Gamer PC Monitor Apple Cinema Display

With AMD, you can use three smaller 22″ monitors to get a gamers view, but for us, a single bigger 27″ or even 30″ display is easier to look at and it would be nice if they were 3-D capable since heck why not. They are huge at 2560×1440 lines As Tom’s Hardware explains, there are two major technologies IPS (in plane switching) and TN (twisted nematic?), and IPS is supposed to be brighter and better off angle. You also want a fast display for gaming.
As an aside the larger 30″ monitors are another $2-300 more than the typical $1K for a 27″. Basically

  • NEC PA271W is expensive and best at color reproduction but has a bit more lag, both Tom’s and Anandtech agree. It is big using LG panel with a custom cooling system for its CCFL (compact florescent lighting) and it has dual DVI and a displayport at $1100. It is targeted at graphics designers and folks who want true color reproduction and not gamers.
  • Dell U2711 is a decent at colors and is decently fast, so not a bad choice, but Amazon folks give it 3.5 stars mainly because early 2011 models had lots of problems and Dell customer service is well, not so great.
  • Most folks like Tom’s and Anandtech don’t like the Doublesight
  • HP ZR2740w is the monitor targeted at gamers with minimum input lag as Anandtech says, it has no color options, so you have to color calibrate and have the hardware to do it. But when you do, it is quite accurate although not as good as a true AdobeRGB monitor. The main thing is that is has less than a frame of input lag which is great. It is a 60Hz monitor, so no 3-D, but pretty cheap to at $700-800 street. The scary thing about it is all the “monitor dies” notes on Amazon. Newegg doesn’t show the same problem, but I do have to say buying from HP is pretty scary for such an expensive product.
  • Apple Cinema Display. This is their 27″ display as reviewed by Anandtech. The main reason to get it is that if you buy when you get a MacBook then it falls under the three year Apple Protection scheme and these monitors certainly have their faults as Amazon data shows. This is a pretty old display and it will be interesting to see the refresh coming this fall, but as a WLED display it is only decent for color reproduction at 1.63 Delta-E vs 1.09 for HP but it is quite fast at 12ms processing lag. And as a dumb aside, if you buy a low-end iMac it is just $1600, so you almost might as well get it and get a free computer ($600) to go along with your display or just swap an old iMac out and get the new one coming this year.

Most 27″ monitors use the LG IPS panel, so no surprise they perform about the same. But Dell and HP both have quality problems and this is a big piece. Makes me want to just get an Apple monitor and run it in Displayport mode. Actually theou  price of an iMac 27″ isn’t too bad when you consider you can also
To get a 3-D monitor, you have to drop back to 23″ as the Samsung S23A750D reviewed by Anandtech shows that 3D games aren’t super mature, they have artifacts and this is a TN display so not as nice as the latest IPS.
And of course if you really want to feel important then you can buck up to the current state of the art, a 30″ display. We use a 27″ iMac regularly and while it may not look like it, going to 30″ adds just a little bit more oooph for lots more bucks. Basically pricing has monitors doubling from 24″ to 27″ and 50-100% to $1.3-$2K for 30″, so the budget sweet spot is 24″ right now, while 27″ is the performance limit and 30″ is the extravagance. But heck, what is gaming if not that?

  • NEC PA301w. Anandtech really liked this gigantic monitor and is targeted at graphics professionals, although you can game with it as it has a 27ms lag or a frame or two. Its incredibly expensive at $2K and big and heavy.
  • Dell U3011. At $1,300, Anandtech and is a decent display, slightly worse color than the HP.
  • HPZR30w. This is again probably the best choice by a hair vs the Dell, so HP sweeps for Anandtech anyway because it was both fast and when calibrated was very accurate. As accurate as the NEC

As the charts show the HPZR30 is one frame of lag vs. two for the Dell and NEC.

And if you ever need to do photo editing or videos, here are the Delta-E or color accuracy measures. It shows that the NEC is really low at 1.09, while the Dell U3011 was 1.12 and HP was 1.01

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