Power Consumption

The 30-inch category of displays have always been power hungry, and the U3011 is no exception. Laws of physics still apply here, and when it comes down to it, there's just a lot of area to fill with photons. The U3011 specifications note that power use of 250 watts is maximum, 110 is typical, and standby is around 1 watt. 

LCD Power Draw (Kill-A-Watt)

At maximum brightness, the U3011 draws 144 watts. At minimum, 73. That's just slightly below the ZR30w, but not really enough to make it notably better or worse. 

We don't measure it directly, but subjectively the U3011 feels surprisingly cool. There isn't a ton of heat which seems to come out the top grilles, nor a ton of heat coming out the front (unlike my BenQ FP241w monitor array which seems to noticeably warm my face). 

Conclusions and Final Thoughts

The U3011 is an all around good performer, though I find myself wishing that contrast and Delta-E were just a bit better so it was an unequivocal winner in all the right areas. That said, it does have a number of advantages over the HP ZR30w, namely an OSD, a wealth of input options, and audio pass through. Where the HP ZR30w bests the U3011 is with its excellent display arm which feels subjectively sturdier and beefier, and its slightly better color performance and input latency. Heck, maybe there's something to be said for not having that display controller SoC.

If accessory inputs like an extra DVI and HDMI port are what matters (not to mention the option of having 5.1 audio out), the U3011 is the better choice. As an all around desktop display, the ZR30w edges out in my mind purely because of the slightly better display performance and build quality - it feels solid and just seems to have a much beefier display arm. It's a tossup that ultimately comes down to what features are really most important, and price. Right now, even price is a tossup, as the two are priced within $10 of each other on Amazon. Personally, having HDMI with audio pass through and all the scaling options makes the U3011 the better pick, but again that's just my take. Now the question is: who will be first to market with a 120 Hz 30-incher?

Input and Processing Latency
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  • MeanBruce - Friday, January 14, 2011 - link

    When is Dell going to start offering LED backlighting for it's UltraSharp lineup? 24" 27" and 30" We are waiting! Reply
  • cjl - Friday, January 14, 2011 - link

    The thing is, WLED backlighting is actually worse image quality than CCFL, and RGBLED is both expensive and still has problems with lifetime. All the lower end monitors love to advertise LED because it sounds great and new, and it's definitely the way to go if your goal is low power consumption and heat. However, for the absolute best display quality, CCFL is the way to go (unless you go to the insanely expensive RGBLED screens). Reply
  • Pessimism - Friday, January 14, 2011 - link

    CCFL=FAIL.

    Have you placed a year old CCFL-Based laptop next to a brand new one? You'll see a large drop in brightness and a noticeable yellowing of the picture. The manufacturers use the cheapest CCFL tubes humanly possible with short-lived phosphors. Additionally they make them near impossible to access to replace, when they could easily place them behind a removable panel with a quick disconnect connector to replace them.

    I'll take my chances with LED.
    Reply
  • ClownPuncher - Friday, January 14, 2011 - link

    We aren't talking about laptop backlighting here. Reply
  • cjl - Friday, January 14, 2011 - link

    Yes, laptops use short-lived, cheap CCFLs. This isn't a laptop. High end IPS monitors use high end, wide gamut CCFL backlighting which is much better quality than any laptop backlighting (and also more power hungry, which is one of the reasons it's not good for laptops). Have you ever seen a high end CCFL backlit monitor? They absolutely blow away WLED (which is what the vast majority of LED screens use). RGBLED would be nice, but as I said before, it's both quite expensive and it still has a few unresolved issues. Reply
  • semo - Friday, January 14, 2011 - link

    Yeah would have been nice to see RGB back lighting on the latest, greatest and most advanced display of a company's lineup. This thing won't be replaced for the next 3 years at least I would imagine.

    Anyway, I would prefer 3x 24" monitors instead of one or two 30" if I had the money to burn.
    Reply
  • DanNeely - Friday, January 14, 2011 - link

    I have a 30" and 2 20" 1200x1600 panels on my main system now (all bought before eyefinity was an option). I don't think I could ever go back to a smaller main screen. I makes my 22 (1680x1050) and 19" (1280x1024) combo at work frustrating to use at times. For everything except eyefinity gaming I'd recommend one 30 over 2 smaller screens; and I suspect most people who can afford a 30 will also have at least one additional monitor hooked up. Reply
  • DanNeely - Sunday, January 16, 2011 - link

    The replacement time probably will depend on when a significantly better panel becomes available. The 3007 was followed by the 3008 when a wide gamut panel was available. Nothing major changed on the next few years, so Dell didn't do a refresh until this year. And at least on paper the only thing that really changed was the addition of 10bit color, and the addition of a 2nd HDMI port in place of several legacy connections; I suspect this refresh had more to do with 08 looking like an obsolete model year than anything else.

    An RGBLED backlight that lasted long enough and that didn't break the bank would be grounds for a major update. A USB3 hub or Lightpeak support could trigger another minor refresh next year. If the memory card reader only supports SDHC an SDXC update could trigger a new minor revision as well.
    Reply
  • ZoSo - Friday, January 14, 2011 - link

    I'm still debating myself with getting the U3011 or ZR30w, reason being I do game often.
    But lately photo and video editing has been in the picture more and more. And of course I'd be watching movies too ;)
    Decisions, decisions, it's a love hate thing,,, lol
    Reply
  • bigboxes - Friday, January 14, 2011 - link

    Thanks Brian. I was just about to comment on the lack of NEC models in your comparison charts. I know I will be upgrading soon and a monitor is so important. I spend so many hours a day staring at this device that it makes all the difference when you have a high-quality display. Reply

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