Dell S3220DGF, Gigabyte G32QC and other 32″ 1440p gaming monitors

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  • #61696
    Jothin

    I’m returning the G32QC. It arrived with 3 dead pixels. Colours looked washed out and the blur on movement is a big issue for me. I tried tweaking the settings, freesync on, off, balanced, strong to different colour setups. Nothing helped the situation.

    Yet another return. Back to the drawing board on what to get next. Either way, it will be an IPS panel and 27 inches (I can’t find a 32 inch IPS 144hz+ monitor anywhere). Personally, as much as VA panels have better contrast compared to IPS panels, their limitations are too distracting to enjoy this advantage.

    All the points you made in your review where valid and a clear limitation of this monitor. Thanks again for all your hard work.

    #61698
    PCM2

    I’m sorry that you didn’t get on with the Gigabyte and also that it arrived with dead pixels. These can unfortunately affect any monitor really, but even if it were ‘pixel perfect’ the other issues you had would persist. There are a few alternatives that will be arriving that offer ~32″ IPS-type panels, although they will come at a significant price premium compared to the VA options. The Acer XB323U GP is already available in some regions, it has just been released in the UK but is only available from Acer directly currently (for £799). I’d expect a slightly lower price and retail availability from others to follow in the not too distant future, I’m not sure exactly when. There’s also the ASUS PG329Q but that hasn’t been released anywhere yet.

    #61762
    ceaton88

    @ Jothin did you find the S3220DGF better than the G32QC in terms of blur on movement? I’ve only seen good reports on colours for the G32QC so your comment about colours being washed out is confusing.

    Also, just going back to a previous post about the S3220DGF flickering, did you use a DP 1.4 cable or the supplied DP 1.2 cable? I’ve seen many reports online saying the flickering does not occur if using a quality DP 1.4 cable instead

    #61764
    PCM2

    Just to note that DisplayPort cables don’t explicitly have versions, that’s just marketing. Some are particularly poor quality or don’t support all compression standards and are therefore prone to occasional signal blanking or other issues – look out for ones that are “VESA certified”. I personally recommend and use nice quality braided cables but also test monitors using the supplied DP cable and I haven’t come across any cable-specific issues on the models I’ve tested. A moderate amount of flickering within the VRR range is observed on the S3220DGF regardless of cable used. The cable can’t improve or change the voltage behaviour that causes this.

    #61765
    ceaton88

    Ok cool, don’t suppose you remember which firmware revision you tested on the S3220DGF? The latest it ships with is A03.

    Is flicker something something prospective owners are expected to live with or is this a known issue with this model?

    #61767
    PCM2

    I haven’t tested the monitor myself, this is based on extensive user feedback. Flickering issues in a VRR environment are common on VA models for reasons explored in our Gigabyte review and already covered on this thread. Firmware isn’t going to fix this, just like the best DP cable in the world won’t. I’m talking about flickering that’s characteristic on VA panels due to voltage regulation in a VRR environment here – there can be additional flickering on top of what you might expect and Jothin observed and mentioned some of this himself on the Dell. This additional flickering could potentially be improved in firmware, but no evidence it has in this case and it won’t eliminate all instances of flickering, either.

    #61768
    ceaton88

    Mod edit: Additional background from user – threads merged as we’ve already covered a lot of this here and there’s no need to duplicate things and for me to repeat myself elsewhere.

    Having recently picked up an OLED TV it really exposed how bad the black levels are on my current S2417DG. After some research it appears you have to sacrifice either speed or black levels if not going OLED so I am on a journey to find the most well balanced monitor.

    I had a G32QC for a week but returned it due to bad black uniformity and blur on fast moving games, now looking at the S3220DGF but wondering if its a pointless side step to the G32QC and also possible issues with flicker on G sync is a concern.

    Also looked at the G7 but struggle to wrap my head around the price considering the value you get with the G32QC and S3220DGF.

    I’m not a hardcore competitive gamer but do enjoy a game of Warzone at the moment. In comparison to OLED I thought a VA panel would be the next best thing in terms of black levels but found the blur during fast transitions on the G32QC a bit too noticable vs my S2417DG (TN panel).

    I plan to stay on 1440p for the foreseeable and grab a 3080 when I can, so maybe 240hz VA is the answer?

    #61771
    PCM2

    To add a little more given the additional background you’ve provided. Some key points:

    – It will be interesting to see Jothin’s take on things regarding motion performance on the Dell vs. Gigabyte. But the way I see it they both suffer from some significant weaknesses which cause ‘smeary’ trailing. They’re generally more widespread on the Gigabyte.

    – The Dell should be just as prone to dark uniformity issues as the Gigabyte, in theory. Clouding was quite bad on my Gigabyte unit compared to some other models with Samsung SVA panels I’ve seen recently, though, so maybe there is a possible difference there. Inter-unit variation is a strong force either way.

    – The Dell does seem to have additional flickering issues as highlighted by Jothin’s posts. I’m sure he had a recent revision of the monitor but I’m not convinced this would make a difference.

    – The Samsung Odyssey G7 (C32G75T) has weaker contrast in comparison to the Dell and Gigabyte. Plenty of reports of poor uniformity, but that’s a lottery again. There are many reports of at times distracting flickering during VRR operation on both AMD and Nvidia GPUs. And some find the curve overbearing even if they found more gentle curves acceptable.

    – The C32G75T offers significant pixel response time improvements and you benefit from the 240Hz with a fairly convincing performance there. But it still has isolated weaknesses, more ‘heavy powdery’ trailing vs. smeary trailing – I touch upon this in the responsiveness section of the Gigabyte review, by the way.

    – If you want a substantial upgrade in colour vibrancy and consistency and pixel response performance and your budget allows consider something like the Acer XB323U GP. I should be reviewing it in the not too distant future. And in many respects you’d probably find the contrast performance more pleasing than the Dell S2417DG. Yes you’d have ‘IPS glow’ now, but also stronger static contrast and far superior gamma consistency.

    #61777
    ceaton88

    @ PCM2 many thanks for your responses, the XB323UGP looks good but at £800.00 is difficult to justify. At this rate I am tempted to look into a 48 CX and put up with the massive size or rearrange my desk setup.

    #61782
    PCM2

    There will be some potential alternatives to consider next year due to some newly released and upcoming 31.5″ high refresh rate VA panels from AUO. I was quite impressed with the balance struck by the 32GK850G in terms of contrast performance and responsiveness and I haven’t really seen this replicated by another ~32″ model since. That used an AUO rather than Samsung panel – the new AUO panels in question have a steep 1000R curve. I’m not aware of any specific models using them yet, but we’ll surely see some next year. Of course, that’s not much comfort for you given that you need a solution now. But it could be of interest to others reading this thread.

    #61785
    uncia

    Adam, considering the experience I had with the ultrawide from LG, I’ve been reconsidering options like Acer’s XB323U GP. It looks like it might be limited to DP 1.2, and with it a 120Hz cap on 10 bit colour, or it may not even be capable of 8+fcr. Acer’s specs list 16.7M colour coverage. MSI’s Creator PS321QR evidently has the same limitations. To have 99% Adobe RGB coverage and 95% DCI-P3 coverage, HDR 600 rating, etc., I would think it would be another “10” bit panel. Then is that really just marketing at this point? Do the panels that use dithering really have less banding than those that are 8-bit only? Why limit it to DP 1.2 though?

    MSI looks to have a nicer, cleaner package, but they also haven’t the best of consistency from what I’ve seen and also read from others. Asus has been making monitors for creators as aside to their gaming models for years, but MSI really is just trying their hand at this. There’s no telling if their implementation will be worthwhile.

    I have fairly good vision, but I find the PPI of 1080p on a 24-inch is very nice, clean, crisp, and clear. It’s not quite as stunning as 1440p on a 27-inch, but most web content, as well as software and content in general, is so tiny on it. Scaling is counterproductive unless it’s 4K you’re scaling Windows 25% with. 1440p scaled just has a softness. So I might as well consider 1440p on a 32-inch panel. If you need the extra crispness, sit back a little farther. If you need to read text, sit a little closer. I think it might be a good middle ground. I almost wish someone would make a 1440p model at 38 inches for the extra horizontal real estate while keeping the PPI easier to view. Wouldn’t 3880×1440 work out to about the same 93 PPI as 1440p on a 32-inch?

    Then there’s Acer’s upcoming X34 GS that might well derail me again. That’s for another threat though.

    #61788
    PCM2

    I’m a bit confused myself about what bit-depth and DP revision the XB323U GP actually has. In the manual there’s a nice picture showing the OSD and on there it clearly shows “DP 1.4” as a selectable DP revision. The manual is pretty sparse and doesn’t include official specifications etc. Some spec sheets doing the rounds in Asia before the model was released elsewhere also mentioned 10-bit (1.07 billion colours), but now the official product pages seem to state 8-bit (16.7 million colours). And they also also mention DP 1.2. Manufacturers do sometimes make annoying errors in their product pages and spec sheets so it’s difficult to know how things stand with this. It’s possible it only has DP 1.2a+ (with HDR featureset) and that’s simply listed as ‘DP 1.4’ in the OSD because of the featureset. That would also mean you’d be getting 8-bits from the monitor itself at the full 170Hz, so maybe they just decided to specify that.

    It’s not something I’d concern yourself with, though. The vast majority of content you consume outside of HDR is 8-bit content. So even if you had a 10-bit monitor, you’d only be making use of 8-bits per subpixel. 10-bit models with an integrated dithering stage tend to respond better to fairly extreme adjustments to the image from rigorous calibration vs. 8-bit monitors. Even if the dithering stage should theoretically be disabled or of no use (8-bit content). But for the more common minor adjustments made during calibration or indeed ‘out of the box’ you only benefit from 10-bit support for applications that specifically use that. For most users the only 10-bit content consumed will be HDR content, but (and this surprised me) the GPU is exceptionally good at filling in any gaps in bit-depth from the monitor itself. This is covered in quite a few of our recent reviews of HDR models, where I’ve tested 10-bit achieved with monitor-side and GPU-side dithering extensively. The end result really is very similar.

    Interestingly I’ve seen some models that will allow you to use GPU dithering for SDR purposes as well. The BenQ PD2705Q and Gigabyte G32QC are both true 8-bit monitors, for example. But the dithering stage that’s added by the GPU primarily for HDR purposes can also be used for SDR. It will give some benefit for 10-bit content in SDR, but this isn’t something I’ve really made use of myself so I can’t compare it to dithering on the monitor. HDR involves a lot of careful processing and coordination which is probably why GPU dithering can be used so effectively – SDR not so much, so I think if you’ve got a 10-bit workflow it’s best to have the monitor handling the 10-bit signal itself.

    Edit/Eureka moment: Since the AUO M320DAN02.2 is a true 8-bit panel (the Acer and MSI both use this), it’s very unlikely that either model has its own dithering stage. It’s very rare for a manufacturer to add this, it’s usually always integrated into the panel. I think the 10-bit that’s specified by MSI and was shown on some material for the Acer likely reflects the fact 10-bit is ‘supported’ using the GPU dithering method I described above. It’s quite cheeky and I can see why Acer didn’t want to specify that on their official product pages. MSI on the other hands, well, they obviously have lower standards. I think I’ve said before how they like to stretch the truth a bit with their specifications. 😉

    #61792
    ceaton88

    The GX is the same as the GP but offers 270hz over the 170hz of the GP. The XB3 lineup is looking strong though, thanks for the tip.

    #61794
    PCM2

    Yes, the XB323U GX is the 270Hz version of the 170Hz XB323U GP. It will come at a slight price premium, or the ‘GP’ price may be reduced once both are available. For many users it would be overkill due to how difficult it is to consistently drive above 170fps at the 2560 x 1440 (WQHD) resolution anyway. But for those who want the extra refresh rate and can make use of it, it’s a nice option – they both have their place and are very interesting models.

    #61797
    uncia

    I read some user reviews, few as they are so far, and it would seem the menu shows it as a DP 1.4 connection, and nVidia’s control panel allows a 10-bit signal to be sent. Though they didn’t say whether this is managed past 120Hz, which wouldn’t be the case if it were DP 1.2a. It sounds like whether the panel itself handles the processing and dithering, or the GPU does so, it has a good effect. This monitor is so popular they’re already sold out on Amazon. I went to check tonight when I got home from work. Amazon says it doesn’t know when or “if” it will be back in stock, which isn’t a good sign. Why are these monitor manufacturers underestimating the value of a good design? Did they forget what it’s like to make something of quality, and suddenly like nVidia, are learning that people do want to buy their products?

    Though the price point for a 32-inch 1440p panel is a bit high when you can find 27-inch 4K models for around the same. I suppose it probably takes as much production cost for panels this size as the 4K variety. Yet at some point people are going to start to wonder why they’re paying so much for LCD technology when OLED can be had for not much more – with LG’s new 48-inch TV. The only issue remaining is the burn-in fear, and I can’t help but feel if manufacturers had taken the monitor side of production seriously, they’d have created 27-32-inch panels that negated the chance of burn-in by now. I guess the money isn’t in monitors like it is in TVs. Then I sometimes forget that the desktop PC is niche, no longer THE thing to have. iPhones, iPads, and laptops have taken their place, and they all get better displays. I still hold out hope though. Perhaps one day they’ll bridge the gap?

    I’ll take a 32-inch AMOLED now, thank you. The colour is supposed to be better, right? At least it seems great on my cellphone. I should read up on it again. Your technical breakdowns are all very interesting, but my brain is not able to keep track. How are people smart enough to come up with these things?

    But in the world we live in, if Amazon ever gets the Acer in again, I’ll consider it. They have really been confounding with the whole return process of the LG, and I was waiting for the refund before I considered anything. Let’s hope a nice IPS at this size is the answer to a lot of people’s quests. At least, until we get something truly revolutionary. Even true QLED maybe?

    #61800
    PCM2

    The XB323U GP will be stocked again, it was just a small initial shipment as it hasn’t yet ramped up to full production volume. The virus situation has greatly gimped panel manufacturing capacity, some assembly factories have been closed for months and production lines have been relocated. It isn’t actually Acer’s fault specifically and isn’t specific to this model. Newer models like this are harder hit because there aren’t large stockpiles of the panel – it has only just entered ‘mass production’ and hasn’t really even got there yet. The virus situation has also greatly bolstered demand for monitors as more people are spending time at home for work purposes, so it has been a double hit. There’s certainly a lot of interest in the model beyond just PC users, especially amongst ‘next gen’ (counter-intuitive term) console gamers. Ever since it was brought to light it has been one of the most requested “please review” models this year, so I will be. The size and resolution combination is certainly attractive for many.

    A ~32″ OLED screen would be amazing, I agree – 48″ is just a step too far for many as a desktop model. I have no interest in reviewing it ‘as a monitor’ simply because I wouldn’t find it practical at my desk and my limit would be ~43″. For reference our OLED monitors article was published in its first form back in 2010! I never thought I’d be here a decade later still waiting for the technology to come to anything more than a handful of monitor-sized screens.

    #61808
    PCM2

    They just received another small shipment of XB323U GPs, but it’s pretty much sold out again already. Hope this stabilises shortly, but might be next year until that happens. Relatively small batches that sell out quickly is unfortunately the norm at the moment.

    #61812
    ceaton88

    @ PCM2 who are they sorry? FYI I am taking delivery of the Dell S3220DGF today, fingers crossed my eyes have not been spoilt by the fast S2417DG TN panel and I instead focus on the increased contrast and immersion.

    #61814
    PCM2

    That was with reference to Amazon US, in reply to uncia who is based there and was curious about the stocking status for that model. I hope you enjoy the S3220DGF! It will certainly be very different to the S2417DG, but hopefully you will appreciate its benefits and not find the pixel responsiveness or dark uniformity too disappointing.

    #61815
    Jothin

    @ ceaton88 The S3220DGF was on the latest firmware. I am still waiting for a refund, Dell is a terrrible company to deal with directly. I tried all sorts of cables with the Dell but no success.

    I ordered a replacement G32QC (no dead pixels). I find the G32QC has better motion handling than the S3220DGF. The second unit doesn’t have flickering issues, no dead pixels and has better colours.

    I did mention in one of my post that I had issues with youtube and netflix. This is now resolved. I stopped using chrome and switch to firefox. That simple change resolved my issue.

    I got frustrated with all the 32 inch monitors and all the problems with them, so I ordered an LG 27GN850. It came with a dead pixel and the unit is too small for me. I find nano-IPS overrated. I couldn’t tell the difference between the motion handling on LG, Dell and Gigabyte. The colours are awful on it too. I am very short sighted which maybe why I can’t tell the difference. I also couldn’t see the difference between 1440p on a 27 inch and 1440p at 32 inches.

    I am sticking with my second G32QC. It is not perfect but none of the monitors I’ve tested is. With motion handling with this monitor, there is slight clouding when moving fast. Stay away from the Speed setting on overdrive, its terrible.
    In terms of this units black levels, they are better than the LG 27GN850. They are not the best but they are not the worst at all.

    I’ve also tried this monitor on fast paced games like doom. I’ve had no issues where some say there’s issues with faster paced games. All my settings are the same as this site used. Only difference is the brightness due to the room I’m in.

    One thing I truly love about this monitor, its great if the room is full of natural light. It’s also great in a dark room.

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