Gamers looking for a new panel on a reasonable budget may find a lot to like with the LG 32QK500-W, especially if you’re looking for the sweet spot between features, image quality, and price.
The new panel is a 31.5-inch QHD (2560×1440) IPS display, with support for a 75Hz refresh rate, two HDMI inputs, DisplayPort, and a mini-DisplayPort option. The color gamut is standard sRGB / 72 percent of NTSC, with a GtG time of 8ms and a pixel pitch of 0.2727 x 0.2727mm. Typical power consumption is said to be 46W. As an added bonus, the display also features FreeSync support — though there are a few caveats to be aware of here. First, it’s important to keep in mind that FreeSync is currently only supported on AMD GPUs, while G-Sync is an Nvidia-only solution.
Next, while it’s been reported otherwise on several publications, the LG 32QK500-W does not support AMD’s Low Framerate Compensation. LFC is a technology that extends FreeSync’s functionality into lower refresh rates than it technically supports by strategically repeating certain frames to keep overall frame reproduction as smooth as possible.
In order to operate in LFC mode, a display must support a maximum FreeSync refresh rate at least 2x higher than its minimum FreeSync refresh rate. A larger range is considered better, with 2.5x often cited as the standard for enabling LFC. AMD’s current FreeSync database contains contradictory information on whether the 32QK500 currently supports LFC or not.
A FreeSync range of 48-75Hz is not large enough for FreeSync to operate in LFC mode. We spoke to Michael Anderson, Alliances Manager at AMD, who confirmed to us that the company’s database of compatible FreeSync panels is currently in the midst of being updated and has flagged the LG 32QK500-W and certain other panels as inappropriately supporting LFC. This should be fixed in the near future. He also confirmed that the 32QK500-W supports the same 48-75Hz range across all ports (the supported ranges for FreeSync can vary depending on which standard you use).
Comparing G-Sync and FreeSync
One of AMD’s biggest talking points with FreeSync is that it doesn’t carry a price premium compared with G-Sync. This is unquestionably true. The cheapest display with FreeSync support listed at Newegg is a $ 110 21.5-inch panel. The cheapest G-Sync panel listed is a $ 349 24-inch Dell with a 1440p panel and a 165Hz refresh rate. Compare the product listings, and you’ll find a much wider range of FreeSync displays, targeting a plethora of resolutions, panel types, panel sizes, and refresh rates. You’re not going to find a 32-inch 4K panel with a 144Hz refresh rate, 1ms GtG transition, FreeSync 2 HDR support, and an expanded color gamut all for $ 300, but you can pick and choose which of those capabilities you care about the most with a surprising degree of flexibility that’s empirically lacking on the G-Sync side.
The flip side to this flexibility is that it’s important to match your display to your GPU — and no, we don’t just mean the fact that FS is an AMD standard while G-Sync is Nvidia. In order to benefit from an Adaptive Sync solution, your game’s frame rate needs to sit within the display’s supported range. If your display supports FreeSync from 48-75Hz and you average 40fps in a given title, you’ll rarely see FreeSync kick in. This is also true at the top of the scale. Keep in mind that FreeSync and G-Sync both tend to make more of a difference at lower refresh rates than high ones. While they perform the same smoothing effect regardless, the visual impact of irregular Vsync frame presentation is higher at lower frame rates.