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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  • cheinonen - Monday, December 19, 2011 - link

    The Samsung S23A750D is tested and certified by AMD to work with their cards in 3D, and so that is why it was tested with an AMD card. It appears on the AMD website as a supported device for 3D, but not on the NVIDIA website. Reading up on the matter showed that you can force it into 3D mode to work with NVIDIA cards, but at the moment it works more easily with AMD cards. Hopefully there is a unified standard soon so this won't be an issue going forward. Reply
  • millisec - Monday, December 19, 2011 - link

    Samsung has had issues with touch for quite some time and I'm kind of surprised they still have not fixed it. I have used them almost exclusively since my first syncmaster 15 back in early 90's right up to the 2693 HM I have now and as far as picture quality I love them. The touch is horrible (all your same issues then some) and has always been a problem including several periods of time where it had a mind of its own. Nothing like being in the middle of a game and having it shut off or worse yet pop up the menu and go ape cycling menu's and changing settings at random. I still have occasional power button response issues but the menu cycling finally went away after I readjusted the front panel a bit by pulling it out around the touch panel. I have a much older Samsung 22" with real buttons and it is flawless to this day. Reply
  • blau808 - Monday, December 19, 2011 - link

    I'm not sure why you would have a non-gamer test what is obviously a gamer oriented monitor. I hardly think there are many people who would buy a 3D monitor to watch movies on. That's what 3DTV's are for.

    If Samsung wants to sell 3D monitors, they're going to have to make sure that everyone's current favorite games look great in 3D. Skyrim, Battlefield, SWTOR, etc. Unfortunately this aspect of the review was simply glossed over with small references to WoW and Half Life 2.
    Reply
  • Steveymoo - Tuesday, December 20, 2011 - link

    If you enjoyed 120hz (I've been enjoying 120hz for quites a whiles now,) Sony is going to be releasing a 240hz gaming screen soon, which I have my eye on..... Although, in all fairness, you won't find many games that run >120fps these days, even if you buy top end hardware. I think the only way you're going to get this kind of performance, is through Source games (l4d, hl2 etc.) and the COD series.

    Wouldn't it be nice if they shifted their arses into gear, to develop a 120hz IPS screen? It's been nearly 10 years since CRTs were outlawed, and flat panel displays STILL haven't caught up in terms of all-round performance in one panel standard (colour reproduction, contrast, refresh rate etc.)
    Reply
  • Midwayman - Tuesday, December 20, 2011 - link

    I wish I could beat whom ever came up the 60hz is smooth. I can see motion up until about 90hz. Its subtle over 60hz, but certainly detectable. Back in the CRT days with larger monitors it was really easy to see this flicker in your peripheral vision. Reply
  • Earballs - Tuesday, December 20, 2011 - link

    Why is there no comparison to the Acer GD235HZ or LG W2363D, two very popular 23" 120hz displays. I own both and while the response times are very similar the input lag is miles apart. The "thrumode" on the LG makes it perform so close to a CRT I can't believe it.

    I use my 120hz displays for 2D desktop/gaming and the LG is the benchmark (even against a CRT, yes really) in my opinion. It's a pity this display wasn't compared to it's direct competition. I'd bet this monitor is best in 3D tests, but that's not how everyone uses them. The only way I care about another 120hz display is if it's 27" and has zero input lag like the LG.
    Reply
  • Earballs - Tuesday, December 20, 2011 - link

    why was my comment deleted? It was on topic, well thought out, and made good points. That's just not okay. Reply
  • Earballs - Tuesday, December 20, 2011 - link

    scratch that. >.> Reply
  • Darkimmortal - Saturday, December 31, 2011 - link

    I don't know where you arrived at nearly 12ms - the real figure for this series of monitors is around 4ms and I can say from experience they are as close as you can get to a CRT in terms of input lag. Reply
  • Spiritless - Friday, January 06, 2012 - link

    Chris, even though I feel the rest of the guys here make a few valid points regarding the structure of the article and perhaps a bit on the technical side, there are a few things I think you should know:

    There are people like me, who would never use an Nvidia graphics card, simply because they a) just really don't like Nvidia and enjoy supporting the underdog (I know several of them) or b) people like me who absolutely require a silent PC. AMD are way ahead of Nvidia when it comes to the maximum performance of passively cooled GPUs and that is why I liked this article. I have been waiting for ages for an AT article regarding how AMD 3DHD folds out.

    While I know this is not a 3DHD in-depth review, the fact that you blamed the artifacts in the games on purely the monitor (it seemed that way), is a bit disappointing. There are also the IZ3D drivers. This article also has a mission of showing a glance of the 3D gaming capability of the monitor. It would have been nice to see you try another driver, especially since there's only -one- other. That might have given you a better experience.
    Reply

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