I decided it was time to upgrade from the 19″ NEC Multisync CRT monitor I have had for the past five years to a flat panel LCD. I have had my eye on LCDs ever since I first experienced a Silcon Graphics 1600SW flat panel. Wow! I kicked around the idea of buying a 1600SW, but that would have required an expensive adapter and only a short list of graphics cards were supported.

Flat panel LCDs have come a long way since the introduction of the 1600SW. I decided to limit myself to a 20″ or larger display. I also wanted plenty of inputs: Digital, Analog, S-Video, Composite. Being frugal I wanted to spend $500 or less. I thought about the Dell 2001FP which was close to meeting all of my criteria. The 2001FP has a native 1600×1200 resolution. It was close but I was not fully satisfied.

Then, Dell released the 2005FPW. It was a wide screen flat panel that met all my criteria. It even provided plenty of screen real estate with a native 1680×1050 resolution. When I discovered that the 2005FPW was priced the same as the old school 2001FP I decided it was time to order me one.
I unpacked it and was immediately impressed. First, I hooked it up via S-Video (using the Advanced A/V kit) to my X-Box. The picture was wide (without looking stretched), super crisp and plenty quick for gaming. Next, I popped an anamorphic widescreen DVD into my X-Box. Wow! Second, I hooked it up to my computer (which already had the NVIDIA nView Desktop Manager installed). I used nView to switch the resolution to 1680×1050 and I auto-calibrated my flat panel against nView’s calibration screen. Once again, I was very pleased with the results.

I have an ancient NVIDIA GeForce2 MX/MX 400 graphics card and it is definitely getting a work out running 1680×1050 resolution with 32bit colors. I think an upgrade is in order, so I can push more FPS at high resolution. Josh, are you ready to have your ass kicked in high resolution at Quake?

Dell just released a 2405FPW 24″ wide screen display, but it is priced over twice what I paid for my 2005FPW 20″ LCD.