Today, around noon, the two Dell monitors I ordered online, Friday the 1st of February, arrived. Two large carton boxes, which I carried up the winding stairs leading to our apartment one by one.
I decided to unpack first the Dell Ultrasharp 2208WFP, which would be connected to Esme's old computer, until the Dell Vostro 200 arrived, if ever. The monitor came with very clear instructions on how to set up the monitor, except for one: the hole in the monitor stand is for cable management, which I overlooked when I was connecting the cables to Esme's widescreen LCD monitor.
I decided to use the DVI cable instead of the VGA one, because I was expecting a much clearer picture using the latter. However, when I had connected the monitor, installed the driver, and upgraded the driver for the graphics card, an EVGA e-GeForce FX 5200 with 128 MB DDR memory, I still was not able to use the 1680 x 1050 native resolution (WSXGA+) of the 2208WFP. I didn't consider it a big deal, because hopefully soon the monitor will be used with the Compaq SR1505LA which I upgraded with a EVGA e-GeForce FX 5500, 256 MB DDR memory, AGP video card quite some time ago, which hopefully is able to support the native resolution of Esme's brand new Dell LCD monitor.
Anyway, even without the LCD monitor running at its optimal 1680 x 1050 resolution, the picture looked extremely impressive to me, and the monitor itself: huge. Mind, I normally work behind a Compaq 7550 CRT monitor, probably sold as 17", but when one measures the actual usable screen size of the Compaq monitor it doesn't even come close to 16".
So I decided to wait with unpacking the even larger Dell 2407WFP-HC monitor until the evening. I was slightly afraid that I had bought a monitor that would be too large to work behind.
After lunch I used again Dell's online sales chat to get my Dell Vostro 200 ordered with some minor changes. And heard, after a week, that it was impossible. But about an hour later, around 5 o'clock in the afternoon, I received a phone call with the good news: my order was possible after all. Excellent news, and with a big smile on my face I unpacked the 2407WFP-HC and set up the monitor on my desk. This time I figured out the use of the hole in the monitor stand, and used the cable management hole to avoid some cable mess.
Esme was going out with Alice, to visit her mother, and remarked that I had waited until she was going, in order to unpack the 24" monitor in peace. But it had much more to do with me being happy that Dell finally had solved the Vostro issue, after a week; I was able to look at a Dell product again without feeling angry.
Again the monitor set-up was very easy. However, installing the Dell monitor drivers took a bit more effort. I also upgraded the drivers for the graphics card, an e-GeForce FX 5500. However, despite this upgrade I also couldn't get the 2407WFP-HC working at the impresive native resolution of 1920 x 1200 (WUXGA) using the DVI cable. I could select the resolutions via Display Properties in Windows XP, but the LCD monitor didn't switch to this resolution. Which resulted in a part of the desktop stretched to the right of the monitor, and hence not visible. When I moved the mouse to the far right of the screen, the hidden part of the desktop became visible, but a part of the left side disappeared. This was certainly not what I wanted.
After some googling I tried the advice I had read on a forum: to use the analogue VGA connection to connect the Dell monitor to the FX 5500. At first I was afraid that the difference in clarity would be noticable, but I was not able to notice any difference between DVI and VGA after I had changed the cable. This might very well have a lot to do with me comparing the non-native DVI resolution I had seen with the native VGA resolution I was seeing now, and not side by side.
So finally I had the Dell 2407WFP-HC up and running at its native resolution. And the monitor is huge. I was still afraid that it would take quite some time to get used to it, and was still wondering if it was not too big. Moreover, I was wondering how people could feel comfortable sitting behind a 30" LCD monitor.
Shortly after I had my Dell monitor up and running, Esme and Alice came back. I decided to show them "Pixies Acoustic Live in Newport" DVD via VLC mediaplayer. In the above photo you can see Alice sitting on my lap, distracted by her mother taking photos of us. The video image has a black border because I hadn't figured out yet how to stretch the video sufficient enough to use the entire display area. Anyway, this 24" Dell monitor, as well as the 22" Dell monitor are both extremely impressive to us, and both will keep us smiling for days.