The MSI MAG341CQ is one of the best gaming monitors under $500 you can get. If you prefer better graphics and immersion in video games over performance in competitive titles, it’s the monitor for you.
If you’re looking for an affordable 34″ 3440×1440 100Hz ultrawide curved gaming monitor, the MSI MAG341CQ is by far the most cost-effective display you’ll find and here’s why.
Based on a VA panel with a 3,000:1 static contrast ratio, the MSI Optix MAG341CQ is capable of delivering deep and vivid blacks as well as an overall excellent relation between the darkest and the brightest shades.
In comparison, most IPS and TN panels have a maximum contrast ratio of 1,000:1 which makes black colors appear grayish. Further, the MSI MAG341CQ display covers 110% of the sRGB color space ensuring vibrant and striking colors with true 8-bit depth.
The UWQHD resolution of 3440×1440 pixels makes for plenty of screen space and eye-catching detail clarity due to the high pixel density of 110 PPI (pixels per inch) which eliminates any need for scaling.
Unlike IPS panels, the MSI MAG341CQ VA-panel monitor doesn’t suffer from IPS glow and has overall less backlight bleeding which further improves the viewing experience as there’s no glowing at corners/edges of the screen caused by excess light passing through the panel.
The viewing angles of 178° both horizontally and vertically cause only minor and negligible shifts in contrast, and only when looking at the screen at skewed angles.
Lastly, the MSI MAG341CQ has a flicker-free backlight and a low-blue light filter.
What may repulse many from this gaming monitor is the specified response time of 8ms (GtG) which would indicate terrible trailing/ghosting of fast-moving objects.
However, the ghosting is not more noticeable than it is on any standard VA panel display with a specified response time of 4ms (GtG).
Overall, the amount of trailing is tolerable, especially after considering the image quality and performance you get for the price.
The MSI MAG341CQ input lag performance, on the other hand, is top-notch amounting to only ~6ms.
A 100Hz refresh rate provides a big jump in motion clarity in comparison to the standard 60Hz/75Hz displays and makes fast-paced gaming feel a lot more responsive and enjoyable. It’s also possible to overclock the monitor up to ~115Hz depending on the particular unit of the monitor.
Getting ~100FPS at 3440×1440 can be quite demanding on your GPU/CPU; that is why the MSI MAG341CQ monitor has AMD FreeSync which eliminates all screen tearing and stuttering with virtually zero input lag penalty.
FreeSync works by synchronizing the monitor’s refresh rate with the GPU’s frame rate, but it requires a compatible graphics card by AMD or NVIDIA (GTX 10-series or newer).
The synchronized refresh rate, also referred to as variable refresh rate (VRR), functions as long as your FPS (Frames Per Second) rate is within 48-100Hz/FPS. LFC is supported as well which ensures a smoother performance even when your FPS rate drops below 48.
FreeSync works when using a compatible NVIDIA graphics card, even though the MSI MAG341CQ is not officially G-SYNC compatible. However, some users experience brightness flickering when FreeSync/G-SYNC is enabled.
This only affects some units of the monitor and the brightness flickering is mostly present below 48FPS and/or when your FPS rate fluctuates a lot.
Sadly, this issue affects a lot of monitors based on Samsung’s VA panels and, hopefully, a GPU driver update will fix it at some point.
Beneath the bottom bezel at the right side of the monitor, you will find four hotkeys for OSD (On-Screen Display) menu navigation and a power button.
When the menu is not open, you can use the hotkeys for shortcuts including custom crosshair placement, changing the picture mode (User, Movie, FPS, RTS, Eye Saver), and input source selection.
Other features include Picture in Picture and Picture by Picture.
While the monitor has standard adjustments such as contrast, brightness, and color temperature, there are only two gamma presets (1.8 and 2.2) and only two response time overdrive options (on and off).
Design & Connectivity
The design is the weakest point of the MSI MAG341CQ monitor as the stand is tilt-only and there’s no VESA mount compatibility. So, you will need to buy a VESA adapter if you wish to mount the screen on the wall/mounting arm.
Connectivity options include two HDMI 2.0 ports, DisplayPort 1.2, and DVI (maxes out at 60Hz). There are no audio or USB ports. FreeSync works over both HDMI and DP for AMD cards and over DP for NVIDIA cards.
The screen has an aggressive 1800R curvature which further increases the gaming immersion.
Price & Similar Monitors
The MSI MAG341CQ price usually amounts to ~$430 which makes it one of the most affordable high refresh rate 1440p ultrawide displays.
Viotek’s models don’t have as sturdy build quality, but they are VESA mount compatible.
Visit our best ultrawide monitors buyer’s guide for more information and more 21:9 gaming displays.
Thanks to its incredible image quality, performance, and available features for the price, the MSI MAG341CQ is definitely one of the best gaming monitors under 500 USD.
In fact, it’s also great for office-related/productivity work due to its rich screen real estate while its high contrast and rich colors make it an exceptional display for movies and other multimedia entertainment.
MSI MAG341CQ Specifications
|Aspect Ratio||21:9 (UltraWide)|
|Response Time||8ms (GtG)|
|Adaptive Sync||FreeSync (48Hz-100Hz)|
|Ports||DisplayPort 1.2, 2x HDMI 2.0, DVI|
|Contrast Ratio||3000:1 (static)|
|Colors||16.7 million (true 8-bit)|
- Excellent value for the price
- Plenty of gaming features including FreeSync
- High contrast ratio and crisp image quality
- No VESA mount and tilt-only design
- No audio and USB ports
- Moderate ghosting in fast-paced games, mainly in dark scenes
- Only two overdrive options