Today’s gaming monitors must compete in more areas than just video processing. FreeSync and G-Sync have leveled the playing field to where most displays with a fast refresh rate will provide the same smooth motion, free of frame tears and artifacts. But HDR and extended color have added new considerations to the buying decision. The quality of these two elements varies widely, even between screens in the same price category. The questions become, “how good is the HDR?” and “how much color is there?”
As an edge-lit panel, the Cooler Master GM34-CW provides decent, if not amazing HDR. Since it doesn’t employ dynamic contrast with HDR content, it only looks a little better. The only way to experience the maximum impact of HDR is with a full-array local-dimming panel. And that will set you back a good deal more money than the cost of a GM34-CW. But since this display uses a VA part, contrast is solid for all content.
Color is the big draw here. No other monitor we’ve tested except for the Acer CP7271K boasts as large a gamut. Cooler Master claims 95% DCI coverage, but we measured an impressive 98.11%. And that can easily be seen in any kind of content. Next to the typical 80-85% coverage we’ve experienced, the GM34-CW truly stands out.
Since its video processing is beyond reproach, image quality becomes the thing that sets it apart. We had no trouble playing graphically demanding games at over 140fps with either FreeSync or G-Sync and HDR engaged. Overdrive is excellent too, with no ghosting seen at the fastest setting. The only flaws here are some out-of-box color and gamma errors and the lack of an sRGB mode. That is fairly common these days and it’s hard to find an extended-color monitor that lets you dial down the gamut.
With a few tweaks, the GM34-CW delivers a superb image that is rich and vibrant. It plays games with the best monitors we’ve reviewed, and its cost, while not cheap, is below the premium level. For the performance offered, it’s a good value. If you’re looking for maximum color in a fast gaming monitor with the ability to run G-Sync and FreeSync, the Cooler Master GM34-CW is the best choice for the money.
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