My trusty Diamondtron 17" CRT finally started to give up the ghost. So armed with a great review (for it’s larger brother) I (brashly) purchased a new Dell 2007FP 20.1" LCD.
It arrived the following day (good start) and I unpacked it. Spent the usual 10 min unplugged loads of cables and contorting myself into knots feeding the new cables around the back of my desk. Then it started, my bad luck with the monitor…
1. No power cord
Oh great no power cord, so the last 5 mins of unthreading the CRTs power cord is now a total waste of time since I’m going to be forced to re-use it. Not a big problem but just one of the annoying things
[Edit 4-Sept] Overclockers emailed me apologising for the problem and have promised to ship me a replacement cord.
2. Clear Type halo
Installing it was pretty easy, XP took to it well. The text wasn’t so great, something I’d worried about since at 1600×1200 the text was always going to be small. But I’ve not engaged Clear Type…eeew, a horrible redish halo around the text. Now my 17" Dell LCD at work has exactly the same problem, something I’d put down to as the rubbish bottom of the range ATI card + rubbish Win 2003 ATI drivers. But alas not, my top of the range (well about 3 years ago) 9800XT plus decent XP drivers can’t be at fault here. Surely the various glowing reviews for the monitor would have seen this…
3. Samsung vs Philips
Apparently the guts of 2007FP is manufactured by two companies, Samsung and Philips. However, the real crunch is they use two very different technologies, sure they meet the same spec’s but their implementation is totally different. The Dell forums are saying that its basically a lottery, the Philips is the better image quality with the Samsung probably being faster for the gamer. Although I do play far too many games I really wanted the image quality…guess which version I’ve ended up with? Yep the Samsung. Could this be the reason for the dodgy Clear Type? The forums also went on to say that the rumour was that the press were only ever given the Philips variant, hence the good quality reviews. I feel a tad bit conned.
4. Stuck Pixel
Ah the final straw (I so hope it’s the last problem), a stuck pixel. Even on the huge real-estate of 1600×1200 that ***** pixel screams at me. Hopefully Dell will take it back, lets hope so…maybe I’ll even get a nice Philips IPS version in return too…’cause I’m just that lucky 😉
[Edit 4-Sept]Oh no they won’t. Unless you screen looks like it’s been in a shotgun hunting accident they won’t take it back. Still I have some better news…
Clear Type – Attached a Dell laptop (NVidia chipset) to the screen today to see what the Clear Type looked like. I have to say I think it does a better job. Still no-where near my (now elevated to lovely) Sony 17" SDM-X Black but better than the ATI source. However…the laptop is using the VGA vs my desktop’s DVI source. In theory the DVI should be better but I’ve seen plenty of reports with monitors (esp. Dell) having problems with DVI. Next steps will be to rig up an NVidia DVI source and switch the ATI to VGA.
Stuck Pixel – used some "flashing colour" techniques to wake the pixel up. No joy, I quite like the theory behind the fix, apparently PSP owners have had some joy so I’ll try it out for a bit longer. Strangely the tiny 5×5 flashing square is less distracting than the stuck pixel, I guess at least it looks like it’s doing something!?
Well I swapped the screens over and and it seems to make a huge difference. The trusty Sony SDM-HS75P works a treat using the ATI DVI source, so that takes the pressure off ATI a bit and back onto the Dell. Meanwhile I plug the Dell into the NVidia 6800GT DVI source…well not too bad. A quick application of Microsoft’s Tweak Clear Type and it looks usable. In fact it looked better before I’d even realised I was still running at a lower resolution…that’s the sort of difference the NVidia card makes.
So my conclusions are quite surprising, it seems that the worst thing you can do is pair up a Dell monitor with an ATI card, at least a fairly old ATI card, since I have a similar set-up at work and that’s terrible too then I think it is more than just a coincidence. However, the NVidia card seems unfased by the monitor as does the Sony. So my advice is, if you must use Dell then look at NVidia, if you don’t want to take chances go with Sony. NB. I bought the Sony because it was one of the few I could try before I bought, and the Sony below the HS75P wasn’t great either so my best advice is try it first!