The Samsung CRG90 49-inch gaming monitor is back with its 2019 revamp and while the exterior may be the same, the inside has seen a massive jump in tech. Not only is it a bit cheaper (still not cheap at all), it now packs a load of new improvements over what was already a fantastic monitor in the first place.
A few days ago, Samsung dropped off this CRG90 monitor to test out. I just so happen to have a perfect device with me at the time called the Intel Nuc, a tiny compact min PC with some pretty impressive specs. The goal of this review – put these two devices together and see if they could replace a console setup.
Check out the full video review of the devices
Samsung 49-inch CRG90 Tech Specs
- QLED Technology
- Dual QHD Display – 5120×1440
- 1800R Curved Display
- 32:9 Screen Ratio
- 120Hz Refresh Rate
- Display HDR 1000
- 100 cd/m2
- AMD Freesync
- 3000:1 Contrast Ratio
Intel Nuc Mini PC Tech Specs
- 8th Gen Intel Core-i7 8809G Processor
- Radeon RX Vega M GH GPU
- 16GB RAM
- 1TB SSD
- 2 Thunderbolt 3 ports
- DisplayPort 1.2
- 1x USB 3.1
- 6x USB
- 1x USB-C
- Headphone/Stereo Combo Jack
- Intel Wireless-AC 8265 and Bluetooth 4.2
- 2 Mini DisplayPort 1.2
- SD Card Slot
- Thermal-optimized chassis
As you can tell, the specs in these two pieces of hardware are pretty crazy. The Samsung CRG90 has some of the best display technology on the market while the Intel Nuc has the perfect performance to create the perfect console replacement. Sure, you can plug this into any TV too, but why would you want to when you have this insane Samsung QLED monitor?
Unboxing and Setup
First off, we had to unbox these two devices. The Samsung CRG90 was a lot easier than I thought. My QLED TV took a whole day to set up but this QLED monitor has one stand you screw onto the display while it is in the box. The monitor comes with a separate box with all the cables you need to get the best out of the display such as DisplayPort, power and HDMI.
The Intel Nuc is also fairly simple. The back of the device has all the ports on it and the front a few extra slots can be found like the USB ports and power switch. It comes in a nifty little box and uses an external power supply to help create a smaller device.
Once I had all the cables I needed to set up this dream gaming rig, I connected them to the monitor, slid them down the back of the QLED’s awesome stand that has a replaceable cover that helps hide the wires away, connected a wireless mouse and keyboard to the Intel Nuc, and we were good to go.
I copied a couple of games off my main PC to test out on the Nuc. I was looking for games that would make full use of not only the tiny PC but also the Samsung CRG90’s full specs. This meant, HDR, high frame-rate, something I could play casually and a game with 32:9 aspect ratio. My go-to game for this sort of this is usually always Destiny 2 but I grabbed Battlefield V, Overwatch and Diablo III just for fun.
Design and Style
Right off the bat, the Samsung CRG90 is a giant display that comes in a giant box. When it is sitting on your counter it is tall and long and weighs 15Kgs. It is 119 x 523 x 394 cm when connected to its stand and in an upright position. That is over a meter long and half a meter high. Crazy stuff.
The arm lets you move the screen up and down to almost any position you wish and it is quite versatile. The stand is a giant V-stand that juts out of the front and has a lot of responsibility for hanging that massive display so perfectly in the air. Once it is on a counter, you should leave it there and try not to move it around without picking it up. The underneath of the stand scratched the life out of my desk as the metal is quite hard and the impact is heavy due to the size of the display.
At the back, you will find all the ports you need to get this baby going including the HDMI, DisplayPort, power port which is a three-prong connector, a headphone jack and even USB ports. More on those later. The display is massive and the curvature is amazing. It almost feels as if it is wrapping around your head as it stretches from one point to the other.
As for the Intel Nuc, this little beast is tiny. It has everything you need from a high-end PC packed into a small black box with a rubber finish. When powered on, there is a cool-looking skull that lights up on top and glows as you work on it. On the back, you will find more than enough ports to get your gaming on and on the front, two USB ports if you want to use two Xbox controllers for some split screen gaming. I did mention this is a possible console replacement and couch co-op comes with the territory.
We now know the tech specs and design of both these awesome devices but how do they perform? Well, each of then compliments one another in one way or another. The Intel Nuc’s powerful internals help bring the visuals to life on the fantastic Samsung CGR90 monitor and the help of HDR and the 120Hz display, just makes it all so much better.
Compared to last year’s super-ultra wide Samsung monitor, there are clear visual improvements in various areas. Sure, the last model had 144Hz and this only 120Hz but who is counting when you have a monitor that takes up a whole meter of your desk?
Testing out Destiny 2, the HDR was of course perfection. The game is one of the best experiences to have in HDR and the Samsung CGR90 did not disappoint delivering some outstanding visuals. The game ran at around 50-60FPS on the max resolution of 5120×1440 and the curved display felt like it wrapped around my head. We had a few issued where some lines were appearing on the display but we unplugged the HDMI cable and plugged it in and it fixed itself.
Samsung has worked on improving the black levels of the display and it is evident that it has been achieved. Colours are dark and detailed in Destiny 2 and the use of HDR truly immerses you in the world around you.
It also helps that the Samsung CGR90 is so versatile. You can swing it up and down, slide the display all the way to the feet and all the way up too. It helps let you take control of your viewing pleasure without being restricted to a stiff stand.
Again, the Samsung CGR90 monitor features AMD FreeSync but the issue we had was the Intel Nuc, while being an AMD machine, does not have a large DisplayPort, only a Mini DisplayPort so we could not test it out fully. Still, the monitor ran like a dream at 60FPS on most of the games we tested.
Now for the technical side of things. The monitor lets you dual screen a lot of content thanks to it being so damn big. You can, in theory, have two windows open on each half of the display as they will appear in a natural state thanks to them each being 16:9 2560×1440 each. Samsung’s has mashed together two QHD screens into one long and pretty sleek one and working on it would be a dream for designers who need a fair amount of screen space for whatever they are working on.
As for the Intel Nuc, this little machine blew me away. Maxing Destiny 2 out on the highest graphics setting did not work too well. We hit a cap of 20-30FPS which was not ideal. Setting it to medium then boosted this to 50FPS which was more reasonable. Would you get 120HZ maxed out at 5120×1440 on this machine and Samsung monitor? Not by a long shot given the Intel Nuc’s power but it performed pretty well considering the size and the resolution we were pushing on that giant monitor.
Overwatch was a little more flexible as it is not as graphically demanding as Destiny 2. We hit the max 5120×1440 resolution, but it does not appear across the whole screen. Instead, we had black bars on the two sides. This is an issue in a lot of games if they do not support the crazy 32:9 aspect ration. We maxed the game out on “Epic” and hit a stable 70FPS. Well done little Intel Nuc, you has done good.
The Samsung CGR90 ultra-wide monitor is yet another fantastic example of great engineering and innovation. The display surpasses a lot of models on the market not only in its visual fidelity but also its design and sheer versatility. Its 120Hz and massive resolution may still be a niche when it comes to gaming, but to have one of these in your gaming setup is a dream come true. Yes, it is expensive but you pay for what you are getting, a fantastic display that will take your gaming to the next level.
The Samsung CRG90 retails from R28,999 in SA
As for the Intel Nuc, we did not get time to truly put it to the test but so far, it has been a wonderful little device. You can really push it to its limit and it delivers some high-end gaming without even batting an eyelid. It could be the console replacement you have been looking for without actually jumping to a console.
The Intel Nuc is available at Evetech starting at R17,499.
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