The big push in movies and displays has been 3D the past few years. In movies it’s ranged from well designed and executed (Avatar) to a gimmick to charge $4 more per ticket (many examples), but for gaming, it potentially has more direct benefits. Virtually every game now is rendered in 3D, and so all of the information is there that is needed to show the game in 3D to the user, unlike the fake 2D to 3D conversions that many films use. Running in active 3D also means a panel that works at a true 120Hz, so even your 2D image can benefit. Samsung sent us their latest 3D enabled 23" LCD for review, with built in support for AMD's HD3D solution.

Samsung S23A750D Design and Setup

The Samsung S23A750D (henceforth S23A) is certainly a slick looking monitor, but it is not a design without issues. Its angular central pedestal only provides tilt adjustment, with no swivel or height adjustment at all. The connectors on the rear of the pedestal are nicely arranged in a way that keeps everything close together and makes cable organization easy for the user. There are HDMI and DisplayPort connectors, and you’ll want to use DisplayPort here, as it’s the only way to get a 120Hz signal from your video card to the display. The one bad side about the port design is that Samsung uses an external power adapter, so be prepared to hide another power brick somewhere near your workstation.

The front controls on the pedestal are all touch sensitive, with Menu, Power, and 3D buttons at the top, and 4-way arrow keys with a central Enter button in the middle. This brings up one big issue that I had with the display, in that the Enter key is located far too close to the arrow keys and is nearly impossible to hit. The Enter key is also used to select the correct input, and for a couple of days I was not able to hit Enter to change from HDMI to DisplayPort. It turned out that trying to barely hit the button didn’t work and I had to use my whole thumb to hit it, but this would often hit the arrow keys instead of Enter.

Needless to say, this drove me absolutely crazy during the review period. It was hard to change inputs, to adjust anything on the OSD, and to really adjust anything with the display. I’d strongly suggest that Samsung spread out the buttons more, or make them actual tactile buttons, and possibly include a remote as well if they want to stay with the touch sensitive options. Since the monitor is also available in a configuration with a TV tuner integrated, the remote option makes the most sense as it would let them keep the look while making it easier to adjust.

The screen and bezel of the Samsung are very glossy in use, and I likely wouldn’t use it in a room where there was going to be a lot of lighting that would reflect off of it. While taking some pictures of content on the screen it was virtually impossible to get one without a reflection, so if reflections bother you easily then you might want to look elsewhere. The glossy finish gives the screen a good amount of pop as you would expect, but there are the reflections. Here's the overview of the specs and features for the S23A.

Samsung S23A750D
Video Inputs HDMI 1.4a, DisplayPort
Panel Type TN
Pixel Pitch 0.265 mm
Colors 16.7 million
Brightness 250 nits
Contrast Ratio 1,000:1
Response Time 2ms (GTG)
Viewable Size 23"
Resolution 1920 x 1080
Viewing Angle 170 H / 160 V
Backlight LED
Power Consumption (operation) 48W
Power Consumption (standby) 1W
Screen Treatment Ultra Clear Panel (Glossy)
Height-Adjustable No
Tilt Yes, 0-20 degrees
Pivot No
Swivel No
VESA Wall Mounting No
Dimensions w/ Base (WxHxD) 21.39" x 15.94" x 7.59"
Weight 9.26 lbs
Additional Features 120Hz input, 2D -> 3D Conversion, Active 3D, Headphone Out
Limited Warranty 1 Year
Accessories Active 3D Glasses, DisplayPort Cable
Price Available online starting at $435

The OSD system of the S23A would be fine if not for the issues with the touch sensitive buttons. All the settings you expect to see are there.

Sidenote: Display Testbed Upgrades

The harder point of setup for me was that I’m not a huge gamer, so I didn’t have a video card that would drive a game in 3D at reasonable frame rates, or that had a DisplayPort output on it. AMD was kind enough to send along a Radeon HD 6950 video card for the testing so nothing would hold back the performance of the display. On the other hand, AMD's current HD3D solution doesn't have quite the gaming support as NVIDIA's 3D Vision, but that's a matter for gamers. Considering the S23A specifically includes support for AMD's HD3D solution, testing with an AMD GPU makes the most sense. It's also worth noting that running games in 3D mode puts a much higher load on the GPU, just as with NVIDIA's 3D Vision, so you're not going to want to try 3D gaming with anything much lower than a 6950; that brings us to the next point.

Not surprisingly, upgrading to a high-end GPU meant my PSU wasn’t up to the task, but OCZ helped out with a ZX series 850W PSU to replace the anemic one I had installed. Installing this into the Antec P182 was a bit of an adventure thanks to all the dividers inside the Antec case, but it worked great once installed and ran even quieter than what I had installed previously. The OCZ is also a modular PSU, whereas my previous PSU had a fixed set of cables, and I found the change helpful when rewiring my case and adding the PEG connectors to the GPU. Here you can see the result of my upgrades if you're interested.

The main reason we mention this is that anyone considering upgrading to a 3D display for gaming purposes really needs to consider their other hardware as well. Serious gamers might have all the necessary equipment already, but casual gamers—as well as many typical OEM builds—could fall well short of the desired level of performance. Now with my PC upgraded and ready for 3D testing, let's see how the S23A performs.

Viewing Angles and Color Quality
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  • AnnihilatorX - Monday, December 19, 2011 - link

    Agreed too.

    I suppose it's some form of advertising contract with AMD and OCZ acting kind of a sponsor to the site.
    Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Monday, December 19, 2011 - link

    We weren't asked to do that by anyone (nor do we allow "advertorial" content on the site - I'll be posting some updated AT guidelines in the not too distant future). From time to time we get updated hardware for our testbeds and we typically call it out in our reviews, the intent here was no different although I do understand that it was interpreted quite differently.

    Take care,
    Anand
    Reply
  • Sabresiberian - Monday, December 19, 2011 - link

    If you were thrown off by seeing pictures of the PSU, then you weren't reading the article very well. It was obvious to me why Chris might put pictures of the PSU he put in the computer he used to run the video card to run the monitor he was testing. :)

    I haven't read the whole article, but I suspect some of what is going on here is inflexibility and an inability to read properly. In this day and age, people commonly don't read anything longer than a sentence or two without zoning out.

    It's in large part due to a culture in which we have so many distractions (at least in the "western civilized world") that we feel pressed for time, all the time. It's hard to take the time to read an article properly. However, if you are going to read an artivle, I suggest doing it right, and doing it thoroughly, if you really are wasting your time.

    ;)
    Reply
  • Finraziel - Tuesday, December 20, 2011 - link

    Agreed, I wasn't bothered by this at all either. The bit about upgrading the GPU and PSU was useful and Chris even specifically states why he included it. It is to stress the fact that if you want to use this monitor for 3D gaming, you are going to need a high power system.
    About the product, I agree 120hz is very interesting, even more than 3D I think, but it's a shame you have to sacrifice in other areas to get it for now. Hope we soon get 120Hz non-TN panels and some standardisation in 3D gaming.
    Reply
  • robinthakur - Monday, December 19, 2011 - link

    I found it a tad odd that the person reviewing the display wasn't initially using it with a system which would show it at its best and needed to upgrade their pc on the fly, which could introduce additional bugs.

    I also take issue with the following bit:

    "Since LCD phosphors don’t turn on and off instantly but have a bit of decay time"

    This is not a correct explanation of why motion can blur and 3d images can ghost on an LCD screen, more likely a plasma display if we're talking about phosphors and decay-time!

    Thanks for the review though, and I'm sure everybody takes time to settle into a role.
    Reply
  • Sabresiberian - Monday, December 19, 2011 - link

    I think it is informative enough to the people who haven't gone through the procedure, who don't understand what running at 120Hz requires, that the information be included. It's not like he did an in-depth review of the PSU, he just devoted a couple of brief paragraphs with pictures in between.

    As far as quality - Anandtech has added more editors, and they don't all have the same style as Anand. They shouldn't; they should write in their own style. I suggest you develop a broader mind. I'm not saying there aren't mistakes in grammar and sloppiness, but I do think this "going down hill" business is stating the situation too strongly.

    ;)
    Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Monday, December 19, 2011 - link

    Thanks for your feedback (as well as everyone else in the thread). AMD and OCZ provided the hardware to augment Chris' testbed for the review and I asked him to include his thoughts on the upgrade experience here to hopefully provide more of the end-user side of things. It was a one-time thing that won't be repeated in future reviews, just sort of a stake in the ground indicating a change to the standard display reviews testbed.

    I do hear you loud and clear though and it's not hard for us to change the way we report changes like that in the future. I've added a section header to the GPU + PSU changes to hopefully explain the intention of that section a bit better.

    Take care,
    Anand
    Reply
  • PubFiction - Monday, December 19, 2011 - link

    I agree,

    My interpretation was that this was a shameless way to slip in a plug for OCZ and AMD. And while that may not be the case it is important to think about how different people will interpret an action.

    "Since LCD phosphors don’t turn on and off instantly but have a bit of decay time"

    Also this one quote jumped out at me. This is an LCD with LED backligting. It does not have any phosphors because it does not have a fluorescent backlight and on top of that even if it did there would be no fade away. Typically LCD backlights are just ON and the pixels just hold until they switch to a new orientation.

    Also I do not get the point in sending a light to non gamer to review a monitor with 120hz gaming and 3D gaming as it's major function.
    Reply
  • crimson117 - Monday, December 19, 2011 - link

    And then he only tests half life 2 and wow... Reply
  • Sabresiberian - Monday, December 19, 2011 - link

    Actually, I thought that Chris presented himself early on as someone who wasn't an "authority", but was putting himself in the role of an average Joe User adopting his setup to a 120Hz monitor for the first time, and describing what the experience was like from that viewpoint. Not everything has to be written like a technical brief presentation or be a class on the electronics of how TN panels work.

    ;)
    Reply

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