Setup, On-screen Controls and Test System
Unfortunately, while the XP17 does sport both a VGA and DVI input connector, the monitor does not support these connections simultaneously. In fact the installation guide states the following verbatim:
"Connecting the DVI and D-Sub cables at the same time will result in the monitor running in analog mode. To swap between analog to digital mode, power down the PC, disconnect the D-Sub cable and attach the DVI cable and power on the PC."
There's one word for this setup, plain and simple... "bummer". Why on earth Shuttle would go through the trouble of providing dual inputs and not provide an A/B switch to control them, is completely beyond our comprehension, especially for a high end LCD like this. We're sure it has something to do with cost but it seems for what this panel retails for, it could have been afforded.
Beyond the lack of an input A/B switch, the XP17's controls are fairly robust and intuitive. The display has an auto setup function that works fairly well for analog connections. It did take a bit of tweaking to get the image positioned and color/brightness adjusted to our liking but a few clicks of the control buttons later and we had a setup that we could live with. The auto setup function isn't perfectly accurate by any stretch but it's about on par with most LCDs in this area.
User also have the ability to adjust Image, Brightness, Sharpness, Contrast and Phase on the analog connection. On a DVI input, although image cropping and positioning are hard set, contrast and brightness are automatically set for you but users do have the ability to adjust these settings manually as well. Again, we found ourselves fumbling around in the menu area, due mainly to the XP17s discretely placed push buttons but this is something that a few weeks of familiarity with the XP17 should cure. In total, the XP17 has a nice selection of on screen control features that give the user just about configuration option you could ever need, save for that darn input signal A/B switch.
Pentium 4 Northwood 3.4GHz S478
DFI LANParty Pro 875
2x512MB Kingston PC3500
ATi Radeon X800 XT Platinum Edition
On-Board 10/100 Ethernet
WD "Raptor" 36GB Hard Drive
10,000 RPM SATA
Windows XP Pro SP1
ATi Catalyst 4.8 Drivers
We tested the Shuttle XP17 LCD on some of the latest gear on the market. Our graphics card of choice at the time, was the ATi Radeon X800 XT PE. In most of our subjective testing, we were observing image quality over the DVI connection, with the exception of our desktop work station tests with Adobe Photoshop, where we looked at both digital and analog connection performance.