Acer Predator XR341CK FreeSync Monitor Review


Gaming Performance

The Acer Predator Predator XR341CK has obviously been build from the ground up to provide a sublime gaming experience. A huge size, the all-encompassing curved screen, excellent image fidelity, top-notch color reproduction and compatibility with AMD’s FreeSync make it -on paper at least- one of the best solutions around. Luckily, those paper specifications succeed in astounding fashion. AMD users need to stand up and take notice of this monitor if they a ton of spare change hanging around.

These elements in turn makes comparing the Predator to non-gaming alternatives from LG, Dell and others a completely unfair gesture. For its intended audience this monitor is simply better, smoother and much more enjoyable.

On the surface the ‘little’ change between 60Hz and 75Hz alongside FreeSync abilities may not sound that significant as for the most part other IPS-based curved panels and the Acer XR341CK have very similar specifications. None offers 120Hz or 140Hz or 144Hz refresh rates, they all have a fairly wide color pallet, and very similar out of the box default color profiles.

Sure the Acer Predator does offer that addition 15Hz on the refresh-rate but visually and without FreeSync users will be hard pressed to tell the difference during gameplay. Not once did we go ‘boy are we ever glad this monitor is 75Hz, since 60Hz would have been such a huge bottleneck’.

What that extra 15Hz accomplishes is critically broaden the operating range of AMD’s awesome FreeSync technology so it isn’t capped at 60Hz / 60FPS. That allows the judder-reduction and motion smoothing capabilities of FreeSync to address higher framerates while minimum 30Hz basement allows the Predator to deftly sidestep the framerate step-downs exhibited by earlier adaptive-sync monitors.

Of course with all that being said this monitor is still going to be difficult to drive to a constant 75Hz using only one AMD GPU. Remember, with a native resolution of 3440×1440 there are significantly more pixels onscreen than 1080P or even 2560×1440 monitors and that increases GPU workloads exponentially.

More importantly when compared to typical 60Hz 34″ monitors, this extra 15FPS does translate to an additional 25% more frames per second and that is a significant jump in the amount of video processing horsepower needed. To be blunt you really will want to have two GPUs to get 75Hz consistently in modern games, and that could essentially make the Acer XR341CK completely unaffordable.

Honestly, if a consumer already owns a NVIDIA video card this monitor does not offer enough advantages to justify buying a new AMD video card. By that same token, if someone already owns a higher end AMD GPU that is capable of offering FreeSync (i.e. is GCN 1.2 and not GCN 1.0 based) having the ability to get the most out of your earlier purchase and the monitor sure as hell beats the alternative.

Considering the Predator is the same price as the LG 34UC87, it is a veritable steal if you take your gaming sessions seriously. If not the Acer XR341CK is not going to be better than a standard non-FreeSync model and really will be a less than optimal choice for non-gaming consumers – as would any 21:9 monitor for that matter.

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