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PG27AQDM Dark Color banding

IAmDispleased
Level 8

I purchased a PG27AQDM very recently, started off by installing the new firmware (I had read about issues with prior firmware and installed MCM104,) and after some use and adjusting settings to my liking, I noticed some color banding in some games. I assumed this was just how things were supposed to look, as I had just upgraded from a decade-old ASUS monitor.
Then I tried Dark Souls 3.
My PG27AQDM seems to have terrible continuity in the lowest ~10% of colors. I tried every setting and every mode the monitor offers. Regardless of  The lowest values for near-black are functionally the same, and the next step up is a muddy gray. 
This is a significant problem for readability in any games or media with shadows or dark areas. I haven't digested all games or movies, but it's my understanding that several of them have shadows or dark areas.

In digging for a solution, I came across https://rog-forum.asus.com/t5/gaming-monitors/pg27aqdm-color-banding/m-p/941428

I have, as recommended, attempted several pixel cleanings. This occurs whether I am connected with HDMI or Displayport. I have also factory reset the monitor and attempted to find settings that improve the transition between colors.

Is there anything that can be done here?
20231206_034700.jpg

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7 REPLIES 7

IAmDispleased
Level 8

As was requested in https://rog-forum.asus.com/t5/gaming-monitors/here-is-how-bad-color-banding-on-pg27aqdm-is/td-p/9471... for additional details: my monitor is connected to my desktop computer's Geforce 3070 Ti via Displayport 1.4. The issue is present whether running at native resolution 2560x1440 or 1920x1080. Setting the color depth from 8bpc to 10 bpc and changing the output color format from RGB does not affect the banding.

Hi @IAmDispleased ,

according to your question, could you please confirm if you are currently using firmware version 104? 

If you roll back the firmware to version 103, do you still experience color display issues? 

Does the problem only occur in specific games or on black and gray areas? 

Could you record a video showing the abnormal color display during gameplay? 

Please note that color display preferences are subjective, and firmware updates aim to optimize and improve overall performance. 

Thank you.

IAmDispleased
Level 8

I am on the 104 firmware from https://rog.asus.com/monitors/27-to-31-5-inches/rog-swift-oled-pg27aqdm/helpdesk_bios/ To confirm, do you want me to download and install the 103 firmware present there? This was originally upgraded from 102.

Since the original post, I also found the live chat option for support via the app, and have case number N2312008908-0001, if that helps at all.

Hi @IAmDispleased ,

reviewing your conversation history, it seems you are in the process of applying for the online RMA procedure, is that correct? 

Once you have obtained the RMA number, you can provide the number to me through private messaging, and we will track the progress of the engineer's inspection and keep you informed. 

Thank you.

IAmDispleased
Level 8

My engaging with the RMA process depends entirely on whether or not at-home troubleshooting is able to remedy the issue without waiting  for shipping and engineering time.

I was not previously told to attempt a firmware rollback. Is the process as simple as running the 103 installer, or is there something else I need to be aware of when moving from a newer version of the firmware to an older version?

IAmDispleased
Level 8

I have installed firmware 103. The issue is still present.

Looping back to previous questions:

It does not happen in specific games, it happens across all media displayed on the monitor.

I do not have video, as setting exposure for a static image on a monitor is hard enough, and I don't have enough hands to manage a camera and play a game at the same time.
Given that, the best illustration of the problem is available with a simple gradient from http://www.lagom.nl/lcd-test/gradient.php 
This is what the PG27AQDM displays with as many bright options enabled as possible. At brightness 100 with Shadow Boost set to Dynamic in FPS mode, I am unable to get it to display anything but near black up to an RGB value of 14,14,14.  Attempts to get a more gradual gradient or to turn the monitor down from the eye-melting 100 brightness just move the band up further and crush more dark tones.
20231207_131338.jpg

This is the same image displayed on my 15 year old Sceptre monitor. I am aware that the Scepter has a bad contrast ratio, inconsistent brightness, and unrelated vertical banding issues that make photographing a vertical gradient on it a nightmare. It does, though, have a much more smooth gradient up from black.
20231207_131308.jpg

Usually, I would engage in the RMA process, but given other user reports of issues with the model, and given that this is a new purchase and not an issue that has arisen over time, I am most likely going to return it to the retailer.

I understand that this does not help from ASUS's side, and I understand that you are not able to remotely confirm whether the monitor has actual technical problems or this is just how the image is supposed to display. However, this was not an insignificant purchase, and it would be irresponsible of me to take the chance at shipping the monitor to ASUS and waiting for a potential response of 'there are no issues' when returning the monitor to the retailer and receiving a refund is an option.
And here's some loss of shadow detail in Cyberpunk 2077 (non-HDR, it does look better in HDR, but there is still loss of detail in dark places, and my old monitor is not capable of HDR,) while we're at it.

20231207_130645.jpg20231207_130653.jpg

Arx
Level 7

Hello,

i have searched far and wide for this problem to be acknowledged. From what i can tell, it seems to be a general OLED problem with variation from model to model/generation to generation. Recent LG and Samsung OLED TVs seem to have integrated a "gradient smoothing" feature that can make it better. 

Since i play older games, i notice this quite a bit. As you have already pointed out, the monitor clips the lowest parts of the greyscale, with interesting differences between the native color and srgb color modes - the srgb mode clips even more lower end black levels to black ("black crush"). The issue seems to stem from general poor low end gradient handling with or without the clipping issues though.

Since there is a new firmware 105 out...did it change anything regarding the gradient issues?