The big push in movies and displays has been 3D the past few years. In movies it’s ranged from well designed and executed (Avatar) to a gimmick to charge $4 more per ticket (many examples), but for gaming, it potentially has more direct benefits. Virtually every game now is rendered in 3D, and so all of the information is there that is needed to show the game in 3D to the user, unlike the fake 2D to 3D conversions that many films use. Running in active 3D also means a panel that works at a true 120Hz, so even your 2D image can benefit. Samsung sent us their latest 3D enabled 23" LCD for review, with built in support for AMD's HD3D solution.

Samsung S23A750D Design and Setup

The Samsung S23A750D (henceforth S23A) is certainly a slick looking monitor, but it is not a design without issues. Its angular central pedestal only provides tilt adjustment, with no swivel or height adjustment at all. The connectors on the rear of the pedestal are nicely arranged in a way that keeps everything close together and makes cable organization easy for the user. There are HDMI and DisplayPort connectors, and you’ll want to use DisplayPort here, as it’s the only way to get a 120Hz signal from your video card to the display. The one bad side about the port design is that Samsung uses an external power adapter, so be prepared to hide another power brick somewhere near your workstation.

The front controls on the pedestal are all touch sensitive, with Menu, Power, and 3D buttons at the top, and 4-way arrow keys with a central Enter button in the middle. This brings up one big issue that I had with the display, in that the Enter key is located far too close to the arrow keys and is nearly impossible to hit. The Enter key is also used to select the correct input, and for a couple of days I was not able to hit Enter to change from HDMI to DisplayPort. It turned out that trying to barely hit the button didn’t work and I had to use my whole thumb to hit it, but this would often hit the arrow keys instead of Enter.

Needless to say, this drove me absolutely crazy during the review period. It was hard to change inputs, to adjust anything on the OSD, and to really adjust anything with the display. I’d strongly suggest that Samsung spread out the buttons more, or make them actual tactile buttons, and possibly include a remote as well if they want to stay with the touch sensitive options. Since the monitor is also available in a configuration with a TV tuner integrated, the remote option makes the most sense as it would let them keep the look while making it easier to adjust.

The screen and bezel of the Samsung are very glossy in use, and I likely wouldn’t use it in a room where there was going to be a lot of lighting that would reflect off of it. While taking some pictures of content on the screen it was virtually impossible to get one without a reflection, so if reflections bother you easily then you might want to look elsewhere. The glossy finish gives the screen a good amount of pop as you would expect, but there are the reflections. Here's the overview of the specs and features for the S23A.

Samsung S23A750D
Video Inputs HDMI 1.4a, DisplayPort
Panel Type TN
Pixel Pitch 0.265 mm
Colors 16.7 million
Brightness 250 nits
Contrast Ratio 1,000:1
Response Time 2ms (GTG)
Viewable Size 23"
Resolution 1920 x 1080
Viewing Angle 170 H / 160 V
Backlight LED
Power Consumption (operation) 48W
Power Consumption (standby) 1W
Screen Treatment Ultra Clear Panel (Glossy)
Height-Adjustable No
Tilt Yes, 0-20 degrees
Pivot No
Swivel No
VESA Wall Mounting No
Dimensions w/ Base (WxHxD) 21.39" x 15.94" x 7.59"
Weight 9.26 lbs
Additional Features 120Hz input, 2D -> 3D Conversion, Active 3D, Headphone Out
Limited Warranty 1 Year
Accessories Active 3D Glasses, DisplayPort Cable
Price Available online starting at $435

The OSD system of the S23A would be fine if not for the issues with the touch sensitive buttons. All the settings you expect to see are there.

Sidenote: Display Testbed Upgrades

The harder point of setup for me was that I’m not a huge gamer, so I didn’t have a video card that would drive a game in 3D at reasonable frame rates, or that had a DisplayPort output on it. AMD was kind enough to send along a Radeon HD 6950 video card for the testing so nothing would hold back the performance of the display. On the other hand, AMD's current HD3D solution doesn't have quite the gaming support as NVIDIA's 3D Vision, but that's a matter for gamers. Considering the S23A specifically includes support for AMD's HD3D solution, testing with an AMD GPU makes the most sense. It's also worth noting that running games in 3D mode puts a much higher load on the GPU, just as with NVIDIA's 3D Vision, so you're not going to want to try 3D gaming with anything much lower than a 6950; that brings us to the next point.

Not surprisingly, upgrading to a high-end GPU meant my PSU wasn’t up to the task, but OCZ helped out with a ZX series 850W PSU to replace the anemic one I had installed. Installing this into the Antec P182 was a bit of an adventure thanks to all the dividers inside the Antec case, but it worked great once installed and ran even quieter than what I had installed previously. The OCZ is also a modular PSU, whereas my previous PSU had a fixed set of cables, and I found the change helpful when rewiring my case and adding the PEG connectors to the GPU. Here you can see the result of my upgrades if you're interested.

The main reason we mention this is that anyone considering upgrading to a 3D display for gaming purposes really needs to consider their other hardware as well. Serious gamers might have all the necessary equipment already, but casual gamers—as well as many typical OEM builds—could fall well short of the desired level of performance. Now with my PC upgraded and ready for 3D testing, let's see how the S23A performs.

Viewing Angles and Color Quality
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  • Sebec - Monday, December 19, 2011 - link

    "Not everything has to be written like a technical brief presentation or be a class on the electronics of how TN panels work."

    Maybe not, but on Anandtech, I'm come to expect that level of precision technical writing and explanation.
  • kris79 - Tuesday, December 20, 2011 - link

    Erm, makes me wonder if some of the nitpickers would complain about getting too much money in their EBT checks. Before complaining, one may want to remember that this info is, erm, Free! The writing is fine. Some of them may not use English as their first language. Some of the readers may not either. I, at least, like the chatty style more than the antiseptic, scientific style that more anal retentive types seem to like. I even like comments about power supplies. Naturally, I can understand that some would prefer to change all that to make the rest of us more like themselves. Erm, that is all I have to say...
  • ImSpartacus - Saturday, December 17, 2011 - link

    I have a problem with posters that use caps lock in a potentially rude manner.

    The tone of your post is already flirting with "rude". Using upper case characters nudges it over the edge. I cannot tolerate rude comments from individuals that represent Anandtech.

    I suggest not replying using language that could be interpreted as rude.

    To help achieve this goal, I suggest reading some of Anand's comments from past articles. He has an especially fantastic tone to every one of his comments.

    I hope Anandtech maintains its exemplary reputation of mature and thoughtful staff.

  • Kristian Vättö - Sunday, December 18, 2011 - link

    I used caps because there is no bold (yes, this system is in need of an update). I wasn't trying to be rude, sorry if it sounded like that. I was just trying to get the message out in as short as possible. The poster didn't bother reading the article, so I couldn't be sure that he bothers reading my comment as a whole.
  • Kristian Vättö - Sunday, December 18, 2011 - link

    Also, thanks for the feedback. We (well, I in this case) can't really learn without someone else saying what is wrong. If someone bothers to comment about it, it must be something that actually has a value to someone.

    I'll be sure to pay more attention to my language in the future. Not that I post replies like the above often (first time I think)
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Monday, December 19, 2011 - link

    "I hope Anandtech maintains its exemplary reputation of mature and thoughtful staff."

    We most definitely will :)

    Take care,
  • Iketh - Sunday, December 18, 2011 - link

    I honestly did try to give examples. I spent a good 15 minutes trying to copy/paste a few sentences, but I can't change pages in the article without losing the post I'm writing. So then I started using print screen and erased my entire post that was in clipboard, so I said screw it.

    Here are some from "Lag and Power Usage".

    ", so the effect should feel like less." Like, for sure!

    "The power use of the Samsung was a bit higher than a normal LCD, though this could easily be due to the 120Hz refresh rate that uses more power." should be something along the lines of "Power consumption of the Samsung was a bit higher than a normal LCD, though this could easily be due to the 120Hz refresh rate."

    There are tons in the summary page from what little I saw of it.

    Hey thanks for calling out a 13-year account as a "hater."
  • Iketh - Sunday, December 18, 2011 - link

    This is what I saw in the introduction.

    "Virtually every game now is rendered in 3D, and so all of the information is there that is needed to show the game in 3D to the user..."

    "Virtually every game today is rendered in 3D and thus have all the information needed to be displayed in 3D..."

    I did not understand what was being said in the very next sentence. What is "running in active 3D"?
  • Kristian Vättö - Sunday, December 18, 2011 - link

    Sorry about the hater part, I would edit it out if we had that option. It just triggered me because it was the second comment and you clearly admitted that you only took a glance and still said it's bad. Okay, I know taking a glance has varying interpretations but from a writer's standpoint, your earlier comment was among the worst ones.

    The good thing is that you came back and did what you should have done in the first post: Provided some examples. That is how we can learn and also edit or explain ourselves if needed.

    For future use, you can open the article in another tab/window so you can keep posting the comment in one tab/window while reading the article in the other ;-)
  • lyeoh - Sunday, December 18, 2011 - link

    OK, here's my opinion: I don't really want to know about the writer's _off-topic_ difficulty in setting up an environment or rig to test the equipment, unless it's actually very interesting or amusing or written in an entertaining style (but that sort of thing should belong on a blog or a different section ala Byte's Chaos Manor or an entertainment-oriented publication/show e.g. Top Gear).

    Unfortunately the entire section on the lack of suitable PSU and display card and the resulting solution was not interesting, amusing nor entertaining. An editor would cut that section (and PSU gallery) entirely out. It just gives me the impression that the writer may be shilling for something/someone. Like those clumsy product placements in movies.

    The rest of the review is OK from a glance, assuming the measurements etc were correct and done correctly.

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