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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  • sviola - Monday, December 19, 2011 - link

    Well, I hope it doesn't take much longer. Also, I hope they'll release them with 16:10 aspect ratio. Reply
  • DanNeely - Monday, December 19, 2011 - link

    It'd be nice if they manage to get top flight LED backlight color accuracy above that of top flight CFL models before the 120hz refresh too. Reply
  • MadAd - Sunday, December 25, 2011 - link

    This is my problem too.

    I have a triple desktop including x2 1920x1200 IPS screens. Any new 120hz monitor has to fit in, in the center, 1080 isnt going to work.

    Why cant we get
    -120hz
    -displayport
    -1200 lines

    in one package? I could even wait for IPS, but the aspect ratio is a dealbreaker.
    Reply
  • MadAd - Sunday, December 25, 2011 - link

    -24"

    (forgot that one)

    The only one ive seen even close is that horrible shape one for an insane amount of money
    Reply
  • dingetje - Saturday, December 17, 2011 - link

    screw that 16:9 panel
    i need vertical space....not horizontal space....i don't need a television, i need a pc screen
    Reply
  • mac2j - Sunday, December 18, 2011 - link

    I have a S27A950D, which is pretty much the same panel but 27". I actually have been pleased with the interface and have had no problems with it - although perhaps the buttons are more spaced on the 27"?

    The picture is amazing and I can't imagine buying another monitor that isn't at least 120hz - its not just the smooth motion and drag, etc - it's hard to describe how good and crisp the picture on this monitor really is. I have a really nice 240hz TV in the same room and if I play a Blu-ray and mirror it on the 2 screens it looks noticeably better on the monitor - better colors, better color depth, better blacks, brighter ... just all around an amazing monitor.

    It would be nice if we could get a 2560 x 1440 monitor at 120hz ... which i think Displayport could handle rather than having to choose between the 850D which is 2560 x 1440 or the 950 which is 1080p but 120hz.
    Reply
  • wtfbbqlol - Sunday, December 18, 2011 - link

    I don't think an LCD's response time is dependent on phosphors. Reply
  • PrinceGaz - Sunday, December 18, 2011 - link

    Quite correct. And the response-time of phosphors has never been an issue anyway as every CRT display used them and they could have a near instant response time.

    AnandTech is certainly going downhill these days.

    If Anand reads these comments, he should seriously consider the quality of the reviews being posted on his site, as the quality is becoming increasingly variable, from superb articles which delve into new CPU micro-architecture, to pot-boilers like this which consist mainly of recycled previous stuff combined with the author's own input which is of very dubious quality.
    Reply
  • Zan Lynx - Monday, December 19, 2011 - link

    CRT phosphors were always an issue in multisync monitors.

    The issue is that the phosphor had to be chosen so that its persistence matched the refresh rate.

    If it lasted too long there would be ghosting. If it was too short the image would flash and cause eye strain.

    This was a big problem with CRTs designed for a 75Hz refresh. Running them at 60Hz was pretty awful, yet lots of people did that anyway.
    Reply
  • ggathagan - Monday, December 19, 2011 - link

    All true, but the overarching point is that LCD screens don't involve phosphor, hence the complaint. Reply

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