Our first exposure to such grandeur was back in February 2005, with Apple’s 30-inch, 2560x1600 Cinema Display. At that time, however, the only videocards for the PC that supported Dual Link DVI—which the LCD’s native resolution demands—were costly, impractical workstation boards.
But times have changed, and today high-end consumer boards boast the Dual Link spec, putting a 2560x1600 30-inch LCD monitor within reach of PC power users. And prices have plummeted too, from Apple’s original asking price of $3,300 to $2,200 for this Dell 3007WFP.
In action, the 3007WFP’s epic size is astounding, but also a little daunting. In practice, we were most comfortable viewing the beast from about three feet away. At this distance, you can see, nay, behold, the numerous documents and windows you can have open at once, and yet still read text at a 9-point or higher.
The 3007WFP offers substantial height adjustment (3.54 inches); four powered USB 2.0 ports; and a built-in 9-in-1 media reader. But the LCD is sadly lacking any onscreen display adjustments—offering a pair of buttons to control the backlight’s brightness. Still, with the brightness all the way up, the 3007WFP turned out a very strong performance in DisplayMate (www.displaymate.com), revealing no flaws in the grayscale reproduction, screen uniformity, or video bandwidth tests.
Not surprisingly, movies and digital pictures look great on the giant screen. Gaming, however, comes with a couple compromises. It’s unlikely you’ll run your games at the monitor’s native-res without taking a performance hit. (It’s telling that Dell is pairing this monitor with its Renegade XPS quad-GPU gaming PC.) Quake 4 at 2560x1600 on our P4 3.4GHz/GeForce GTX PC was unplayably slow. So we scaled the res down to 1600x900, the next possible setting this LCD supports full-screen (unfortunately), where contrast and detail were diminished and the picture seemed soft.
Perhaps this is the result of the 11ms response time, or that the interpolation is just much more noticeable over such a large area. Similarly, in Need for Speed 2, interpolated to 1024x768, the screen was less sharp than Samsung’s super-fast 940BF. It wasn’t intolerable, and some editors felt like the sheer size of the screen makes it a fair tradeoff; it’s just something to consider before succumbing to the sex appeal of such a massive (and expensive) monitor.