Samsung SyncMaster 172X 12ms "Gaming LCD"


Product: Samsung SyncMaster 172X Silver LCD
Provided By: Samsung Canada
Price: ~$550USD Pricewatch | $774CDN NCIX

After reading the last review I posted of the Samsung 192MP, Samsung got a hold of me and said they'd sent me an LCD that would silence my complaints of "Ghosting" in Games. The model that arrived at my door less than a week later was the 172X "Narrow & Slim Color TFT LCD Display". This unit boasts a smokin' 12ms response time, and does this without lowering the image quality that other LCD manufacturers seem to have to. I've had this on the bench as my primary display for a few weeks now and was even able to take it to a small local LAN party. This review is written with the experience of well over 60 hours of usage. I've become very familiar with it, and am sad to see it leave. So lets get to it. . .

The LCD comes with both DVI and VGA cables as well as an AC/DC converter and cord, VESA mounting hardware and a driver disk. Not a tonne of stuff, but it's a monitor. I'm rather pleased with the inclusion of the VESA mounting hardware as most newer LCD's have the holes to mount them on a wall, but no hardware to get this accomplished. Kudos to Samsung for this inclusion on the 172X. Let's see that on more on them.

Specs & Info:

The following list of specs was pulled off of Samsung's web site.


  • Viewable Image Size: 17"
  • Brightness (Typical): 270 cd/m2
  • Contrast Ratio: 500:1
  • Viewing Angle (H/V): 160/140 (degrees)
  • Interface: Analog/Digital
  • Horiz. Frequency: 30-80 (kHz)
  • Vertical Frequency: 56-75 Hz
  • Bandwidth: 135 Mhz
  • Max/Native Resolution: 1280x1024
  • Available Color(s): Silver
  • Special Features: Ultra Narrow Bezel, dual CPU input, dual hinge, fast response time, MagicTuneTM, MagicBrightTM
  • Color Supported: 16.2 million
  • Response Time: 12 ms


Display Up Close:
Samsung labels this LCD as "Slim & Narrow" and here is why. This monitor is very thin and the front bezel is less than 1cm wide. Very sleek and attractive.


This LCD supports both DVI and standard VGA cables which both work well. Interesting thing to note is that when using DVI, you cannot adjust monitor settings with the "Auto" button or color balance on the monitor. Being that the signal is digital, it is accurate as far as displaying goes. If you need to adjust it, you'll have to do this through your graphics card drivers. When using the VGA connection, you have function of the traditional color controls found on LCD's.

I found the monitor menu controls quite awkward. They are located on the bottom side of the front of the LCD, and it's quite hard to see what they are labeled, and a little clunky to use. I understand that placing them there allows for a cleaner look, but they are not very convenient. In all reality, once you have your monitor set up, you won't be touching the controls very often at all, especially if you run it through the DVI cable.
Enough of the chit-chat, let's head on over and see how this display performs through daily testing.

Test Setup & Info:

For the following tests I used my main rig:

  • ABIT NF72 Rev.2
  • Mobility 2500+
  • ATi Radeon 9800 Pro 128MB (DVI & VGA)
  • Samsung SyncMaster 172X
  • BenQ FP757-12
  • 1024MB PC3500
  • Plextor PX-708A DVDRW
  • Intervideo WinDVD 5
  • PowerDVD 4
  • Windows XP SP1 & SP2 (Dual Boot)
  • Catalyst 4.6 & 4.9 Beta

The games, movies and applications I tested are similar to the last LCD I reviewed.

  • Movie: X-Men
  • Movie: 50 First Dates
  • Game: UT2004
  • Game: FarCry
  • Game: Doom III
  • App: Adobe Photoshop
  • App: FireFox 0.9.3
  • Intervideo WinDVD Creator 2
  • App: Nokia Monitor Test
Again, I want to reiterate that it's pretty hard to "test" an LCD. People perceive things differently, and what appears clear to one person may not appear as clear to another. As far as gaming goes, this is especially true. I'm very fussy when it comes to "ghosting". I know a few people who game on LCD's that I could not even consider gaming on, and they think it looks clear. I will try to be objective, and describe things exactly how I see them. Individual results may vary, but here's my take.

I always recommend to install monitor drivers - even though most people do not. I was pleased to see that the display worked properly out of the box even before the drivers were installed.
Application Testing:

Upon firing up this LCD for the first time, I was pleased to see that there were no dead pixels or defects of any kind. It looked great and it worked. I tested both DVI and analog VGA on this monitor and was surprised that this was the first LCD where I could actually tell a difference between the two. Using the VGA cable produced very crisp results, and was very impressive. However, using the DVI interface made things look even sharper, and when running at resolutions other than native 1280x1024, the quality was better when using DVI. As I said I was surprised, but that's how it shaped up. Until this display, I've never been able to tell the differenct between DVI and VGA. However, it is clear that DVI is superior on the 172X.

Web browsing was very pleasant at 1280x1024, and was enhanced by using Samsung's "MagicBright" feature. I usually left this on the "Internet" setting as "Text" was a little too dark in my book. You also have another two profiles available to choose from - Entertain, and a Custom defined setting. These profiles are suitably named as the profile fits what has been made for.

Nokia Monitor test didn't reveal anything other than quality. This LCD excelled in 2D usage.




Game Testing:

Move over 25ms response and say hello to 12ms! The last few LCD's I've had on the bench have had rather mediocre gaming performance, and were unsuitable for prolonged periods of gaming. Samsung has taken this to heart with this display, and has pulled off a 12ms display and still managed to keep the colors true and lifelike. Fortunately, I was able to take in a LAN party while I had this and was able to play a little UT2004 with some of the guys. Normally, I wouldn't even dare to take a LCD to a LAN, as the ghosting produces way too much eye strain.

For the most part, gaming was excellent. The LCD produced absolutely no ghosting that I could see. However, Nicao pointed out that there is a bit of "jerking" when strafing sideways through a hallway on DM-Rankin. Still not as perfect as a CRT, but 100% better than previous LCD's I've tested.

I was able to plug in a BenQ FP757-12 LCD and clone the display while I played through a few maps. The BenQ also produced no ghosting, but color precision was quite poor and colors were not true and games looked more 16-bit than 32-bit. The Samsung 172X costs more than the BenQ, but the quality with the Samsung 172X far exceeds the BenQ FP757-12. This is not only my opinion, but also the observation of people at the LAN.

Gaming has been an enjoyable experience with this LCD. I've enjoyed gaming much more than I thought possible by simply changing my display. I really am going to miss this LCD.

Movie Testing:
For these tests I fired up XMEN and 50 First Dates. I never saw ghosting at all, and the colors were vibrant and crisp at all times. The color was exceptional and true-to-life in any movie I played. Grays were gray - not greenish like the BenQ, and reds were vivid and sharp. Excellent stuff here.
I've enjoyed this LCD very much. It is honestly everything I wanted in an LCD. It's fast, clear and has a very small appearance to it. Physically it sits almost 5cm shorter than my own Samsung 753DF 17" CRT, but it has almost 2.5cm larger viewable area. To sum up the 172X in one word - Wow.


  • Supurb Text Quality.
  • "Slim & Narrow"
  • VESA Mounting Hardware.
  • No Dead Pixels.
  • DVI & VGA Inputs.
  • 12ms Response Time = Excellent Entertainment Performance.


  • Menu Buttons A Little Awkward.
If you're an avid gamer and are sick and tired of packing your massive, heavy CRT to LAN's, the Samsung 172X has got to be on your next wish list. If you're a general user that uses your LCD for various applications and entertainment, there is possibly no better display on the market to date. I give a rather large two thumbs up to Samsung on this one. Personal taste as far as the menu buttons go, is the only beef I have with this LCD, and as such the 172X earns the very first Uber Pic for an LCD here at BCC. Rating
Software Pack:
Total Score 9.8

I'd like to thank Samsung for sending this unit over for the review. It's been an enjoyable time and has once again brought music to my life. LCD goodness has never been so sweet!
If you have any questions or comments regarding this review, please head on over and post them here. Thanks!