All technical analysis aside, we then moved toward actual multimedia performance testing. We downloaded a few 1080p Windows Media clips from Microsoft's WMV HD Content Showcase site. Scaled to full screen, these clips really showcase the hardware that is processing and displaying the output.
HD Video Playback:
Though we did our best with a tripod and low light photography, these digital pictures simply are not able to capture the true image fidelity that the 3007WFP-HC is capable of rendering with a high definition video feed. Though our images here are impressive, to see the clips in action is a completely different experience altogether. These two captures were taken from The Rules of Attraction trailer clip and we were looking at two areas of detail in particular to assess the performance of this LCD, those being natural flesh tones and dark area and scene detail. Natural beauty, Kate Bosworth just glows in this close-up shot, which obviously is heavily saturated with warm backlighting, and lots of camera lens filtering. On the older 3007WFP, Kate looked fantastic (not hard for her we suppose) no question about it. On the new 3007WFP-HC the image was just a bit more saturated and defined; not in a jaw-dropping sort of way but distinct and noticeable nonetheless.
Clifton Collins Jr., aka Rupert Guest in the film, wielding something on the order of a Browning 9mm semi-automatic, shows up bright and crazed-angry in the foreground, while the background coffee colored dresser, strewn with various dark pieces of paraphernalia, is equally detailed and rich. On the 3007WFP-HC you don't miss a trick and this panel could easily double as a HDTV device with an HDTV tuner card installed.
For our fast-moving video test, we chose Adrenaline Rush, a clip that was recorded at 720p and delivers a few scenes at high speed that push the limits of the pixel response time of our panels. Frankly, we didn't observe much if any difference between the Dell UltraSharp 3007WFP and the new UltraSharp 3007WFP-HC in this test, save for perhaps more vibrant colors on the new HC version panel. In terms of pixel response time performance, both 30" LCD were more than capable of displaying the high-speed moments of this video quite easily.
Mark our words, you have not lived until you've gamed at 2560X1600 with 4X Anti-Aliasing and max Aniso Filtering turned up. Below we have screen shots from Valve's Half Life 2: Episode 1 and Robo Blitz from Naked Sky Entertainment. Half Life 2 employs a bunch of great shader effects, along with high dynamic range lighting (HDR). Robo Blitz on the other hand, is built on the Unreal Engine 3 and also employ PhysX technology for very realistic world detail and interaction.
Half Life 2: Episode 1 And Robo Blitz
Both games, driven from a single GeForce 8800 GTX graphics card, looked absolutely magnificent at this resolution with all the additional pixel processing turned up. Again, our standard 3007WFP responded very well with fast ghost-free response times, good contrast and vivid color. The new 3007WFP-HC however, definitely provided better contrast in darker scenes, as well as a generally more saturated and vibrant picture throughout. Overall, things just seemed to "pop" a bit more with the new UltraSharp 3007WFP-HC, if that's possible for an already eye-popping 30" LCD.
In terms of general desktop performance with text editing, web browsing etc, the 3007WFP-HC did not disappoint us, providing better overall contrast than the previous version panel and slightly cooler tones. We actually prefer the 3007WFP-HC's output, especially with reproduction of screen areas and text, where again better contrast was observed. All told, the 3007WFP-HC provided better saturation and contrast with respect to all the color palettes we observed versus the older 3007WFP. That's not to say that the 3007WFP of old is sub-par really in this respect. On the contrary, especially for a 30" LCD panel, the first iteration of the 3007WFP that Dell released is one gorgeous panel. The 3007WFP-HC on the other hand delivers even better color representation and image contrast in all areas, though we did find ourselves turning up the gamma or brightness just a bit more in our graphics card driver control panel, mainly due to the fact that we were accustomed to the slightly higher overall brightness, of the older version of the panel.