Articles: Monitors

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When the screen is turning around, the base of the stand remains motionless: the pole stands on a small rotating circle.

The stand can be easily detached. To do that, you must press the button near its fastening point and pull the bottom part of the monitor towards yourself and then up. The monitor supports VESA-compatible mounts, so you can wall-mount it easily.

The 2408WFP offers a generous selection of connectors. You can see them in the photo above (from left to right): a power connector for the monitor, a power connector for mounted speakers (purchased optionally), DisplayPort and HDMI interfaces, and two DVI-D ports.

And that’s not all yet! The monitor also has a D-Sub interface for analog connection to the PC and three interfaces for analog video sources: composite, S-Video and component (YPbPr). Next goes an audio output which may be necessary for a HDMI connection that can transfer an audio stream. The monitor doesn’t have integrated speakers, so it can only decode and output the sound. And finally, there is a USB hub input and two USB ports that can be used to connect your mouse, keyboard or some other peripheral.

Two more USB ports can be found on the left edge of the case. These ports are handy for USB flash drives. There is also a five-format card-reader here. The monitor is unable to show photos or videos from the attached drive directly, so the card-reader only works when you connect it to your PC via USB.

I mentioned a DisplayPort above. It is a new interface connector that is similar to HDMI in specs and appearance. Why is it necessary then? Formally, HDMI is intended for home appliances whereas DisplayPort, for computers. The most significant difference between these interfaces is the cost of implementation. Each HDMI port costs the user 4 cents of licensing fees whereas DisplayPort is free. Moreover, DisplayPort is adapted for controllers of LCD panels. It needs a simpler controller and may eventually replace the LVDS interface currently used in LCD panels of both desktop computers and notebooks.

DisplayPort allows to transmit video content with a resolution of 2560x1600, frame rate of 60Hz and 30-bit color via a 3-meter cable and video content with a resolution of 1920x1080 via a 15-meter cable. It can also transmit 8-channel audio in 192kHz/24bit format and any data (for example, control commands, coordinate data from a touch screen, or even a video stream from a web-camera integrated into the monitor) at a speed of 1Mbps in both directions. Of course, DisplayPort supports HDCP. This standard is designed to be expandable and backward-compatible with previous versions. Particularly, the ability to transmit multiple independent video streams via a single cable can be added to it in the future.

Compared with DVI, the DisplayPort interface has a smaller connector, can transfer audio and video across the same cable, and supports higher resolutions. DisplayPort has a bandwidth of higher than 10Gbps whereas even dual-link DVI has a bandwidth of 8Gbps only.

Although monitors and graphics cards are all going to transition to DisplayPort eventually, there is no urgent need for this interface as yet. The native resolution of the Dell 2408WFP fits within the capabilities of single-link DVI even (a bandwidth of about 4Gbps), and 8-channel audio is not necessary for a monitor that doesn’t have speakers. This interface can be considered as a future-proof measure. If graphics cards transition to DisplayPort in a couple of years, you will be able to use your good old 2408WFP with them without any adapters. But again, DisplayPort doesn’t provide any special advantages today. It is simpler to connect the monitor via DVI.

Some time ago Unified Display Interface (UDI) was also supposed to replace DVI. We shouldn’t worry about a format war, however. Back in 2007 Intel and Samsung left the UDI development group and there have been scarcely any news about UDI since then. A present UDI SIG member, Nvidia has recently introduced a professional Quadro CX card with a DisplayPort interface.

The monitor’s controls are placed in the bottom right of the case. Their light-gray labels are visible even under dim lighting. Quick access is provided to switching the video inputs, to turning on the Picture-in-Picture mode, to the automatic adjustment of analog connection, and to the Brightness setting. The Power indicator is built into the appropriate button. It is not very bright and shines green or amber (in Sleep mode).

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