The AGON brand of screens represents the best AOC gaming monitors available, they are distinctively and aggressively styled to look good on any desktop, let’s take a closer look at how they perform.
When you’re building a gaming PC for the first time often the monitor can be one of the last things you consider. If you’ve come to PC gaming from the world of consoles, it’s probably an oversight because you’re used to gaming on a TV – welcome to the world of PC!
Your monitor is your most important piece of kit. Yes, you can build a gaming PC without it but you can’t do anything until you hook it up to a screen, and if you’ve spent thousands of dollars on a gaming PC there’s no sense scrimping and saving on a monitor.
As such I’d advise anyone building a gaming PC for the first time to set aside a good chunk of their budget to pay for a good screen.
More on resolutions, G-sync and FreeSync later.
The AGON is the best AOC gaming monitor
So, back to AOC’s AGON screen, or the AG241QX to use its official name – catchy I know!
So, from the top here’s what you need to know. It’s a 24-inch screen rocking a resolution of 2560×1440, it has a 144Hz refresh rate, and this version supports AMD’s FreeSync adaptive sync technology.
It looks GOOD. It has a matte black bezel, while the TN panel also has a matte coating to reduce glaring.
The bold AGON brand sits proudly along the bottom edge of the bezel and the whole unit sits atop a matte silver metal stand that provides a really good degree of movement, rotation and adjustment, you can also raise or lower the screen and rotate it 90 degrees into portrait mode too.
Plus, all adjustments can be measured with the handy numbers added to the side of the stand.
One nice touch is the addition of a menu control pad which attached to the screen through a micro USB port and makes it much easier to make adjustments to the screen’s calibration on the fly.
I’m not a fan of using ‘bottom-of-the-bezel’ mounted buttons that are so common with monitors. It’s fiddly and a massive PITA – manufacturers take note!
It’s good to see AOC considering the usability of its kit like this.
Pointlessly, AOC has saved the boldest design element that the AGON rocks for the back of the monitor, where a striking red chevron covers the entire back of the screen – it looks good but who’s going to notice?
Behind the right edge of the screen sits a plastic arm that can be lowered to act as a headphone stand – another nice touch.
It’s clear that AOC is aiming at the booming e-sports market with this screen, and the refresh rates certainly support extremely fluid and fast gameplay that’s a hallmark of games like Counter Strike and Overwatch.
FreeSync and G-Sync
The AG241QX features AMD’s adaptive sync technology, FreeSync that operates between 30Hz and 144Hz.
But what is FreeSync?
The technology is baked into DisplayPort connectors, and helps synchronize the refresh rate of a compatible monitor to your AMD graphics card.
Occasionally, when you ramp up the settings on PC games you can notice stuttering graphics and screen tearing.
It can wreck your experience and make games unplayable, and it means you might need to reduce graphics detail or lower your screen resolution – not ideal!
FreeSync stops this by reducing input latency which in turn reduces, or completely eliminates, juddering and screen tearing.
FreeSync is based on open standard ‘adaptive sync’ technology built into DisplayPort 1.2a specifications, while G-Sync is a proprietary component from Nvidia that is ‘bolted on’ to monitors.
Monitor manufacturers that want to use G-Sync have to pay a fee to Nvidia for including the technology in their screens, and that cost gets passed on to the consumer.
There is a G-Sync version of this screen available – the AOC AG241QG AGON – and it is priced at around $100 more than the FreeSync version.
In simple terms both technologies help smooth the frame rates of games to ensure the on-screen action maintains a steady frame rate, and as a gamer that’s a good thing!
The obvious question is does FreeSync work with Nvidia video cards?
The simple answer is that it doesn’t but if you have a PC packing one of the new Pascal series of Nvidia cards, chances are you’re going to get extremely good frame rates anyway.
The AG241QX offers a range of connections too. There’s 2 x HDMI ports, one offering HDMI 2.0, the other HDMI 1.4, one DisplayPort 1.2, one DVI-D connector, as well as audio connectors and four USB ports.
The screen also packs a pair of small speakers that pump out 3W of audio power. Not ideal, but it at least gives you an option if your headphones are broken or you haven’t invested in a set of high-end desktop PC speakers.
The AGON AG241QX is a bold and powerful screen from AOC. It’s a design shift for AOC away from their more basic looking screen designs and paired with the right video card it will deliver a great experience for gamers.
This AOC gaming monitor is available now and is priced around $320.
IPS versus TN versus PLS
The AGON AG241QX AOC gaming monitor is a TN panel.
If you’re researching monitors for your next gaming PC build you’re likely coming across plenty of references to TN, IPS and PLS panels.
So what is a TN panel, and how does it compare to IPS and PLS displays, and what are the differences?
To simplify it, the differences between IPS and TN displays can be explained like this:
IPS stands for in-plane switching, which is a newer type of display technology, while TN stands for twisted nematic, which is an earlier form of display technology.
The advantages of IPS displays over TN displays:
- The colors in IPS displays look bright and strong from all viewing angles
- IPS displays do not ‘lighten’ when you touch the screen surface
- IPS offers clearer images
The disadvantages of IPS displays compared to TN displays:
- IPS displays are generally more expensive
- IPS displays tend to require more power
- In general IPS displays tend to have longer response times than TN displays
But what about PLS?
Well, plane line switching means your screen will feature great viewing angles, high brightness and rich colors, although there is a trade off in response time.
However, as we have seen this doesn’t impact massively on the screen’s gaming performance – even in fast games.
Remember, what you choose for your gaming PC is up to you and is largely down to how much money you have to spend.
Building a Gaming PC
Building a gaming PC is a great skill to have, and if you’re planning on including an AOC gaming monitor like the AGON in a new system you should take a look at my guides.
If you’re new to building PCs, and are a little unsure about where to start, take a look at the below video playlist.
It’s designed to be as straightforward to follow as possible.
Click the menu box in the top left of the below window to cycle through all the videos.
If you need tips and hints about installing a video card for your new PC build, hit me up in the comments section, or tweet me directly.
If you like what you’re reading please remember to sign up to the newsletter for up-to-date news, reviews, builds and more.
But Why Build?
As PC games get better and better and the hardware to run them advances at an ever quicker rate you may be tempted to buy a pre-built custom gaming PC.
STOP! Don’t do it. There’s a range of benefits to building your own PC:
- you’ll save a tonne of money
- you can customize it exactly as you want
- you avoid ‘bloatware’ that comes bundled with pre-built systems and clogs up performance
The good news is it’s a buyer’s market with a massive range of components available to builders and building a gaming PC is easier than many realize.
If you can put together a Lego kit you can build a computer. It’s that easy.
More from the Blog
If you’re interested in reading about other PC systems, monitors and components, please check out my other guides, or for the latest news and reviews head to the blog.
If you have any questions on this AOC gaming monitor, or would like recommendations on other components or hardware you could use, drop me a line on Twitter, send me a picture on Instagram, or join my community on Facebook.