When buying a gaming monitor based on specs, it’s easy to assume that products from the same manufacturer and line with the same specs, differing only in screen size, will perform the same. But I’ve reviewed a few products from our roster of the best gaming monitors. These products share a lot of DNA, not just smaller and larger versions of each other.
Case in point: Cooler Master’s two new monitors.I recently reviewed the GM27-FQS We found it to offer solid gaming performance and accurate colors. I received its larger cousin, the GM32-FQ, at the same time, and while the two screens look identical and have nearly identical specs, they differ in many ways beyond just size.
The GM32-FQ features an IPS panel with QHD resolution, 165Hz, Adaptive-Sync, HDR and enhanced color. It differs from the GM27-FQS in several ways, which can only be discovered through testing and hands-on gameplay.
Cooler Master GM32-FQ specs
|Panel type/backlight||IPS/W-LED, edge array|
|Screen size/aspect ratio||32 inches/16:9|
|Maximum resolution and refresh rate||2560×1440 @ 165Hz|
|Free Sync: 48-165Hz|
|Native color depth and color gamut||10-bit (8-bit + FRC) / DCI-P3|
|Response time (GTG)||5ms|
|Brightness (mfr)||400 nits|
|video input||1x DisplayPort 1.2|
|2x HDMI 2.0|
|audio||3.5mm headphone output|
|USB3.0||1x up, 2x down, or none|
|power consumption||33.1 watts, brightness @ 200 nits|
|Panel dimensions WxHxD (including base)||28.2 x 18.3-22.6 x 10.9 inches (716 x 465-575 x 277mm)|
|panel thickness||Upper: 0.3″ (8mm)|
|Bottom: 1.7″ (43mm)|
|bezel width||Top/Side: 0.3″ (8mm)|
|Bottom: 0.7 inch (18mm)|
|weight||13.7 lbs (6.2kg)|
The GM32-FQ features a relatively new variant of IPS technology, the Advanced Dimension Switch or ADS. This is similar to Samsung’s PLS (Plane-Line Switching) in that the liquid crystals are laid out along the same plane and more of the backlight output goes into his TFT layers. In theory, this will increase brightness and improve contrast. In fact, the GM32-FQ has more power than the GM27-FQS, so it’s certified for VESA DisplayHDR 400, a number we’ve tested. It also increases contrast, although to a lesser extent. I measured 950:1 on the 27, which is close to 1,200:1, which is nice and visible to the naked eye.
Other image-related specifications are the same. We measured the same 92% coverage and a similar level of color accuracy with DCI-P3. However, the GM32-FQ requires precise zeroing to provide reference-level color, grayscale, and gamma tracking, while the 27 requires fine tuning.
Gaming performance has similar prospects. Both screens run at 165 Hz without overclocking and include Adaptive-Sync and backlight strobe blur reduction. The GM32-FQ isn’t certified by his Nvidia, but G-Sync works just fine.
Perhaps the most attractive thing is the pricing. At the time of this writing, the GM32-FQ is only about $70 more than his GM27-FQS. So you get the same gaming performance, a little more contrast, a bigger screen, and the same cool thin-panel styling with a metal backplate and quality stand for $70 more. But it’s a win.
assembly and accessories
The GM32-FQ carton is a larger version of the slim, efficient GM27-FQS. The three parts come out of flimsy foam and require the included Phillips screwdriver to assemble. When finished, the package is sturdy and safe. In addition to the external power brick, it comes with HDMI and DisplayPort cables and a small clip to keep wires tidy.
image 1 of Four
Cooler Master has created a nice minimalist look for the GM32-FQ which is visually identical to the GM27-FQS. One advantage of ADS/IPS screens is that they are a little more rigid. This allows for a thin top panel section with a thickness of only 7 mm. Components are packed into an 18mm bulge on the bottom half, which is much thinner than your average 32-inch or 27-inch monitor. The bolt pattern is 100mm VESA, so you can use the arm if you like.
The stand is made entirely of metal and finished in a gray satin finish that exudes quality. Corners and edges are softened while maintaining the dramatic angles required for contemporary styling. Height adjustment is 110 mm (4.3 inches) with 15 degree swivel and 5/20 degree tilt. No portrait mode. The movement is smooth and firm with no backlash.
GM32-FQ avoids any kind of LED lighting features. You’ll remember that the GM27-FQS has a light on the base for a neat ring effect, but the 32-inch display is all business. The screen has the same nearly invisible bezel of 7mm with an 18mm strip at the bottom adorned with a small Cooler Master logo. The control keys are on the right rear and there is no joystick. Also on the back is a large logo and a grill that houses his two speakers. The GM27-FQS was silent, but the 32″ offers decent sound with clear highs and plenty of volume.
Video inputs include two HDMI 2.0, one DisplayPort 1.2, and USB-C ports. Peripherals can be connected to two USB 3.0 downstream jacks and there is an upstream port for connecting to a PC.
I thought the OSD on the GM32-FQ was the same as I found on the GM27-FQS, but there are some differences worth mentioning.
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The GM32-FQ offers 8 image modes, the selection of which includes sRGB presets. Each mode has different settings, such as black stabilization to brighten shadow areas and dynamic contrast for SDR content only. The sRGB mode offers that color gamut, but I found better accuracy by selecting BT709 in the color space submenu under Color Adjustments.More on that later. Game Mode has another 6 presets that change the gamma to suit different game types. The response time (overdrive) function has 4 levels, but exceeding the lowest level will cause visible ghosting.
The color adjustment menu has the same color temperature, 6-axis sliders and color space options as the GM27-FQS, but no gamma presets. No problem, as the GM32-FQ has better gamma tracking than its smaller siblings. If you want a smaller color gamut, choose his BT709 over the sRGB image mode. Much closer to spec. Use Auto for a fully expanded gamut. Provides professional-level color.
Video processing options can be found in the setup menu, where you can toggle Adaptive-Sync or turn on backlight strobes, which Cooler Master calls motion clarity. The strobe works well, with only about 30% light output at the highest of the 4 settings. There is a Crosshair option in the menu, but I couldn’t find a way to enable it. It remained grayed out in all image modes.
Cooler Master GM32-FQ Calibration Settings
The GM32-FQ is one of the few displays that calibrate perfectly out of the box. I didn’t have to do anything to measure color, grayscale and gamma to match the best professional screens. The native color gamut covers 92% of DCI-P3, and if you want sRGB, set the color space option to BT709. In any case, it is recommended to leave the color temperature as native. No gamma presets, but tracking is near perfect if 2.2 is your favourite.
An HDR signal enables three additional image modes: Movie, Game, and Custom. The latter has RGB sliders and threshold controls for black and white levels. All three HDR modes allow you to adjust the backlight output, but few HDR monitors allow this.
|Brightness 200 nits||58|
|Brightness 120 nits||36|
|Brightness 100 nits||29|
|Brightness 80 nits||twenty three|
|Brightness 50 nits||12 (minimum 19 nits)|
|Color temperature/color space||Native/Auto or BT709|
Games and hands-on
I like my 32 inch monitor, it makes it easy to view two documents side by side while writing in Word, and I can view spreadsheets with minimal scrolling. You can even view web pages almost without using the mouse wheel. Also, if you need to refer to information you found online, you can keep the page displayed next to the document.
My only comment on the GM32-FQ is the same thing I would do for a 32″ QHD monitor: pixel density. 93ppi is enough to read small text clearly and render graphics detail, but it’s not the resolution I’m used to, Ultra HD. Enhanced color is useful for video and photo editing, as the extra color saturation adds a perception of sharpness. I use an sRGB monitor for my daily work, and I can easily see the extra punch and hue in the Cooler Master.
Gaming is another story. Motion resolution becomes a key factor, and by that metric, QHD at 165Hz is on par, if not better, than Ultra HD at 144Hz. The actual frame rate seen by the GeForce RTX 3090 video card is 150-165 fps in QHD and 100-110 fps in Ultra HD. This is enough to make a visual difference. QHD is still the best balance between resolution and speed.
GM32-FQ has no problem with input lag. I could feel a faster control response compared to the Ultra HD screen. my aim is more precise, Doom Eternal Horde mode. I’m not a very skilled player, but some monitors are better suited to my abilities than others. The GM32-FQ has helped me play better.
HDR was kind of a mixed bag. The GM32-FQ has better HDR images than the GM27-FQS, but you have to take extra steps to get there. Brightness control not only remains active in HDR mode, but also inherits the same SDR settings.So when I light a fire call of duty ww2, Brightness should be maxed out for full effect. No contrast there, but the image pops more than when set to 200 nit peak. HDR color is excellent in every way. Details are rendered well without the need to tweak his HDR settings in-game. Red is particularly strong, but green and blue also shine.
Video processing is mostly okay, though I did notice it softening up a bit with quick mouse movements. I could only use it on the lowest setting. Anything more than that produced resolution-stealing ghosts. At low settings, very little correction is applied, so motion blur is visible. It didn’t detract from my personal gaming experience, but if you’re a more advanced player, I’d recommend trying it before you buy.