Cooler Master Tempest GP27Q Review: 1440p 165Hz Mini LED HDR Gaming Monitor

The Cooler Master Tempest GP27Q is a 27" 1440p 165Hz IPS gaming monitor with VRR, MBR, 576-zone mini LED FALD, Adobe RGB gamut, USB-C, KVM, and more!

Bottom Line

The Cooler Master Tempest GP27Q is hands-down the best gaming monitor you can get for 500 USD.

Design:
(5.0)
Display:
(4.8)
Performance:
(4.9)
Price/Value:
(5.0)
4.9

For many gamers, the combination of 1440p resolution and a high refresh rate is still the sweet spot when it comes to 27″ sized displays.

The Cooler Master Tempest GP27U further perfects this popular form factor by using an IPS panel with a fast response time and wide color gamut, as well as 576-zone mini LED FALD backlighting for proper HDR image quality at an appealing price.

Image Quality

On 27-inch monitors, the 1440p QHD resolution has a pixel density of 108.79 PPI (pixels per inch), resulting in sharp text, crisp details, plenty of screen real estate and no scaling necessary.

Furthermore, it’s not nearly as demanding to drive as 4K UHD, allowing you to maintain high frame rates with a decent mid-range PC rig.

There is a 4K version of this monitor, the Cooler Master Tempest GP27U, which has a higher pixel density of 163.18 PPI, and while it does offer clearer text and details, the difference in games and videos is not that noticeable.

Of course, if you want to use your monitor for coding, editing or similar work where you want the text to be as clear as possible, the 4K model is worth considering too.

However, keep in mind that besides costing $300 extra, it’ll also be a lot more taxing on your CPU/GPU, so make sure you’ll be satisfied with the frame rate you’d get with your PC system.

Moving on, the Cooler Master Tempest GP27Q uses an IPS panel with a wide 99% Adobe RGB and 98% DCI-P3 color gamut coverage thanks to the quantum dot enhanced film layer, providing you with exceptionally vibrant colors.

You also get excellent Delta E < 2 factory calibration and dedicated color modes for several color spaces, including sRGB, DCI-P3, Adobe RGB and BT. 2020. For optimal image quality, make sure ‘Color Temperature’ is set to ‘User Color.’

The IPS panel ensures that the image remains accurate and consistent thanks to the 178° wide viewing angles, making the GP27Q an excellent choice for color-critical work as well.

Next, the monitor can get very bright (up to around 600-nits), as well as maintain a decent minimum brightness of ~50-nits. As expected from an IPS display, there is some IPS glow and the contrast ratio is only average at around 1,000:1, but that’s where the local dimming solution comes in.

The Cooler Master Tempest GP27Q monitor has a mini LED backlight with 576 zones that can dim parts of the image that are supposed to be dark without affecting the areas that are supposed to remain bright, thus further boosting the contrast ratio.

Edge lit Dimming vs Full array Dimming

Naturally, since there are almost 4 million pixels spread across the 27″ sized screen of the GP27Q and ‘only’ 576 dimming zones, the light from a small bright object can bleed into the surrounding dimmed zones and create blooming or the halo effect.

This is mostly visible in really demanding scenes, such as stars in the night sky, fireworks, around the subtitles, etc. So, during regular desktop use, it’s best to disable local dimming. Otherwise, you can enable local dimming in both SDR and HDR.

In addition to putting its wide color gamut and full-array local dimming solution to good use, HDR content also gets a boost in peak brightness up to around 1,300-nits for vivid and punchy highlights and full-screen flashes!

There are three HDR modes: Low, Medium and High. The ‘high’ mode allows for the highest brightness, but Medium is more accurate while still offering exceptional brightness levels, so we recommend sticking with it.

Performance

freesync and gsync

There are six response time overdrive modes available: Off, Normal, Advanced, Ultra Fast, Dynamic and User (adjustable overdrive from 0 to 100 in increments of 1).

Off is too slow, Ultra Fast is too aggressive as it as adds overshoot, while Dynamic is supposed to act as variable/adaptive overdrive, but it’s not properly tuned.

The Advanced mode offers the best results above 120Hz, while below 100Hz, you should use the Normal mode in order to prevent inverse ghosting.

Now, the difference between Advanced and Normal above 120Hz is fairly subtle in real use, so if you just want to use one mode for variable refresh rate gaming, you can use the Normal mode or set the User mode to ’20’ for even better results.

The variable refresh rate is supported via AMD FreeSync and NVIDIA G-SYNC Compatible, and even though the Cooler Master GP27Q doesn’t appear on either official list of certified products, there are no performance issues. You get tear-free gameplay up to 165FPS with no perceptible latency or visual artifacts added.

When using VRR and local dimming simultaneously, you might detect flickering in certain scenes or games, so you might have to disable one of the two features.

All in all, we find that the Tempest GP27Q is an excellent gaming monitor despite its blooming and occasional flickering issues. The 27″ 1440p 165Hz IPS panel with fast response time, VRR support, exceptional color gamut coverage, fully ergonomic stand and extensive connectivity options (KVM, USB-C) is worth $500 without even adding the 576-zone mini LED FALD backlight to the equation.

So, the fact that in some games simultaneous VRR and local dimming operation might work suboptimally is forgivable.

Unlike the 4K version, the GP27Q also supports Motion Blur Reduction called ‘MPRT’, which uses backlight strobing to reduce perceived motion blur at a cost of picture brightness. However, it can only be active at a fixed refresh rate of at least 120Hz.

Input lag amounts to ~4ms, which is imperceptible. Local dimming adds around 10ms of latency, but it’s not noticeable in graphically-oriented games or everyday use. For competitive gaming, you should disable local dimming anyway.

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

Finally, make sure you have the latest firmware installed, which allows for VRR and local dimming to be enabled at the same time, offers better KVM functionality and unlocks color adjustments in all picture modes.

Features

At the back of the monitor, there’s a directional joystick for quick and easy navigation through the OSD (On-Screen Display) menu.

Useful gaming features include Black Stabilization (improves visibility in dark scenes), various picture modes, on-screen timers, a refresh rate tracker and crosshair overlays.

Besides the standard image settings (brightness, contrast, color temperature, aspect ratio, etc.), you also get some advanced tools, including automatic input source detection, sharpness, 6-axis hue/saturation, gamma modes (from 1.8 to 2.6).

Design & Connectivity

Cooler Master Tempest GP27Q Design

The stand of the monitor is sturdy and versatile with up to 110mm height adjustment, 90° pivot, -5°/15° tilt, +/- 15° swivel and 100x100mm VESA mount compatibility, while the screen has a light matte anti-glare coating that prevents reflections without making the image too grainy.

There are also some RGB lighting elements at the rear of the monitor.

Connectivity options include DisplayPort 1.4, two HDMI 2.0 ports (limited to 144Hz), a USB-C port with DP 1.4 Alt Mode and 90W PD, a headphone jack, dual 3W built-in speakers and integrated KVM functionality.

Price & Similar Monitors

The Cooler Master Tempest GP27Q goes for $500, which is excellent value for the money.

Even if it didn’t have a 576-zone mini LED FALD backlight, it would be the best 27″ 1440p 165Hz IPS gaming monitor for the money thanks to its wide color gamut, fast response time, ergonomic design and rich connectivity options. Add to that proper HDR viewing experience, and you get a pretty sweet deal!

The GP27U model goes for $300 more, so if you have a powerful PC rig to do it justice and/or also use your display for work, it’s definitely worth considering too.

If you are looking for something a bit different, be sure to check out our best monitors under $500 and best HDR monitors buyer’s guides.

Conclusion

Overall, you can’t go wrong with the Cooler Master Tempest GP27Q for the price. It offers excellent image quality, performance and features, unmatched by any display at this price range.

Specifications

Screen Size27-inch
Resolution2560×1440 (QHD)
Panel TypeIPS
Aspect Ratio16:9 (Widescreen)
Refresh Rate165Hz
Response Time (GtG)1ms
Response Time (MPRT)1ms (MPRT)
Adaptive-SyncFreeSync (48-165Hz)
Speakers2x3W
PortsDisplayPort 1.4, 2x HDMI 2.0,
USB-C (DP 1.4 Alt Mode, 90W PD)
Other PortsHeadphone Jack, 2x USB 3.0
Brightness600 cd/m²
Brightness (HDR)1200 cd/m²
Contrast Ratio1000:1 (static)
Colors1.07 billion (8-bit + FRC)
99% Adobe RGB, 98% DCI-P3
HDRDisplayHDR 1000
Local Dimming576-zone mini LED FALD
VESAYes (100x100mm)

The Pros:

  • High peak brightness, decent pixel density, wide color gamut
  • 576-zone mini LED FALD
  • Quick repsonse time, low input lag
  • Plenty of features, including VRR and MBR up to 165FPS
  • Fully ergonomic stand and rich connectivity options, including KVM and USB-C with 90W PD

The Cons:

  • Minor blooming/haloing noticeable in certain scenes
  • Occasional flickering issues when using VRR and local dimming simultaneously

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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.