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Maximum PC takes great pride in its mission to provide critical, uncompromising reviews of every product that enters our Lab. It’s the cornerstone of our credibility and the reason for our loyal fan base. Interestingly, our no-holds-barred approach tends to reveal qualities about vendors as well as their products. In response to an unfavorable review, some vendors will become irate, write scathing letters of attack, refuse to send future products, or cease advertising in the magazine. Fortunately, there are also vendors who truly respect our testing methods, take our opinion seriously, and strive to improve a product we’ve deemed flawed. Hewlett-Packard deserves mention for being just such a company.
Last September, I reviewed HP’s LP2465 LCD. At the time, I observed a severe anomaly with the screen when I ran a utility called Pixel Persistence Analyzer. A stream of animated images that should have moved smoothly across the screen was instead disrupted by a regular stutter. When I noticed similar flaws in our game tests, I had no choice but to give the LCD a lowly 4 verdict.
HP’s people not only took the damning verdict with grace, but since that time have kept me apprised of their ongoing efforts to fix the monitor. This week I received an updated LP2465, which features a firmware fix that specifically addresses the aforementioned issue. And sure enough, the Pixel Persistence Analyzer test screens look just as they should on the latest version of the LCD.
In short, the original panel could only receive vertical sync output that was at or very close to 60Hz, while videocards often output a signal with more variance (anywhere from 58-61Hz). Thus, the monitor’s scalar would add or remove video frames in order to compensate for the changing signal and this created the image stutter. The fast-paced animated images in our utility happened to highlight this effect—it’s not something you would experience in most desktop applications, or even movies, which is why HP’s QA team was previously unaware of it. With the firmware fix, the scalar’s “frame rate control” is disabled when incoming vertical sync is between 58 and 61Hz.
The firmware fix went public at the end of January 2007, and is present in all LCDs manufactured since that time. LCDs produced prior to that period can be returned to HP for a replacement.
While I can’t re-verdictize a previously reviewed product, I can say that this firmware fix has transformed HP’s LP2465 from a lemon into a worthwhile product.
Kudos, HP. Glad I could be of help!