30-inch NEC monitor boasts built-in KVM functionality

LCD monitors have topped out in the 27-30" range for several years, forcing manufacturers to differentiate high-end offerings with extra features and better picture quality rather than larger panels. Last week, NEC released the MultiSync PA301W, a 30" display aimed at graphics professionals and power users who value faithful color reproduction.

 

The PA301W’s specifications are similar to other 30" displays; it boasts an IPS panel covering over 98% of the Adobe RGB color space with a wide gamut of 1.07 billion colors. According to NEC, the display has 178º viewing angles, a 7-ms response time, a 350cd/m² luminosity rating, and a 1000:1 contrast ratio.

Dell’s 30" U3011 offers similar specs alongside a plethora of connectivity options. With Apple’s LED Cinema Display, you get a slightly smaller panel and a nifty 3-in-1 cable tailored specifically for Macs. To differentiate the PA301W, NEC has built in KVM functionality via a pair of upstream USB ports and dual DisplayPort and DVI video inputs. NEC also throws in its MultiProfiler software, which allows users to customize the monitor controls and create specialized profiles.

High-end monitors typically run $1,000 and up. The 27" Apple Cinema Display costs $999, HP’s 30" ZR30w sells for $1,299, and its Dell U3011 competition is listed at $1,499. The PA301W is considerably more expensive at $2,299, so it’s not for the faint of heart. In fact, you can spend even more on a second model, which includes a colorimeter and color calibration software for $2,549.

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    • DarkUltra
    • 9 years ago

    I have to mention 120hz support. I don’t think any graphics cards support 2560×1600 at 120hz, but DisplayPort 1.2 should support the bandwidth. And whats this “Limited only by copper bandwidth limitations, DVI source limitations, and DVI sink limitations” note on dual link dvi spec at wikipedia? I’ll have to look into that…

    All the 3D monitor reviews rave over how smooth and nice windows experience you get with 120hz so i’d like ya to spread the hype and increase the awareness so we get more monitors with 120hz goodness. Even slow ips panels would benefit from 120hz, maybe the pixels doesnt change completely, but you should get a nice improvement.

    The ASUS VG236H was my first exposure to 120Hz refresh displays that aren’t CRTs, and the difference is about as subtle as a dump truck driving through your living room. I spent the first half hour seriously just dragging windows back and forth across the desktop – from a 120Hz display to a 60Hz, stunned at how smooth and different 120Hz was. Yeah, it’s that different.
    [url<]http://www.anandtech.com/show/3842/asus-vg236h-review-our-first-look-at-120hz[/url<] 120hz lcd Smoother motion and the lack of RTC artifacts leave a highly positive impression, making you unwilling to return to 60Hz. [url<]http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/monitors/display/samsung-sm2233rz_5.html[/url<] Side by side with a traditional 60Hz LCD, the difference is striking. Further, instead of getting tearing above 60 FPS like you would with vsync off on a traditional 60Hz LCD, you get smoother gameplay that just looks more fluid. I definitely can tell the difference, and now I don’t want to go back. [url<]http://www.anandtech.com/show/3842/asus-vg236h-review-our-first-look-at-120hz/13[/url<] 120hz also improves my productivity. And 24fps film playback benefits 120hz as 120/5=24.

      • MadManOriginal
      • 9 years ago

      Point me to a 120Hz IPS monitor and I’ll be interested.

    • holophrastic
    • 9 years ago

    I’ve been using the previous version of this monitor. Virtually the same without the KVM. I actually have two of them, and they cost the same back then.

    It’s totally worth it.

    My colour requirements aren’t that important. The work I do isn’t colour accurate — I program.

    But wow, when I turned the first one on for the first time, the first words out of my mouth were: “wow, that’s grey”. I’d never seen such neutral greys, and it was dead obvious. They weren’t blue, yellow, pink, or green. They were grey.

    I do a lot of gaming on it, and it’s a nice size. No the input lag isn’t anything that matters at all.

    But really, the Dell is missing the biggest feature that these NEC monitors have — pivot. 30″ 2560×1600 is a wonderful thing for almost any task. But for a few tasks, it just totally sucks compared to 30″ 1600×2560. It’s a monolith. I put up a draft contract agreement, and every client and colleague in the room can see, read, and discuss from ten metres away.

    The only thing better than one is two. And I’m waiting for a graphics card that can run three. I can’t find one.

    Any ideas?

      • JustAnEngineer
      • 9 years ago

      [quote<]I'm waiting for a graphics card that can run three. I can't find one.[/quote<] Here you go: [url<]https://techreport.com/articles.x/20537[/url<]

        • Aphasia
        • 9 years ago

        Just about any Eyefinity card should be able to run them, of course, getting full performance in 3D over 3 of those wont be easy though.

          • holophrastic
          • 9 years ago

          that’s not true. eyefinity cards have a maximum total resolution. 2x4mp is that max. and in this case, I need a card with two dvi-d outputs, or adapters.

            • Aphasia
            • 9 years ago

            Ok, maybe not any card, you at least need the outputs on the card to work with the amount of monitors you would like to setup.

            But if you are sure about that 2x4MP, it would be a case of specifc card maximum, because the whitepaper clearly states a whole lot of other numbers for eyefinity technology. Of course you cant do it without using the display ports on the card. So for DVI-monitors you would need active adapters. But even the 5850 could do it, and I guess the newer cards arent worse…

            News item here on Techreport shows 6×30″ monitors though while the review only uses 1920×1200 monitors.
            [url<]https://techreport.com/discussions.x/17563[/url<] [url<]https://techreport.com/articles.x/18756/1[/url<] HardOCP review lists the following: The maximum supported display size on the HD 5870 and HD 5850 is 3x 2560x1600. AMD Whitepaper. [url<]http://sites.amd.com/uk/Documents/48404B_ATI_Eyefinity_whitepaper_42810.pdf[/url<] > Maximum in Extended mode: subject to operating system > Maximum in Display Group mode: 8192 x 8192 (67.1 megapixel Examples > 4800 x 2560 resolution grouping three displays wide x one display high with portrait orientation using 2560x1600 display resolution for each monitor (12.3 megapixel resolution) > 7680 x 3200 resolution grouping three displays wide x two displays high with landscape orientation using 2560x1600 display resolution for each monitor (24.6 megapixel resolution)

        • holophrastic
        • 9 years ago

        yeah, I still don’t have any spec that says it can handle 2 full dvi-d connectors to provide 2x4mp — which is the max for eyefinity in the first place.

      • dpaus
      • 9 years ago

      I didn’t see anything about a pivot feature, but you’re right – that almost justifies it right there. I have a Samsung 2443bw 24″ 1920×1200 that I leave in portrait mode as my secondary monitor, just for editing documents (it fits an 8.5″ x 11″ sheet in WordPerfect with ‘RevealCodes’ on – perfect!!) A 30″ version… I’d feel like I’d died and gone to heaven.

      BTW, I don’t think Eyenfinity is the weay to use these for actual productivity; simple multi-monitor is the way to go there. And I think the AMD cards [i<]will[/i<] drive three 30' 2560x1600 DisplayPort monitors simultaneously - I'm sure we did that at work once just to test it.

    • Xylker
    • 9 years ago

    And this didn’t make Deal of the Week?

    [spoiler<]/sarcasm[/spoiler<]

    • KoolAidMan
    • 9 years ago

    Very cool. NEC makes some of the best displays around and they are priced accordingly. I got a NEC 2490WUXi back in 2007, and that display still kicks the crap out of pretty much any 24″ out there. Ridiculous image quality. This 30″ NEC, while expensive, is probably the best 30″ around.

    • Aphasia
    • 9 years ago

    I wish I could have one, but I got a second best beyond Eizo and Nec, and that is a Dell u3011. And even though it actually has a 25ms input lag, yes it works fine to game on. I blame the crappy adaptive netcode that most games use nowdays, its not like in the Q2 where you could measure the lead you needed by your ping.

    Back to the u3011, and also the Nec of course, being wider gamut, only makes sense if you do photography or video editing. Preferably you should get a colorimeter and do some profiles, but the standard AdobeRGB profile in the u3011 was quite decent for most people. The problem with the wider gamut is that it can lead to banding unless you do use full 10bit/color support. The hardest thing with the 10bit panels, but to actually get 10 bit support you need need a graphics driver that allow it. And they are far and few between. Havent managed to found a hack or even if the normal Catalyst has the 10-bit support in them. The hardware is capable unless they changed it from the 4870, since that one worked on mac, otherwise you have to have the FireGL. or probably Nvidia Quadro or some Matrox card.

    That said, if you do photo editing, its a gorgous thing with 30″ and AdobeRGB calibration. And from the former Nec displays I’ve looked at, this is about as good as it gets probably.

    • blorbic5
    • 9 years ago

    “7-ms response time” That’s way to slow for gaming…
    Being stupid aside, why have lcd monitors stopped at 27” and 30”? Is it a technical barrier or does bigger cause eye strain or something like that?

      • dpaus
      • 9 years ago

      Whaddaya talkin’ about?? Go to your local Future Shop or Best Buy and marvel at all the 40″, 50″ and even 60″ LCD displays available for purchase.

        • BiffStroganoffsky
        • 9 years ago

        Yeah, but those are all 1920x1080p ‘monitors’.

          • dpaus
          • 9 years ago

          So? He asked why monitors had stopped at 30″, not why they had stopped at 2560×1600.

            • blorbic5
            • 9 years ago

            I should have asked why there are no 30”+ high resolution monitors. And what I consider a monitor would be screen that has a higher resolution then a comparably sized television set (random question that just came to me, why is it called a television set when it only comes with one?). I hope that seems logical, probably not but I don’t really know how to articulate it any better.

            • BiffStroganoffsky
            • 9 years ago

            If you read between the lines, he asked about monitors and not TVs that have PC connectors. Yeah, yeah…semantics.

      • BiffStroganoffsky
      • 9 years ago

      The barrier is usually the connectivity standard used. Higher desktop resolutions push the boundaries of the existing connector standards for data throughput sometimes requiring dual connections to compensate, ala dual-DVI.

        • JustAnEngineer
        • 9 years ago

        I agree that the bandwidth requirement limits resolution, but physical size also becomes at issue. A monitor much larger than 30″ is going to require a bigger desk and require you to sit further away to comfortably take it all in.

          • BiffStroganoffsky
          • 9 years ago

          True, but I find it annoys me most when the monitor is a 40″ TV with a maximum 1920×1080 desktop. As I sit here in front of three monitors equaling approximately the same with of on TV, I have to wonder if it is all about the size of the frame or the size of the elements on the screen or a proportion thereof. I think I could sit in front of a 40″ monitor if the fonts and icons weren’t blown up to fit on a small desktop, that is: make the desktop proportional to my eyes and not to the monitor.

      • emorgoch
      • 9 years ago

      Have you ever tried playing a game on a 7ms monitor? 7ms works out to over 142 Hz. And even monitors that have 16ms response times are 62.5 Hz. I’ve used them, and while I could tell the difference, if wasn’t enough that I affected my ability to play games, and looked a hell of a lot better than TN panels.

        • blorbic5
        • 9 years ago

        The comment about the refresh rate and games was a pathetic attempt at a joke and should not be taken seriously. I would definitely love to have this monitor even with its “slow refresh rate” (another sad joke which I debated putting in but for some reason if I didn’t it felt like I was cheating myself and wouldn’t be able to sleep.)
        On the other hand my inquiry about the apparent size limit mention was legitimate. It seemed like LCD monitors were getting bigger and bigger and now they stopped. I don’t think I would get a monitor larger than 27” in the foreseeable future but it peaked my inquisitiveness.

    • derFunkenstein
    • 9 years ago

    Anandtech had a review on this monitor with the calibration hardware a little while ago. It seemed like the best performer, at least based on their tests. Still, that’s a non-trivial amount of money to pretty much everyone, I think.

    [url<]http://www.anandtech.com/show/4196/nec-pa301w-review-the-baddest-30-inch-display[/url<]

      • kuraegomon
      • 9 years ago

      If you’re doing color-reproduction-sensitive work professionally (especially on a contract basis), and this is indeed the top performer, then it’s pretty much worth it, by definition.

      Unless you’re in the $200,000+ income bracket, professional use (i.e. with accompanying tax write-off) is the only reason to buy this monitor.

        • derFunkenstein
        • 9 years ago

        You make a good point – if it’s your job to do something color-critical, it’s worth every penny, I’m sure. For a hobby I’d have a hard time justifying it.

    • JustAnEngineer
    • 9 years ago

    The best use of these high-end NEC monitors is to show what a good deal you’re getting when the UltraSharp U3011 is on sale for ~$1100.

    • dpaus
    • 9 years ago

    I’m not sure I can see the point in the built-in KVM functionality. It seems to me that a colour-corrected monitor would be paired with apurpose-specific workstation, not switching between multiple PCs/servers.

      • BiffStroganoffsky
      • 9 years ago

      I would suspect the KVM allows people to have a graphics station class monitor and still plug in a desktop/game machine to split the cost. Good for people who work at home – write off the monitor as a business expense and use it to browse the internet or watch movies/pr0n.

        • bimmerlovere39
        • 9 years ago

        Or to be able to hook up a laptop/laptop dock so you can do work on that with the ergonomic benefits of your workstation.

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