AW3821DW (Nov 2020) with GSync Ultimate

Sycraft

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So some general HDR info to try and help people out. This is overly simplified and there are all kind of things to consider, but there are sort of 4 basic "tiers" of HDR you find out there:

--The first tier is stuff with no local dimming and low brightness. HDAren't I've heard it called and that is accurate. Displays like this will carry the DisplayHDR 400 certification, if they carry one at all. These things have no real ability to do high dynamic range, they just know how to accept an HDR signal. Results tend to be pretty trash. Sometimes a game may look a little better, depending on how it handles color grading and such, but in general you shouldn't view displays like that as HDR and really shouldn't count on using it at all.

--The next tier is stuff with edge lit local dimming and medium brightness. Anything that is DisplayHDR 600 certified or above is guaranteed to be at least this. Here you get some real HDR ability. It can get reasonably bright, competitive with OLED TVs, and is able to actually dim areas of the display to be darker than others. However since all the backlights are along the edge, the dimming is imprecise and you don't get many zones. Some only have 4 or 8. This means that you aren't going to get small bright spots, if a part of the screen has a bright thing on it, it'll all be bright which can lead to some washed out areas, and bloom. Not an ideal HDR experience, but usable, at least if the local dimming is done well.

--The tier above that is stuff with full-array local dimming (FALD) and high brightness. If something has DisplayHDR 1000 certification it is probably like this, though it doesn't strictly have to be and it is almost certainly like this if it has DisplayHDR 1400 certification. With this the backlights are no longer along the edge, but in an array all along the back of the panel. This gives not only better brightness (from having more lights) but more importantly lets them dim in smaller zones. TVs with this usually start at 70 or so zones and you can find monitors with over 1000. This allows for pretty precise HDR, you have have a bright light with darkness near it, and not a lot of blooming. Still not pinpoint accuracy, but it can be pretty darn good. How precise does vary a lot though with the number of zones.

--The top tier is emissive displays, like OLEDs, that can turn individual pixels on and off. No monitors with that yet, but they will carry the DisplayHDR True Black 400/500 certifications. Since individual pixels themselves are lit, you truly can have pinpoint precision. You can get bright stars on inky black space, or the shimmer of just one strand of hair. It's the HDR we all really want, but for now there are no monitors that do it, and there are concerns about using OLED TVs for desktop usage. Also there is a slight downside as it can't get as bright, the VESA certifications are only calling for 400-500 nits, and the best OLED TVs get maybe 800ish in the real world. Good FALD TVs are easily above 1000nits, with some above 2000nits (Vizio PQX).


Also of note is that HDR isn't entirely about brightness and contrast, though those are the big selling points, hence the name. HDR is also a wide gamut color space. Technically HDR stuff is encoded in Rec.2020 but since nothing can actually do that, current stuff is designed for DCI-P3. What this means is that HDR content can be much more colorful than SDR content, when it is done right and you have a proper display.
 

santxus

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Hi

Anyone knows if I can use this monitor with an amd gpu ? in mt case rx580.
I was reading and looks that the new g-sync monitors should be compatible with freesync but no idea about this one.
 

AP2

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received mine today and totally love it! glad I returned the 27" version for the 38".

any recommendations on calibrating the colors?
 

Sycraft

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received mine today and totally love it! glad I returned the 27" version for the 38".

any recommendations on calibrating the colors?
Each monitor is going to be different so it may not be universal. On mine, it was just slightly blue out of the box, 6900k instead of 6500k. Setting it to R100 G99 B92 got it right on 6500k. Do note you can only set the gain in "Custom Color" mode, none of the others provide access to them, which is a little annoying.
 

thelead

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Got the monitor in and it looks great. I'm not sure about the input lag on this thing though, seems a bit sluggish out of the box compared to a few other gsync panels I've used (recently the aw3418dw). Switching to super fast is pretty good but the trails when moving windows isn't great. This is VERY minor but I guess I'm sensitive to input lag and motion. Mulling over if this is worth returning and playing the wait game for something else.
 

thelead

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Picture quality on this panel is phenomenal. That is not always the case for a gaming monitor.
 

WaXmAn

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Just recieved mine tonight as well, the picture quality is insane. The input lag is kinda of a downer compaired to my 7 hr old ASUS 144hz TN, but its a trade off for the IPS and UHD.
 

Sycraft

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Maybe I'm just not very lag sensitive, but to me it seems great. My old Viewsonic with a 144Hz Gsync IPS panel felt about the same as this one, maybe a touch slower.
 

thelead

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Maybe I'm just not very lag sensitive, but to me it seems great. My old Viewsonic with a 144Hz Gsync IPS panel felt about the same as this one, maybe a touch slower.
Do you have the response time set to fast?
 

Sycraft

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Do you have the response time set to fast?
Yep. I played with it and didn't like the inverse ghosting of the faster ones. Plus based on the tests of the LG models with the same panel, that is going to give 4ms ish of pixel response, which is pretty fast, fast enough for 144Hz (which needs 6ms or better).
 

thelead

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Yep. I played with it and didn't like the inverse ghosting of the faster ones. Plus based on the tests of the LG models with the same panel, that is going to give 4ms ish of pixel response, which is pretty fast, fast enough for 144Hz (which needs 6ms or better).
Good stuff. I guess I'm just sensitive to it but am leaning towards keeping it because the picture quality is a massive step up from what I have been using. The screen real estate and color volume is pretty hard to dismiss for a slightly less responsive (maybe) gsync monitor.
 

Sycraft

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Good stuff. I guess I'm just sensitive to it but am leaning towards keeping it because the picture quality is a massive step up from what I have been using. The screen real estate and color volume is pretty hard to dismiss for a slightly less responsive (maybe) gsync monitor.
I suppose the other question would be could it just be lower FPS that is causing higher lag? I mean this thing is a chonker and needs lots of graphics power to drive it. My 1080Ti drove my 2560x1440 display to 100+fps in most games, whereas this was dropping it down to more like 50-60. When I scored my 3090 (yes I am a crazy person) the FPS went back up and it feels super smooth.
 

thelead

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I suppose the other question would be could it just be lower FPS that is causing higher lag? I mean this thing is a chonker and needs lots of graphics power to drive it. My 1080Ti drove my 2560x1440 display to 100+fps in most games, whereas this was dropping it down to more like 50-60. When I scored my 3090 (yes I am a crazy person) the FPS went back up and it feels super smooth.
To be honest, I feel it just with my cursor in windows. Again, I'm likely just sensitive to it and it's not a deal breaker. I still can't believe how great the quality of the panel is. It feels much more like a professional grade/color accurate display. It's probably as good as it gets for now.
 

exlink

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Maybe I'm just not very lag sensitive, but to me it seems great. My old Viewsonic with a 144Hz Gsync IPS panel felt about the same as this one, maybe a touch slower.
Yeah I don’t notice anything either. But I don’t have exceptional sensitivity to input lag or can notice the difference in frame rates above 120 or so.
 

Sycraft

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Did some HDR game testing using Hitman 2 vs my TV, which is an older Vizio P65 with 100 zones of FALD and a VA panel. I have to say, I'm even more impressed with the HDR on the Alienware now. It is pretty damn good in comparison. Not quite as good at handling the highlights but really pretty similar overall. Now granted, the Vizio isn't an ultra high end HDR display, but it is a pretty good representation of what you find out there in a lot of not too expensive HDR TVs these days.

So ya, HDR gaming on this is for sure a real option and the experience is going to be decent.
 

thelead

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I tested the input lag/response time in some actual games and I gotta say that I really can't tell much of a difference if at all. This might be the one to keep for a while.

And for those that worry about the fan as I did, you can't hear it unless you really put your ear up against it and even then, you can barely hear it. This was a MAJOR concern for me and I'm glad I tried it out.
 

Sycraft

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I tested the input lag/response time in some actual games and I gotta say that I really can't tell much of a difference if at all. This might be the one to keep for a while.

And for those that worry about the fan as I did, you can't hear it unless you really put your ear up against it and even then, you can barely hear it. This was a MAJOR concern for me and I'm glad I tried it out.
It is a for srs quiet fan. I was also worried because I have a very, very quiet room. Like recording studio quiet. And I can't hear it, at all, in my seating position. They put some real thought in to the design and clearly the idea wasn't "don't make it noisy" but rather "we literally don't want people to know there's a fan."
 

kasakka

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Yes, just not FALD HDR, instead it is edge lit. So with those FALD displays people are talking about, there are 512 dimming zones on the display in something like a 32x16 grid. So it can get reasonably precise with the area of the screen it dims. The Alienware ones are edge lit with 30 zones in a 15x2 configuration. So fairly imprecise dimming. That means the HDR isn't as impressive, it can't do as good a job of having a small area that is bright surrounded by dark. Also it doesn't get as bright, 600nits max brightness as opposed to the 1000 that you see out of the others.

Basically the Alienware's HDR is on par with a mid-range or lower end HDR TV, whereas the Asus/Acer are on par with a high end HDR TV. But it works and is useful, make no mistake. I haven't done a ton of testing on it yet, but it doesn't look terrible. It just isn't up to spec with what you'd get HDR wise from something like a Vizio P series TV or the like.

30 zones is actually not terrible for a display of this size and makes the price more palatable. My Samsung CRG9 only had 10 for a much larger display area and that was some miserable local dimming. Real shame they did not even improve on that on the G9.

The Alienware looks like it might be the best out of these 38" high refresh rate models.
 

Murzilka

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The Alienware looks like it might be the best out of these 38" high refresh rate models.
I also don't completely dismiss the idea of it actually supporting the sRGB in some way. I am waiting for the professional reviewers to test it thoroughly, or myself buying it sometime in January, if I don't settle with the tiny Predator X34 S before that.
 

thelead

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I also don't completely dismiss the idea of it actually supporting the sRGB in some way. I am waiting for the professional reviewers to test it thoroughly, or myself buying it sometime in January, if I don't settle with the tiny Predator X34 S before that.
I don't have my calibrator anymore but I will say that this not your average gaming dci-p3 wcg monitor that oversaturates everything. I had an lg 34gk950f at one point and that thing looked great but the colors were way oversaturated and the sRGB mode was terrible (didn't allow for white point adjustment). This monitor seems fairly accurate out of the box in standard mode.
 

jimbo0114

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if anyone from the uk wants this monitor add honey to your web browser or add VCLOUD8 into prom box to get an extra £104.06 off it will automatically put the best code in also if you haven't bought from dell before you can use your 10% dell coupon for signing up to dell . also sign upto topcashback.co.uk and search dell to though the link it opens and you will get £75 cashback. if you have Santander bank account activate your promotions for dell that will also get you £80 back make sure you use your santander card to purchase and not via paypal i got the monitor for £1097.40 plus £155 cashback hope this helps people dont know how long it will be until the offers are invalid . I ordered it yesterday and so did a friend. any advice setting it up ?
 
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Sycraft

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30 zones is actually not terrible for a display of this size and makes the price more palatable. My Samsung CRG9 only had 10 for a much larger display area and that was some miserable local dimming. Real shame they did not even improve on that on the G9.

The Alienware looks like it might be the best out of these 38" high refresh rate models.

Just a note that is my count, not an official spec for them. I think it is accurate, of course, but just FYI.
 

Sycraft

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are there any icm/icc color profiles floating around for this monitor yet?
If you download the Dell drivers, they include an icm profile for it. As for a custom one I've loaded my i1 to a friend but once I get it back I can make one for you. I can also post the one I'm currently using, if you like.
 

Murzilka

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I don't have my calibrator anymore but I will say that this not your average gaming dci-p3 wcg monitor that oversaturates everything. I had an lg 34gk950f at one point and that thing looked great but the colors were way oversaturated and the sRGB mode was terrible (didn't allow for white point adjustment). This monitor seems fairly accurate out of the box in standard mode.
The 95% DCI-P3 has to be noticeably oversaturated, if it's not, then it's definitely using some narrower color gamut in standard mode.
 

Sycraft

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The 95% DCI-P3 has to be noticeably oversaturated, if it's not, then it's definitely using some narrower color gamut in standard mode.
I'll try and do some better testing of it when I get my i1 back. Part of the problem is finding software that isn't a billion dollars that will measure the color primaries and show me them on a gamut map.
 

Murzilka

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Ok I'll snag it and do some testing. Not sure when my friend will be done with the puck, probably a week or two.
Okay. I used the HFCR to calibrate my OLED. I then had a chance to verify the calibration with the expensive Calman software and it approved the calibration conducted with the HFCR. So, the HFCR is really a thing. A little awkward in use, but if you can get the hang of it, it will give good result.
 
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veriya

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Anyone getting weird sleep behavior with this monitor? I upgraded from an AW3418DW, changed nothing in Windows settings, and the new monitor wouldn't go to sleep at all. I uninstalled the AW command center thing and now 5 minute and below sleep works, but when I set it to 10 minutes it goes to sleep after 10 minutes, immediately wakes itself up, then 10 minutes later goes to sleep and stays asleep - if I set it above 10 minutes it seems to never go to sleep

I checked pwconfig etc. and nothing is showing up there
 

Sycraft

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Anyone getting weird sleep behavior with this monitor? I upgraded from an AW3418DW, changed nothing in Windows settings, and the new monitor wouldn't go to sleep at all. I uninstalled the AW command center thing and now 5 minute and below sleep works, but when I set it to 10 minutes it goes to sleep after 10 minutes, immediately wakes itself up, then 10 minutes later goes to sleep and stays asleep - if I set it above 10 minutes it seems to never go to sleep

I checked pwconfig etc. and nothing is showing up there
No sleep problems that I've noticed. When I lock the desktop, it seems to go to sleep not long after. I haven't watched it extensively, but every time I come in the screen is off, and it takes when I move the mouse.
 

veriya

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I'm wondering if it has something to do with the USB hub on the monitor and/or the lighting, since I'm not sure what else could interfere with Windows thinking the PC was idle and cutting the video signal
 
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No sleep issues here, but I did notice that Windows "reset" my monitor sleep settings entirely from my previous monitor. I installed the monitor driver from Dell and also set the sleep settings back to my normal settings, and everything seems to functioning as expected.
 

Spartacus09

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I don't ever shutdown my machine but it does turn off the monitor after 20m, no issues.
 

veriya

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With some more testing it seems like 15+ minute sleep does work, just it has a 10 minute delay - which is consistent with the 10 minute sleep behavior of waking up then going to sleep 10 minutes later. Basically seems like something is reseting idle after 10 minutes, once, when I go idle - haven't been able to figure out what it is but it's probably not even related to the monitor and I likely just didn't notice it until the new monitor made me muck with the Windows sleep settings.
 

IonHawk

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How are you guys experiencing input lag and response time? I have heard very mixed things on it.

Is it really the same panel as the LG38GN950? And if so is it the same response time? Because that one seems to be a god of a monitor in IPS smoothness.
 

thelead

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I connected my old aw3418dw to really compare as I initially felt the aw3821dw felt less responsive. While I feel the 3418 might be SLIGHTLY quicker (maybe), the smoothness was not even close to the 3821. Night and day difference... to the point where the 3418 felt like it was closer to 60hz (and yes I checked that is was at 120) and the the 3821 had a soap opera affect it was so smooth.
 
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