sure you have a large desk for the CRG9, cause it’s gonna demand it. Now since the CRG9 is such a large monitor, the stand has to be equally large as well. The footprint is quite simple but effective, having a simple Y to carry packaged weight of 44 pounds! The stand can also be swapped out for a compatible 100x100mm VESA mount adapter if you so desire, just make sure that your monitor arm will support such a heavy beast. Moving back to the CRG9, the backside is mostly fantastic plastic, with a white LED ring where the stand attaches to the monitor itself. The stand also allows for tilt, swivel, as well as height adjustment, albeit don’t expect it to get very high, however this reduces neck fatigue by not having the strain on the neck to look up or at a slight angle. Also on the backside are the 2 Displayport 1.4a ports, a single HDMI 2.0 port, 2 USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type A, 2 USB 2.0 Type A, and a 3.5mm output jack. A slew of cables also are included which includes Power, DisplayPort, HDMI, and a USB 3.1 uplink. The port placement is a point of discontentment for me, having a vertical orientation instead of the easier to plug in horizontal orientation. Also included is a plastic connection cover, which is why the ports are vertical I would guess. I know this is a clean look that Samsung was going for, which is appreciated, but a vertical plug in is very difficult to plugin a cable. Also the CRG9 does not include any built in speakers, but when you spend $1500 on a monitor, do you really want to use the crappy built in ones anyways? Didn’t think so. Moving around to the bezel of the CRG9, is a very thin border, however, the chin, is about ¾ of an inch wide, with a small Samsung logo in the center.
Ok let’s talk gaming with the CRG9. Running a resolution of 5120x1440 on a VA type panel, is effectively 2 2560x1440p monitors, so this is very close to running at 4K resolution, it’s somewhere in the neighborhood of 7.4 million pixels compared to 8.3 million pixels of that of 4K. Now take into account the CRG9 is running at 120hz, not like traditional 4K monitors running at 60hz. Think about it, the CRG9 is running 44% more pixels than a 4K monitor does at 60hz. That’s pretty nuts. Now add in HDR1000 support, factory calibrated, and has DCI-P3 95% color space, making games feel more vibrant and authentic. AMD’s FreeSync 2 is also present in the CRG9, which aids with LFC or Low Framerate Compensation when coupled with a compatible AMD GPU, which currently I have a AMD Radeon RX Vega 64 on hand. Also present are several modes for FPS, RTS, RPG and other game modes. And yes you could “cheat” and enable the Virtual Aim Point for on screen crosshairs, but I really don’t condone it. Another feature is the ability to take in 2 signals at the same time, like streaming on one side of the CRG9 with your desktop, and stream/chat on the other side on your laptop. The only thing missing that last years CHG90 had was a KVM switch, which would have been helpful when running more than one system.
So what do I think of this 49 inch monster? Well it’s a pity that I can’t keep it, cause it would be staying on my desk for a LOOOONG time. It’s just you have ultrawide, and then you have this 32:9 beast . It’s just insane at how much you can see with the 1800R curvature. Remember you are gonna need a beefy GPU setup to keep this beast fed. I tested with an AMD Radeon RX Vega 64 I mentioned earlier, as well as with a Nvidia RTX 2080 Super. While running an Nvidia GPU on a FreeSync 2 display doesn’t allow you to take advantage of any adaptive sync technology, gaming at higher refresh rates isn't bad either. It’s just currently AMD doesn’t have the high end GPU market to really make this monitor shine to its full potential. Remember Nvidia just announced in January that Nvidia GPUs would start supporting FreeSync monitors, FreeSync 2 monitors however not so much.
Alright HDR and monitor Overclocking. Really it’s hard to have one with the other. With the CRG9 it’s a bit of a give and take. While at its native frequency of 120hz, the monitor recognizes itself on Windows 10 as 8 bit HDR with dithering, however if you lower the frequency down to 100hz, ohh I know thats a sin, but then you gain 10 bit HDR. BUUUUUT, if you are ok with 8 bit colors, I was able to crank this panel up to 144hz! Needless to say I am quite speechless. 120hz on a 5120x1440p panel is already quite high, so I really wasn’t expecting to see 144hz at all.
Now let's chat about pricing. Yeah I agree, $1500 is quite a bit to spend on a monitor, even these days. But when you compare to the 3 other monitors out currently, which are the Phillips 499P9H, the LG 49BL95C, and the Dell UD4919DW, all have a refresh rate of 60hz with no adaptive sync technology. All of those monitors are over $1200, so paying a $300 premium for double the refresh rate with Freesync 2, is what I consider not a bad premium to pay. It’s just getting up to that price category in the first place.
So to wrap things up, the Samsung CRG9 QLED 49” Ultra Wide Curved Gaming monitor is quite frankly, simply amazing. Gaming on the CRG9 is such an immersive experience that words can’t even describe the feelings. Even though the CRG9 does have it’s issues with port placement, it manages to receive the “Overclock Hottest Gear 2019” award. This award is a step above the normal 5 out of 5 flames. Samsung obviously listened to the community, made a couple of necessary improvements and hit it out of the park.