Battle of the 30-inch monitors: Apple Cinema Display vs. Dell UltraSharp 3007WFP
By Lara Luepke
March 22, 2006
A 17-inch LCD monitor is big enough for most people's everyday computing needs. But for others, 17 inches simply will not do--nor will 19, 20, or 24 inches. Until recently, if you wanted a large screen to use with your computer, you'd have to buy a television that doubled as a monitor. That's fine for casual use, but a low-resolution TV is far from ideal for reading text, let alone graphic design tasks or professional photo editing.
When the 30-inch Apple Cinema HD Display was released in June 2004, graphic artists, designers, and others who lusted after a large, high-resolution LCD finally had an option. When Dell released its high-res LCD on the market--the UltraSharp 3007WFP--in January 2006, the heavyweight wide-screen LCD fight was on.
Both displays make impressive entrances. Apple's LCD jumped into the ring, showing off its lines and silver body. Like Mike Tyson, the Dell showed up wearing black. The tale of the tape shows that each offers impressive resolution, contrast ratio, and connectivity. The Dell LCD owns the edge in price, costing $2,199 to the Apple's $2,500. To crown the true champion, we took a closer look at each LCD's features, devised a series of performance tests, and let the combatants go toe-to-toe.
We tested the monitors side by side on identical PCs running Windows XP Pro, with a 3.5GHz processor, 1GB of RAM, and a high-end Nvidia 7800 GTX graphics card with 256MB of VRAM. All tests were run at the monitors' 2,560x1,600 native resolution. Neither Dell nor Apple would specify the origin of the panel used in each monitor, but various reports have surmised that the panels are the same--a charge levied by Anandtech in a 2005 comparison of the two companies' 20-inch panels. However, even if the panels are identical, equal performance isn't a guarantee; the way the panel is engineered makes a significant difference.
With the prefight introductions out of the way, let's ring the bell and see which monitor comes out on top.