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 dark shades as well as an overall excellent relation between the darkest and the brightest colors.
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 gamut 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 ~12ms.
A 100Hz refresh rate provides a big jump in motion clarity from 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 a particular unit of the monitor.
Getting ~100FPS at 1440p 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, RTX 20-series, or newer).
The synchronized refresh rate, also referred to as a 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 without any issues when using a compatible NVIDIA graphics card, even though the MSI MAG341CQ is not officially G-SYNC compatible.
Beneath the bottom bezel at the right side of the monitor, you will find four hotkeys used for OSD (On-Screen Display) menu navigation and a power button.
When the menu is not opened, 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 (red, green, and blue color values), 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, a DisplayPort, and a 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 amounts to only $480 which makes it an incredibly good deal considering that similar monitors usually cost at least $700.
Competitive and hardcore FPS gamers who are sensitive to motion blur and trailing won’t like this display, but then again, at this price range, they can get a 1080p 240Hz gaming monitor instead.
If you mostly play RPGs, single-player FPSs, and other more graphically-oriented games, you won’t be able to find a better gaming monitor for the price when it comes to gaming immersion.
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)|
What We Loved
- Unbeatable value for the price
- Plenty of gaming features including FreeSync
- Stable FreeSync performance with NVIDIA cards
- High contrast ratio and crisp image quality
What We Didn’t Like
- 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
MSI MAG341CQ Review
- Design - 8/108/10
- Display - 9/109/10
- Performance - 8/108/10
- Price/Value - 10/1010/10
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.
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.