A Cheap 32″ 165Hz Gaming Monitor

DisplayNinja staff

 

Introduction

Want a massive curved gaming display with an affordable fast refresh rate too?

Meet the MSI Optix AG32C, a cheap curved 32′′ monitor with a refresh rate of 165Hz, 1ms MPRT and FreeSync.

Image Quality

The first thing to note is that the MSI AG32C features Full HD resolution (1920 actuellement 1080) which results in a pixel density of only 70 pixels per inch on its 31.5′′ screen.

That means the picture is quite pixelated; you will be able to see the individual pixels, especially if you get closer to the screen a little bit.

You’ll still have very little screen room and there will be a significant lack of capacity of details.

But, it’s not all that bad.

A good side to this is that 1080p is not very demanding on your PC system.

Sure, a 1440p or 4K 32″ monitor would have a much better picture quality; But not only is such a high-resolution display significantly more expensive, it also requires a more expensive PC rig to properly utilize it.

Besides, for video games and other entertainment purposes such as watching movies and web-surfing, the lack of pixels isn’t all that noticeable.

Because the screen is so big and curved, you will also be able to sit a bit further from it which will make the pixels less eye-catching.

Therefore, if you turn up any anti-aliasing settings, video games look fantastic and crispy.

However, can you find a smaller 24′′ 1080p monitor or a higher resolution display if you need your computer to be viable for work.

We move on to the panel itself.

The MSI Optix AG32C monitor is based on a VA panel with a true 8-bit color depth and an extended 110 per cent sRGB color range that guarantees vibrant and lifelike colors.

Further, it’s got a stunning contrast ratio of 3,000:1 which provides true, deep blacks for vivid details in the shadows and dark parts of the image.

Performance

The difference between 144Hz and 165Hz is not significant. There’s slightly less input lag at 165Hz and in fast-paced games, seasoned and professional players can find a slightly more sensitive ‘feel.’

If you’re playing at 144Hz or 165Hz, the gameplay experience with FPS, racing and other quick-moving object games is considerably smoother and more interactive than on standard 60Hz displays.

The MSI Optix AG32C input lag performance is very good amounting to ~11ms

There’s next-to-none backlight bleeding which will make those deep blacks really stand out.

Moreover, the 178° wide viewing angles will ensure no big shifts in contrast, color, or brightness when the screen is looked at from askew angles.

The screen of the MSI Optix AG32C curved monitor is flicker-free and has an integrated filter which prevents the harmful low blue lights when applied.

Finally, the monitor has a standard response time of 4ms (Gray to Gray) which you can improve to 1ms (MPRT) by setting the ‘OverDrive’ setting to ‘Strong’ in the OSD (On-Screen Display) menu.

Remember that you are causing the backlight to strobe by activating this feature which will decrease the perceived motion blur and ghosting of fast-moving objects but also make the screen dimmer.

AMD FreeSync

If you have an AMD GPU or an Xbox One console, enabling FreeSync can make the MSI Optix AG32C dynamically change its refresh rate.

This in turn eliminates all screen tearing and stuttering with minimal penalty input lag.

The range of MSI Optix AG32C FreeSync is 48-165Hz, meaning that as long as your FPS (frames per second) is within that range there’ll be no screen tearing or stuttering.

In case your FPS drops below 48, the AMD LFC (Low Framerate Compensation) technology causes the monitor to automatically multiply the GPU’s frame rates to reduce the visual artifacts until your FPS rate recovers.

Keep in mind that FreeSync does not work with consoles other than the Xbox One / S / X. Moreover, it can not be enabled at the same time as the 1ms MPRT.

Update: FreeSync also works on a compatible NVIDIA G-SYNC graphics card without any problems.

Features

You can use the hotkeys on the monitor to navigate the OSD menu, or you can download the desktop application for the MSI Gaming Center and adjust your preferred settings there.

Five pre-calibrated image presets are available to choose from including Movie, FPS, RTS, Eye Saver and Standard.

In MSI software you can also save two profiles (Gaming and Working) and easily swap between them.

Other than that, there aren’t any particularly interesting features; there are standard adjustments such as contrast, brightness, input source, aspect ratio, etc but no advanced 6-axis color settings and only two gamma presets.

Design & Connectivity

The MSI Optix AG32C 165Hz gaming monitor features a slim design with ultra-thin bezels and four red LED lights, but its adjustability is limited, as it can only be tilted by -5 ° /15 ° or mounted by VESA using the 100 x 100 mm pattern.

However, note that a part of the stand is not removable once you detach the screen from its base which is an obstacle for VESA mounting. So, you will need a dedicated VESA mount adapter or the tools to make one yourself.

At the back of the monitor, you will find one HDMI 2.0, one DisplayPort 1.2, and one Dual-Link DVI-D port. Both HDMI and DP support FreeSync and up to 165Hz refresh rate.

Price & Similar Monitors

The price of MSI Optix AG32C is $349.99 MSRP which is a decent price for a gaming monitor of 32′′ 144Hz +.

You can however get the MSI Optix AG32CQ which is the 1440p model for just ~$50 extra.

Also, consider the MSI Optix MAG241C which is the monitor’s 24′′ variant, and the MSI Optix MPG27CQ which is the 27′′ 1440p variant with an advanced RGB technology.

Alternatively, you can get the Pixio PXC32 which is also a great 32″ 1440p 144Hz VA-panel curved gaming monitor with FreeSync.

Conclusion

Will you have to buy this panel, then?

Well, if you want a large curved screen with an affordable and easy refresh rate on the GPU, then you should; just keep in mind its downsides, i.e. the low pixel density.

MSI Optix AG32C Specifications

Screen Size 31.5-inch
Screen Curvature 1800R
Resolution 1920×1080 (Full HD)
Panel Type VA
Aspect Ratio 16:9 (Widescreen)
Refresh Rate 165Hz
Response Time 4ms (GtG)
Motion Blur Reduction 1ms (MPRT)
Adaptive Sync FreeSync (48Hz-165Hz)
Ports HDMI 2.0, DisplayPort 1.2, DL-DVI-D
Other Ports Headphone Jack
Brightness 250 cd/m2
Contrast Ratio 3000:1 (static)
Colors 16.7 million (true 8-bit)
VESA Yes (100x100mm)

What We Loved

  • Wide color gamut
  • High contrast ratio for deep blacks
  • Big, curved screen
  • High refresh rate, low input lag, and quick response time
  • Good value for the price
  • Low pixel density
  • Tilt-only design
  • Has VESA mount pattern, but an adapter or a workaround is required
  • Some smearing with dark pixels in fast-paced scenarios is visible
  • No speakers/audio jacks/USB ports

MSI Optix AG32C Review

  • Design – 8/10
  • Display – 7.3/10
  • Performance – 8/10
  • Price/Value – 9/10
  • 8.1/10

Summary

The MSI Optix AG32C is an inexpensive 32′′ curved gaming monitor with fast refresh rate of 165Hz, FreeSync, and MPRT of 1ms. In addition, its VA panel offers rich colors with shades of deep black. However, its low resolution makes this monitor strictly just for gaming and entertainment purposes.

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