Dell's top-end LCD recently made headlines when it disappeared from the Dell website. There has been no official recall of 3008 LCDs already shipped, which leaves some users wondering if they might get stuck owning a $2000 v1.0 lemon. We first heard about the 3008WFP in late 2007, and quite a few were on display at the Dell CES 2008 booth. We've had a standing request in with Dell to get a review sample as soon as possible, but we're still waiting on that. We asked our Dell contacts about the status of the 3008WFP in order to get some clarification. Here's the official word:

"The Dell 3008 monitor has been well received since launch and has been very popular with customers. In February we experienced a small technical issue with the product that has been long resolved. Currently the monitors are on extended lead times and in order to manage demand, the 3008 is not available on dell.com. We are managing orders on a prioritized basis and hope to have the product available to all customers in the near future. The Dell 3007 and 2707 monitors, also very popular with customers, are available at dell.com."

Dell wouldn't go into additional details other than to state that the technical issue is resolved and they are currently playing catch up to fulfill the large demand for the 3008WFP. That is why they are managing orders on a prioritized basis and have (temporarily) removed it from their website. The older 3007WFP remains available, of course.


So what could have caused the problems and who does this affect? We'd love to know more about what may or may not be wrong with the earlier revisions; it could be that any technical issues were corrected before end customers actually started receiving product. [Ed: Speculation Alert! Take the following with a grain of salt.] The most likely culprit for problems would be with the new technologies incorporated into the 3008WFP. For starters, this is the first Dell 2560x1600 LCD to include a hardware scaler. That allows it to support multiple input options, rather than being limited to dual-link DVI. The hardware scaler may also introduce some input lag - something we will be sure to test when we receive our review sample. We do know that of the LCDs we've tested so far, the lowest input lag so far comes on the 30" LCDs we have.

The other new technology is DisplayPort, yet another digital video standard that takes the place of DVI/HDMI. Whether or not DisplayPort is actually necessary is something that can be debated, but as a long-term solution it does offer benefits over DVI. The current standard offers better bandwidth, with support for up to 10.2 Gb/s; that matches HDMI 1.3, and exceeds single-link DVI (3.96 Gb/s) and dual-link DVI (7.92 Gb/s) by a substantial amount. DisplayPort is a packetized protocol, which means it is much easier to increase the bandwidth and capabilities in the future. Perhaps most important is that it is a license-free and royalty-free standard, unlike HDMI, and it still supports audio, unlike DVI. The drawback, of course, is that as a new standard it will require new displays and graphics cards and will likely introduce a short-term price premium relative in devices that support the technology.


All that talk of DisplayPort being a potential cause for the delays does have some other circumstantial evidence to back it up. We received a Dell 2408WFP for review about two months ago - another LCD that supports DisplayPort. Before we could complete the review, however, Dell requested that we send the sample back as it was a pre-production model and the retail versions were not identical. Was this another "technical issue" causing delays? Dell would not confirm; all we know is that the pre-production display performance was "slightly different than what is shipping to customers". However, it did take two months before we received an updated 2408WFP for review. We are happy to report that we now have the 2408WFP and several other 24" LCDs, and we are hard at work on a 24" LCD roundup. [Ed: /speculation]

While we're here talking about Dell's 3008WFP, it's probably a good idea to give our overall take on the 30" LCD market. While the added flexibility of multiple inputs may be useful to some people, if you only plan to connect a 30" LCD to a single PC you're probably best off saving money and buying one of the currently shipping 30" offerings. Unfortunately, we have yet to receive review samples of many of the 30" LCD offerings. However, our favorite so far - in terms of price and features - is the HP LP3065, since you get three dual-link DVI inputs for a reasonable price of $1200-$1300. That's a slight price premium relative to the Dell 3007WFP-HC ($1150-$1200), or you could opt for the more expensive ($1700) Gateway XHD3000 with support for multiple video inputs, similar to the 3008WFP. The Dell and HP LCDs are S-IPS, which we feel puts them at the top of the totem pole in terms of overall quality. However, the Gateway uses an S-PVA panel, and since we haven't used it in person we'll withhold judgment for now.

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  • undermined - Sunday, May 04, 2008 - link

    Is not one of the added features of Displayport that the GPU can send the video signal directly to the planel without a TMDS or LVDS? So basicaly a GPU can send a 10bit signal straight to the panel. This will be needed for future displays to render colors properly and is not possible over dvi because of bandwidth and other issues, Also it can be used as a internal connection in laptops so the GPU can address a Lcd panel directly without the need for scalers or transmiters. So from a overall cost perspective it is easier to implement in hardware as apposed to HDMI Reply
  • BubbaJoe TBoneMalone - Friday, April 18, 2008 - link

    http://accessories.us.dell.com/sna/productdetail.a...">http://accessories.us.dell.com/sna/prod...mp;dgc=S... Reply
  • Rasterman - Friday, April 18, 2008 - link

    So I'm sitting in front of my 4 year old giant 22" Mitsubishi Diamond Pro 2070SB (which has the best image quality I have seen on anything) wondering when someone is going to come out with an LCD that will beat it.

    What is the 20"-30" LCD with best image quality?
    Reply
  • jc44 - Monday, April 21, 2008 - link

    Its got to depend on what you mean by 'image quality'. If you are a colour fidelity obsesive then I believe that the best old CRTs are still where its at but LCDs are getting there. If you want picture sharpness then LCDs are worth having - the winner by a mile in this category is the now obsolete(!) 22" IBM T221 with 200DPI. Response times are now mostly sorted on LCDs but latency can be an issue.

    You pays your money and you makes your choice, but if your old CRT works for you then keep it. I have a Sony F500 at home that I still rate as one of the worlds great monitors.
    Reply
  • FXi - Thursday, April 17, 2008 - link

    Really do not like S IPS panels as much as S PVA's. Some aspects of the IPS are nice, but really prefer the contrast and color on the PVA's better.

    Wish Dell would offer both, 1 based on each panel and just let the market decide which they'd prefer. As it is, I don't want the large pixel pitch of the 27" (PVA based) so I'm forced to step down to the 24's or else go with a Sammy whenever it's displayport model gets here.

    /sigh
    Reply
  • yacoub - Friday, April 18, 2008 - link

    Well you'd be wrong, as S-IPS is superior in just about every way to *VA panels (MVA/PVA). Sadly they also cost more to manufacture, which is why they cost more and are more rare to find these days when most manufacturers are trying to get the most profit with the bare minimum hardware (Dell is especially guilty of this practice and we see it everytime they release a new display that has ridiculous 'bugs'.

    There is usually negligible input lag on S-IPS panels, unlike the horrid, often frustrating input lag that can ruin FPS gaming for folks used to using a S-IPS panel where they see their mouse input on screen essentially instantaneously not delayed by tens of milliseconds (it's basically like having lag between your mouse and display, which is nuts). S-IPS panels also generally has better color saturation, better blacks, and a wider viewable angle without color distortion.

    This is why the 2405/7 series Dell monitors were never appealing to me and why my first-run 2007WFP is perfect (aside from some gradient issues care of Dell's cost-cutting bottom-bin hardware selection). YES, once you get above around 24" there is more likely to be input lag due to the hardware scaler and size of the panel, which is exactly why if I ever got a larger monitor it would be the 3007WFP (or another brand that offers a low-latency, low-input lag S-IPS display panel, like NEC). Input lag is a deal breaker for me, even though I don't game as much as I used to. It's still important enough that I would settle for a slightly smaller display without it over a larger display that exhibits it.

    And YES, all displays have SOME level of input lag. That's just the nature of how things work. But there's a HUGE difference between normal unnoticeable input lag and what is experienced on displays like the 2407 and apparently the new 3008 as well.
    Reply
  • FXi - Friday, April 18, 2008 - link

    I've seen S IPS and S PVA side by side and I'd very much disagree on the contrast and color. PVA is far better, and noticeable if you compare them.

    As for them having input lag, that I can agree with, they do, but I don't agree that S IPS is superior every time. It too, depending on the scaler chips used, can have severe input lag. Moreover, input lag varies depending on the source and the power (gpu power in the case of pc's) of the source, so sadly cross comparing various sites measurements isn't consistent. So there is a lot more to the story than purely the monitor itself. But it definitely exists. Taking the scalers out of the picture probably made the first generation 30's much more palatable to the gaming crowd.

    All I indicated would be nice was a choice, pva and ips in a 30" size from Dell, keeping the best (fastest) scaling chips possible the same between the two and let the consumer decide which format they prefer. And I do realize that various folks have preferences for sure. :)
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, April 17, 2008 - link

    I'm beginning to think that S-PVA may somehow account for the input lag. It sounds ludicrous, but I have results from seven 24" LCDs right now, and only two don't show significant input lag. The five that show 1 to 3 frames lag are all S-PVA panels (most likely Samsung); the two that don't are TN panels. I've got two more LCDs for the 24" roundup to test (one of which hasn't arrived yet), but so far the evidence is pretty strong. The reference panel, incidentally, is an HP LP3065, which is an S-IPS panel. The two TN panels match it in terms of input lag (sorry - I no longer stock CRTs). Reply
  • yacoub - Friday, April 18, 2008 - link

    Correct, TN and S-IPS have the least input lag at a given panel size and PVA/MVA have the most. This has been established on several display panel review sites, so your theory is indeed correct. However one must take note that the larger the panel the more input lag will accompany it, even on S-IPS displays. There -are- S-IPS displays out there that exhibit noticeable input lag (though still generally much better than an equivalent PVA panel). Reply
  • Chadder007 - Thursday, April 17, 2008 - link

    And yet they continue to ignore the problems with ghosting on the 2407-HC..... Reply

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