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Dell 3008WFP Ultrasharp 30"

Tom's Holiday Buyer's Guide 2008, Part 1
By , Chris Angelini
By: Ed Tittel

Those in search of a big, beautiful monitor for gaming, video, and desktop use will definitely want to include the Dell 3008WFP on their short lists. As with other high-end, big-pixel-count monitors—this one supports 2560x1600 resolution—this monitor comes at a pretty steep price. But those with the gumption or the means to plunk down a couple of grand for a monitor will reap some considerable benefits in exchange for that hard-earned cash.

All of the 3008WFP’s specification details naturally lead to superlatives. We’re talking about a rated 3000:1 contrast ratio, which produces darker blacks for sharp images, crisp text, and greater detail in HD content—especially Blu-ray. At its rated resolution, 1920x1080 represents only 77% of the horizontal resolution and 67.5% of the vertical resolution. The 3008WFP also supports 117% of the NTSC color gamut, which makes for richer, more saturated color that can be calibrated for accurate color representation. This device even supports the Adobe 98 color standard and offers a snappy 8 ms pixel refresh interval suitable for gaming and motion-oriented video content.

You'd better be packing plent of graphics horsepower if you want to game at this display's 2560x1600 native res.

A monitor is useless without input connections and the 3008WFP has them in great profusion. In addition to the standard VGA and DVI-D, this unit also supports HDMI (with HDCP), S-Video, component video, and composite video, along with DisplayPort inputs. In fact, you need dual DVI-D inputs (and a graphics card to match) to drive all the pixels on this device. That gives both HDMI and DisplayPort an edge, because both technologies support sufficient video bandwidth to permit a single cable to drive this behemoth.

DisplayPort is interesting because it packetizes data to transport it from one device to another (DVI-D uses an RGB and time clock model at 3.3V that requires A-to-D and D-to-A conversion to transport signals across the wire). This lets the same cable that ferries video from sender to receiver also ferry audio in the current 1.1 version of the DisplayPort specification. A new version (1.2) of this open, royalty-free standard is nearing completion—it not only passes USB traffic over the same cable as audio and video, it also permits daisy-chaining multiple monitors from a single DisplayPort output.

Dell thoughtfully bundles a DisplayPort cable with the 3008WFP. Dell video engineer Bruce Montag informed me that whereas both HDMI and DVI-D cables must be selected with great care and often at significant expense, any DisplayPort-compliant cable can handle the full 10.8 Gbps maximum bandwidth that this technology supports. Finally, DisplayPort circuitry is designed for low-voltage, fine granularity applications (like circuit processes at 90 nm and smaller) so that it lends itself readily to incorporation on motherboards, graphics cards, monitors, AV receivers, and even TV sets (Philips and Pioneer both offer DisplayPort on select products). With more PC graphics adapters adopting DisplayPort, we expect to see this connection put to good use with the 3008 WFP. Too bad USB support isn’t included in this version!

Although the size of this device—its dimensions are 27.43" x 23.74" x 18.98"—will make it hard to hide before Christmas, we can’t think of any computer user who wouldn’t be thrilled to get one. Granted, $2,000 is a lot to spend on a Christmas gift, but those who luck out will consider it the gift of a lifetime.

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  • 2 Hide
    ravenware , November 5, 2008 5:28 AM
    Dell 3008WFP Ultrasharp 30"

    , we can’t think of any computer user who wouldn’t be thrilled to get one.

    Gamers. The 8ms response time is a little on the slow side.
  • 0 Hide
    Portall , November 5, 2008 6:42 AM
    Nope. You won't see difference between 8 and 4ms :) 
  • 1 Hide
    V3NOM , November 5, 2008 8:30 AM
    well you can... CRT vs LCD is quite clear.
  • 3 Hide
    cangelini , November 5, 2008 8:41 AM
    I play on the prior year's model (3007) all the time without any problems. Don't pass up gaming on a 30" display without at least trying it for yourself!
  • 2 Hide
    Anonymous , November 5, 2008 9:13 AM
    Dual-link DVI does NOT need two seperate cables. HDMI's video component IS DVI. I'm amazed this slipped through and into the article:
  • 0 Hide
    radnor , November 5, 2008 9:22 AM
    Well, you will actually. If you ever seen them side by side you will notice the difference. 5ms seems to be the sweet spot.
  • 4 Hide
    Anonymous , November 5, 2008 10:36 AM
    Just a word of warning to anyone purchasing this monitor and wanting to watch Blu-Ray titles on it. If you use DVI as your input it can not display Blu-Ray titles above 1920 x 1080. Now I know this is the native res on the monitor. But HDCP will fail if the monitor's resolution is set any higher than this. This is due to a design flaw in the monitor's chipset. This wouldn't be a problem if all it meant was you had to reset the resolution when you want to watch a movie, but the problem is, 1920 x 1080 is not the same aspect ratio as 2560 x 1600. So your picture is vertically stretched. I know this because I bought one and spent hours in forums and on the phone with Dell before finding this out. I returned the monitor, because at $2000, there's no excuse for buggy HDCP support over DVI.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , November 5, 2008 11:01 AM
    what happened to the really cute girl you guys had last year ?
  • 1 Hide
    xsamitt , November 5, 2008 12:04 PM
    I think I'd take the 30 inch dell if it was free......Guess I won't be having one now for
    8 mills is just to slow.And Leigon thanks for the heads up.

    I do hope the new items to come are more interesting than this first round.
  • -2 Hide
    Anonymous , November 5, 2008 12:19 PM
    What happened to the great girl from last year? The blond on here looks strung out and or too gothy for a Christmas ad.
  • 7 Hide
    zak_mckraken , November 5, 2008 12:48 PM
    Ugly girls...

    Oh really? Come on pal, let's see some pictures of your wife/girlfriend so we can compare. Well, assuming you have one of course.
  • 2 Hide
    jameshan2k , November 5, 2008 12:56 PM
    I usually don't go for blondes, but the blonde is quite nice....
  • 0 Hide
    zak_mckraken , November 5, 2008 1:13 PM
    About the response time, 8ms does seem a tad high but we have to be careful here. Most manufacturers will advertise their monitors as having a 2ms or 5ms response time. However, when you look at the charts, most of the time this response time is the maximum the monitor can reach during a dark scene or a low action gaming sequence. This is often not representative of an average use and the so-called 5ms monitor will most likely be around 6ms-7ms in everyday situations. Same thing applies for contrast since every manufacturer uses their own chart for measuring it. The best way to know how your monitor will perform in real life is to look at comparative charts made by neutral parties, like Tom's, who uses the same methods to compare response time, contrast and color fidelity with all monitors.

    As for this particular Dell 3008WFP Ultrasharp 30", I have really no idea if it's suitable for movies and gaming or not. However, is Chris says it is, it's usually enough for me! Unfortunately, I just bought a Samsung T220 and it pleases me enough. Anyway, I do not have 2 grand to put on a monitor... yet.
  • 3 Hide
    crockdaddy , November 5, 2008 1:39 PM
    Both ladies are quite lovely. If I recall correctly wasn't it Tamara whom graced the last two years as the xmas model?
  • -1 Hide
    xsamitt , November 5, 2008 1:46 PM
    How do you find The Samsung T220 picture wise and lag?
  • 0 Hide
    zak_mckraken , November 5, 2008 2:08 PM
    How do you find The Samsung T220 picture wise and lag?

    While not the "perfect" monitor, it's definitely one of the best (if not the best) 22 inches monitor around. The colors are rich and true, the contrast is sharp and I haven't notice any lag at all, although I only play World of Warcraft and watch some Divx. Still, the difference was amazing when I switched my old Philips 19" with it! I'm pretty sure the same quality would apply on a fast-paced FPS or a Blu-Ray HD movie. However, I would recommend the T240 if you intend to use your monitor to watch full HD content. Samsung also offer the same models with HD at the end (T220HD) which has a integrated tuner, if you're into that stuff.
  • 0 Hide
    cruiseoveride , November 5, 2008 3:47 PM

    Santa Baby, a 30" Samsung TFT too, dark grey with a blond elf. I've been an awfully good girl.
  • 0 Hide
    KITH , November 5, 2008 3:52 PM
    I recently purchased the samsung t260hd it along with the t240hd are a couple of the only ways to get an hdtv with that small of a screen still with 1080p support.
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