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We've recently released our Test Bench 2.0 update for Monitors! Read about our new VRR Flicker R&D Article and our Pursuit photo R&D Article to learn more.

MSI Optix G321CU Monitor Review

Tested using Methodology v2.0
Review updated Apr 02, 2024 at 09:12 am
Latest change: Writing modified Apr 17, 2024 at 10:15 am
MSI Optix G321CU Picture
6.8
PC Gaming
7.6
Console Gaming
7.5
Office
7.4
Editing
6.7
Brightness
6.5
Response Time
5.2
HDR Picture
7.1
SDR Picture
8.2
Color Accuracy

The MSI Optix G321CU is a budget-friendly 4k gaming monitor. It's one of MSI's few 4k 144Hz monitors, and it's the first to have a VA panel instead of an IPS panel found on other models like the MSI Optix MPG321UR-QD. It features a 32-inch screen with a 1500R curve to bring the edges more within your field of vision. It has features you expect to find in most gaming monitors, like variable refresh rate (VRR) support and the full 48 Gbps bandwidth of HDMI 2.1 on both of its HDMI ports. It also has a few extra perks to improve your gaming experience, like different crosshairs available. It doesn't only have features focused on gaming as it has a USB-C port that supports DisplayPort Alt Mode and Picture-in-Picture/Picture-by-Picture modes.

Our Verdict

6.8 PC Gaming

The MSI G321CU is okay for PC gaming. It has a 144Hz refresh rate, which is fine for casual gaming, but it isn't good enough for competitive gaming. It has low enough input lag for a responsive feel, but it has mediocre motion handling, with noticeable blur and black smearing. It supports all common VRR formats, but there's noticeable VRR flicker with changing frame rates, which is disappointing if your PC can't maintain consistent frame rates. Also, while it has a decent contrast ratio for fairly deep blacks, it lacks a local dimming feature to improve it and fails to make highlights pop in HDR.

Pros
  • Supports all common VRR formats.
  • Low input lag.
Cons
  • Noticeable smearing with fast-moving objects.
  • No local dimming feature.
  • Noticeable VRR flicker in dark scenes.
7.6 Console Gaming

The MSI G321CU is good for console gaming. Thanks to its HDMI 2.1 bandwidth it takes full advantage of gaming consoles, but it doesn't support VRR with 1440p signals with the Xbox Series X|S. It also has a high 4k resolution that delivers detailed images while gaming, but it has limited picture quality without a local dimming feature, and it can't make highlights pop in HDR. It has low input lag for a responsive feel, but motion is mediocre as there's smearing with fast-moving objects.

Pros
  • HDMI 2.1 bandwidth.
  • Low input lag.
Cons
  • Noticeable smearing with fast-moving objects.
  • No local dimming feature.
  • Highlights don't pop in HDR.
7.5 Office

The MSI G321CU is good for office use. Its large 32-inch screen provides enough space to multitask, and the 4k resolution offers high pixel density and fantastic text clarity. It also has good peak brightness and decent reflection handling if you want to use it in well-lit offices, but it struggles in extremely bright environments. Unfortunately, it has narrow viewing angles, and people viewing from the side see a washed-out image, and it also has terrible ergonomics.

Pros
  • Sharp text and images.
  • Good SDR peak brightness.
Cons
  • Narrow viewing angles.
  • Stand only offers tilt adjustment.
7.4 Editing

The MSI G321CU is decent for media creation. The 32-inch, 4k screen lets you see more of your work at once with a lot of detail and sharp images. It also displays a wide range of colors in SDR and has good image accuracy, but not all colors are accurate before a full calibration. Unfortunately, it's hard to share your screen with a coworker or client as you can't swivel it, and it has narrow viewing angles that make the image look washed out from the sides.

Pros
  • Sharp text and images.
  • Good SDR peak brightness.
  • Good accuracy before calibration.
Cons
  • Narrow viewing angles.
  • Stand only offers tilt adjustment.
  • Still needs a full calibration for best accuracy.
6.7 Brightness

The MSI G321CU has okay brightness. Although it gets bright enough to fight glare in most well-lit rooms, it can't make highlights pop against the rest of the image in HDR.

Pros
  • Good SDR peak brightness.
Cons
  • Highlights don't pop in HDR.
6.5 Response Time

The MSI G321CU has an unremarkable response time. Although its motion handling is consistent across its VRR range, it has a slow response time with most refresh rates, leading to noticeable black smearing and blur.

Pros
  • Maintains consistent motion handling across VRR range.
Cons
  • Noticeable smearing with fast-moving objects.
5.2 HDR Picture

The MSI G321CU is terrible for HDR. Although it has a decent contrast ratio, it lacks a local dimming feature to further improve the contrast in HDR, and it fails to make colors look vivid.

Pros
Cons
  • No local dimming feature.
  • Limited HDR color volume.
7.1 SDR Picture

The MSI G321CU has decent SDR picture quality. It has a decent contrast ratio that helps it display fairly deep blacks, but there's noticeable backlight bleed in dark scenes.

Pros
  • Decent native contrast ratio.
Cons
  • Black uniformity issues.
8.2 Color Accuracy

The MSI G321CU has great color accuracy. Although it has a dedicated sRGB mode with good accuracy before calibration, you still need to calibrate it for the most accurate image. Luckily, it has impressive gray uniformity that keeps the accurate image consistent across the entire screen.

Pros
  • Good accuracy before calibration.
Cons
  • Still needs a full calibration for best accuracy.
  • 6.8 PC Gaming
  • 7.6 Console Gaming
  • 7.5 Office
  • 7.4 Editing

Performance Usages

  • 6.7 Brightness
  • 6.5 Response Time
  • 5.2 HDR Picture
  • 7.1 SDR Picture
  • 8.2 Color Accuracy
  1. Updated Apr 17, 2024: Updated text throughout the review according to Test Bench 2.0, mainly in the Verdict and Motion sections.
  2. Updated Apr 17, 2024: We've converted this review to Test Bench 2.0. This includes new tests for VRR Motion Performance, Refresh Rate Compliance, Cumulative Absolute Deviation (CAD), and VRR Flicker. You can read the full changelog here.
  3. Updated Jun 02, 2023: Review published.
  4. Updated May 29, 2023: Early access published.
  5. Updated May 19, 2023: Our testers have started testing this product.
  6. Updated May 03, 2023: The product has arrived in our lab, and our testers will start evaluating it soon.
  7. Updated Apr 18, 2023: We've purchased the product and are waiting for it to arrive in our lab.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

We tested the 32-inch MSI G321CU, the only size available for this monitor. Although other 32-inch, 4k monitors are available from MSI, the results only apply to this monitor.

Model Size Panel Type Resolution Refresh Rate Curve
G321CU 32" VA 4k 144Hz 1500R

Our unit was manufactured in February 2023; the label is here.

Compared To Other Monitors

The MSI G321CU is a decent budget-friendly model that costs less than other 4k gaming monitors, which is useful if you want something for console gaming and don't want to spend a ton of money. However, it doesn't perform nearly as well as the more expensive options, as there's smearing with fast-moving objects, and it has narrow viewing angles. Even its dark room performance is limited compared to other monitors with VA panels, as it has disappointing black uniformity and lacks a local dimming feature. You can get better performance by spending more on the Gigabyte M32U or the Gigabyte M32UC.

See our recommendations for the best 4k 144Hz monitors, the best 4k gaming monitors, and the best 32-inch monitors.

Gigabyte M32UC

The Gigabyte M32UC is better for gaming than the MSI Optix G321CU. While both monitors have smearing with fast-moving objects, the Gigabyte has less overshoot and improved motion handling, particularly at high refresh rates. The picture quality on the Gigabyte is also better as it gets much brighter, and it has a better contrast ratio. On the other hand, the MSI has the full 48 Gbps bandwidth of HDMI 2.1, while the Gigabyte is limited to 24 Gbps, so your graphics card doesn't need to use compression when sending high-bandwidth signals.

Gigabyte M28U

The Gigabyte M28U is a better gaming monitor than the MSI Optix G321CU. The main advantage of the Gigabyte monitor is its superior motion handling, so there's less smearing with fast-moving objects. The Gigabyte also has wider viewing angles and better ergonomics that make it better for co-op gaming. On the other hand, the MSI has a bigger screen for a more immersive feel. It also has the full 48 Gbps bandwidth of HDMI 2.1, while the Gigabyte is limited to 24 Gbps, so your graphics card doesn't need to use compression for demanding signals.

Gigabyte M32U

The Gigabyte M32U is a better gaming monitor than the MSI Optix G321CU. The main advantage of the Gigabyte model is its superior motion handling, so there's less smearing with fast-moving objects. The Gigabyte also has wider viewing angles and better ergonomics that make it better for co-op gaming. On the other hand, the MSI has the full 48 Gbps bandwidth of HDMI 2.1, while the Gigabyte is limited to 24 Gbps, so your graphics card doesn't need to use compression if you need to send signals that require high bandwidth.

Acer Nitro XV282K KVbmiipruzx

The Acer Nitro XV282K KVbmiipruzx is better for gaming than the MSI Optix G321CU. Motion handling is much better on the Acer as there's less smearing and blur trail with fast-moving objects. The Acer also has much better ergonomics and wider viewing angles than the MSI, so it's the better choice for co-op gaming. However, the MSI has the full 48 Gbps bandwidth of HDMI 2.1, while the Acer is limited to 24 Gbps, so your graphics card doesn't need to use compression for demanding signals.

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style
Curved
Yes
Curve Radius
1500R

The MSI G321CU has a simple design with an all-black body that features matte and glossy plastic. It also has a slight curve to bring the edges of the screen within your field of vision.

7.5
Design
Build Quality

The build quality is good. The all-plastic body feels good as it doesn't flex, but the bottom bezel isn't perfectly flush with the screen and moves easily. Luckily, the stand feels sturdy, and the screen doesn't wobble.

2.1
Design
Ergonomics
Min Height To Top Of Panel
N/A
Height Adjustment
0.0" (0.0 cm)
Tilt Range
-20° to 5°
Rotate Portrait/Landscape
No
Swivel Range
No swivel
Wall Mount
VESA 100x100

The stand has limited ergonomics as you can only tilt the screen, meaning it's hard to place in an ideal position. It doesn't have any cable management either.

Design
Stand
Base Width
20.3" (51.6 cm)
Base Depth
10.2" (26.0 cm)
Thickness (With Display)
7.7" (19.5 cm)
Weight (With Display)
14.0 lbs (6.3 kg)

The V-shaped stand has enough space between the legs to put smaller keyboards or other objects, and the stand also holds the screen well. The thickness is measured from the center of the screen, and the thickness is 9.06" (23.0 cm) when measured from the sides.

Design
Display
Size
32"
Housing Width
28.2" (71.6 cm)
Housing Height
16.7" (42.4 cm)
Thickness (Without Stand)
2.5" (6.3 cm)
Weight (Without Stand)
10.7 lbs (4.8 kg)
Borders Size (Bezels)
0.2" (0.6 cm)

The thickness is measured from the center of the screen, and when measured from the sides, the thickness is 4.1" (10.5 cm).

Design
Controls

There's a joystick on the back of the monitor to control the on-screen display, and a power button underneath the bottom bezel to turn it on and off.

Design
In The Box
Power Supply
External Brick

  • HDMI cable
  • Power cable
  • Power supply
  • 6x wall mounting screws
  • User manual

Picture Quality
7.3
Picture Quality
Contrast
Native Contrast
2,174 : 1
Contrast With Local Dimming
N/A

The MSI G321CU has a decent native contrast ratio. While it doesn't display the same deep blacks as other monitors with VA panels and is lower than the advertised 3000:1 contrast, it's still better than IPS monitors.

0
Picture Quality
Local Dimming
Local Dimming
No
Backlight
Edge

This monitor doesn't have a local dimming feature. We still film these videos on the monitor so you can compare the backlight performance with a monitor that has local dimming.

7.5
Picture Quality
SDR Brightness
Real Scene
297 cd/m²
Peak 2% Window
301 cd/m²
Peak 10% Window
301 cd/m²
Peak 25% Window
302 cd/m²
Peak 50% Window
302 cd/m²
Peak 100% Window
302 cd/m²
Sustained 2% Window
301 cd/m²
Sustained 10% Window
301 cd/m²
Sustained 25% Window
302 cd/m²
Sustained 50% Window
302 cd/m²
Sustained 100% Window
302 cd/m²
Automatic Brightness Limiting (ABL)
0.000
Minimum Brightness
53 cd/m²

This monitor has good SDR peak brightness. While it isn't strong enough to fight intense glare from bright light sources, like if you place it opposite a window with direct sunlight, it's good enough for most well-lit rooms. Different scenes also maintain the same brightness. These results are from after calibration in the 'User' Game Mode and Pro Mode with the Brightness at its max and Color Temperature set to 'Normal.'

6.1
Picture Quality
HDR Brightness
VESA DisplayHDR Certification
No Certification
Real Scene
316 cd/m²
Peak 2% Window
314 cd/m²
Peak 10% Window
315 cd/m²
Peak 25% Window
315 cd/m²
Peak 50% Window
316 cd/m²
Peak 100% Window
316 cd/m²
Sustained 2% Window
314 cd/m²
Sustained 10% Window
315 cd/m²
Sustained 25% Window
315 cd/m²
Sustained 50% Window
315 cd/m²
Sustained 100% Window
316 cd/m²
Automatic Brightness Limiting (ABL)
0.000

The HDR brightness is mediocre. It doesn't get bright enough to make highlights pop, and small objects don't stand out against the rest of the screen. Luckily, the EOTF follows the target PQ curve fairly well until there's a sharp roll-off at the peak brightness, meaning it isn't tone mapping after the PC has already done it.

These results are with HDR enabled in the 'User' Game Mode and Pro Mode. HDR automatically locks the following settings:

  • Brightness
  • Contrast
  • Color Temperature
  • HDCR
  • Low Blue Light
  • MPRT Sync
  • Night Vision
  • Optix Scope
  • PIP/PBP

6.7
Picture Quality
Horizontal Viewing Angle
Color Washout From Left
49°
Color Washout From Right
50°
Color Shift From Left
70°
Color Shift From Right
70°
Brightness Loss From Left
45°
Brightness Loss From Right
45°
Black Level Raise From Left
21°
Black Level Raise From Right
22°
Gamma Shift From Left
11°
Gamma Shift From Right
11°

The MSI G321CU has an okay horizontal viewing angle, especially for a monitor with a VA panel, but the image still looks inconsistent from the sides. The black levels and gamma raise from a narrow angle, causing the image to appear brighter.

6.2
Picture Quality
Vertical Viewing Angle
Color Washout From Below
40°
Color Washout From Above
36°
Color Shift From Below
70°
Color Shift From Above
69°
Brightness Loss From Below
36°
Brightness Loss From Above
33°
Black Level Raise From Below
15°
Black Level Raise From Above
17°
Gamma Shift From Below
11°
Gamma Shift From Above
13°

The vertical viewing angle isn't bad, but the image looks inconsistent if you're standing up and looking down on it or if you have it mounted above eye level.

8.3
Picture Quality
Gray Uniformity
50% Std. Dev.
2.667%
50% DSE
0.131%

The gray uniformity is great. The edges are a bit darker than the rest, but there's minimal dirty screen effect in the center, which is great for browsing the web or working with documents in full-screen mode.

5.8
Picture Quality
Black Uniformity
Native Std. Dev.
2.128%
Std. Dev. w/ L.D.
N/A

The MSI G321CU has disappointing black uniformity. There's a noticeable backlight bleed along the edges, and it doesn't have a local dimming feature to further improve it.

7.7
Picture Quality
Color Accuracy (Pre-Calibration)
Picture Mode
sRGB
sRGB Gamut Area xy
100.3%
White Balance dE (Avg.)
5.70
Color Temperature (Avg.)
6,037 K
Gamma (Avg.)
2.29
Color dE (Avg.)
3.58
Contrast Setting
N/A
RGB Settings
Default
Gamma Setting
No Gamma Setting
Brightness Setting
N/A
Measured Brightness
188 cd/m²
Brightness Locked
Yes

The accuracy before calibration is good in the sRGB mode, which is selected in the Pro Mode setting. It limits colors well to the sRGB color space, but most colors are still off. The white balance is also off, the color temperature is on the warm side, and gamma doesn't follow the target sRGB curve, meaning images are darker than intended.

The sRGB mode locks many settings, including the Contrast and Color Temperature. You can use another mode if you want to customize those settings, but colors are oversaturated, as you can see here.

9.5
Picture Quality
Color Accuracy (Post-Calibration)
Picture Mode
User
sRGB Gamut Area xy
96.8%
White Balance dE (Avg.)
0.50
Color Temperature (Avg.)
6,471 K
Gamma (Avg.)
2.19
Color dE (Avg.)
0.65
Contrast Setting
70
RGB Settings
Normal
Gamma Setting
No Gamma Setting
Brightness Setting
15
Measured Brightness
100 cd/m²
ICC Profile
Download

The accuracy after calibration is fantastic, as most inaccuracies are fixed. You can adjust the RGB controls with the 'Customization' Color Temperature setting, but it also makes the screen nearly 200 nits dimmer compared to leaving it on 'Normal.'

9.1
Picture Quality
SDR Color Gamut
sRGB Coverage xy
96.9%
sRGB Picture Mode
User
Adobe RGB Coverage xy
83.5%
Adobe RGB Picture Mode
User

The SDR color gamut is fantastic. It has near-perfect coverage of the commonly used sRGB color space and decent coverage of Adobe RGB. However, greens are undersaturated in Adobe RGB, and it oversaturates reds.

7.6
Picture Quality
HDR Color Gamut
Wide Color Gamut
Yes
DCI-P3 Coverage xy
87.3%
DCI-P3 Picture Mode
User
Rec. 2020 Coverage xy
63.2%
Rec. 2020 Picture Mode
User

The HDR color gamut is good. It has good coverage of the DCI-P3 color space used in most HDR content but worse coverage of the wider Rec. 2020 color space. Tone mapping is good in DCI-P3 but worse with Rec. 2020, as white is particularly off.

6.7
Picture Quality
HDR Color Volume
1,000 cd/m² DCI-P3 Coverage ICtCp
55.1%
DCI-P3 Picture Mode
User
10,000 cd/m² Rec. 2020 Coverage ICtCp
24.1%
Rec. 2020 Picture Mode
User

The HDR color gamut is okay. It struggles to display bright and dark colors very well.

9.0
Picture Quality
Text Clarity
Pixel Type
VA
Subpixel Layout
RGB

The text clarity is fantastic. Enabling Windows ClearType (top photo) helps make some letters sharper. These photos are in Windows 10, and you can also see what it looks like in Windows 11 with ClearType on (here) and with ClearType off (here).

7.1
Picture Quality
Reflections
Screen Finish
Matte
Total Reflections
6.3%
Indirect Reflections
4.0%
Calculated Direct Reflections
2.3%

The MSI G321CU has decent reflection handling. While it's fine with a few lights, it really struggles to diffuse light in very bright rooms.

9.8
Picture Quality
Gradient
Color Depth
10 Bit

The gradient handling is remarkable, and you won't see any banding with shades of the same color.

Motion
7.4
Motion
Refresh Rate
Native Refresh Rate
144 Hz
Max Refresh Rate
144 Hz
Max Refresh Rate Over DP
144 Hz
Max Refresh Rate Over HDMI
144 Hz
Max Refresh Rate Over DP @ 10-bit
144 Hz
Max Refresh Rate Over HDMI @ 10-Bit
144 Hz

To get the monitor's max refresh rate over HDMI, you must set HDMI 2.1 in the OSD to '4k 144Hz - PC.'

Motion
Variable Refresh Rate (VRR)
Variable Refresh Rate
Yes
FreeSync
Yes
G-SYNC
Compatible (Tested)
VRR Maximum
144 Hz
VRR Minimum
< 20 Hz
VRR Supported Connectors
DisplayPort, HDMI

NVIDIAVRR MinVRR Max
DisplayPort<20Hz144Hz
HDMI<20Hz144Hz

AMDVRR MinVRR Max
DisplayPort<20Hz144Hz
HDMI<20Hz144Hz

On top of supporting FreeSync VRR and G-SYNC compatibility, this monitor also supports HDMI Forum VRR.

6.6
Motion
VRR Motion Performance
Recommended VRR OD Setting
Fast
Variable Overdrive Advertised
No
Avg. CAD
264
Best CAD
248
Worst CAD
284

Refresh RateCAD HeatmapRT ChartPursuit Photo
144HeatmapChartPhoto
120HeatmapChartPhoto
100HeatmapChartPhoto
80HeatmapChartPhoto
60HeatmapChartPhoto

The MSI Optix G321CU has okay motion handling with VRR enabled. There's a ton of smearing and motion blur, which is distracting, and there's even a bit of inverse ghosting. The 'Fast' Response Time setting has the lowest CAD with most refresh rates, but it worsens at lower refresh rates, leading to more blur.

7.1
Motion
Refresh Rate Compliance
Compliance @ Max Hz
54%
Compliance @ 120 FPS
57%
Compliance @ 60 FPS
72%

The refresh rate compliance is decent. Its response time isn't fast enough to keep up with fast frame rates, as it only becomes better at lower refresh rates.

6.0
Motion
CAD @ Max Refresh Rate
OD Transition Max Refresh Rate
Recommended Overdrive Setting
Fast
Avg. CAD
248
Best 10% CAD
59
Worst 10% CAD
608

Overdrive ModeCAD HeatmapRT ChartPursuit Photo
NormalHeatmapChartPhoto
FastHeatmapChartPhoto
FastestHeatmapChartPhoto

The CAD at the max refresh rate is mediocre. There's noticeable blur and smearing with fast-moving objects, and while the 'Fast' overdrive setting has a faster response time than 'Normal' and less overshoot than 'Faster,' it doesn't result in sharp motion.

Motion
Response Time @ Max Refresh Rate
Recommended Overdrive Setting
Fast
First Response Time
10.0 ms
Total Response Time
11.4 ms
RGB Overshoot
3 RGB
Worst 10% First Response Time
26.2 ms
Worst 10% Total Response Time
26.2 ms
Worst 10% RGB Overshoot
23 RGB

Overdrive ModeFirst Response HeatmapTotal Response HeatmapRGB Overshoot Heatmap
NormalHeatmapHeatmapHeatmap
FastHeatmapHeatmapHeatmap
FastestHeatmapHeatmapHeatmap

6.3
Motion
CAD @ 120Hz
OD Transition 120Hz
Recommended Overdrive Setting
Fast
Avg. CAD
236
Best 10% CAD
55
Worst 10% CAD
555

Overdrive ModeCAD HeatmapRT ChartPursuit Photo
NormalHeatmapChartPhoto
FastHeatmapChartPhoto
FastestHeatmapChartPhoto

The CAD at 120Hz is unremarkable. While the 'Fast' overdrive setting has the lowest CAD, it still has blur, inverse ghosting, and smearing, all of which are distracting with fast-moving objects.

Motion
Response Time @ 120Hz
Recommended Overdrive Setting
Fast
First Response Time
8.2 ms
Total Response Time
10.9 ms
RGB Overshoot
4 RGB
Worst 10% First Response Time
23.1 ms
Worst 10% Total Response Time
23.1 ms
Worst 10% RGB Overshoot
27 RGB

Overdrive ModeFirst Response HeatmapTotal Response HeatmapRGB Overshoot Heatmap
NormalHeatmapHeatmapHeatmap
FastHeatmapHeatmapHeatmap
FastestHeatmapHeatmapHeatmap

6.3
Motion
CAD @ 60Hz
OD Transition 60Hz
Recommended Overdrive Setting
Fastest
Avg. CAD
253
Best 10% CAD
65
Worst 10% CAD
460

Overdrive ModeCAD HeatmapRT ChartPursuit Photo
NormalHeatmapChartPhoto
FastHeatmapChartPhoto
FastestHeatmapChartPhoto

The CAD at 60Hz is unremarkable, as there's noticeable smearing and blur. Unlike at higher refresh rates, the recommended overdrive setting is 'Fastest' because it has less overshoot than at 120Hz and at 144Hz. That said, 'Fast' performs similarly, so it's a good choice if you want a set-and-forget mode.

Motion
Response Time @ 60Hz
Recommended Overdrive Setting
Fastest
First Response Time
7.1 ms
Total Response Time
15.2 ms
RGB Overshoot
5 RGB
Worst 10% First Response Time
16.4 ms
Worst 10% Total Response Time
23.5 ms
Worst 10% RGB Overshoot
11 RGB

Overdrive ModeFirst Response HeatmapTotal Response HeatmapRGB Overshoot Heatmap
NormalHeatmapHeatmapHeatmap
FastHeatmapHeatmapHeatmap
FastestHeatmapHeatmapHeatmap

Motion
Backlight Strobing (BFI)
Backlight Strobing (BFI)
Yes
Maximum Frequency
144 Hz
Minimum Frequency
120 Hz
Longest Pulse Width Brightness
100 cd/m²
Shortest Pulse Width Brightness
100 cd/m²
Pulse Width Control
No
Pulse Phase Control
No
Pulse Amplitude Control
No
VRR At The Same Time
Yes

Refresh RateVRR - OnVRR - Off
144HzG321CU BFI 144Hz VRR OnG321CU BFI 144Hz VRR Off
120HzG321CU BFI 120Hz VRR OnG321CU BFI 120Hz VRR Off

The MSI G321CU has an optional backlight strobing feature to reduce persistence blur. You can either enable it at 144Hz or 120Hz with fixed refresh rates, or you can set it at either refresh rate and use VRR to go down to 60Hz, but it doesn't look good at low refresh rates. The feature also results in a dim screen and image duplication, and there isn't any customization.

7.8
Motion
VRR Flicker
Dark Gray Flicker
1.9 RGB
Middle Gray Flicker
1.1 RGB
Light Gray Flicker
1.0 RGB

The MSI Optix G321CU has noticeable VRR flicker with changing frame rates. It's distracting in dark scenes, and you can also notice it in dark areas of bright scenes, but it doesn't happen with all content or with a consistent frame rate.

10
Motion
Image Flicker
Flicker-Free
Yes
PWM Dimming Frequency
0 Hz

This monitor has a flicker-free backlight, which helps reduce eye strain if you're sensitive to flicker.

Inputs
8.7
Inputs
Input Lag
Native Resolution @ Max Hz
4.9 ms
Native Resolution @ 120Hz
5.6 ms
Native Resolution @ 60Hz
11.9 ms
Backlight Strobing (BFI)
6.2 ms

The input lag is low, so you won't notice any delay and get a responsive feel.

8.5
Inputs
Resolution
Native Resolution
3840 x 2160
Aspect Ratio
16:9
Megapixels
8.3 MP
Pixel Density
138 PPI
10
Inputs
PS5 Compatibility
4k @ 120Hz
Yes
4k @ 60Hz
Yes
1440p @ 120Hz
Yes
1440p @ 60Hz
Yes
1080p @ 120Hz
Yes
1080p @ 60Hz
Yes

This monitor works without issue with the PS5, but you must change HDMI 2.1 in the OSD to '4k 120Hz - Console' for 4k to work; otherwise, you're limited to 1440p.

9.1
Inputs
Xbox Series X|S Compatibility
4k @ 120Hz
Yes
4k @ 60Hz
Yes
1440p @ 120Hz
Yes
1440p @ 60Hz
Yes
1080p @ 120Hz
Yes
1080p @ 60Hz
Yes

The MSI G321CU works well with the Xbox Series X|S thanks to its HDMI 2.1 bandwidth. You need to set HDMI 2.1 to '4k 120Hz - Console' in the OSD for 4k to be enabled, but 1440p only works if you enable the HDMI override from the Xbox. This also disables VRR, meaning VRR doesn't work at all with 1440p. The console doesn't support HDR with 1080p or 1440p signals, so this isn't a limitation of the monitor.

Inputs
Inputs Photos
Inputs
Video And Audio Ports
DisplayPort
1 (DP 1.4)
Mini DisplayPort
No
HDMI
2 (HDMI 2.1)
HDMI 2.1 Rated Speed
48Gbps (FRL 12x4)
DVI
No
VGA
No
Daisy Chaining
No
3.5mm Audio Out
1
3.5mm Audio In
No
HDR10
Yes
3.5mm Microphone In
No
Inputs
USB
USB-A Ports
0
USB-A Rated Speed
No USB-A Ports
USB-B Upstream Port
No
USB-C Ports
1
USB-C Upstream
Yes
USB-C Rated Speed
5Gbps (USB 3.2 Gen 1)
USB-C Power Delivery
15W
USB-C DisplayPort Alt Mode
Yes
Thunderbolt
No

There's a USB-C port that supports DisplayPort Alt Mode, letting you display an image from a compatible device. However, because the power delivery is limited to 15W, it's only enough to charge smaller devices like a phone, not your laptop.

Inputs
macOS Compatibility

This monitor works well with macOS. You can enable VRR and HDR simultaneously, and VRR works between 48Hz and 144Hz. When using a MacBook, windows return to their original position when reopening the lid or waking the laptop up from sleep.

Features
Features
Additional Features
Speakers
No
RGB Illumination
No
Multiple Input Display
PIP + PBP
KVM Switch
No

The MSI G321CU has a few additional features, including:

  • Alarm Clock: Activates a timer on the screen.
  • HDMI CEC: Supports the HDMI CEC standard and will automatically turn the monitor on when you turn on compatible devices like a PS5 or Xbox Series X|S. It also changes the picture modes to their default settings of 'User.'
  • Low Blue Light: Reduces blue light to help reduce eye strain.
  • Refresh Rate: Displays the current refresh rate of the screen.
  • Optix Scope: Zooms in on the center of your virtual crosshair, making it easier to see opponents. However, you can't use this at the same time as VRR.
  • Smart Crosshair: Displays a virtual crosshair that your system won't detect, giving you a competitive advantage.

Features
On-Screen Display (OSD)