AW3821DW (Nov 2020) with GSync Ultimate

Sycraft

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I'll review some videos I took earlier of both the WN and AW and make a few gifs to see how they behaved.

Curious to see even a picture if yours with the say a black screen and cursor at the top edge.
I'll get a video or pictures posted later but ya, what happens is when the cursor comes on the screen it does light up a whole column of the screen just on account of how the diffusor works, but it is clearly brighter on the bottom, where the cursor is. As you move it up, that shifts. This is on Mode 0.
 

Cisco78

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Does the AW38 have HDMI 2.1? Just swapped over to my cable I used for my LG CX48 and am only seeing up to 85hz.
 

doox00

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Anyone else have a noticeable random flicker on the lower middle/left area of the screen. It is random for me, sometimes doers it a number of times in a row and other times does not happen for 30 mins.
 

FaRKle0079

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So my replacement AW3821DW finally came in and I had some time to compare all three (LG 38GN950, defective AW3821DW, and new AW3821DW) screens.

First off, getting the new AW3821DW highlighted some other things that were broken on my original. I thought it was some weird thing locked to the preset modes that prevented me from accessing the brightness control (contrast was available, but not brightness), and similarly being able to turn variable black light off (I could select any mode except "off"). The new screen lets me adjust all of those where the old screen had them greyed out and unselectable.

Speaking of variable backlight, the LG never fully turns off the backlight like the AW does, so the AW is able to achieve deeper blacks. As other has mentioned, the AW has more/finer variable backlit zones than the LG too. Backlight bleed-wise, my LG is more uniform than both AWs. The LG has bleed at all four corners, and the amount of bleed is pretty much the same from all of them. It's not too much. On both AWs the bleed is more variable coming from all four corners. On my new screen it ranges from practiaclly no bleed on the lower left, to a lot more bleed than the LG on the upper right. The defective AW was difficult to test since I can't turn off the variable backlight mode so I had to use the mouse to get the local backlight zone to turn on.

Using the Eizo monitor test, it looks like the gamma on both AWs is 2.5, and it's 2.6 on my LG. Also using their response time test the results were interesting. On the LG I can set the pixel distance to 20 before the blocks look like they're starting to overlap at the fastest scroll speed. This is using the default/slowest response setting. With both of the AWs the minimum distance is 35 pixels, even if I increase the response time settings.
 

TimothyB

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Here's some new comparisons photos between the two AW38s. I'll get that local dimming example up after this.

Backlighting
Viewing Distance (IPS GLOW)


Display 1 - Less glow on left side, standard amount on right, if not maybe slightly more spread towards the left.
Display 2 - IPS glow is feels more even uniform, or balanced between the left and right.

Note: Camera always exaggerates the strength of the glow

(GIF)
Backlight-Close-AW-Compare.gif



Backlighting
Distant (To see bleed)


Display 1 - Small amount of bleed in corners
Display 2 - Similar bleed, except bottom right a bit strong

Note: The bleed looks the same to my eyes vs the camera.

(GIF)
Backlight-Distant-AW-Compare.gif



Color & Uniformity


Display 1
  • Cooler temperature.
  • Noticeable dark spot at top center.
  • Uniformity feels off, left half appears slightly darker, or in some cases, comes across as a color shift with muted colors.
Display 2
  • Warmer temperature (Similar to LG WN)
  • Less noticeable dark spot at top center
  • Uniformity feels more consistent across the display.

Took photos with iPhone, but use a camera app to lock ISO, shutter speed, white balance, and focus, to try and get similar results.

(GIF)
Teal-Color-Change.gif


I'm leaning towards the newer screen (2), based being slightly warmer and better uniformity, even though it might have more IPS glow on bottom left.
 

TimothyB

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So my replacement AW3821DW finally came in and I had some time to compare all three (LG 38GN950, defective AW3821DW, and new AW3821DW) screens.

First off, getting the new AW3821DW highlighted some other things that were broken on my original. I thought it was some weird thing locked to the preset modes that prevented me from accessing the brightness control (contrast was available, but not brightness), and similarly being able to turn variable black light off (I could select any mode except "off"). The new screen lets me adjust all of those where the old screen had them greyed out and unselectable.

Speaking of variable backlight, the LG never fully turns off the backlight like the AW does, so the AW is able to achieve deeper blacks. As other has mentioned, the AW has more/finer variable backlit zones than the LG too. Backlight bleed-wise, my LG is more uniform than both AWs. The LG has bleed at all four corners, and the amount of bleed is pretty much the same from all of them. It's not too much. On both AWs the bleed is more variable coming from all four corners. On my new screen it ranges from practiaclly no bleed on the lower left, to a lot more bleed than the LG on the upper right. The defective AW was difficult to test since I can't turn off the variable backlight mode so I had to use the mouse to get the local backlight zone to turn on.

Using the Eizo monitor test, it looks like the gamma on both AWs is 2.5, and it's 2.6 on my LG. Also using their response time test the results were interesting. On the LG I can set the pixel distance to 20 before the blocks look like they're starting to overlap at the fastest scroll speed. This is using the default/slowest response setting. With both of the AWs the minimum distance is 35 pixels, even if I increase the response time settings.

Using the Eizo test, the gamma on my two AWs seemed to be about 2.3. I don't think I can judge the response test since that's hard to interpret. At fasted scroll, If I were to judge based on when the blurry edges just start to touch, but not bleed into each other, I was leaning towards a 25 pixel distance. At 20, that's when I felt there was no grey between them. Anything lower, then it the bottom of the white box visibly cuts into the blue box. AW set to Fast.

Brightness and Variable Backlight controls: What you described, no brightness slider and no off for local dimming, sounds like the monitor is in HDR mode. On your defective screen, when you go into the monitor settings, top right row of icons, does it show "Smart HDR" as "On"?
 

TimothyB

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Here's some variable backlight testing, AW Mode 0, plus an example from the LG 38WN95c

AW Difference between Top and Bottom Zones:
  • At first glance, it looks like a full column of light, as if the top and bottom are are equally lighting up.
  • Though, if the cursor is close to the edge, then it's more clear that the opposite side appears to be dimmer. Unsure if it's just light leaking to the other side, or the monitor is programed to partially light up the other side, based on how it so easily matches the edges of the zone on the other side.
  • You'll also notice sometimes it will flicker when going slowly across the top and bottom.
(GIF Animation - 2 AW's perform equally on duplicate display)
Dual-Local-Dimming-Top-Bottom.gif


Extra GIF - Fast cursor is able to move across zones before they have time to fully light up.
Dual-Local-Dimming-Fast-Cursor.gif



Sensitivity in center
  • Cursor in center of screen - The AW looks like it will light up both the top and bottom with the cursor is in the middle. While the LG monitor wouldn't do this, it would just switch sides as it crosses the threshold (See LG gif further down)
  • I'd have to look close, but I wonder if the opposite side slowly lights up more more the closer the cursor moves towards the center. Or it seems like that due to the odd sensitivity when it flickers a bit.
AW-Local-Dimming-Top-Bottom.gif



LG 38WN95c Variable Backlighting
  • This is why my first reaction to the AW activating both sides, since the LG seems to have a more clearly defined zones between the top and bottom. Could be that the LG it's blending better, or more hidden due to it never dimming to near black like the AW.
  • When I try to position the cursor in the center, I could not activate both sides at the same time like on the AW.

LG-38WN95c-Variable-Backlight.gif
 

FaRKle0079

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Brightness and Variable Backlight controls: What you described, no brightness slider and no off for local dimming, sounds like the monitor is in HDR mode. On your defective screen, when you go into the monitor settings, top right row of icons, does it show "Smart HDR" as "On"?
Ah, you're right! I forgot what I had originally set the monitor to in the OS with this PC since it died so soon after getting it. Disabling HDR let me see the bleed better, and it's more variable like the good AW panel compared to the LG.
 

undertaker2k8

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Does the newer one also have auto input switching ? That was what drove me into returning mine more than anything else...
 

undertaker2k8

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It does not. It's an Alienware thing.
Bummer so they have the Dell 38 and 40 with uniformity comp and KVM but no adaptive sync and HDR and the AW with adaptive sync and HDR but no uni comp and not even basic input switching forget KVM..may be I need to get an auto display switcher for work and gaming lol and keep 2 38" screens back to back :) Though in all seriousness guess my XR382 will have to continue soldiering on for a while...acceptable uniformity, 75Hz, freesync, auto input switching with a manual KVM and useless HDR it is ...
 

t2uciet

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LG's models do have auto input. Dell uses the same panels. I prefer Dell due to warranty.
 

undertaker2k8

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LG's models do have auto input. Dell uses the same panels. I prefer Dell due to warranty.
They are not the exact same panel, Dell uses a different backlight compared to the similar LG one. Keeping an eye out for the LG 40" one though I have found that Lg's housing tends to pinch panels on the sides and cause glow/blb/uniformity issues more than Dell. Only Asus is worse in that regard. Their bezels almost always pinch and cause massive BLB.
 
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t2uciet

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The general panel itself is the same. The only difference is what they mod...
 

Lamont

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Ok, got the monitor.

Coming from 24" 1920x1200 x2 @60 then going to a single 38" 3840x1600 @144 is so night and day it's crazy. Just need to deal with some settings for my Wacom and screen space management. I like this a lot, will calibrate colors tomorrow.

3DS Max, Photoshop, Substance, Unreal and ZBrush, it's crazy space I have now...
 

doox00

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Curious with you guys that got a replacement screen, did you have to hand write your info on a piece of paper and take a photo of it in front of the service tag number and email it back to support?
 

FaRKle0079

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Curious with you guys that got a replacement screen, did you have to hand write your info on a piece of paper and take a photo of it in front of the service tag number and email it back to support?

Nope. I just reached out to them via their ticket submission system.
 

nighthink

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So tftcentral labeled it "only" as approved.. was kind of expecting recommended (as the 34 model it replaces). Does it really mean LG 38GL950 (or GN) is still better despite not having g-sync ultimate module?

I'm also confused if this is really the same panel as LG. Based on the review site mentioned above it does not look like that at least for AW2721D:
https://4k-monitor.ru/reviews/Dell_Alienware_AW2721D/
"First of all, you can see a not quite standard pixel structure for modern IPS panels, more reminiscent of the old H-IPS and S-IPS panels. For a monitor with an aspect ratio of 16: 9 and a similar diagonal, this is an insane rarity. This once again gives every reason to believe that the AW2721D uses a matrix not from LG Display, but from some third-party company."

And I read mixed info whether AW3821DW has or does not have PBP - some say yes, others no. That would be really nice to have in this size.

I'm really considering this monitor but if it does not beat LG, maybe the 38WN95C looks to me better option after all.. Is there something I'm missing? Really would like to see Dell as winner here :)
 

Drags

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It doesn’t have PBP because of the Gsync module as you need a separate scaler for that feature. The 38” should def be an LG panel as there’s no other manufacturers in that size bracket. The 27” model could in theory be different as there’s more choice in that area. TFT Central are reviewing that next so I’m sure they will confirm :)
 

Sycraft

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Weren’t people concerned about the input lag on this monitor after some guy released a video early on saying it was bad? RTINGS clearly has a different opinion:
You have to remember that measuring lag is really hard and really requires special equipment. The chances that some guy doing it at home with a camera gets it right is very low.
 

TimothyB

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Weren’t people concerned about the input lag on this monitor after some guy released a video early on saying it was bad? RTINGS clearly has a different opinion:

View attachment 325581

I was glad to learn it wasn’t as bad as the less scientific test done in that one review. I think he was mostly saying he felt a difference between the other LG monitor he had.

Checking RTINGs 38WN95c, that one had slightly better input lag over the AW.
https://www.rtings.com/monitor/reviews/lg/38wn95c-w

Still, both are good.
I’m surprised by the HDR brightness on the AW compared to that LG.
 

Sycraft

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I'm guessing maybe Dell's different backlight configuration is the reason. Maybe with the LEDs Dell chose they got more zones, but at the cost of less peak brightness.

I dunno, either way it isn't winning any awards for amazing HDR, but I do find it useful in games so I'm happy. I was expecting the HDR to be worthless but I've been presently surprised. Hitman 2 looks better in HDR than SDR on it.
 

TimothyB

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Dang, I had to turn down the pick-up from UPS on the 1st monitor just now.

I initiated the return online yesterday. But I haven't received any email with details on preparing the item for return, yet UPS already showed up to get it with a label. I could of quickly taped it up, but without instructions, I wasn't sure if needed to add to print and insert any RMA return papers inside the box.

Guess I'll have to reschedule the pick-up.

Edit: Looking at the steps from the online page after submitting the return request, I guess I was only expecting to receive an email from the carrier. So maybe I could of taken care if right then and there.

2021-02-03_12-37-54.jpg
 
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thelead

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I was glad to learn it wasn’t as bad as the less scientific test done in that one review. I think he was mostly saying he felt a difference between the other LG monitor he had.

Checking RTINGs 38WN95c, that one had slightly better input lag over the AW.
https://www.rtings.com/monitor/reviews/lg/38wn95c-w

Still, both are good.
I’m surprised by the HDR brightness on the AW compared to that LG.
I bet the lower brightness on the AW is the reason why you can barely hear the fan on the gsync module. The 38wn95c may not have a fan but it doesn’t have the gsync module either.
 

TimothyB

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Make sure you have a good mouse to make use of these high-refresh screens.

Over the weekend I returned my 1+ year old Logitech G-Pro Mouse at Best Buy (Geek Squad Warranty) and put my credit towards the new Superlight. It wasn't instock and would arrive in 4 days (arrived today).

During the 4-day wait, I had to use some old mouses, a Logitech MX Anywhere 2 and Master MX 2S (Just too heavy to use now for work). During that time, I started to play the game Valheim. Despite running usually 80+ fps (maxed out at full resolution), the game didn't feel smooth when moving the camera. Like there was a slight stutter. Moving the character with the keyboard appeared smooth. Basically, it felt like the mouse was report rate less that 144hz, like half or something. Checking the cursor on the desktop, spinning in a circle really fast, I couldn't see as many cursors in the motion at once, looked and felt closer to my 60hz screen. Both were using their receivers and not bluetooth. I also installed Logitech Options (to change the middle button, but I don't think I noticed any report rate options - (Edit: Checked, couldn't find an option, but the Superlight had a report rate of 1000 by default)

The Superlight, upon connecting, the cursor immediately felt smooth again on the desktop. Firing up Valheim, which I had only played with the older mouses, the stutter magically disappeared and moving the camera with the Superlight felt silky smooth.

So if you haven't upgraded to a gaming mouse, you should give it a shot with your high-refresh screen.
 
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thelead

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Make sure you have a good mouse to make use of these high-refresh screens.

Over the weekend I returned my 1+ year old Logitech G-Pro Mouse at Best Buy (Geek Squad Warranty) and put my credit towards the new Superlight. It wasn't instock and would arrive in 4 days (arrived today).

During the 4-day wait, I had to use some old mouses, a Logitech MX Anywhere 2 and Master MX 2S (Just too heavy to use now for work). During that time, I started to play the game Valheim. Despite running usually 80+ fps (maxed out at full resolution), the game didn't feel smooth when moving the camera. Like there was a slight stutter. Moving the character with the keyboard appeared smooth. Basically, it felt like the mouse was polling less that 144hz, like half. Checking the cursor on the desktop, spinning in a circle really fast, I couldn't see as many cursors in the motion at once, looked and felt closer to my 60hz screen. Both were using their receivers and not bluetooth. I also installed Logitech Options (to change the middle button, but I don't think I noticed any polling rate options - will check again)

The Superlight, upon connecting, the cursor immediately felt smooth again on the desktop. Firing up Valheim, which I had only played with the older mouses, the stutter magically disappeared and moving the camera with the Superlight felt silky smooth.

So if you haven't upgraded to a gaming mouse, you should give it a shot with your high-refresh screen.
That's the absolute truth. The monitor feels much more responsive with a good gaming mouse. There is a huge difference between my Master MX 2S and my Razer Basilisk Ultimate.
 

Booty156

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Anyone else with a AW3821DW getting very bad crushed blacks when HDR is turned on?
Having to set Dark Stabilizer to 3 somewhat helps, but still is super bad. Makes any HDR content unwatchable
 

cezarL

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Anyone else with a AW3821DW getting very bad crushed blacks when HDR is turned on?
Having to set Dark Stabilizer to 3 somewhat helps, but still is super bad. Makes any HDR content unwatchable
Yes, but only when turning on in-game HDR. You don't get the crushed blacks with Windows HDR turned on and games run in SDR.
 

Booty156

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I get it worse with MadVR playing back HDR files. With windows HDR turned off and MadVR HDR api running
 

terve

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Hello from Finland! I've always owned quality IPS panels because of coding and graphics work. so I was curious if this AW3821DW monitor would be enough for my work.
Because of this amazingly high quality forum thread, I already knew, that it would be somewhat of a compromise to buy it, but I did buy it..

Here are my thoughts after 2 weeks of use:

1. Calibration/color/brightness settings out of the box are all HORRIBLE. You can literally burn your eyes with the default settings and lose your sight temporarily.
> Edit: Got a replacement monitor and the colors and others seem to be A LOT better straight out of box.

2. Learning curve to get settings right is steep, I literally used DAYS trying to figure out how to get this monitor to display even something close to sRGB or CMYK with natural brightness. I've never used this much time for color correction on ANY monitor, usually it takes few minutes to get the brightness and colors right.

3. HDR is unusable. Your eyes will be burning into your sockets on longer use and there are not enough settings currently available to make it better.
> Edit: I got my replacement monitor from Dell and this doesn't seem to have such huge fluorocent brightness effect, with this the HDR is much more settle. Seems there are differences between monitors.

4. Some days, when the monitor is first time turned on, it can flicker colorfully few times at random. It feels like it needs to warm up or something before it's fully operational. Can grow into a problem in longer term or faulty unit?
> Edit: Got a replacement monitor and the problem hasn't surfaced anymore!

5. Ambient light sensor seems to somewhat work now - after I did the reset thing found on Reddit, but it's still not perfect and it would be great to have some adjustment setting on it.

After all of that being said, I gotta say.. I do LOVE❤️ this monitor! :D It's crisp enough and so amazingly wide, 120-144Hz is a bliss and now when I've gotten the color/brightness settings to somewhat close to the real world - I have no regrets!

Comp: Omen 30L i7-10700K with Nvidia RTX 3080

Thanks for everyone who has contributed into this thread! Great stuff!
 
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AthlonXP

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I just got mine delivered today. A nice improvement over the 34 inch Alienware I got 3 years ago. What settings have people set to look the best?
 

cezarL

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I get it worse with MadVR playing back HDR files. With windows HDR turned off and MadVR HDR api running
Hmmm I don't use it for films. Also stopped using the PC with MadVR a while ago, after getting an Nvidia Shield.
Your experience makes sense though... MadVR will be using the video card's HDR API, same as games that have HDR support do.

What do card do you have, Nvidia (as I do) or AMD?
If Nvidia, I wonder if anyone here has an AMD card and is willing to test and comment on the HDR output, either in games or with MadVR.
Although I expect most if not all people getting the AW will be Nvidia owners, going with the AW for the G-sync module...
 

Booty156

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Hmmm I don't use it for films. Also stopped using the PC with MadVR a while ago, after getting an Nvidia Shield.
Your experience makes sense though... MadVR will be using the video card's HDR API, same as games that have HDR support do.

What do card do you have, Nvidia (as I do) or AMD?
If Nvidia, I wonder if anyone here has an AMD card and is willing to test and comment on the HDR output, either in games or with MadVR.
Although I expect most if not all people getting the AW will be Nvidia owners, going with the AW for the G-sync module...
RTX 3080
 

Booty156

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There's a bug in madVR for windows HDR api to be used in windowed mode which fixes most of the issues with crushed blacks. And provides a much brighter HDR effect...
 

Booty156

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I think disabling "send hdr metadata to the display" and leaving windows HDR on is helping a lot. With MadVR
 
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