Gaming PerformanceOnce installed and ready to go, the first thing I did was to start up Halo to see how it performed. The second thing I did was to reduce the gamma, since the display is much brighter than my CRT ever dreamt of achieving. Then I went into Blood Gulch to see if I could see any ghosting. My first impression was “Wow!”, since Halo never has looked that good on my machine before. The higher contrast and clearer colors gives a new depth to the textures in any game I’ve tried it with so far.
After the initial shock I ran around like a maniac wavering my rifle this way and that to see if it could leave any ghosts. And at that speed I can see some ghosting, but nothing that I haven't experienced on my CRT before, so I have to say that it performs excellent. Next, I tried both Unreal Tournament games at resolutions from 640x480 to the display's native resolution of 1280x1024, to see how the scaled up resolutions looked compared to the native resolution. I got my second positive surprise there, since the scaled up resolutions look really good. While they will never look as good as the native resolution, the result was fully acceptable. The worst case is 640x480, where the scaling can become most obvious in 3D games.
I also tried Fallout 2, a 2D game locked at 640x480, and found that the result was almost better looking than on a CRT. Because it actually played at 1280x1024 it got more detail than on a CRT, even if it is at the cost of sharpness. Of course, this is debatable whether one prefers the sharp image or the “faked” higher resolution. I, for one, have absolutely no objections at all to the latter. Text and other sharp objects get a bit blurry, but are still relatively distinct. If you move back a bit from the monitor it is hard to notice any difference at all.
One thing to note though is that the monitor is designed for 1280x1024 and thus has a 5:4 width to height ratio, while the classic gaming resolutions 1024x768, 800x600 and 640x480 are 4:3. Games will be a bit stretched out vertically if run at a lower resolution than 1280x1024.
Now I’m more of a strategy and role-playing gamer, and for people like me there isn’t much to object to when gaming on an LCD. As long as the game supports the native resolution of the display, and your computer can handle that resolution without a huge performance loss, there are no drawbacks. Everything will look better, clearer and crisper. Textures looks way more detailed due to the high contrast and games like Warcraft III and Neverwinter Nights look stunning on my new display.
There is actually one drawback with the VP171b and strategy/RPG gaming that also applies to all other gaming. If the monitor switches resolution, it promptly displays which one of the 3 inputs it is receiving signal from on the on-screen display (OSD). If a game switches resolution for viewing movies or for some other reason, this message will appear over the game for the first few seconds. Now the OSD is well designed and you can make it semi-transparent, but there is no way to completely disable this message. Most new games seem to scale up any movies instead of switching resolution. But the message still pops up every now and then and it gets mighty annoying when it happens often.