Skip to main content

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)

Our HDR benchmarking uses Portrait Displays’ Calman software. To learn about our HDR testing, see our breakdown of how we test PC monitors.

The MPG321UR-QD switches automatically to HDR mode upon detection of an HDR10 signal. Though the Pro modes are left unlocked, changing them has no effect. But the Game modes will alter the color. To obtain accurate rendering, keep Game Mode set to User. All other image controls are grayed out. Dynamic contrast is active, and brightness is maxed.

HDR Brightness and Contrast

Image 1 of 3

MSI Optix MPG321UR-QD

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 2 of 3

MSI Optix MPG321UR-QD

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 3 of 3

MSI Optix MPG321UR-QD

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

The MPG321UR-QD is one of the brighter HDR monitors we’ve tested at over 715 nits peak. This is impressive for an edge-lit panel. Dynamic contrast delivers a very low black level, and we measured a solid 16,474.6:1 HDR contrast ratio. Only the Asus and its FALD backlight can do better in this group. This is one of the few monitors we classify as better for HDR than SDR. HDR content really pops here thanks to wide dynamic range, a quick changing backlight and super-saturated color.

Grayscale, EOTF and Color

Image 1 of 3

MSI Optix MPG321UR-QD

(Image credit: Portrait Displays Calman)
Image 2 of 3

MSI Optix MPG321UR-QD

(Image credit: Portrait Displays Calman)
Image 3 of 3

MSI Optix MPG321UR-QD

(Image credit: Portrait Displays Calman)

The MPG321UR-QD’s HDR grayscale tracking runs a little warm in the brighter steps but it had no impact on picture quality. The actual content looked very good with neutral black, gray and white tones. The luminance curve favors greater contrast by making the dark steps very dark and the mid tones lighter. The tone-map transition point is at 70% which is a good thing for this bright monitor.

There is a lot of punch and color available here; so much that we’re showing you both DCI-P3 and Rec.2020 charts. DCI-P3 over-achieves with bonus red and green. Rec.2020 comes up only slightly short in those colors. The takeaway is that the MPG321UR-QD is one of the best-looking HDR monitors we’ve seen for less than $1,000.

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