09
Feb
2017

Ultrawide 21:9 on Linux – LG 29UM68-P Review

Well well it has been a long time! I should really be writing more on this blog… Anyway! On with the show…

I’ve become rather… fed up of my old 1440×900 monitor by Samsung. In fact, it was the Samsung 953bw. I liked it for a number of reasons:

  • It had a 75Hz refresh rate – nice for gaming
  • The input response time was very good – 2ms made it a decent gaming monitor
  • It was widescreen… okay yes this isn’t that big a deal, but the screen I had before that one was 1280×1024, so it was an upgrade!
  • It had VGA and DVI in – and I even could run it from a HDMI <> DVI cable
  • It was cheap. £50 off eBay. No worries.

That was a few years ago now. I have freed myself from the constraints of small PC monitors and resolutions…

…I got myself an LG 29UM68-P. Yah, badass.

This thing is nearly three feet wide. I had some concerns about the size – but it turns out that this fits perfectly on my new desk. There are some things about this that I immediately like:

  • It uses an IPS panel – the colours are so much better (>99% SRGB)
  • The backlight is actually even (a problem on my old monitor)
  • It has one DisplayPort input, and two HDMI inputs. This is great for me – I have a few Raspberry Pi’s kicking about and…
  • …I can use Picture-In-Picture (PIP) to have my PC on one side and the Pi on the other, with 1280×1080 resolution each.
  • It has FreeSync support – something I will be using in the future when I upgrade my GPU.
  • The menu is easy to use and quick to get at all the settings for things like Game Mode.
  • The 5ms input response rate is pretty good, though I can tell it is a tad slower than the old 2ms. Not by much though, only a tad. Not enough to put my somewhat mediocre gaming skills to the test.
  • So much room for activities!

Now I know what you’re all thinking… maan this is only 2560×1080! 3840×1440 is where it’s at for Ultrawide 21:9 ratios!

To that I say: nay nay! For I have some reasons:

  • At 2560×1080 on this size panel, the pixel ratio is ~96 DPI. More on this below…
  • I can actually run games on it with a modest GPU
  • I don’t have a 4K capable Blu-Ray player, – so as far as media consumption goes, the 1080p vertical resolution is spot on.

So, to elaborate on the 96 DPI – this lets me run Windows and Linux with no scaling. Though it is getting better, Windows DPI scaling has many issues. On the Linux side of things, I can only find scaling levels that are whole integer numbers (1x, 2x, 3x…) – this is a bit of a pain since 1x on a high-res monitor is too small and 2x is often too large. Forget about 3x unless you’re running like 8K or something…

More about Linux – I am running Linux Mint 17.3 “Rosa”, based off Ubuntu 14.04 LTS. I had my concerns since I am running a relatively older version of Linux, but I was surprised when I booted the PC for the first time that everything worked immediately. I mean, not even any X config file editing, no going into the Nvidia control panel – it just worked. And no scaling required!

Gaming was a great experience – though I did have one or two games flat out not even recognise the wide aspect ratio, the ones that did work were simply glorious. I mean, check out Civ V BE!

Looking good I think!

I am using DisplayPort to run the monitor, though to get 75Hz I had to “overclock” it using the Nvidia Control panel in Windows. Its unfortunate that the 75Hz option isn’t just available as any other resolution is. I don’t really game much on Linux so I have left it at 60Hz – maybe I should figure out how to get it to 75… if I manage it I will post how I did it!

I do have a couple of nit-picks about the monitor however:

  • Glossy black is nice and all, but a bit fingerprinty IMHO.
  • The stand is a bit basic. You only get tilt control, that is it. It has a VESA mount though so you can put a better stand on.
  • The menu is controlled by a joystick. It is also the power button. Why LG, why?
  • You don’t get a DisplayPort cable in the box. Seriously. You get bundled a HDMI cable instead.
  • The power brick uses one of these:

Image result for laptop power cord

That’s about all I can think about for this monitor. It’s simply a well priced, great performing panel for the average gamer and user. I love being able to actually use complex software like video editing packages with plenty of space to manage work. It’s not going to be fast enough for a professional CS:GO gamer who need sub 1ms response times, but that’s not what I got this panel for. I got it for everyday use, watching films at glorious 21:9 cinematic scale and playing games. It meets those expectations extremely well – I give it a solid 9/10. LG, good show!

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{4 Responses to “Ultrawide 21:9 on Linux – LG 29UM68-P Review”}

  1. In Linux can you have 2 (virtual) monitors side by side, just like you get in Windows? Thanks.

    Andre
  2. I ordered one of these (29UM68-P) and it should arrive in a day or two.

    Do the downloadable “on screen controls” work in linux?

    mic van weede

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