Cooler Master GM34-CWQ Review: 3440×1440 144Hz FreeSync UltraWide Curved Gaming Monitor

The Cooler Master GM34-CWQ is a 34" 3440x1440 FreeSync ultrawide gaming monitor based on a 1500R curved VA panel with 98% DCI-P3 color gamut.

Bottom Line

If you’d rather cope with VA panel downsides (dark smearing, VRR brightness flickering) than that of IPS (low contrast ratio, IPS glow), the Cooler Master GM34-CWQ is the best ultrawide monitor available at this price range thanks to its wide color gamut, high contrast ratio and high brightness. However, there are cheaper alternatives worth considering too.

Design:
(4.8)
Display:
(4.9)
Performance:
(4.1)
Price/Value:
(3.0)
4.2

While there are plenty of 34″ 3440×1440 curved ultrawide gaming monitors to choose from, the Cooler Master GM34-CWQ is the only VA model available with a 98% DCI-P3 color gamut thanks to its quantum dot enhanced film (QDEF) layer!

This monitor is also referred to as Cooler Master GM34-CWQ ARGB or Cooler Master GM34-CWQA.

Image Quality

The quantum dot technology has been used for a while to improve the color gamut of Samsung’s VA panels, such as the Samsung CHG70 and the CJ791 monitors and their QLED TVs. Even Cooler Master’s first monitor, the GM34-CW used a backlight with a quantum dot enhancement.

However, while these displays usually managed to achieve a color gamut of 90% – 95% DCI-P3 coverage, the Cooler Master GM34-CWQ covers 98% of this color space!

It also covers a good portion of the Adobe RGB color space with ~92% coverage. Overall, this results in an sRGB gamut size of around 140%, providing you with especially vibrant and saturated colors.

When paired with its high 4,000:1 native contrast ratio and a strong peak brightness of 400-nits, you get a very rich and bright image quality with deep blacks and punchy colors.

The monitor can be used for basic content creation without any major issues, but for professional color-critical work, we recommend using an IPS monitor instead due to the VA contrast/gamma shift.

You can also choose between different color gamuts, with sRGB, Adobe RGB, DCI-P3 and BT. 2020 being offered under the ‘Color Space’ option in the OSD (On-Screen Display) menu.

These modes will clamp the gamut so that it doesn’t extend beyond the selected color space, thus preventing over-saturation. Additionally, no settings are locked in these modes, so you can freely adjust brightness and even color temperature.

HDR (High Dynamic Range) is supported, but the Cooler Master GM34-CWQ lacks a proper local dimming solution, which is required for noteworthy HDR image quality on LED-backlit displays.

Related:Is An HDR Gaming Monitor Worth It?

While Cooler Master specifies this monitor as DisplayHDR 400 compatible, it doesn’t appear on VESA’s list of certified products, but this certification is mostly meaningless anyway. In fact, the GM34-CWQ offers a better HDR image quality than many HDR-400 certified models, but it’s far from the true HDR experience.

Some HDR content and scenes will appear better than SDR on this monitor, but you’ll often prefer to have it disabled as it lacks proper HDR hardware, as expected at this price range.

Moving on, the 3440×1440 resolution results in a high pixel density of roughly 110 PPI (pixels per inch), providing you with plenty of screen space, sharp details and text, and no scaling necessary.

Additionally, the extra horizontal screen space offers an extended field of view in compatible games and 21:9 movies are displayed without black bars at the sides of the screen.

The ultrawide format is also very useful when it comes to productivity and audio/video editing work. You can think of the Cooler Master GM34-CWQ as a 27″ 2560×1440 display that’s ~33% wider.

Performance

freesync and gsync

There are five response time overdrive modes: Off, Normal, Advanced, Ultra Fast and Dynamic.

By default, the Cooler Master GM34-CWQ monitor uses the Dynamic overdrive mode, which is supposed to change the overdrive depending on your frame rate for optimal performance. However, it’s not really useful as it adds a lot of overshoot across the entire refresh rate range.

Instead, we recommend using the following overdrive modes depending on your refresh/frame rate:

  • Advanced for above 120Hz/FPS
  • Normal for ~100Hz/FPS
  • Off for ~60Hz/FPS.

As expected from a high refresh rate VA panel gaming monitor, there’s noticeable trailing behind fast-moving objects, but it’s mainly visible in dark scenes.

Depending on how sensitive you are to this dark-level smearing, you might find it unacceptable for fast-paced gaming and browsing/scrolling through pages with dark backgrounds and white font, but most users will find it tolerable or even negligible.

Input lag, on the other hand, is not an issue as with around 4ms of latency, you won’t be able to notice any delay between your actions and the result on the screen.

Next, the Cooler Master GM34-CWQ supports a variable refresh rate (VRR) with a 48-144Hz range for tear-free gameplay up to 144FPS. While it lacks official G-SYNC Compatible certification, you can use VRR with supported NVIDIA cards over DisplayPort. However, VRR might cause brightness flickering with fluctuating frame rates and when your FPS is around the LFC threshold.

Moreover, the monitor supports backlight strobing via Cooler Master’s Motion Clearness technology that can work at the same time as VRR.

As the name suggests, Motion Clearness makes fast-paced motion appear clearer, but it sacrifices brightness and introduces flickering, which is invisible to the human eye, but those sensitive to it might experience headaches after prolonged use.

There are three Motion Clearness modes: High, Medium and Low. ‘Low’ has the highest brightness, while ‘High’ has the clearest motion (but the lowest brightness).

Cooler Master specifies a 0.5ms MPRT speed for their backlight strobing technology, but this doesn’t mean anything. It’s not necessarily better than that of monitors with 1ms MPRT, for instance. In fact, since it uses a slow VA panel, ghosting will still be noticeable when using Motion Clearness, but it can help clear up the ghosting a bit.

The backlight of the monitor is flicker-free (unless Motion Clearness is enabled) and there’s an integrated low-blue light filter.

Features

Cooler Master GM34 CWQ OSD Menu

At the rear of the display, there’s a directional joystick for quick and easy navigation through the OSD menu.

Noteworthy gaming features include Black Stabilization (improves visibility in dark scenes by altering the gamma curvature), crosshair overlays, various picture presets, and a refresh rate tracker.

Besides the standard image adjustment tools (brightness, contrast, color temperature, etc.), the Cooler Master GM34-CWQ also offers some advanced settings, including sharpness, five gamma presets and 6-axis hue/saturation.

Design & Connectivity

Cooler Master GM34 CWQA Review

The stand of the monitor has RGB lighting with customizable patterns and colors via the Cooler Master MasterPlus+ software. You need to connect the stand to your PC via the provided micro-USB cable.

You also get a good range of ergonomics, including up to 80mm height adjustment, +/- 15° swivel, -5°/15° tilt and 100x100mm VESA mount compatibility. There’s a headset hanger and a cable management bracket too.

The screen has a moderate 1500R curvature for added immersion and a light matte anti-glare coating that prevents reflections without making the image too grainy.

Connectivity options include two HDMI 2.0 ports (limited to 100Hz), DisplayPort 1.4, a USB-C port with DP 1.4 Alt Mode and 65W Power Delivery, a dual-USB 3.0 hub, a headphone jack and dual 5W built-in speakers.

Price & Similar Monitors

The Cooler Master GM34-CWQ price ranges from $520 to $650, which is a bit steep considering that the Cooler Master GM34-CW2 and Gigabyte G34WQC-A models can be found for as low as $350. These models don’t have quite as wide color gamut (~95% DCI-P3), but the overall image quality and performance are very similar.

Furthermore, at $650, you can find the LG 34GP83A on sale. It has an IPS panel with a wide 98% DCI-P3 color gamut, a rapid 1ms GtG pixel response time speed and buttery-smooth VRR performance, though it doesn’t have as high contrast ratio.

You can also find a flat-screen 34″ 3440×1440 IPS ultrawide monitor, such as the Gigabyte M34WQ for around $500.

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

While the Cooler Master GM34-CWQ offers immersive image quality and decent performance with plenty of useful features, there are much cheaper alternatives that are very similar.

However, if you really want a high contrast ratio and vibrant colors, and aren’t particularly sensitive to dark smearing and screen tearing, it’s the best VA ultrawide model available and worth considering at its discounted price, especially if you need USB-C Power Delivery.

Specifications

Screen Size34-inch
Screen Curvature1500R
Resolution3440×1440 (UWQHD)
Panel TypeVA
Aspect Ratio21:9 (UltraWide)
Refresh Rate144Hz
Response Time (GtG)Not specified
Response Time (Motion Clearness)0.5ms (MPRT)
Adaptive-SyncFreeSync (48-144Hz)
Speakers2x5W
PortsDisplayPort 1.4, 2x HDMI 2.0,
USB-C (DP Alt Mode, 65W PD)
Other PortsHeadphone Jack, 2x USB 3.0
Brightness400 cd/m²
Contrast Ratio4000:1 (static)
Colors1.07 billion (8-bit + FRC)
98% DCI-P3
HDRHDR10
VESAYes (100x100mm)

The Pros:

  • High contrast ratio and pixel density
  • Wide color gamut with different color space presets
  • Plenty of features, including VRR + MBR up to 144Hz
  • Ergonomic stand and rich connectivity options, including USB-C with 65W PD

The Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Minor ghosting in fast-paced games, mainly in darker scenes
  • Some units of the monitor have flickering issues with VRR enabled

Related Reads

BenQ EX3203R Review
BenQ EX3203R Review: 1440p 144Hz FreeSync Curved Gaming Monitor
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.