It also no longer takes a herculean system to drive a 30-inch panel. Sure, if you plan to play bleeding edge games with all the eye candy maxed out on a 2560x1600 resolution, you better be rocking something more potent than integrated graphics. But if you're more of a casual gamer or are willing to tone down the graphics settings, just about any discrete-level GPU out there will drive a 30-inch display, removing one of the barriers that in years past prevented some PC users from shopping larger screen panels.
Dell's U3011 - 30 inches of precision goodness.
You can think of the U3011 as an enlarged version of the U2711. Both use the same panel technology and offer mostly the same features. However, the U3011 is a bit bigger with a slightly higher screen resolution (2560x1600 and 16:10 versus 2560x1440 and 16:9) and has an extra HDMI port. It's natural competitor is Hewlett-Packard's ZR30w (reviewed here), a similar 30-inch panel with fewer overall features. How does Dell's UltraSharp U3011 compare overall? Let's break it down, beginning with the spec sheet.
|I/O Ports||USB 2.0 hub (4 down, 1 up); 7-in-1 media card reader
Everything you would expect to see in a 30-inch monitor is present and accounted for in the U3011, plus a whole bunch extra. Most notably, the U3011 has more connections than a fast-talking Hollywood agent. One of our gripes with HP's ZR30w is that connectivity options are limited to a DisplayPort and a DVI-D port. The U3011 has those as well, plus a pair of HDMI ports, a VGA connector, and component connectors. This gives you the flexibility to hook up and switch between multiple electronics, including game consoles, a Blu-ray player, and of course your PC(s).
The 7-in-1 media card is another thoughtful touch, and one that also isn't included on HP's panel. Out of the gate, it would appear the U3011 has a leg up in the 30-inch category, but we've only begun to scratch the surface.