Cooler Master GA271 Review: 1440p 100Hz FreeSync VA Gaming Monitor

The Cooler Master GA271 is an affordable 27" 1440p 100Hz FreeSync monitor with a flat-screen VA panel with a high contrast ratio.

Bottom Line

The Cooler Master GA271 is an excellent value monitor thanks to its 27″ 1440p 100Hz flat-screen VA panel with a high contrast ratio, decent factory calibration (with a few tweaks) and other features, such as VRR and MBR.

Design:
(3.5)
Display:
(4.7)
Performance:
(4.0)
Price/Value:
(4.5)
4.2

The GA271 and GA241 are Cooler Master’s first budget monitors with the lowest refresh rate in their line-up. Luckily, 100Hz still provides a big boost in motion clarity as opposed to 60Hz/75Hz, which along with the alluring pricing could make for great value displays! Let’s see how the Cooler Master GA271 performs!

Image Quality

The monitor is based on a 27″ 1440p 100Hz flat-screen VA panel with a high 4,000:1 contrast ratio, a 250-nit peak brightness, 10-bit dithered color depth and 95% sRGB color gamut specified.

As always, we’ll first take a look at how the monitor performs out of the box with its default settings and see if any adjustments can be made to improve it.

For our testing, calibration and profiling, we’re using the Datacolor SpyderX Pro paired with DisplayCAL and HCFR software. The testing was done after the monitor had warmed up and we disabled all eco/power-saving features.

Cooler Master GA271 And Datacolor SpyderX Pro

The Cooler Master GA271 has 8 picture presets: User, Standard, Web, Text, HDR, Action, FPS and RTS.

These presets have basically identical settings with different default brightness, while the FPS and RTS modes also have a higher Black Stabilization value for better visibility in dark scenes of games.

Making any adjustments in a picture preset other than User will just put you back in the User mode. We found that the HDR preset actually has the most accurate image quality – you can adjust the brightness in this mode, but other settings are locked (contrast, Black Stabilization, gamma and color temperature).

So, if you just want the most accurate image quality out of the box and don’t want to mess with any settings, change the preset to HDR regardless if you’re watching SDR or HDR content. To select the HDR preset, the HDR setting must be set to Auto.

Cooler Master GA271 Image Accuracy Out of the box
Image accuracy out of the box (HDR preset)

We measured a low average Delta E of 1.44 (target is ≤ 1.5), while the maximum was 3.71 (target is ≤ 3), which is down from 1.47 average and 4.18 maximum of the User/Standard mode. You also get a correct 6490K color temperature (6500K target) in the HDR preset, as opposed to 7088K measured in the default mode. Gamma is also slightly more accurate with a 2.18 average in comparison to 2.16 (target 2.2).

Color Accuracy Chart April 2024

Overall, you get excellent factory calibration – the display follows the flat 2.2 gamma instead of the sRGB tone curve, so very dark shades will be a bit darker than intended (when viewing content intended for the sRGB tone curve, but it will be more accurate for content made for the flat 2.2 gamma).

The whitepoint has no noticeable color tint and the reason for the somewhat high maximum Delta E of 3.71 is due to the display’s slightly wider color gamut, which causes minor over-saturation, mainly in reds.

While Cooler Master claims 95% sRGB color space coverage, we actually measured 99% coverage and 113% gamut volume. As you can see in the image below, this causes over-saturation when viewing sRGB content, but it’s very minor and most users will prefer the extra color vibrancy anyway.

Cooler Master GA271 Color Gamut
Color Gamut Chart April 2024

There’s a Color Space setting in the OSD (On-Screen Display) menu with sRGB and Rec.709 modes, which clamp the gamut down to 97.5% coverage and 99.7% volume, but they have a too-low 5600K color temperature that cannot be adjusted, resulting in yellowish/warm whitepoint.

We also tried using a software clamp via AMD Custom Color (or novideo_srgb tool if you have an NVIDIA GPU), which decreased the maximum Delta E to 3.42, but the average delta E is higher at 1.66 as the emulation was too aggressive, causing under-saturation in greens and yellows.

For a full calibration, we used the User color temperature preset and reduced red gain to 46, green to 49 and blue to 38 to get 6500K.

Cooler Master GA271 After Calibration
Cooler Master GA271 after calibration

What’s interesting is that once you select the HDR picture preset, it’s locked to the Native color temperature mode with similar RGB gain (47, 50, 38), meaning that Cooler Master had better calibration for HDR picture preset than the default Standard mode (with Native color temperature mode and RGB 50, 48, 43).

So, if our ICC profile doesn’t look good on your GA271 unit and you have different RGB gain in your HDR preset, you can try copying that to your User color temperature/picture preset mode – given that you want to use the User preset in the first place for its fully unlocked settings.

You can download our ICC profile here.

Other calibration results are excellent as well. The average Delta E is only 0.55, while the maximum is 2.64 due to the monitor’s gamut missing some minor coverage in blues. Gamma tracking is very good though a tad darker in the very bright shades with a 2.22 average.

Next, we measured a maximum brightness of 325-nits, while the minimum was 55-nits. At 200-nits, we measured a contrast ratio of 3350:1, which results in deep blacks and vivid details in the shadows of the image.

Max and Min Brightness Chart April 2024
Contrast Ratio Chart April 2024

While VA monitors have 178° specified viewing angles just like IPS panels, there are minor gamma/saturation shifts when looking at the screen at certain angles. However, unless you plan on doing color-critical work, this won’t be an issue as it’s not noticeable during everyday use.

We didn’t find any stuck/dead pixels and there’s no excessive VA glow or backlight bleeding. There was also no pixel inversion, image retention or other defects.

Cooler Master GA271 Quality Control And Other Issues

When it comes to image uniformity, the bottom part of the screen is slightly darker than the center (up to 22-nits), but this is not noticeable during everyday use.

Cooler Master GA271 Image Uniformity
Cooler Master GA271 Image Uniformity

The 2560×1440 resolution looks great on 27″ sized displays. You get a high pixel density of 108.71 PPI (pixels per inch) with plenty of screen real space and sharp details and text. Moreover, 1440p is significantly less demanding on the GPU than 4K UHD, allowing for higher frame rates.

HDR

The Cooler Master GA271 also supports HDR (High Dynamic Range), however, due to its limited brightness and color gamut, as well as lack of full-array local dimming, you won’t be getting a true HDR viewing experience.

We measured the same 330-nit peak brightness in HDR, a bit colder 6801K color temperature and bright scenes will be brighter than intended, leading to overexposure of highlights (second image, the yellow line should track the gray one for accurate HDR brightness).

Maximum HDR Brightness Chart April 2024

Still, HDR content will get dithered 10-bit color depth for smoother gradients and added saturation, which some users might prefer even though it strays away from the creator’s intent.

Once you enable HDR in Windows, you’ll need to select the HDR picture preset for optimal image quality, however, since this is the preset we recommend using anyway, this won’t be an issue. When HDR is set to Auto in the OSD menu, the monitor will automatically switch to the HDR mode when it detects the HDR10 signal.

Naturally, for proper HDR, you’ll need to spend at least $500 for a display with full-array local dimming, such as the Cooler Master Tempest GP27Q or the KTC M27T20.

Performance

A 100Hz refresh rate provides you with a noticeable boost in motion clarity as opposed to 60Hz/75Hz displays. In fact, we find that the difference between 100Hz and 60-75Hz is more noticeable than the difference between 100Hz and ~144Hz.

Of course, 144Hz+ is still noticeably smoother in competitive FPS games, but most users will be happy with the jump to 100Hz, especially for casual gaming.

Cooler Master GA271 And OSRTT

For pixel response time speed and input lag testing, we’re using OSRTT. We’re also using Blur Buster’s UFO ghosting test with 960 Pixels Per Sec, shutter speed set to 1/4 of the refresh rate with fixed focus, ISO and color temperature (6500K). Before the tests, the monitor was calibrated and warmed up.

The Cooler Master GA271 has three response time overdrive modes: Off, Normal and Advanced.

At 100Hz, we recommend using the Normal mode for optimal performance with 10.65ms average GtG response time, low 1.77% overshoot error and 57% pixel transition making it within the 10ms refresh window.

Response Time Speed Chart April 2024

The Advanced mode can improve the response time speed, but even though it has a low average 7.47% overshoot error, it’s still noticeable in real world use, as you will be able to see in the UFO photos below.

If you are gaming at a fixed 60Hz or 75Hz refresh rate, you can go with the Advanced mode since it’s less aggressively tuned at lower refresh rates for some reason.

Next, the Cooler Master GA271 supports variable refresh rate via AMD FreeSync (over HDMI and DisplayPort) and NVIDIA’s G-SYNC Compatible (no official certification) over DisplayPort.

The supported VRR range is 48-100Hz, meaning that LFC (Low Framerate Compensation) is supported as well. Therefore, at 47FPS, the refresh rate will be doubled to 94Hz in order to keep tearing at bay, providing you with tear-free gameplay all the way up to 100FPS.

Now – when using an AMD GPU, you cannot change the overdrive with VRR enabled as it’s always locked to “Normal.” Even if you first disable VRR, change overdrive to Advanced and then enable VRR again, it will revert back to Normal.

The issue here is that the Normal overdrive mode behaves differently when VRR is enabled on AMD GPUs – its performance is similar to the Off mode instead, causing more noticeable ghosting with a 16.7ms GtG average (up from 10.65ms)

So, if you have and AMD card, you’ll have to choose between prominent ghosting with no tearing or less ghosting with screen tearing.

Cooler Master GA271 Overdrive with AMD GPUs
Cooler Master GA271 100Hz VRR On AMD GPU
VRR Enabled, Locked Normal Overdrive, AMD GPU
VRR Response Time Speed Chart April 2024

With NVIDIA GPUs, you can change the overdrive when VRR is enabled, in which case we recommend using the Normal mode (it behaves just like Normal with VRR disabled).

Apart from the overdrive being locked in VRR mode with AMD GPUs, the monitor’s performance is excellent. You get smooth VRR performance and although there’s some stuttering if your frame rate is constantly hovering around the 48FPS LFC threshold, there’s no brightness flickering or other issues.

As expected from a VA panel display in this price range, there’s some dark-level smearing behind fast-moving objects in dark scenes, but it’s tolerable. If you’re mainly looking for a monitor for competitive FPS games, you should get a faster 1080p IPS display or invest in a 1440p 144Hz+ IPS model.

Here’s how the Cooler Master GA271 compares to the Gigabyte M32QC with a similar VA panel when it comes to pixel response time and the KTC H27T22 with a faster IPS panel.

Cooler Master GA271 Ghosting UFO Comparison

The Cooler Master GA271 monitor also supports MBR (Motion Blur Reduction) via its Motion Clearness feature, which uses backlight strobing to reduce perceived motion blur at the cost of image brightness. However, it cannot be active at the same time as VRR and it only works at fixed 75Hz and 100Hz refresh rates.

Further, backlight strobing introduces screen flickering that’s invisible to the human eye, but can cause headaches after prolonged use to those sensitive to flicker.

Cooler Master GA271 MPRT
MBR Brightness Chart April 2024

Motion Clearness limits the brightness to just 43-nits and it has noticeable strobe crosstalk (duplicate image effect). So, we don’t recommend using this feature.

60Hz Display Lag Chart April 2024
Maximum Refresh Rate Display Lag Chart April 2024

Lastly, the Cooler Master GA271 has a low display latency of 6.42ms at 100Hz and 10.9ms at 60Hz, meaning that there’s no perceptible delay between your actions and the result on the screen.

Features

Cooler Master GA271 OSD Menu

Behind the screen on the right side, there’s a directional joystick for quick and easy navigation through the OSD menu.

You’ll find all the standard image adjustments (brightness, contrast, color temperature, input source), but there are no saturation or sharpness settings.

There are two aspect ratio modes (full and aspect), automatic source detection, OSD settings (timeout, language, background), audio and information. The Black Stabilization feature improves visibility in dark scenes by altering the gamma curvature, and you’ll find three crosshair overlays and a refresh rate tracker.

Cooler Master Crosshair and FPS Counter

Other features include Advanced DCR (dynamic contrast ratio, which automatically increases brightness with bright scenes and decreases it with dark scenes, we recommend leaving it disabled), quick start mode (skips the logo intro when powering on the monitor) and DDC/CI, which allows you to use third-party apps such as ClickMonitorDDC to make some monitor adjustments in a desktop app.

In addition to the Standard, sRGB and Rec.709 color space modes we mentioned, you’ll also find HDR, EBU and SMPTE-C modes, three gamma presets (1.8, 2.2 and 2.4) and five color temperature options:

  • Native – 7088K measured
  • Warm – 5100K
  • User – 7789K
  • Bluish – 10810K
  • Cool – 8154K

The HDR preset we recommended has its locked color temperature preset with 6490K measured.

There’s also a low-blue light filter with 80%, 70%, 60% and 50% options, which also lock the brightness setting to 80, 75, 65 and 60, respectively, which might be too bright for some users. As a workaround, you can just use Windows’ Night Light feature or a third-party application, such as f.lux to reduce low-blue light.

The backlight of the monitor is flicker-free (unless Motion Clearness is enabled).

Design & Connectivity

The stand of the monitor doesn’t take up a lot of desk space and you can place some items on it, which is handy. It is tilt-only by -5°/20° and a bit wobbly, but the screen is 100x100mm VESA mount compatible.

Further, the screen has a light matte anti-glare coating that prevents reflections without making the image too grainy. The bezels are ultra-thin at the top and at the sides, while the bottom bezel is ~15mm thick. There are black borders around the screen before the image starts (6mm top/sides, 2mm bottom).

In the box, along with the monitor and the stand, you’ll get an external power supply, a power cord, an HDMI cable, a warranty card and a quick start guide.

Note that If you have an NVIDIA GPU (10-series or newer) and want to use VRR, you’ll need a DisplayPort cable.

Cooler Master GA271 Ports

Connectivity options include two HDMI 2.0 ports, DisplayPort 1.2 (with HDR support) and a headphone jack. All inputs support 100Hz at 2560×1440 with 10-bit color depth.

Price & Similar Monitors

The Cooler Master GA271 goes for £140, which makes it the most affordable 1440p monitor available. It’s even cheaper than the 27″ 1440p 75Hz IPS models, such as the LG 27QN600.

Overall, it offers excellent value for the money for everyday use and casual gaming.

Sadly, there are no plans to launch it in the US at the moment.

As an alternative or if you’re looking for a bit more responsive gaming experience, consider investing ~$50 more in a 1440p 144Hz+ model, such as the Acer XV272UV with an IPS panel or the Gigabyte G27QC-A with a curved VA panel.

As far as the cheaper 100Hz monitors go, only 1080p models are currently available in the US, such as the Acer KB272 EBI.

To learn more about monitors and ensure you’re getting the model most suited for your personal preference, visit our comprehensive and always up-to-date best gaming monitor buyer’s guide.

Conclusion

Cooler Master GA271 DisplayNinja Review

All in all, the Cooler Master GA271 is an excellent monitor for the price.

You get a 27″ 1440p screen with crisp details, deep blacks and vivid colors, while VRR up to 100Hz provides you with a noticeable boost in motion clarity as opposed to 60-75Hz displays.

If you have an AMD GPU and aren’t sensitive to screen tearing, we recommend disabling VRR since tearing is a lot less noticeable at 100Hz than it is at 60Hz, and you’ll get a bit faster response time than with VRR enabled. With a compatible NVIDIA graphics card, you don’t have to worry about this.

Of course, in case you’re after more responsive gameplay in this price range, you’ll either have to sacrifice resolution with a 1080p 144Hz+ IPS model or invest ~$50 in a 1440p 144Hz+ display, which makes the GA271 the perfect in-between option for those who want a crisp image quality with decent performance at a low cost.

Specifications

Screen Size27-inch
Resolution2560×1440 (WQHD)
Panel TypeVA
Aspect Ratio16:9 (Widescreen)
Refresh Rate100Hz
Response Time (GtG)Not specified
Response Time (Motion Clearness)1ms (MPRT)
Adaptive-SyncFreeSync (48-100Hz)
PortsDisplayPort 1.2, 2x HDMI 2.0
Other PortsHeadphone Jack
Brightness250 cd/m²
Contrast Ratio4000:1 (static)
Colors1.07 billion (8-bit + FRC)
95% sRGB
HDRHDR10
VESAYes (100x100mm)

The Pros:

  • Good value for money
  • High contrast ratio for deep blacks
  • High pixel density
  • Plenty of features, including VRR and MBR up to 100Hz

The Cons:

  • Tilt-only stand, a bit wobbly
  • Minor ghosting in dark scenes
  • Overdrive locked with AMD GPUs

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Rob Shafer

Rob is a software engineer with a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Denver. He now works full-time managing DisplayNinja while coding his own projects on the side.