The 2405FPW monitor feature DVI, VGA as monitor inputs and takes Composite, S-video, and Component video inputs. On the front panel are Picture-In-Picture (PIP) control, menu control, and power buttons.
Dell quotes a 16ms response time thanks to the screen's Patterned Vertical Alignment (PVA) technology from Samsung. Without a colorimeter on hand to test, the screen appeared remarkably bright and there was little perceivable difference when looking at the screen from different viewing angles. Operating from cold, the backlight seemed to need a few minutes to reach to full brightness.
For an LCD monitor this size, DVI eliminates ringing and provides a noticeably sharper image over VGA. A Picture-In-Picture capability allows the video inputs to be overlaid on top of DVI/VGA displays.
The monitor features a USB 2.0 hub (2 downstream connectors), plus a CFI&II/Micro Drive, SmartMedia, MemoryStick, SD/MMC/mini SD flash card reader. An optional 12V power point is located at the bottom to accommodate the Dell Sound Bar speaker system. Testing with a Sandisk Ultra II SD card showed that the memory card reader's read/write performance was good; it is obviously a USB 2.0 device.
|Hooked into the Precision 380's monitor DVI output, the 2405FPW produced a very clear and bright 1920x1200 display. Visibility of the display even at acute-angles was good and there was no visible ghosting that this reviewer could see. The huge resolution of the monitor would support HD-standard video. A good thing too, because its so easy to spot artifacts and flaws from lesser video files with a screen this large.|
Using the MagicGate MG-25 MPEG4 player as a video source showed that composite input gave predictably horrible results as dot crawl were extremely visible. Video input through S-video gave much better results, and component (Y Pb Br) produced the best quality output. The 2405FPW seems very sensitive to the video source as S-video results using a Playstation 2 as a DVD source produced ugly Moire patterns.
Since the 2405FPW has the required resolution for HDTV it was worth seeing if this could double as an HDTV display. The MediaGate unit video output can upsample to HDTV 1080i. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the 2405 could accept 1080i input on the component input, refresh was locked at 60Hz to match the monitor's DVI input. At this resolution the output produced noticeably superior displays over regular standard definition Component-input video, and approximately matching the output display quality of playing video files through regular full native resolution (1920x1200) DVI.
At the end of the day the best results from the monitor came from the DVI input for monitor, and the HD Component input for video.
The 2405 is a very impressive monitor, the inclusion of a USB 2.0 hub and memory card readers are useful and the display itself didn't have any real faults. The video-in feature may also tempt users to use this display as a budget HD television display. In my books, 24-inches is just not big enough for TV display, but it does make for an enormous computer monitor. The price is very good for a display of this caliber and the build is high quality; the stand feels solid and yet allows for a great degree of pan, tilt, and height adjustments.
The Precision 380 looks like a standard workstation all around. The front features two USB 2.0 ports, single IEEE1394, microphone, and headphone jack. The chassis can be oriented in a tower (tall) or desktop (flat) configuration although the optical drive bay is aligned flat for a horizontal chassis. A big plastic latch allows the side panel to be unlocked.
A large fan-forced CPU heat sink cools the Pentium D CPU. As a chassis that can function as in flat-orientation, the motherboard is positioned in such a way that the PCIe x16 connector has plenty of clearance for video cards with large coolers. Three dedicated 3.5" drive bays plus a single 3.5" bay slot means that the Precision 380 can support up to 4 SATA drives.
The whole machine is powered by a Lite-On 375 watt power supply. The power supply states it can supply 22A on +5V, 17A on +3.3V, and +30A (combined) on two 12V rails respectively. Normally on a workstation with as much expansion potential as the Precision 380 (e.g. 4 SATA drives, 8GB RAM, 150 watt PCI-E video card), a 450-550 watt power supply is not unusual.
The front panel features a single power button but no reset button was found. The Precision 380 ran with an audible hum and although it wasn't a silent machine it ran much quieter than most workstations we've had a look at in the past.