That’s what this is about: living with my tech decisions. I’m going to point out the upsides and downsides of products I’ve been living with for months or even a year or more. Not everyone buys products on launch day, lines at the Apple stores notwithstanding.
One reason all 30-inch displays are IPS panels is that the target market is generally professional graphics users, CAD operators, programmers and web designers – people who either need the better color accuracy or the bigger screen real estate or both. You want to know how many windows you can open with three thirty inchers? The technical term is “lots.” The monitor makers like to call this “productivity”, but I think I’m just lazy and the less manual window management I have to do, the better.
Since I couldn’t afford to go out and buy three matched 30-inch displays, these were acquired over several years. The monitors are, in order of acquisition:
- Dell UltraSharp 3007WFP (the original, not the later HC version with wider color gamut)
- Dell UltraSharp 3008WFP
- HP LP3065
The 3008WFP, on the other hand, has been disappointing. The panel itself is great – full Adobe RGB color gamut, adjustments for a variety of color tweaks, including specific settings for Adobe RGB. It even supports DisplayPort connections, which is how I have three monitors on my desk, driven by a lone Radeon HD 5870. But reliability and mode switching response times have been less than stellar.
The replacement doesn’t go into sleep mode randomly. But whenever I switch resolutions (which is often, since this is now the graphics test display), the monitor goes dark for a good 4-6 seconds. There are times when I wonder if it’s ever going to wake up again. That’s probably because the video processor being used isn’t well suited for 2560x1600 pixels. Still, it’s annoying.
Let’s discuss usage. For normal work (including photo and video editing), all three displays are active. The Dell 3008WFP is connected to my production system via its DisplayPort connector. It’s also connected to my graphics hardware test system via DVI, so it’s sometimes not available for my desktop. On those occasions, I’m stuck with only eight million pixels, which actually seems like a hardship.
AMD’s made a big deal about “Eyefinity” for both productivity and gaming. I find Eyefinity itself – scaling a single desktop across three monitors – not all that useful. I prefer having the Windows task bar just on the center display, not stretched out across all three. So for normal use, I just use Windows 7’s extended desktop mode.
What’s the future of 30-inch displays? That’s uncertain. It’s interesting that Apple’s phasing out its 30-inch Cinema display in favor of a new 27-inch, 16:9 unit (2560x1440). It does offer higher pixel density, but fewer overall pixels. I just wish we’d see quad HD 30 or 32-inch monitors personally. But I’ll probably have to wait a long time. But for now, having in excess of 12 million pixels at my disposal makes me feel like king of my little world.
Loyd Case loves technology and writes about it -- when he’s not swearing at some piece of gear that’s not working.