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w6kd

SHD Monitors, LCD technologies

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I haven't seen this topic discussed here...thought I'd throw out some of what I've learned about running FS on super high definition monitors, and some rather striking differences between the various LCD technologies.I just added a Dell U3011 "Supersharp" 30-inch SHD (2560 x 1600, 16:10 aspect ratio) monitor to my FS machine. I'm currently driving it with a GTX480 modestly overclocked to 800/2000. The monitor was pricey at $1350...but the improvement in image quality over the 26" Samsung I was using really did surprise me. The monitor was purchased with the intent of replacing a pair of high-quality NEC 22" CRT monitors on a different PC, one of which died a few weeks ago. Once I got the 30" monitor in my hands, I just had to try it out on the FS machine, and the results were so impressive I can't bear to move it back to the other machine now.I know that many people have opted to use large-format 1920x1080 TVs rather than the hi-res (and much more expensive) monitors. The difference, having seen both, is that the much-higher resolution of the SHD monitor allows you to place it pretty close--much closer than a large-format TV due to the tighter pixel matrix, giving you a wall-to-wall field of view while set at pretty close to the right distance for an instrument panel. If you're buying a large format display, and then having to set it back 4-5 feet to avoid having the grainy pixellation degrade the IQ, the angular field of view isn't really any different than that of a smaller display set closer. My viewing distance is set at ~30", and could actually be comfortably closer except that I use a floor-mounted column yoke that requires my seat to be set back an extra foot or so. With a good wide-format instrument panel running in FS, the instruments approach life-size, and that really does add something to the experience.Monitor technologies proved to be an interesting learning curve as well--all LCD monitors are NOT created equal. The Dell U3011 uses an IPS LCD matrix, where most of the consumer-grade monitors (like the Samsung T260 I was using before) incorporate "TN" type LCDs. The IPS matrix produces color saturation and contrast that are markedly better than the TN panels, and that results in brilliant, saturated colors that really make things jump off the screen. For example, if you've ever compared the images of a real-world glass display and a PC-representation in MSFS, the PC image is noticeably dull in the color department. I took a PC onto the flight deck of a Gulfstream V I was flying some years ago and fired up FS and compared the two side-by-side. I noticed things like the magenta flight director "V-bar"--a bright magenta on the Gulfstream's display, and a rather washed-out representation on the laptop's (TN-type) LCD. On an IPS display the colors rival the real thing. Reds are very bright, and depictions of yellow and red warning lights jump out and grab your attention much like they do on a real flight deck. The IPS display also has much better side-viewing angle and contrast than my TN panels, and deep blacks, which make night flying a tad more enjoyable. But you don't get something for nothing, and there is something of a performance hit from the standard-format widescreens, which is expected when you consider that the graphics system must render 97% more pixels than with a 1920x1080 display. The most immediate and noticeble impact was the increased load on the GPU. I had a custom fan curve set up in my 480 that kept the GPU in the mid 60 deg range with the fan at 60%--a little bit of added noise, but not bad. When I fired up FSX with the SHD monitor, the GPU rapidly spiked to over 80 deg C, and once I re-wickered the fan curve, it required 80% fan speed to keep the GPU in the mid 70 deg range, and at 80% it sounds like a small vacuum cleaner running in the background. The VRAM usage went up considerably, but not beyond the 1536MB of VRAM mounted on the card, even with very aggressive AA/AF settings. That said, I'm able to keep frames in the high 20s and above with AA at 8xS and 2x sparse-grid supersampling (transparency AA) with AF at 16x, which produces rather spectacular image quality on the big screen. I was sitting on the fence w/r/t getting a 580 before--this has knocked me off the fence, and a water-cooled eVGA 580 is on the way to solve the noise and GPU temp issue (I like to keep my silicon below 70C), and 20% extra GPU horsepower should prove useful in smoothing out the few remaining rough edges in the heaviest load conditions in complex sceneries.This has proved to be an interesting alternative to the triple-monitor widescreen I was considering. Having a lifelike (in both size and appearance) front panel where most of my attention is focused really spices things up.RegardsBob ScottColonel, USAF (ret)ATP IMEL Gulfstream II-III-IV-VColorado Springs, CO

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Guest jahman

That is a very nice monitor indeed!Just wish they would fab an optional no bezel version for a 2 monitor side-by-side setup. Also at that price range I would also want a Thunderbolt video interface for futureproofing (but I would buy the monitor anyway!).BTW I have a Samsung 260T (big, fat bezel included) but I noticed what you mention about colour intensities even from watching aviation videos on that same monitor! I realize that's counterintuitive, but if true beyond just a sensation of mine perhaps there is a software cure: Saturating the cockpit display colours further, especially during the day.Cheers,- jahman.

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Jahman; Hey, thanks for that link on the Thunderbolt interface. That makes for some interesting reading. Right now the TH2Go interfaces are bandwidth-limited, with the DVI cable from the video card to the TH2Go being the bottleneck. I've wondered if there might someday be a fiber-optic solution...sounds like Thunderbolt might take us that way. I do wonder if setting a custom icc/icm profile for a TN monitor like the T260 might help with the color saturation.CheersBob ScottColonel, USAF (ret)ATP IMEL Gulfstream II-III-IV-VColorado Springs, CO

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The biggest issue with all LCD's IMO is the black level. I was so bummed with the first Samsung 46" because when I flew a night scene and went to outside view the entire screen was washed out. I could just barely see the plane. The new LG 47" 1080p,(50mil to 1 contrast) while still not perfect, does a much better job with night scenes and has about a 1" bezel. I'm not interested in high resolutions as my feeling is more pixels = lower FPS and since I sit back about 4 feet it is not an issue.As far as size the 47" gives a great immersive affect without appearing grainy as the OP indicated plus it fits in the available space on my 'L' Shaped desk.Cheersjja

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Guest jahman
Jahman;Hey, thanks for that link on the Thunderbolt interface. That makes for some interesting reading. Right now the TH2Go interfaces are bandwidth-limited, with the DVI cable from the video card to the TH2Go being the bottleneck. I've wondered if there might someday be a fiber-optic solution...sounds like Thunderbolt might take us that way.
You're welcome! I'm hoping for LightPeak (Thuderbolt over optic fiber) myself so I can set-up a server-shack separate from the sim-pit and not have to listen to GPU fan noise any longer (range is supposed to be over 300 ft.)
I do wonder if setting a custom icc/icm profile for a TN monitor like the T260 might help with the color saturation.
The color profile might be a workaround, but what we really need is for Flight to implement the Tone Mapping aspect of High Dynamic Range Rendering (already available since DX9 and supported by the latest 2 generations of ATI/AMD and nVidia GPUs).Cheers,- jahman.

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