In early July, images of the giant DELL Alienware monitor, which the company demonstrated at several electronics exhibitions in 2008, scattered across social networks. It was the first-ever gaming monitor (and possibly the first computer monitor in general) with an aspect ratio of 21:10 – 12 years ago, such a concept had not yet been popularized.
However, things did not go further than prototypes – the monitor was too expensive, and the resolution was too high at that time, 2880 x 900 pixels. DELL did not name the price, but the analog from NEC was sold complete with a gaming PC for 8 thousand dollars. The monitor made it to the pages of magazines for gamers and PC enthusiasts but did not make it to stores.
When the news reached Linus Sebastian, one of the largest tech bloggers in the world, he was eager to test the exotic device. The DELL head office in the USA could not help – according to their data, there is not a single serviceable sample left in the world. Then the blogger announced a reward of 10 thousand dollars for the monitor but did not hope that he really would have to pay.
But unexpectedly the seller was found. True, the monitor turned out to be without the Alienware logo – the specimen found was marked with the Ostender brand, but in fact, it is the same monitor with identical characteristics and design. It was even kept in its original packaging! For differences in the brand, the price was brought down to 6 thousand dollars – about the same it cost in 2008.
Despite its enormous size, the monitor is not a CRT – in fact, the screen consists of four projection displays with LED backlighting, which are arranged in a row and covered with a solid sheet of matte plastic. The system requires powerful cooling and is noisy when working “as a computer”, and each of the projectors is located on an individual movable motorized platform so that the owner can adjust the position of each of the four sectors.
Sectors differ slightly in color rendition calibration, so it’s not recommended to process photos on such a screen, but the rest of the image quality turned out to be quite acceptable. If you sit too close or look from a distance, the joints are clearly visible between the sectors, but if you sit in front of the screen as expected, the seams are almost invisible.
In 2008, monitors with a frequency of more than 60 Hz have not yet gained popularity, so the Ostender CRVO does not have an increased scanning frequency. On the other hand, the response time is just 0.2ms, which is much faster than LCD monitors and about on par with OLED.
Modern ultra-wide monitors are cheaper, take up less space, and generally perform better. The same DELL Alienware produces the AW3420DW model with a diagonal of 34 inches, an IPS panel with a frequency of 120 Hz and a resolution of 3440×1440, support for G-Sync, and a response time of 2 ms.