Long time reader and fan, first time poster. I actually built a rig late last year based on the $1250 quiet PC specs you had up at that time.
I have been using a generic hybrid TV/monitor combo that I bought from Costco for several years now, but am ready to upgrade to an actual monitor. Because I want longevity in quality, I have been considering the XB271HU (and to a lesser extent the Dell S2716DG for the lower price, though I would prefer the IPS panel). However, I am still using the GTX 970 that was part of your then-current build.
I play all sorts of games including FPS, but I prefer to do so on as high graphical settings as possible. I will be upgrading to the Nvidia 1000 series eventually, but I do not want to have to both upgrade the GPU and buy a high end monitor at the same time. Is this monitor investment viable, or would the 1440p resolution be too much to handle with the GTX 970? Should I be upgrading other components first (GPU, RAM, etc) before moving up to 1440p? Will G-Sync overcome any of the framerate drops resulting from a higher resolution?
Welcome to The TBG Forum, Cambie!
These are great questions, and they really get to the heart of the challenge (and the reward) of building your own system. As technology improves, you can upgrade one bit at a time, without too much fear of making a mistake. That's all the more true when moving to a G-Sync monitor. You are considering two excellent 1440p monitors (the IPS-based Acer XB271HU
and the TN-based Dell S2716DG
). Both will perform exactly the same in terms of framerates (unless you exceed 144Hz, where the XB271HU has an advantage), and with their broad G-Sync range, either will work just fine with a GTX 970. The reason is that they start to improve the motion clarity at 30fps, so even if you take a hit in terms of framerates versus a 1080p TV, they'll look just as good if not better. Based on TBG's most recent GTX 970 benchmarks at 2560x1440
(which appeared in the context of the EVGA GeForce GTX 1070 review), the GTX 970 can hold between 30fps and 60fps in all the most demanding games.
Yes, eventually you'll want more GPU power. The GTX 1070, for example, is on average 60% faster, meaning if falls right into the sweet spot where G-Sync is most effective (between 70fps and 100fps). But upgrading the monitor first is absolutely the way to go, and with G-Sync, you get to take advantage of the higher resolution and image quality without the typical screen tearing and stutter you'd get below 60fps on a fixed-refresh screen.