I'll never need this 540Hz ASUS monitor and you won't either

ASUS ROG SWIFT PRO PG248QP 540Hz gaming monitor
(Image credit: ASUS)

One announcement from CES earlier this month that caught our eye is an upcoming gaming screen from ASUS. If you hadn't already guessed from the title of this article, said monitor has a ridiculously high refresh rate. Or a ridiculously high refresh rate number, at least.

The ASUS Rog Swift Pro PG248QP is looking to go ballistic in the frames-per-second game and provide an image that's smooth to the tune of 540Hz. This is impressive, yes, but I'm really struggling to work out who this is really for - and how many of those folks are out there to get the most out of that (both from their machines, and for themselves to actually enjoy).

Now, I know there is demand for the best high refresh rate monitors for gaming now, so as to maximise the smoothness of images, but also the edge that can be gained in competitive or online play. These typically top out at 240Hz - which is usually more than enough, for more than most. And being fast is a great feature to have! There's nothing better than super-smooth gaming displays, and a lot of our picks for the best gaming monitor have speedy panels that will make you question how you ever made do without.

But 540Hz is a different kettle of fish. Even for those monitors with 240Hz refresh rates you need a gaming PC or gaming laptop with enough chops to actually take advantage and pump out your favourite games at that pace. At 540Hz, the power necessary to actually hit that number of frames per second would be immense. And something unlikely to be achieved by any normal gamer, even at the PG248QP's 1080p resolution.

And let's face it, in a world where 1080p gaming is broadly being left behind as a resolution, (remember I said 'broadly' there), shouting about super high refresh rates while being stuck at Full HD, is... not that exciting either. Personally, I'd prefer the research and engineering was put into making 4K 144Hz refresh rate monitors cheaper or packing more features into affordable monitors, or, well, just anything else.

ASUS ROG Swift Pro PG248QP

(Image credit: ASUS)

But, nonetheless, ASUS has identified a market demand for such a screen. Naturally, this is the PC market, and a niche of that too - this certainly isn't going to be any use as a sole PS5 monitor or Xbox Series X monitor as those machines can only top out at 120Hz. No, this is for PC gamers who also have a very, very beefy setup, sporting one of the best graphics cards - perhaps even the best one available right now, the RTX 4090. Though the reality is that even that mega GPU won't get close to the 540Hz available on the screen. And then it's likely - though not certain, of course - that someone who has got the biggest GPU of them all may well not be interested in just gaming at 1080p resolution when it can offer a solid 4K experience.

Away from the hardware, I'm not sure even we as humans could get the most out of such a screen and actually enjoy it. There's long been a debate about how much the human eye or brain can actually detect frame-rate-wise. Our sister site PCGamer published an article in 2017 that asked how many frames per second can we see. In it, an assistant professor of psychology at St Joseph’s College in Rensselaer said that “I think typically, once you get up above 200fps it just looks like regular, real-life motion; sure, aficionados might be able to tell teeny tiny differences, but for the rest of us it’s like red wine is red wine.”

So after this point, it really does seem like it's a case of diminishing returns, and certainly for the majority of us - just thinking about the hardware you'd need to run this thing at anywhere near the max gives me and my wallet a headache. And as genuinely-impressive a bit of gaming tech as it is, I know that someone like me would never need it, and I also just don't know who the ASUS ROG Swift Pro PG248QP is really for, or why anyone would buy one...

If you're looking for a speedy but TV-shaped screen for your gaming visuals upgrade then check out our guides to the best 120Hz 4K TVs and the best gaming TVs, and don't forget to add one of the best HDMI cables for gaming to ensure the connection is rock solid.

Rob Dwiar

Rob is the Deputy Editor of sister site, TechRadar Gaming, and has been in the games and tech industry for years. Prior to a recent stint as Gaming Editor at WePC, Rob was the Commissioning Editor for Hardware at GamesRadar+, and was on the hardware team for more than four years, since its inception in late 2018. He is also a writer on games and has had work published over the last six years or so at the likes of Eurogamer, RPS, PCGN, and more. He is also a qualified landscape and garden designer, so does that in his spare time, while he is also an expert on the virtual landscapes and environments of games and loves to write about them too, including in an upcoming book on the topic!