Big screens, cables and quad-core workstations

Big screens, cables and quad-core workstations

Summary: Much excitement in the Reviews corner of the ZDNet office on Friday, when Dell delivered an enormous box containing its quad-core Xeon-based Precision 390 workstation. Another enormous box had some days earlier supplied the 30in.

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Much excitement in the Reviews corner of the ZDNet office on Friday, when Dell delivered an enormous box containing its quad-core Xeon-based Precision 390 workstation. Another enormous box had some days earlier supplied the 30in. Dell UltraSharp 3007WFP monitor that, we felt, was the ideal way to best display the capabilities of the Precision 390's 256MB ATI FireGL V7200 graphics card. The things we do to keep readers fully informed about the latest hardware...

We'll review this setup in due course, but for now the relevant point is that, having deboxed the kit, cabled it up and switched on, I was somewhat disconcerted to be unable to display a resolution higher than 1,280x800, despite the FireGL V7200's ability to deliver up to 3840x2400 pixels. Now my eyesight isn't what it was, but on the 3007WFP with its native 2,560x1600 resolution, things were distinctly 'in your face' — had this been a touch-screen, you could have used a cricket stump from six feet away.

The problem turned out to be the DVI-D cable: in the rush to get up and running, I'd grabbed a single-link cable, which supports a maximum resolution of 2.6 megapixels at 60Hz — whereas, of course, I needed a dual-link cable to support the 30in. monitor's 4.1 megapixel resolution.

Now fully up and running, the joys of a 30in. display are all too evident: Web sites become broadsheets where before they were tabloids; rare is the spreadsheet that requires serious scrolling; you can view document-creation and reference material comfortably at the same time; and you can keep all your comms paraphernalia (IM, Skype et al) open and visible all the time. It's going to be hard giving this lot back!

Topic: Reviews

About

Charles has been in tech publishing since the late 1980s, starting with Reed's Practical Computing, then moving to Ziff-Davis to help launch the UK version of PC Magazine in 1992. ZDNet came looking for a Reviews Editor in 2000, and he's been here ever since.

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