Big monitors, big problems

As many of you know, I have professed my affection for the Dell 3007WFP we have here in Damage Labs on multiple occasions.  I think these large displays are one of the most exciting developments in PC hardware in the past few years, very much in a you-had-to-be-there sense.  If you try one, you’ll be hooked.  I use two 20" LCDs on my own desktop, and they just don’t compare to one big 30" screen.

However, my experience with the 3007WFP is turning sour.  I bought this one just over a year ago.  The first one failed after maybe six months; part of the backlight failed, and it had to be replaced.  That meant wasting half a morning on hold with Dell.  Once I got to the right person, and once he was able to understand what I was saying in my strange, clear-as-a-bell midwestern American accent, they did cross-ship me a replacement right away.  But it was still a pain.

The replacement worked well for a while, but a couple of weeks ago, it developed quite the problem: a bright, green line running down the middle of the screen.  Initially, I thought the problem might be caused by my KVM switch or a bad connection, but after moving the connection around to a bunch of different video cards, bypassing the switch, and as much fiddling with the monitor as possible, I realized that wasn’t the case.  I’m going to have to get another RMA replacement.

That’s not the kind of quality control you want to see on a ~$1300 display, to say the least.  Those of you who are looking to buy one might want to consider HP or some other brand.

Now, I’m trying to decide when to bite the bullet and call Dell support.  With the cable cuts supposedly messing up call routing to international call centers, I haven’t been looking forward to it.

On a similar front, the doorbell rang the other day, and by the time I made it upstairs, my wife and daughter were standing in the shadow of a just-delivered box the size of a small elephant.  The package came from ViewSonic, and inside was apparently an RMA replacement for my 21" CRT.  The thing is: I hadn’t requested a replacement.

Not lately, anyhow.  My 21" ViewSonic died maybe three or four months ago, and I had them send me a replacement then.  Apparently the RMA request kept kicking around in their system somehow, and it eventually resulted in another monitor being shipped to my address at random.  Now, I’m going to have to lug the box up to the FedEx store in order to get it shipped back before they charge my credit card for it.

ViewSonic has my credit card info because they required it of me, along with some paperwork and a little special pleading, before I could get them to cross-ship me the initial replacement display those several months ago.  (There was also a blood sacrifice involved, and I’ve yet to inform my eldest son that he’ll be going to live with a ViewSonic CSR at the age of 12.)  The worst part of that support experience, though, was when ViewSonic shunted my call somewhere down a hold queue that wasn’t being serviced.  I spent something like four hours on hold before hanging up.  A little while later, I called and got to a rep within ten minutes.

Now, I have a broken display and no RMA replacement (yet) and a non-broken display with an RMA replacement I don’t need (yet?).  Ugh.

Comments closed
    • quarantined
    • 12 years ago

    Three years ago, my Viewsonic 22′ P225fb died. Fortunately it was easy to get it RMA’d, but shipping a 75lb box ended up costing me about $60. The replacement (that I’m still suing now) won’t do the max res of 2048×1536 though and I never have been able to figure out what the problem is.

    • dragmor
    • 12 years ago

    I’ve tried the 30″ its just to big for normal work. If you push it back fair enough to see it all without turning your head you might as well have a 24″.

    Put me in the 2×20″ is better than 1×30″ for most work tasks. 30″ is better for watching movies, etc.

    • sigher
    • 12 years ago

    So all your monitors go bad early then I understand, perhaps you should purchase a better/new surge protector? they don’t last forever I understand but have a limited lifecycle, and also there’s a lot of dubious surge protectors around that only have fake/modest protection.

    (I think I got much of my info about that from dansdata, and he generally does a good effort)

    • Taco
    • 12 years ago

    Try using the Dell support chat. I was dreading trying to explain a weird discoloration on my monitor over the phone, but was also skeptical of a chat. It has advantages though … some goofus call center guy can’t ask you to spell your last name a hundred f’ing times when it’s sitting right there in front of him still. In the end I actually had a pretty good experience. Just have a good description of your problem written out in advance and maybe even take a digital picture. And of course, have all your serial numbers service tags order dates order numbers etc at the ready.

    It still takes a while, of course, but at least you can do other crap at the same time.

      • jobodaho
      • 12 years ago

      I will agree with this statement, because that is how I got my screen replaced on my new laptop, even though to Dell it would not have appeared there was anything wrong with it. My laptop came with a very bad Samsung LCD, after some research I found that many were having issues with that screen and that Dell offered an LG version that was far superior. After numerous attempts at calling tech support I finally tried Dell Chat and that did the trick. The LG is leaps and bounds better than the Samsung, and I couldn’t be happier.

    • willyolio
    • 12 years ago

    i hope the gateway XHD monitor doesn’t have the same problems. spec-wise, it looks really sweet.

    • apsog33
    • 12 years ago


    If you decide to go with another dell 30″ then I would suggest ordering it from If you have any problems then you can just return it to any local warehouse and get full credit/cash (plus shipping). It’s not a 90 day item so you could even bring it back after a year.

    BTW I work at the Overland Park, KS store which is sort of in your neck of the woods.

    • lucas1985
    • 12 years ago

    From what I’ve read, the 30in displays from Samsung and HP have less problems than the Dell one. And the HP model has 3 DVI inputs.

    • fpsduck
    • 12 years ago

    Gee, I heard some said that LCD monitor has shorter life than CRT.
    Now I’m praying for my Samsung 19″ LCD not to die soon.

    • GodsMadClown
    • 12 years ago

    Not that it’s in the same magnitude as your 30″ beast, but I I love my Dell 2407. Maybe the 30″ model will be more robust after a generation or two.

    You mentioned that you had a KVM.

    When will a monitor come with internal KVM action? I can use my monitor controls to switch among various video inputs(DIV, VGA, etc) of the computers I have plugged to it. But I have my mouse and keyboard plugged into the monitor’s USB hub too. Why don’t they put a pair of USB inputs on my screen too so that I can switch between both video and USB at the same time? That sort of integrated KVM action would be very nice.

    • Byzantine1453
    • 12 years ago

    I always hate having to call company’s support lines to get rma’s and so forth. Thankfully more and more company’s are moving to just entering in info online and they send you a new one…I have to say that Sony is the worst to deal with….at least when i sent my PS3 back for repairs because it was dead.. They require the original receipt which i didn’t really have because it was an online purchase so i sent them an invoice. They didn’t like that and now i have to send them some other proof of purchase by the 21st or they ship it back to me without being fixed and instantly void my warranty 🙁

    • JustAnEngineer
    • 12 years ago

    I’m sorry to hear of your problems. My UltraSharp 3007WFP is still going strong.

    You just can’t communicate to folks what a big “WOW!” factor there is in using a monitor this size. Sure, 2560×1600 with only DVI may not be as generally practical as a do-everything 1920×1200 monitor like the UltraSharp 2407WFP-HC, but it’s a really amazing change in your computing experience.

      • Usacomp2k3
      • 12 years ago

      Hence the 3008 😉

    • StashTheVampede
    • 12 years ago

    ViewSonic will not get another dime from me, period. I had a similar issue with them and their “latest and greatest” CRT circa 2002 (some 22″ pro-line mode, $700ish+).

    The first one died during a session of Doom3 — as soon as the Windows went from the desktop to 3D, it popped and never came on again. It’s FIRST replacement didn’t have the multiple inputs that the first one did (which *I* did use) and it sounded like a gunshot whenever it turned on. That one was replaced by another model that had discoloring in a corner that simply wouldn’t go away.

    After trying to convince ViewSonic that this CRT was bad (still within warranty period, no less), they demanded the original receipt for it before they would do anything about it. Even trying to swap it from some credit toward a CRT was useless: they were quoting MSRP prices on their LCD and wouldn’t balk at all.

    My father had a similar run-in from a model at Costco. It’s died twice already and he’s simply not going to foot the bill to return it (unlike my dumb ass who cross shipped 80+ lbs a few times).

    As *bad* as Dell seems to be, ViewSonic lost me (and my dad) as potential customers.

    • blitzy
    • 12 years ago

    damn thats some bad luck, my 2407 dell has been going strong for a couple of years and its still going strong… reading this makes me glad i paid extra for the 5yr warranty!

    • liquidsquid
    • 12 years ago

    Ah, the woes of bleeding edge technology… you bleed for them. I used to always be right on the edge, before a wife, house, and kid. Now I am at least a generation behind, and it is a much more comfortable position.

    Bugs ironed out in production, blogs screaming about a bad product to avoid, etc. Being broke sometimes has an advantage (though not many!)

    • Vrock
    • 12 years ago

    I bet that Viewsonic weighs a bloody ton.

      • UberGerbil
      • 12 years ago

      I have a ViewSonic 21 — it’s the last piece of hardware I have from a machine I put together in 1994(!). I mostly don’t try to remember what I paid for it, but being able to run 1600×1200 at a time when 1024×768 was the “high end” standard was pretty sweet (just finding a video card that would run that high was tough — Matrox was pretty much the only choice).

      And yes, it weighs a ton. I still love it for color work though (and old games that only run at low res — multisynch FTW).

      • JustAnEngineer
      • 12 years ago

      I really liked my 22″ ViewSonic PF815 display, but it was a beast. The 19″ P95f was even sharper. These were some of the last great aperture grill monitors.

        • dolemitecomputers
        • 12 years ago

        I still use a 21″ Sony E540. It is a beautiful display although it is a beast that takes up a lot of desk real estate. I hope to move to dual LCDs one day.

    • eitje
    • 12 years ago

    You should buy your stuff as a small business, rather than as a standard consumer. That’s the right decision to make for so many reasons, no matter the company from which you’re making your purchase.

    edit: I am, of course, assuming that you purchased as just a guy, since I think you would get better phone treatment if you had purchased as a business. Those assumptions could be incorrect – in which case, you’re getting screwed!

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