Dell 3007fpw : Review from a gamer's perspective

Discussion in 'Displays' started by 1000, Oct 14, 2006.

  1. 1000

    1000 Limp Gawd

    Messages:
    426
    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2005
    Since posting that I’d ordered a 3007fpw in another thread I’ve had several requests to post a review concussed purely on the two things that are of most importance to gamers, being gaming performance and DVD/movie/media playback. Fortunately, these are the precise reasons behind my purchase of the panel.

    I’m not including pictures in this review at the moment. There is the existing “holy crap this panel is big” thread with over 50 pages containing a wealth of pictures but if anyone would like me to post specific pictures, either of the panel itself, a side by side comparison to the 2405fpw or of specific games/resolutions just let me know.



    The purchase experience

    I have to say that on the two occasions I’ve dealt with Dell, namely the order of a 2405fpw 12 months ago and now the purchase of the 3007fpw the buying experience has been delightful. The staff (who are obviously located in a call centre in India) are very very helpful, cooperative and friendly. 12 months ago when I ordered my 2405fpw the unit came with 9 dead pixels. I called the call centre and had a replacement in 2 days – even before they’d picked the other panel up. The second arrives PERFECT.

    This time around, a perfect panel the first time – but more on that below.

    I picked up the 3007 panel for a great price following an AUD$400 discount on the panel, and then an additional 5% off through work and a quick haggle of an additional AUD$87 off to round the price to an even AUD$2000.



    Unpacking

    The panel comes in quite a large box, however, the first thing that struck me was how light the box and unit were, I was expecting to strain when I picked it up, however, I lifted the box with one hand. Shortly after getting the unit home, I opened and removed the sucker with minimal effort. I noticed that the unit comes with a dual-link DVI cable and that said cable is already connected to the rear of the panel (which I found strange).



    First Impressions

    I lifted the sucker out and when I saw the sheer size of the panel, I have to confess I got so excited a little bit of pee almost came out !!! I mean to say, I’ve seen the pictures in other threads with the unit beside other monitors but believe me it’s not until you see a 3007fpw in the flesh that you can truly appreciate just how large these panels are.

    I sat the 3007 next to my 2405 and could not believe how darn large this thing was. I wondered if I’d done the right thing in terms of it being TOO BIG and likely needing to sit another foot away from the panel than my 2405. The panel aesthetics are beautiful via their simplicity. I nice solid arm at the back reveals a slide that allows the panel to extend quite high, and down almost to it’s base – the ability to bring the sucker right down to it’s base is a masterstroke by Dell, they obviously considered the fact that to look straight onto the panel on the average height desk and chair that the panel would need to come down on the rail system to meet the base.

    The frame is a slightly darker colour than the 2405 fascia, and it FLAT rather than rounded (I assume it’s the same deal with the 2407). There are three buttons and they are recessed and touch sensitive – brightness up, down and power.. that’s the lot – I love the simplicity. The power light glows the now fashionable fluorescent BLUE that adorns a lot of computer hardware these days. The top and bottom of the panel have a silver freeze about 3mm high. I’ve seen reviews stating that the DELL logo on the front is boxed in a lighter silver colour, but my experiences revealed that it’s actually a plastic protector sheet and peels right off (doh !).



    Unleash the hounds

    Around 5 minutes later I was powering the sucker up after connecting the DVI cable, power and cabling up the built-in USB. The connections offered as you would all know are limited to DVI, power, USB and the option for a soundbar.

    I powered the screen and booted WindowsXP. WOW !!!!!! The image quality in Windows desktop is absolutely impeccable – more detail to follow below.




    General Desktop Use


    General desktop use is a delight owing to the super-fine pixel pitch and massive screen area. Brightness by default is quite high, far higher and whiter than the already bright 2405fpw. I confess that I have not messed with the panel’s default brightness settings as yet. It’s probably set a little too bright for long-term word processing use etc, but when I get the chance I will mess around the with Nvidia control panel and a PQ tuning application to get the contrast, colours etc just right.

    Speaking in terms of general use, colour, contrast and brightness are all absolutely brilliant. As I have said, I haven’t messed with any settings at all so it’s as it comes “out of the box” and I can tell you without hesitation that the whites are virginal, the colours really “pop” and the blacks in general terms, whilst not “inky” as on professional CRT displays, are good enough for general use.

    There have been a few posts regarding a few issues with the panel, so I’ll share my experiences with mine;

    Panel noise or “buzzing”

    There is ZERO buzzing or noise from the panel. If I hold my ear up to the rear of the panel I can hear electrical noise from the unit, which I assume is the power transformer, backlight or both. But in day to day use (I am sitting around 50cm away from the panel) it operates silently.

    Backlight Uniformity

    My panel appears to have a perfectly adequate backlight, with no discernable bleeding or uniformity issues. In pure black screens, both bottom corners appear a little brighter than the rest of the panel, however, when I move my head the light changes, therefore it’s just the fact that this panel is so big and I’m sitting close enough to it that I’m viewing the bottom corners from outside the optimum viewing angle.

    My panel, for those who have kept track of the history of the 3007 is a revision 2.



    OK, so onto my experiences with gaming and movies.

    Beforehand, it’s probably worthwhile to provide my hardware specs, so if you are wondering whether your system has the beef to run this sucker it might help establish a benchmark of sorts.

    CPU: Duo Core 2 6600 (@stock)
    MEM: 2gig Corsair ddr2 533 (@stock)
    GPU Nvidia 7950gx2 (@stock)
    MOBO: Asus P5W-DH Deluxe
    HDDS: a bunch of sata drives (no raid)
    SOUND: Audigy 4 (X-fi cards won’t work in my system)



    Gaming in general

    What I can tell you in regards to gaming on the panel is that it is an absolutely sublime experience, purely due to the excellent PQ, and of course, the mammoth screen size. I expected a significant improvement in the level of immersion over my 24”, but I had no idea than the experience would be this good.

    In first person shooters, you are sucked right into the battle. Your arm/hand/weapon almost feels “life sized”. In fact, I help my hand up to the panel while trying COD2 and found that the hand in the game was roughly the size of my own hand !!!

    For Strategy gaming, provided that the game supports the higher resolutions, you simply see more of the battle at once and in more detail.. which can only be a good thing right ?

    For online RPGs (I am a Warcraft fanatic personally) the huge resolution of 2560x1600 allows heaps of freedom in terms of loading up lots of chat windows and other bits and pieces, while still maintaining a great viewing area/playing area for the character/battles etc.

    On ghosting/blurring there isn’t any, at least, to my eyes. Bear in mind I’ve used 12ms, 8ms, 5ms panels and also a great 2405fpw and I can confirm to my mind that the 3007 performance is better than any of them. I played CS:S, DOD:S and BF2 for a while and had no problems at all keeping the old frag count up when bolting around, turning quickly etc.

    There is NO INPUT LAG. In fact, I always scoffed at the 2405 owners who claimed they had input lag on the 2405… but now I have the 3007 and 2405 side by side, I can actually see what some people claim. There is ZERO input lag on the 3007.. the mouse tracks in real-time perfectly over the desktop.. when I cruise over to the 2405 I can feel a very, very, very minor difference. So the news is that the 2405 indeed has a VERY MINOR input lag, and the 3007 has zilch.

    One final point before I move onto the specific games I’ve tested, being the mysterious “second native resolution” offered by the 3007 of 1280x800. Now I always thought that a panel only ever had ONE native res due to the way in which LCD works, but Dell claims a second native res of 1280x800. I notice that the res is exactly ½ of the maximum resolution, which must be something to do with the claims and the technology behind the panel etc.

    I can report, conclusively for gamers looking at the 3007 and looking to utilize the 1280x800 resolution, worried about some games not running well enough at 2560x1600 that the claims are correct… the panel DOES display perfectly sharp at 1280x800. The resolution does not have any “scaling” look to it at all… it looks like a panel that runs 1280x800 at a native resolution. Bear in mind though, that pixel size at 1280x800 on a 30” panel is quite large, meaning that notwithstanding it being crystal clear, the pixels are large on-screen. This means that at 1280x800 gamers expecting no jaggies etc will likely need to reach for the AA and AF settings to prevent jaggies.

    While we are at it, I should also confirm that the scaling to non-native resolutions is also excellent, in fact, It’s the best scaling I’ve seen on an LCD. 1920x1200 (my old friend from the 2405) and other non-native widescreen resolutions all look satisfactory.



    World of Warcraft

    Like 7 million others, I’ve been bitten by the WoW bug, and it goes some way to explaining my quest for a larger, widescreen experience starting with the 2405 and now the 3007.

    WoW is just amazing on this panel. It’s bright, beautiful and oh so large. I am running 2560x1600 on my 7950gx2 at a constant 60fps. I used to run the 2405 at 1920x1200 with no slowdowns at all, however, when I first booted up on the 3007 the FPS would drop and game play would get a bit jittery in heavily populated or graphically complex areas. I quickly discovered that in order to maintain 60fps at 2560x1600 I had to disable the “full screen glow effect” in the WoW video settings, and turn the “Spell Effects” to medium. Once I did that the FPS are better than the 1920x1200 I used to run on the 2405.

    I have a massive play area, and now I have 7 chat windows open and still have room for more. Panels like this are GOLD for a WoW enthusiast.

    There is ZERO ghosting or blurring, even is yucky grey regions in the game. The colours are absolutely stunning and really “pop” from the panel.

    I have not dipped below 60fps in the game at all since disabling the “full screen glow” setting, including in heavily populated areas like around the gates of ironforge.

    Running on a large panel really makes the game far more immersive and I’m now noticing lots of new little graphical details on enemies etc.



    Half Life 2

    To my surprise, I can run HL2 at 2560x1600 without a hitch. I thought that some of the ‘prettier’ games might struggle, but no. The game runs at a consistent 60-90fps.. occasionally dipping into the low 50’s when a large object is in view right in front of my character (like when you pick up a barrel or something with the gravity gun and it’s right in the player’s view).

    There is no ghosting or blurring, I found no problems tracking enemies and downing them even strafing and turning at high speeds.

    The level of detail in the game is outstanding, and the 30” panel really immerses you in the game.

    In the dark areas like Ravenholt, the blacks were really solid, not to CRT levels but good enough.. and really quite remarkable for a panel this size (also consider I haven’t adjusted brightness and the sucker is probably still in a “torch” mode out of the box).



    Oblivion

    I never pretended for a moment that my 7950gx2 could push this game at 2560x1600 at the FPS I like to experience and I was right. In towns, it pretty much OK at medium detail settings, but getting out amongst the grasses and forests made the poor little GPUs struggle.

    This was the first time I decided to try the 1280x800 resolution and the results were fantastic. The game is playable with almost all settings maxed out, even in forests etc and the FPS are smooth as silk in all but the harshest outdoor battles.

    Mind you, as I mentioned previously, although the resolution at 1280x800 is razor sharp with no discernable scaling evident, the pixel size is quite high at on a 30” panel at this res.. so the trade-off is some “jaggies”. I’d rather suffer some jaggies and play this game at 60fps with the effects and detail maxxed out than play at 2560x1600 at medium/low settings and have the FPS struggle outdoors and in battles.

    The experience is so good I’m going to create a new character and play back through the game again.



    CS:S, BF2, DOD:S

    I have to be honest here… I like to play online shooters at really high FPS rates.. I can’t stand FPS drops below 55fps when playing online. At 2560x1600 all the online shooters, both the Source variety and BF2 are perfectly playable and for the most part, the FPS stays OK. But in the heat of battle where were a few times where the FPS dipped, so again I opted to use the 1280x800 resolution. At this res the 7950gx2 just eats the games up.

    One world to “PRO GAMERS” .. you know the type.. the ones that live and die to play these games and live by their frag count… because this panel is so large, competitive gaming might actually be a little more difficult than on a small panel, because in the heat of battle your eyes need to work more to look around to the extreme corners of the view etc. Maybe these milli-micro seconds or whatever are what separates competition gamers from the rest of us, so pros should bear in mind the extra work your eyes need to do to navigate this huge viewing area.



    Heroes of M&M5

    No problems running at 2560x1600 at 60fps, and the game looked pants-wettingly gorgeous




    Video/movie viewing


    No ghosting, blurring or any other unpleasant experiences, regardless of the source material, be it xvid, DVD etc. DVDs and other MPG material don’t look “stunning” on this panel.. they just look plain darn BIG.

    It’s not dissimilar to running DVD or xvid on any larger than normal panel.. the huge resolution and pixel pitch of a computer LCD makes DVD and other mpg resolution material look a bit ordinary. For comparison sake, it’s the exact viewing experience I had on my 2405.. just a whole lot larger. Pixel crawl, twinkling etc were all present, just like any LCD panel over, say, 19”.. but that said the size makes up for it and I’d watch movies on this panel any day of the week.




    Final Thoughts

    So overall, as an enthusiastic gamer (particularly with WoW) this is the best purchase I have ever made for my computer. Coupled with a reasonably speced Conroe rig and good GPU (I’d still recommend that gx2/sli/crossfire be MANDATORY purchase to run 2560x1600 at smooth fps), the monitor provides the best darn gaming experience I’ve ever had.

    The caveats ? I can see only one, being that in order to keep driving the insane resolution of 2560x1600 further costly GPU purchases lay ahead for me. As DX10 and newer crops of games arrive, any owner of the 3007 will likely have to invest in new high-end GPUs to get the most out of this beat. Mind you, with 20-22” widescreen becoming more common almost to the point of being near entry-level then ATI/Nvidia will very likely make scaling performance at higher resolutions more important in the near year or two.. we’ve already seen this through release of SLI, gx2, crossfire etc.. after all… if we all ran at 1280x1024 nobody would ever need anything more than a single 7900GT and these other high end options would not exist !!

    I’d be happy to answer any questions via post or PM, and if anyone wants piccies etc I will post some.
     
  2. Jasonx82

    Jasonx82 [H]ardness Supreme

    Messages:
    6,632
    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2004
    congrats! it is an awesome monitor :D
     
  3. zzz

    zzz Gawd

    Messages:
    785
    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2006
    Thanks for the HUGE review! Now I'm really looking forward to my own 30" experience, to replace my 19" CRT. I'll probably wait til Dec/Jan though, and get a G80 and LP3065.
     
  4. jacuzz1

    jacuzz1 [H]ardness Supreme

    Messages:
    6,801
    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2004
    Well , done. If I did not already own one, I would have purchased one after reading this. :D


    P:S: thanks for the reference to my "Big Mofo Screen thread" ;)
     
  5. Brahmzy

    Brahmzy [H]ardness Supreme

    Messages:
    4,559
    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2004
    I'm jealous man... congrats! :)

    I'm so tired of 1280x1024...ugh.
     
  6. Savoy

    Savoy 2[H]4U

    Messages:
    2,467
    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2005
    Awesome review, I have read many many good things about this panel and so I'm not suprised by your great experience so far. Enjoy it. :D
     
  7. Dulak

    Dulak Limp Gawd

    Messages:
    317
    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2005
    Thanks for posting that review ...

    I have a 2405 here myself and I know about the input lag ...

    This sounds like the type of monitor I want in the future (once I save up the dough).

    I could use the 2405 for webpages and the 3007 for gaming etc movies ...
     
  8. Savoy

    Savoy 2[H]4U

    Messages:
    2,467
    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2005
    I have the 2407 and I notice a little input lag at times but not terrible. It seems to show more on certain games and others less or none. You can't use vsync though, because if you do it shows its ugly head.
     
  9. zzz

    zzz Gawd

    Messages:
    785
    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2006
    1000,

    So when you run a full-screen 4:3 application (such as Diablo), does the 3007 stretch the image horizontally to fill the screen? If you use Windows Media Player to play a 4:3 .wmv file and hit alt-enter, does it stretch it or preserve the correct ratio?
     
  10. madgun

    madgun [H]ard|Gawd

    Messages:
    1,750
    Joined:
    May 11, 2006
    nice review except for the fact that there are no screen shots :/
     
  11. zzz

    zzz Gawd

    Messages:
    785
    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2006
    Here's another question while I'm at it...would it work to connect the 3007 to a DVD player by using an RCA cable, RCA-to-VGA converter, VGA-to-DVI converter, and ending up with 1280x800 res?
     
  12. Askanison

    Askanison Limp Gawd

    Messages:
    244
    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2006
    Unless the dvi connector can output at a specific 1280x800 res.. it seems unlikely. Just play that dvd throuh a PC with a DL-DVI card (or even a SL-DVI card at 1280x800).
    b.t.w. 1280x800 is one quater of the native resolution... 4 pixels representing 1 pixel..
     
  13. Warsoul

    Warsoul n00bie

    Messages:
    34
    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2006
    Anyone got a clue how well Star Wars Galaxies plays on this Screen? Does it support the 2,560x1,600 resolution ?
     
  14. madgun

    madgun [H]ard|Gawd

    Messages:
    1,750
    Joined:
    May 11, 2006
    should I wait for 3008FPW or just buy the 3007, what changes can I expect from the next generation Dell 30inch LCD monitor.
     
  15. SpeedyVV

    SpeedyVV [H]ardness Supreme

    Messages:
    4,348
    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2007
    If you have the cash and want multiple inputs and scaling I would wait.

    If you are short on cash I would wait for it to come out and get the 3007WFC-HC cheap.

    Here is a thread with lots of pics and links: http://www.hardforum.com/showthread.php?p=1031622406#post1031622406
     
  16. daveswantek

    daveswantek [H]ard|Gawd

    Messages:
    1,233
    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2007
    "While we are at it, I should also confirm that the scaling to non-native resolutions is also excellent, in fact, It’s the best scaling I’ve seen on an LCD. 1920x1200 (my old friend from the 2405) and other non-native widescreen resolutions all look satisfactory."

    Are you talking about scaling games or the Windows desktop?
    How do you accomplish this without a scaler chip?

    I have seen some talk about scaling with the Gforce drivers, but nobody has said how that is done.

    Thanks for a great real-world review.

    Dave
     
  17. spock

    spock Gawd

    Messages:
    521
    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2000
    I can confirm that the nVidia graphics drivers can do any scaling that you want. 1:1 (black on all 4 sides), fixed aspect ratio (black either on top/bottom or left/right, depending on the source), or fill screen (distort if necessary).

    For Diablo, use the "fixed aspect ratio" scaling and it'll look correct, with black bars on the sides.

    THIS is why Dell, HP, Samsung, etc felt it was acceptable to release LCDs without any scaling capability -- your graphics card should be doing that anyways. Actually, if you have any need to do any scaling at all on an LCD, let your gfx card do it and it will look better.
     
  18. joemama

    joemama [H]ardForum Junkie

    Messages:
    9,663
    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2000
  19. madgun

    madgun [H]ard|Gawd

    Messages:
    1,750
    Joined:
    May 11, 2006
    Thanks for the link Speedy!!
     
  20. rinaldo00

    rinaldo00 [H]ard|Gawd

    Messages:
    1,411
    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2005
    Great review! I hope someone does one like that for the Gateway XHD3000

    BTW, All LCDs can scale even multiples of their native res as a 'second' native res.
     
  21. abcdelight

    abcdelight [H]ard|Gawd

    Messages:
    1,744
    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2006

    I would check to see what panel will be used. The Dell 30's use S-IPS now. If they switch to something else I wouldn't want it.
     
  22. svenski

    svenski n00bie

    Messages:
    36
    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2007
    can only agree. Its been the best purchase this year (3007WFP-HC). Image quality and real estate is amazing. The panel is S-IPS and superb to look at from all angles, which is something that newer screens will lack with the shift to cheaper PVA and TN based panels. I doubt that Dell will contiune using S-IPS panels or stop doing so after initial positive reviews as they have done in the past for their 20'' range.