BOE (Beijing Oriental Electronics) has unveiled a new screen with the fastest refresh rate ever seen, a mind-boggling 600Hz to be exact.
The screen in question is actually a laptop screen, a 16-inch LCD that the Chinese site states IT home (opens in new tab) brought to our attention (via Tom’s hardware (opens in new tab)).
The panel was shown at the World Conference on Display Industry in China, but no other specs for the screen were provided besides the size and refresh rate, although it was demoed at the event.
BOE showed off the screen in a laptop with an AMD Ryzen CPU and Nvidia GPU – presumably, or at least those logos were on the notebook’s chassis, so it would be very odd if the stickered components weren’t inside the portable.
The 600Hz screen appears to be still in the early stages of development, mind you, as while it worked the screen was apparently taped to the laptop base.
Analysis: Is this really a case of “stop doing that, it’s crazy”
Does the world really need a 600Hz panel? Does this seemingly relentless drive to increase refresh rates to ever more colossal levels serve any purpose? At the start of the year, BOE trumpeted a 500Hz gaming monitor, and even before the year is out, a 600Hz screen has surpassed that effort, and by a considerable distance.
Isn’t this all getting crazy? Well, we think that’s broadly true, but that said, there’s a target audience for these types of ultra-high refresh rate panels, though it’s arguable what exactly such a display offers.
That target audience would be professional gamers, playing Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, for example, where it’s possible to achieve really really high frame rates (since they’re not demanding titles).
It’s worth noting that we can assume the 600Hz display has a resolution of 1080p, as the need to push high frame rates means it won’t have a higher resolution. In that case, 600fps would never be achievable – and don’t forget that this is also a laptop, making reaching those heights a trickier task in terms of available GPU grunt. This is another point – we’re not sure why this was made as a laptop panel, rather than a standalone monitor like BOE’s aforementioned 500Hz effort.
As Tom’s Hardware rightly points out, one benefit of cranking panels’ refresh rate so high is that you get better frame time – smoother and more consistent delivery of frames – but the return on this front drops sharply as you move up to staggering refresh rates . For example, 360Hz offers a frame time of 2.7ms, while 600Hz drops that to 1.66ms. Now a base 60Hz panel is 16.66ms, which is fine for casual gaming, so the drop from here to 360Hz and 2.7ms is significant (at least for competitive gamers). But lowering it further to 1.66ms is pretty marginal to say the least.
Will a person really appreciate that small difference? Can the human eye even detect the benefits of 600Hz (or even 500Hz, or lower) panels? In reality, for the vast majority of people, the answer is probably not. But for a vanishingly small niche of the top pro gamers, they could benefit from an ultra-high refresh rate panel in terms of a smidgeon of a smoother gameplay experience that might only be discernible in terms of a very small difference in the to feel of the game. But yes, even the thinnest wisp of a potential advantage is something high-earning gaming professionals can value.
However, for the rest of us non-gamer god types, these screens built to reach sky-high refresh rates are pretty pointless. And the extreme heights to which all this has been pushed over the course of 2022 will inevitably make us mere mortals of the gaming world seem stupid. Realistically, we’ll be absolutely fine with 144Hz, or 240Hz if you want to push the boat out.
Finally, it remains to be seen how much of this flexes BOE’s marketing muscles. Will we ever really see this 600Hz panel in gaming laptops? Maybe, but then again, we haven’t heard a peep from the company about the 500Hz monitor since it was shown off at the beginning of the year.
Presumably there will also be 480Hz monitors coming in for 2023 from AU Optronics and LG Display, so whatever your take on super-fast refresh rates, presumably we’ll see some of these models appear sometime next year.