TweakTown’s Rating: 91%
The Bottom Line
If you’ve just purchased a new GeForce RTX 4090 and need a monster 4K 160Hz gaming monitor, the new ASUS ROG Strix XG32UQ is a perfect match.
- + 4K 160Hz! Nothing more needs to be said!
- + ELMB technology
- + HDMI 2.1 connectivity
- + Fast IPS panel
- – No USB-C connectivity
- – Needs monster RTX 4090 to hit 4K 160FPS easy
Should you buy it?
ASUS introduced its new ROG Strix XG32UQ gaming monitor only a couple of months ago back in July 2022, but here we are: the world’s first review of the ROG Strix XG32UQ, a monster new 4K 160Hz gaming monitor.
We already have the ROG Swift PG32UQ which was introduced back in January 2021, and it’s a little different to the new ROG Strix XG32UQ (Swift, to Strix, and the “P” to “X”) but those small details have a huge effect on what you’re getting. The older ASUS ROG Swift PG32UQ has the same 32-inch display size, but the new XG32UQ has a higher 160Hz refresh rate over the PG32UQ with its 144Hz refresh rate.
VIEW GALLERY – 50 IMAGES
ASUS has a mighty 4K 160Hz panel on its new ROG Strix XG32UQ gaming monitor, with 4K 144Hz out of the box and up to 4K 160Hz through overclocking, which is higher than the ROG Swift PG32UQ and its 4K 144Hz default and overclockable up to 4K 155Hz. We don’t have an OLED panel here, but the 32-inch IPS panel is beautiful nonetheless.
ASUS is using a Fast IPS panel here on the ROG Strix XG32UQ with a 1ms response time, so that native 4K resolution and super-smooth 160Hz refresh rate are a joy to use. They’re also very hard to power, so don’t go into this thinking that you’ll be playing all of your games in 4K at 160FPS+ but for plenty of titles, especially if they’ve got NVIDIA DLSS support, 4K 160FPS is a beautiful world to step into.
We also have ELMB (Extreme Low Motion Blur) and ELMB Sync on the ASUS ROG Strix XG32UQ, with the ASUS proprietary technology that reduces eye tracking motion blur, acting as a form of backlight strobing technology. It removes any blur on the display by turning off the backlight of the monitor between refreshes, which makes for a buttery-smooth gaming experience.
On top of that, we have ELMB Sync, with ASUS Extreme Low Motion Blur Sync being an exclusive blur removing technology from ASUS infused with NVIDIA G-SYNC, AMD FreeSync, or Adaptive Sync. ELMB Sync makes the game screen smoother, further removing tearing, stuttering, and after images. What it does is work out the issues of motion blur in the screen synchronization technology used in regular gaming monitors, and ASUS using its ELMB Sync through fast strobing on the LED backlight panel along with Adaptive Sync refresh rate synchronization technology = clearer and smoother games.
ELMB Sync technology was crafted by ASUS to be used with a dynamic frame rate, but it’s recommended at 120FPS and above… making sense as to why ASUS baked it into the ROG Strix XG32UQ gaming monitor, with its 160FPS smoothness ready for an even smoother gaming experience with Extreme Low Motion Blur technology from ASUS.
Note: you can’t use ELMB technology with HDR, but who cares: HDR on any display that’s not an OLED panel is useless IMO. I’d rather have a smoother gaming experience with all of the bells and whistles than be dragged out by a washed-out HDR gaming experience. Once you’ve seen HDR gaming on an OLED panel, you’ll know what I mean. It. Just. Works.
It’s almost like ASUS is listening to me in some of my recent ROG Strix gaming monitor reviews, where I’ve really not liked seeing a lack of HDMI 2.1 connectivity on high-end (and very expensive) gaming monitors that ASUS dons the ROG branding with. That’s not the case here with the new ROG Strix XG32UQ gaming monitor, with HDMI 2.1 connectivity that lets you plug your PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X/S console into the monitor and enjoy 4K 120FPS.
The new ASUS ROG Strix XG32UQ gaming monitor has an MSRP of $899.
ASUS wouldn’t ever think of launching a new member of its ROG family of products without having fantastic retail packaging — as usual — here with the ROG Strix XG32UQ gaming monitor. Not that you’d be putting this box on your shelf with the other boxes you’ve collected, but it looks mean AF.
If you’ve got a VESA mount, you can save some valuable desk space given that the monitor stand on the ROG Strix XG32UQ gaming monitor is rather big.
The cable management on the stand is fantastic, just like other ROG gaming monitors from ASUS. If you’re using the stand, then you’ve got fantastic cable management to hide your cables being fed into the monitor.
The ASUS ROG Strix XG32UQ gaming monitor from the back, and while you won’t see this side of the monitor, ASUS isn’t going to put its designers out of work… that’s for sure. It’s a sick-looking monitor, even from the back.
You’ve got some menu buttons to tweak the monitor, on the right side of the monitor.
I’ve got the new ASUS ROG XG32UQ gaming monitor against Sony’s PlayStation 5 console for some size comparison goodness, so you can see that the PS5 is actually thicker than the XG32UQ gaming monitor.
Connectivity, Specs, Marketing
Yeah you’re ready for next-gen gaming, ASUS and you’re new ROG Strix XG32UQ — whether it’s the PC, PS5, or XSX/S, you’re good with HDMI 2.1 connectivity. ASUS designed the ROG Strix XG32UQ as a professional gaming monitor for 160Hz (OC) gaming, but you’ve also got NVIDIA G-SYNC Compatible goodness here as well as DisplayHDR 600 certification.
ASUS uses a Fast IPS panel with a 1ms response time (GtG) that accompanies the 160Hz refresh rate (OC) for some seriously smooth gaming. It’s not quite what you see here in the PR ridiculousness, but it’s damn smooth, let me tell you that.
ASUS might say the ROG Strix XG32UQ has “extensive connectivity” and it does… but it also lacks USB-C connectivity at the tail end of 2022. Not cool, ASUS. It does, however, have 2 x HDMI 2.1 ports, 1 x DisplayPort 1.4 (DSC) port, and dual USB 3.2 powers on the back of the display.
Test System Specs
I’ve recently upgraded my major GPU test bed for 2022, but I will be upgrading again soon enough once Intel launches its new 13th Gen Core “Raptor Lake” CPUs and Z790 motherboards, and AMD with its upcoming Ryzen 7000 series “Zen 4” CPUs and X670E motherboards.
The new upgrades include the shift to the Intel Core i9-12900K processor, ASUS ROG Maximus Z690 Extreme motherboard, 64GB of Sabrent Rocket DDR5-4800 memory, and 8TB of Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus PCIe 4.0 M.2 SSD goodness. Intel’s flagship Core i9-12900K is a beast, with the Alder Lake CPU packing 8 Performance cores (P-cores) and 8 Efficient cores (E-cores) at up to 5.2GHz.
Motherboard: ASUS ROG Maximus Z690 Extreme
I’ve got that installed into the bigger-than-life ASUS ROG Maximus Z690 Extreme motherboard, which is absolutely loaded to the brim with technologies and features that houses everything you need. We’re talking about one of the best-looking designs on a motherboard yet, PCIe 5.0 support, enthusiast-grade 10GbE networking, and oh-so-much more.
RAM: 64GB Sabrent Rocket DDR5-4800
Sabrent helped out in a huge way by sending over 64GB of DDR5-4800 memory in the form of 4 x 16GB DDR5-4800 modules of its new Sabrent Rocket DDR5 memory. The company also helped out in an even bigger way, supplying us with a gigantic and super-fast 8TB model of its Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus PCIe 4.0 NVMe M.2 SSD.
SSD: 8TB Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus M.2
We’re talking about 7.5GB/sec+ (7500MB/sec) from a single M.2 SSD, along with a gigantic 8TB of capacity. The 2TB drives aren’t big enough for all of our game installs for GPU testing… the 4TB is much better, but the 8TB gives us room to move into 2023 without worrying about installing multiple games that are 200GB+ in size.
Some glory shots, of course.
Displays: ASUS ROG Strix 43-inch 4K 120Hz
ASUS has been a tight partner of TweakTown for many years, with the fine folks at ASUS Australia sending over their ROG Strix XG438Q and ROG Swift PG43UQ gaming monitors for our GPU test benches. They’re both capable of 4K 120Hz+ through their DisplayPort 1.4 connectivity.
I will be upgrading these in the near future, over to some DisplayPort 2.0-capable panels and some new HDMI 2.1-enabled 4K 165Hz panels in OLED form of course…given that next-gen GPUs are right around the corner, there has been no better time to upgrade your display or TV.
I’ve been working on this system for a while now, but now we’re stretching its legs with the newly-released PC port of Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered. Not just in 1080p or 1440p, not even in just 4K… but at 8K with a native resolution of 7680 x 4320. I’ve run through some of the very fastest GPU silicon on the planet.
What’s Hot, What’s Not
- 4K 160Hz insanity: ASUS is constantly driving things through the roof for PC gamers and enthusiasts, where it doesn’t just provide 4K 144Hz with overclocking up to 155Hz but drives things up to 4K 160Hz with overclocking at a tweak of a button on the back of the ROG Strix XG32UQ.
- 32-inch panel: I’m glad to see we’re looking at a bigger 32-inch panel and not a smaller 27-inch panel, while ASUS also offers other ROG gaming monitors with native 4K and 138Hz (and a better OLED panel) in a larger 41.5-inch display, the 32-inch feels more comfortable on the desk. 32-inch 4K feels absolutely perfect on the desktop.
- HDMI 2.1 connectivity: ASUS includes HDMI 2.1 connectivity on its ROG Strix XG32UQ gaming monitor, which is very nice to see when another ROG monitors don’t have it. It might not be too important because it doesn’t offer anything better over DisplayPort 1.4, but HDMI 2.1 allows you to access up to 4K 120Hz on your PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X/S console.
- ELMB tech: ASUS has its proprietary ELMB (Extreme Low Motion Blur) technology making a very welcome appearance on the ROG Strix XG32UQ, reducing eye tracking motion blur. It does a great job, joining the rest of the bells and whistles inside of the monitor. 160Hz, 1ms, Fast IPS, ELMB, G-SYNC… very nice, ASUS.
- Fast IPS panel: It’s not quite an OLED panel like ASUS just outed with its bigger ROG Swift PG42UQ gaming monitor, but the Fast IPS panel on the ROG Strix XG32UQ gaming monitor is mighty fine, along with its 1ms response time and 160Hz refresh rate, it’s damn fast.
- VESA mount: ASUS includes a height-adjustable stand with the monitor, but more and more people are using monitor mounts to get their monitors not just off their desk, but to have full personalization of where the monitor is placed on your desk with ease.
GPU power required for 4K 160FPS gaming: You shouldn’t be buying the ASUS ROG Strix XG32UQ gaming monitor without having one of the most powerful GPUs money can buy: I would be teaming it with the new NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4090 graphics card. It’s an expensive entry point, but you know that already… it’s no surprise given it’s a 4K 160Hz monitor. This isn’t even against the monitor, more like something you should already know.
- No USB-C connectivity: Yeah, this definitely sucks… I was looking for a spare USB-C port on my desk and was disappointed that I couldn’t just plug my smartphone into the ROG Strix XG32UQ. The lack of USB-C definitely isn’t nice to see in 2022.
- No portrait ability on stand: The height-adjustable stand is nice, but I do like being able to use my monitor in portrait mode and while you might not do that with a 4K 160Hz gaming monitor, but if there’s height adjustment, tilt, then where is portrait mode, man. Nit-picking here, I guess… this shouldn’t turn you away from buying the monitor, and neither should be my next criticism.
- Naming confusion: Hey ASUS, it’s getting confusing knowing what monitor has what… given that there’s the ROG Strix XG32UQ (the one I’m reviewing here) while there’s also the ROG Swift PG32UQ. The difference between the “Strix” and “Swift” and then “PG” and “XG” are stark.
Here’s my point:
- XG to PG: 165Hz over 155Hz
- XG to PG: XG has only standard ELMB, PG has ELMB Sync (you can use ELMB + VRR at the same time)
- PG has 2 x 5W speakers, no speakers on XG
- XG has 96% DCI-P3, 130% sRGB compared to PG with 98% DCI-P3 and 160% sRGB
- PG has ROG Aura RGB lighting, XG has none
Gaming Performance + Best GPU Required
If you are in the market to buy any 4K 120Hz+ gaming monitor or TV then you’ve always got to ensure you can handle all of that grunt in the games you play.
It’s not worth spending thousands of dollars on a new monitor if you can’t hit the specs it offers out of the box… especially when you’re in the upper echelons of 4K 160Hz in the case of the ROG Strix XG32UQ gaming monitor. 4K 120FPS in games is already hard enough, but 4K 160FPS is another hefty notch up from that… but thankfully we have the next-gen NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4090 right around the corner to handle that.
4K 120FPS is already hard enough on its own, but if you’ve got the GPU power — and the display, obviously — you’re in for a treat. Firstly, once you go 120FPS+ you’ll never go back, and secondly, you’ll need to be prepared to upgrade your graphics card when new games come out.
The new ASUS ROG Strix XG32UQ is the first to offer 4K 160Hz but it is being released at the tail end of the current-gen GPUs with the flagship NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090 Ti on Team Green’s side of the GPU fence, while there’s the AMD Radeon RX 6950 XT graphics card on Team Red’s side of the fence.
NVIDIA’s new flagship GeForce RTX 4090 which was hand-crafted to handle 4K 120FPS+ and beyond gaming is perfectly suited to handle the ASUS ROG Strix XG32UQ and its extreme 4K 160Hz gaming demands.
If you are about to, or have already purchased NVIDIA’s new flagship GeForce RTX 4090 graphics card and need a new gaming monitor to go with it, the new ASUS ROG Strix XG32UQ should be at the top of your list.
ASUS has a 32-inch Fast IPS panel with a native 4K resolution and 160Hz (OC) refresh rate, super-powered with its proprietary ELMB (Extreme Low Motion Blur) technology infused into the ROG Strix XG32UQ gaming monitor, ready for next-gen PC gaming with the likes of the RTX 4090, or a PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X/S console.
HDMI 2.1 connectivity is great to see here, as I said previously in the review ASUS has other ROG-class gaming monitors without HDMI 2.1 connectivity, which is a shame. That’s not the case here, so you can plug your console in and enjoy 4K 120Hz+ through HDMI 2.1, and then multiple other displays through DP1.4 connectivity that helps drive up to 4K 160Hz. If the larger 42-inch ASUS ROG gaming monitors are too big, 32 inches is the next drop down from that if we stay with a 16:9 aspect ratio.
I put some serious time into Overwatch on a Core i9-12900K + GeForce RTX 3090 Ti system, easily handling the 4K 160Hz+ in many games, including my favorite for many years now: Overwatch. Overwatch was absolutely beautiful to play on the ROG Strix XG32UQ gaming monitor, as was the new Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II, and uhhh… Cyberpunk 2077 was absolutely drool-worthy maxed out on the ROG Strix XG32UQ.
Cyberpunk 2077 being maxed out on the RTX 3090 Ti at 4K with DLSS set to Ultra Quality with ray tracing maxed out was gorgeous on the ROG Strix XG32UQ, so too was Control and Microsoft Flight Simulator. Everything that I pumped through the monitor left a smile on my face… especially when you’re able to reach, and maintain 160FPS+ at 4K.
DLSS is going to help you in a big way, so if you’re playing games with DLSS 2.x then you’re going to be happy… but the people buying this monitor will be (most likely) using a new GeForce RTX 40 series graphics card — probably the RTX 4090, but maybe the RTX 4080 16GB as well — then DLSS 3 is going to be a major, major selling point here.
4K 160FPS isn’t easy to drive outside of esports titles like Overwatch, CS:GO, League of Legends, Rocket League, and others, but with DLSS you’re getting 2-4x the performance over the RTX 3090 Ti and RTX 3090 with the new RTX 4090. That means the ASUS ROG Strix XG32UQ gaming monitor is a perfect monitor combo with a new GeForce RTX 4090, doubly so if you have a PS5 or Xbox Series X/S console.
I’m a huge OLED fan, where I personally own a 77-inch 4K 120Hz LG OLED TV and that is God Tier in terms of display goodness, but I did just finish testing ASUS’ new ROG Swift OLED PG42UQ (which uses a 41.5-inch 4K OLED panel) and is hard to go back to anything that’s not OLED. Micro-LED and Mini-LED panels are also beautiful, but they’re going to be at a price that’s a bit more expensive, too.
ASUS is always pushing things in the direction of enthusiasts and gamers with its ROG products, and the new ROG Strix XG32UQ gaming monitor doesn’t disappoint. 4K 160Hz is going to be real nice for PC gamers in the future, especially with a new GeForce RTX 4090.