Gigabyte M32U Review: 4K 144Hz 1ms FreeSync IPS Gaming Monitor

The Gigabyte M32U is a reasonably priced 32" 4K 144Hz IPS gaming monitor with a fast 1ms GtG response speed time, FreeSync, MBR and DisplayHDR 400.

Bottom Line

The Gigabyte M32U is the best value 32″ 4K 144Hz gaming monitor available thanks to its fast IPS panel with wide color gamut and plethora of features, including FreeSync and MBR up to 144Hz, an ergonomic stand and rich connectivity options.

Design:
(4.7)
Display:
(4.7)
Performance:
(4.8)
Price/Value:
(4.5)
4.7

The Gigabyte M32U is a 32″ 4K 144Hz gaming monitor based on an IPS panel with a fast 1ms GtG response time speed and a wide 90% DCI-P3 color gamut.

It’s essentially the same monitor as the Gigabyte Aorus FI32U, just without the premium design and gimmicky features such as RGB lighting – for $200 less.

Image Quality

The Gigabyte M32U monitor is based on an Innolux IPS panel providing you with the standard benefits you can expect from this panel technology, including wide 178° viewing angles and accurate color output.

The image remains perfect regardless of the angle you’re looking at the screen, while the colors are precise and consistent across the entire screen.

It has a wide color gamut, covering 90% of the DCI-P3 color space, which is equivalent to around 125% sRGB. So, you get a bit more saturated and rich colors. When viewing sRGB content, this can result in a bit of over-saturation, but nothing over-the-top, just a tad more added vibrancy.

If you want more accurate sRGB output, you can use the provided sRGB emulation mode with adjustable brightness that clamps the gamut down to ~100% sRGB.

Further, the Gigabyte M32U has a contrast ratio of 1,000:1, which is standard for IPS monitors, while its brightness peaks at 350-nits for SDR and 400-nits for HDR content.

The screen can get more than bright enough under normal lighting conditions, but the HDR viewing experience is subpar as the monitor lacks a full-array local dimming solution that would improve the contrast ratio performance. Such displays are naturally more expensive, like the ASUS PG32UQX that goes for $3,000.

So, even though the M32U supports HDR, you shouldn’t buy it solely for HDR content consumption. It does have some local dimming, but with only 16 zones, it’s barely an improvement.

The main selling point of the Gigabyte M32U is its fast 144Hz IPS panel combined with the 32″ 4K form factor at an appealing price.

Even on the 31.5″ viewable screen of the M32U, the 4K UHD resolution looks incredibly crisp thanks to the high pixel density of 140 PPI (pixel per inch). You get plenty of screen space as well as sharp details and text with none or little (~125%) scaling necessary.

In comparison, 1440p resolution on 32″ screens has a rather mediocre pixel density of 93 PPI, the same as that of 24″ 1080p monitors. On 27″ monitors, 1440p looks great with 108 PPI – so, most users find that 1440p is ideal for 27″ and that 4K UHD is ideal for 32″ sized screens, that is, if you have a powerful enough PC rig for 4K gaming.

Performance

There are five response time overdrive settings available: Off, Picture Quality, Balance, Speed and Smart OD.

The Off mode offers the best performance across the entire refresh rate range, without any prominent trailing or overshoot noticeable.

If you’re using the Gigabyte M32U display at a fixed 144Hz refresh rate or if you’re using a variable refresh rate (VRR) and your frame rate is constantly over 100FPS, the Picture Quality mode can speed up pixel response time performance a bit at a cost of some minor overshoot.

So, the best overdrive mode will vary depending on your preference, in-game performance and other settings, but most importantly, you will be able to get a smooth fast-paced gaming experience.

When the sRGB emulation mode is enabled, the overdrive becomes locked to ‘Smart OD’ which isn’t as good as Off or Picture Quality since there’s more ghosting and overshoot. Since the over-saturation is minor on this monitor and not really a big issue when gaming, we recommend avoiding the sRGB emulation mode for games.

FreeSync Premium Pro is supported for tear-free gameplay up to 144FPS, and even though the monitor is not officially certified by NVIDIA as ‘G-SYNC Compatible’ VRR works without issues with compatible GeForce cards.

Input lag is imperceptible at ~4ms, so you won’t be able to notice any delays between your actions and the result on the screen. Just make sure you have the latest firmware installed for optimal performance.

The monitor also supports Aim Stabilizer Sync, which allows you to use backlight strobing (Aim Stabilizer) at the same time as VRR in order to improve motion clarity with minimal visual artifacts – only brightness is reduced.

The backlight is flicker-free (unless Aim Stabilizer/Sync is enabled) and there’s an integrated low-blue light filter. The Gigabyte M32U has the new Eyesafe certification, which reduces the emission of harmful low-blue lights even when there’s no dedicated filter applied.

One thing to keep in mind about IPS monitors is IPS glow. It’s an expected drawback of this technology that’s characterized as visible glowing around the corners of the screen, but it’s manageable. Its intensity also varies across different units of the monitor.

Features

Gigabyte M32U Monitor OSD Menu

The OSD (On-Screen Display) menu is well-organized and easy to use thanks to the directional joystick at the rear of the monitor. You can also make your adjustments in the OSD Sidekick desktop application.

You’ll find plenty of gaming features, including Black Equalizer (improves visibility in dark scenes), various picture presets (three custom modes), customizable crosshair overlays, on-screen timers and a refresh rate tracker.

Other useful features include Picture in Picture and Picture by Picture, Dashboard (allows you to track PC system performance on the screen, such as CPU/GPU temperature, utilization, etc.) and advanced image adjustment tools (gamma, color vibrance, sharpness, 6-axis hue/saturation).

There’s also an integrated KVM switch that allows you to connect two devices to the screen and use one set of keyboard/mouse to control both.

Design & Connectivity

Gigabyte M32U Monitor Design

The stand of the monitor is sturdy and ergonomic with up to 130mm height adjustment, -5°/20° tilt, +/- 30º swivel and 100x100mm VESA mount compatibility.

The screen has ultra-thin bezels at the top and at the sides, and it uses a light matte anti-glare coating that prevents reflections without making the image grainy.

Connectivity options include DisplayPort 1.4 with DSC, two HDMI 2.1 ports, a USB-C port (with DP 1.4 Alt Mode and up to 18W Power Delivery), two 3W integrated speakers, a headphone jack and a USB 3.0 hub (1 upstream + 3 downstream ports).

Note that the HDMI 2.1 ports are limited to 24 Gbps and use DSC (Display Stream Compression) for 4K 144Hz 10-bit color 4:4:4. This is not an issue for Xbox consoles or modern graphics cards, however, the PS5 is limited to 4K 120Hz 10-bit color with 4:2:0 instead of 4:2:2 as it lacks DSC; you most likely won’t notice it in games though.

Price & Similar Monitors

The Gigabyte M32U goes for $800, which makes it the most affordable 32″ 4K 144Hz IPS gaming monitor. The Aorus FI32U model goes for $200 more yet all it offers extra is a microphone jack with active noise cancellation, RGB lighting and a premium design.

So, we highly recommend going with the M32U as it offers much better value for money. If you can afford something pricier, consider the ASUS PG32UQ for $1,000.

It has a wide Adobe RGB color gamut and better DisplayHDR 600 support, but it has a bit slower response time.

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

All in all, the Gigabyte M32U is an excellent 32″ 4K 144Hz gaming monitor for the price. Its IPS panel offers vibrant colors, wide viewing angles and a quick response time speed, while FreeSync up to 144Hz ensures smooth performance, and there’s plenty of extra features available.

Specifications

Screen Size31.5-inch
Resolution3840×2160 (Ultra HD)
Panel TypeIPS
Aspect Ratio16:9 (Widescreen)
Refresh Rate144Hz
Response Time (GtG)1ms (GtG)
Response Time (Aim Stabilizer Sync)1ms (MPRT)
Adaptive-SyncFreeSync (48-144Hz)
Speakers2x3W
PortsDisplayPort 1.4, 2x HDMI 2.1,
USB-C (DP 1.4 Alt Mode)
Other PortsHeadphone Jack, 3x USB 3.0
Brightness350 cd/m²
Brightness (HDR)400 cd/m²
Contrast Ratio1000:1 (static)
Colors1.07 billion (8-bit + FRC)
90% DCI-P3
HDRDisplayHDR 400
Local Dimming16-zone
VESAYes (100x100mm)

The Pros:

  • High pixel density, wide color gamut, consistent colors
  • Quick response time speed
  • Plenty of features, including FreeSync and MBR up to 144Hz
  • Ergonomic design and rich connectivity options

The Cons:

  • Design lacks pivot option
  • Locked overdrive in the sRGB mode
  • IPS glow and mediocre contrast ratio (as expected from this panel technology)
  • Some overshoot at low refresh rates/when using VRR with the Picture Quality overdrive mode

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Rob Shafer
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.