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MSI Optix MPG321UR-QD Review: Speed, Quality and Pro Aspirations

MSI's Optix MPG321UR-QD is a 32-inch Ultra HD gaming monitor with Esports cred and professional aspirations.

MSI Optix MPG321UR-QD
Editor's Choice
(Image: © Shutterstock, MSI)

We saw excellent out-of-box results when testing the MPG321UR-QD’s grayscale and color gamut accuracy. Gamma was OK but with a bit of room for improvement. We’ll get into the details now.

Grayscale and Gamma Tracking

Our grayscale and gamma tests use Calman calibration software from Portrait Displays. We describe our grayscale and gamma tests in detail here.

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MSI Optix MPG321UR-QD

(Image credit: Portrait Displays Calman)
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MSI Optix MPG321UR-QD

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MSI Optix MPG321UR-QD

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MSI Optix MPG321UR-QD

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Starting with the default modes, the MPG321UR-QD shows excellent grayscale tracking with no visible errors. Though green levels fall a little as brightness rises, there is no value above 3dE. Gamma is a tad light from 40-90% which isn’t a major problem, but some additional presets would be welcome here.

The best way to control the MPG321UR-QD’s color is by changing options in the Pro Mode submenu. You can select the desired gamut by name. User represents the native DCI-P3+ color space (that grayscale result is the first chart). Moving along, the next three measurement runs are sRGB, Adobe RGB and Display P3 which is a little closer to the DCI-P3 spec than User. All have minimal grayscale errors and the same gamma tracking which favors bright highlights.

Comparisons

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MSI Optix MPG321UR-QD

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
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MSI Optix MPG321UR-QD

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With no prior calibration performed on the MPG321UR-QD, we posted the same result for both charts, 1.68dE. This is a great out-of-box result and an average calibrated result. But since it’s an invisible error, there is no issue here. The MSI is a very color-accurate monitor.

The light gamma trace we recorded puts the MPG321UR-QD mid-pack in the range of values test and last in the deviation comparison. With an actual average of 2.08, it’s a little light in the mid-tone and bright areas of the screen. Its saturated color somewhat offsets this, but better gamma tracking could make the MSI look more vibrant.

Color Gamut Accuracy

Our color gamut and volume testing use Portrait Displays’ Calman software. For details on our color gamut testing and volume calculations, click here.

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MSI Optix MPG321UR-QD

(Image credit: Portrait Displays Calman)
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MSI Optix MPG321UR-QD

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MSI Optix MPG321UR-QD

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MSI Optix MPG321UR-QD

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The MPG321UR-QD’s default color gamut is very large. You can see that it exceeds DCI-P3 in both red and green. What is interesting is the green hue error. It’s tracking towards a Rec.2020 green which is why it angles toward cyan. You won’t perceive this in content but if you want a better representation of DCI-P3, go for the Display P3 mode in the Pro Mode menu.

If you need sRGB or Adobe RGB, those modes are fairly accurate as well. Adobe has slightly under-saturated red and magenta but comes close enough to its targets to average just 2.30dE. sRGB exhibits similar behavior and averages 2.28dE. This is excellent performance for a multi-gamut monitor that doesn’t cost thousands of dollars. It’s the reason we dub the MPG321UR-QD a gaming screen with professional aspirations. It is entirely qualified for that task.

Comparisons

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MSI Optix MPG321UR-QD

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MSI Optix MPG321UR-QD

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The MPG321UR-QD’s 2.04dE score puts it on par with all the other monitors except the PG32UQX which costs around $3,000. That represents the Display P3 mode. Other values are 2.28dE for sRGB, 3.63dE for User and 2.30dE for Adobe RGB. These are all excellent results for an uncalibrated screen.

The MPG321UR-QD’s color volume is prodigious at over 117% of DCI-P3, or 78% of Rec.2020 if you’re keeping score. The sRGB mode is a little under-saturated in red, resulting in 92% coverage. Adobe RGB covers 96% and Display P3 hits 91%. So, if you want the greatest possible color saturation, go for full native in the User mode. In any case, a software profile is recommended for critical work. You can rein in the native gamut to any desired standard that way.

Christian Eberle
Christian Eberle is a Contributing Editor for Tom's Hardware US. He's a veteran reviewer of A/V equipment, specializing in monitors.
  • asianjabbachoy
    i have a M32U-SA 32in UHD . what are the differences between these two? to me it seems only difference is the HDR 600 and the RGB in the back of the monitor - can anybody see any other differnce? color accuracy is very similar but the MSI optix seems to have a bigger color gamut? is that noticeable? is it worth the $135 premium i paid for the M32U?
    Reply
  • cknobman
    Lets see.
    Edge lit.
    Poor contrast ratio.
    Brightness not impressive.
    Poor screen uniformity.

    No way in hades I'd pay $900 for this.
    Reply
  • watzupken
    E-sports gamers won't be bothered with UHD monitors. What they want is high frame rates, couple with high refresh rate. I feel most will get a 1440p monitor for gaming if they want to step up from 1080p. The performance lost at UHD is too great, and especially so for fast pace games.
    And when I see edge LED lit, I am not hopeful of good HDR performance. You get very bright backlight @ 600 nits, but it generally lights up the entire screen. So till mini LED or OLED monitors become more mainstream, I think people buying LED lit monitor should not be looking at HDR as the main reason to buy a monitor.
    Reply
  • Endymio
    From the Article: "modern video cards can easily wring 200 fps or more from FHD and QHD screens. Does that matter? Oh yes, it does. Even casual gamers can easily see that difference. "
    I'd lay money that, in a properly-constructed double-blind test, 95% of gamers, casual, expert, or even professional eSports gamers, could not identify the difference between a 140hz and 200hz frame rate, or even between 140 and 360hz.
    Reply
  • jtcmedia
    32 inches is too big for a desktop monitor for my taste.
    Reply