Review: MSI's MPG Artymis Gaming Monitor Is a 34-inch Curved Beauty

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As soon as you put the MSI MPG Artymis 343CQR gaming monitor on your desk, that aggressive 1000R curve slaps you in the face. There’s nothing subtle about it, and I absolutely love it.
According to MSI, 1000R is roughly the same curvature as the human eye. It helps reduce eye strain, apparently. But I don’t care about that one bit when I’m thinking about high-end gaming monitors. All I could think about was how awesome Microsoft Flight Simulator will look on it.
Spoiler alert: MS Flight Sim looks awesome! And that’s the perfect game for this kind of monitor — an ultrawide, VA-type panel with a silky smooth 165Hz refresh rate. It’s a spectacular canvas for sure, but the VA tech might not be everyone’s cup of tea.

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MSI MPG Artymis 343CQR Monitor Technical Specifications

  • 34-inch ultrawide 1000R curved display
  • 3440 x 1440 resolution (21:9 ratio)
  • VA-type panel
  • 160Hz refresh rate
  • AMD Freesync
  • HDR400 certified (around 400 nits peak brightness)
  • 4ms GTG response time (1ms MPRT)
  • 92.7% DCI-P3, 117.8% sRGB
  • Built-in mouse bungie and headset holder
  • 2x HDMI 2.0 ports, 1x DisplayPort 1.4
  • 1x USB-C (with DisplayPort video-in capability), 3x USB Type-A ports
  • Rear RGB lighting

Bending to Your Will

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Before you do anything with this screen, it’s hard not to take a moment to appreciate that 1000R curve. If the world of curvature measurements confuses you like they did me at first, just know that the lower the number, the steeper the curve. You’ll find 1800R curved screens all day, maybe some 1500R.  But a 1000R curve is a new level of extreme.
It’s also absolutely perfect for an ultrawide display. In fact, I find the benefit of smaller curved monitors to be questionable at best. But at this size, it really gives you the feeling of being in a wrap-around cockpit.
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So my first test was a no-brainer. This screen looks like it was purpose-built for Microsoft Flight Simulator. I’m a dork, so I pull the screen as close to my face as my flight yoke will allow in order to take in those gorgeous sky views in all their glory. And that’s all it took to convince me that 1000R is the perfect curvature. It effectively means that all areas of the screen are facing directly towards you, right out to the very edge. You are at the center of the action.
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This is also great for multi-tasking with three side-by-side windows, because any text or video that stretches out towards the edge of the screen remains perfectly in view.

A Perfect Match, for Better or for Worse

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The flight sim is actually a perfect tech demo for this VA-type screen in more ways than one. Inky deep blacks are a major strength for VA panels, and this is perfectly demonstrated by the often contrasting views of planet Earth from 10,000 feet.
Color reproduction is good too, which shows in the rich green forests, the deep blue sky and the lush yellow rays of a sunset piercing through low-hanging clouds. It took some tweaking of the settings to get an image I was happy with, largely because the included presets in the OSD menu range from garish to muted to blown out, but once I got it locked in, it looked marvelous.
A flight simulator is also a slow-paced game, which hides one of the weaknesses of VA panels: slow pixel response times. IPS screens used to be the industry slouch when it comes to pixel response, but have improved in recent years to reach those lofty claims of a 1ms GTG performance.
VA, it seems, has lagged behind. While 4ms GTG isn’t bad (MSI touts 1ms MPRT, but that can be misleading), I certainly noticed motion blur in faster games, as well as slight ghostly trails behind contrasting objects as they moved across the screen. I also noticed it when scrolling on web pages, where large black letters would leave behind streaks on the white background.
It’s not a deal breaker. I prefer modern IPS panels these days, but I played hours of DOOM Eternal on the Artymis and, after 20 minutes, I completely forgot about any blur that I had initially noticed. At 165Hz with G-Sync support enabled (FreeSync with G-Sync support is compatible with AMD and NVIDIA graphics cards), this screen made everything I threw at it look spectacular.
Consider it a trade-off, then. Modern IPS panels are fast now, and still boast the best color reproduction you can get. But they tend to be more expensive and still suffer from backlight bleed that results in less-than-stellar black levels. VA panels fall slightly short on color reproduction and may not be as sharp in motion anymore, but they are usually cheaper and have the best blacks, which is ideal in darker settings.
That said, if your job outside of demon slaying is photo or video production, you’ll probably want to invest a little extra in an IPS ultrawide (or — shameless plug — find one on sale via Slickdeals).

Giving Gamers the Edge

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MSI cuts no corners in making sure gamers have every feature they could need in a monitor. And I’m not just talking about the frivolous things like its striking rear design with obligatory RGB lighting.
On the right side of the display is a retractable headphone hanger arm, which is nice. In the box you also get a mouse bungee, which can be mounted on the left or right side of the display. I actually really like that.
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On the rear is a macro button, which can be assigned a custom function for one-touch access to a given setting or feature. The rear joystick is also nice, and makes OSD navigation a breeze.
Speaking of the OSD, the Artymis is packed with gamer-centric settings, which can be controlled either via the OSD menu or in Windows via the MSI Gaming OSD app. Alongside the usual on-screen crosshairs, there’s an Optix Scope option that magnifies a square section of the middle of the screen like a zoom scope. It’s borderline cheating, but I’ll take all the help I can get.
The typical Night Vision mode raises blacks to help you see enemies in the shadows, but I leave that off because I don’t like the side effect of washed out colors.
MSI was also clever in its support for gaming consoles. The Artymis features a Console Mode, which automatically activates when you connect it to a source like the PS5. Sony’s new console has been causing headaches for PC monitor users, because it doesn’t support ultrawide resolutions. In console mode, the Artymis will accept the PS5’s 4K output and downscale it to fit within the panel’s 1440p vertical resolution, with black borders on the sides to maintain the PS5’s native 16:9 ratio.

Should You Buy the MSI MPG Artymis Gaming Monitor?

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With a fast 165Hz refresh rate, FreeSync with G-Sync compatibility, great picture quality, and tons of gamer-centric features packed into a massive 34-inch panel, the Artymis 343CQR gaming monitor ticks all of the right boxes for gamers. And that aggressive 1000R curve only works to enhance the spectacle.
IPS screens may be the new dominant force in high-end gaming monitors (and definitely better for visual professionals), but the Artymis proves there’s still life yet in VA panels, not least because they tend to offer better value. And at the fair price of $899.99, this display is a good example of that.

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Mike Jackson
Mike Jackson
Mike Jackson has been writing for high-profile publications for 16 years, primarily in the video game industry, but also covering tech. Mike is an obsessed video game hoarder with hundreds of games spanning a 30-year collection. An entire room in his house is dedicated to Super Mario, and he thinks the Nintendo Switch is “the best invention in human history.” Counseling may be necessary.

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