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Product Survey: 30'' LCD monitors

The Benefits and Extra Costs of a 30-inch LCD

The Tests

Style, design, color rendering measured with a colorimeter, reaction time in games and movies: there are many criteria.

Ideally, a monitor will excel in all domains. But this is rarely the case, and the buyer will have to make a compromise based on individual needs. Prioritize colors if you want to edit images, or put reaction time first and foremost if you are into gaming.

A 30-inch LCD has a resolution 2560 x 1600, which totals more than 4 million pixels. This is equivalent to the amount of information displayed on five 15-inch LCDs, or two 24-inch screens in a dual monitor configuration.

As big as 30 inches sounds, these screens measure only 27 inches in length and less than 8 inches in width.  For comparison, a 24-inch measures just under 20 inches long and is only 20%  shorter.  The gain in pixels is much more significant with the Samsung 305T, Dell 3007WFP HC and Apple Cinema Display 30-inch displaying almost 80% more pixels than a 24-inch.For graphic design, large spreadsheets, 2D and 3D creation, development, or even just playing movies--this size is amazing.  Graphic artists will appreciate being able to easily see all of their tool palettes, and in the office you'll no longer need to scroll in documents. And gamers will be as happy as can be with the benefit of an extraordinary panorama. World of Warcraft, Toca Racer Driver 3, Lock On, Far Cry and Civilization, just to name a few, are particularly impressive.  But try to save your eyes by stepping back a little.  For work, we think the ideal distance is about three feet, and for play we suggest 5 feet.

But you've got to upgrade more than your screen.

Rare will be the person who is able to simply replace his current screen with one these 30-inchers. Their use requires a recent high-end graphic card equipped with the latest DVI port, called Dual Link.  And then to play comfortably, given that the number of pixels to process is more than double that on already big 24-inchers, it’s strongly recommended that you use a double graphic card SLI (NVIDIA) or CrossFire (ATI). Also for gaming, you will need one of the latest motherboards capable of managing these solutions.   Another essential requirement is a colorimeter to calibrate the screen.We use the LaCie Blue Eye Pro.