HP ZR30W vs. NEC PA301W
I have been thinking about purchasing a wide gamut 10-bit display when I came across HP ZR30W priced at about $1100 (in Canada) compared to about $2400 for the NEC PA301W. To explain the price difference, I can believe there must be some difference in quality control during the production process between these two monitors. However, from the list of specifications one can immediately notice the ZR30W lacks OSD and essentially any internal image processing board (correct me if I am wrong).
So that any calibration has to be done through the GPU software and will only be saved in the system to which it is attached.
My question is that if the calibration is done through a proper GPU such as Nvidia quadro or ATI firepro cards using a good calibration device, how the result will be compared to that of NEC PA301W? Will we miss some feature (wide gamut, 10-bit colour pass, etc.) during this process?
Also is there a way to calibrate this display for sRGB so that one can switch from an aRGB to sRGB profile back and forth depending on whether the application being used is colour space aware or not? I am asking if there is a way to avoid over-saturation colours in applications that don't know aRGB?
Please note I am just in the process of learning colour management for computer displays and hence as a new-learner do not quite understand everything. And I am not sure if this is the right forum to pose this question but I have learned in OS X (I am currently a Mac user) one can not have 10-bit colour support s of now so Windows 7 is the only option and I am thinking my next workstation will be windows anyway.
I don't know anything about the HP, but the NEC (I have the 27" PA) comes with a calibrator specifically made for the monitor. It has the internal LUT, and it goes through a calibration certification at the factory. My guess is it will be more accurate (i.e., Delta E) for both color and grey level. You can limit the gamut to sRGB, however there really is no need to. You're probably better off calibrating to the native gamut, and then soft proofing as needed, but yes, you can do what you're asking. For non-color aware apps, you can switch. It takes about 30 seconds to reload the profile (maybe not even that long, but enough to be a bit tedious).
You're really comparing apples & oranges. There are several differences between the two displays, including that the NEC MultiSync PA301W can be calibrated, can pivot to portrait, has 5 factory-calibrated picture modes (including sRGB), and includes a 2 up / 3 down USB hub that works as a KVM switch between two displays.
Aside from that, calibrating any display through the video card can result in loss of color compared to a display that can be natively calibrated. The amount of loss varies based on your calibration parameters. In addition, you lose any portability of that calibration between computers.
Sorry for the long reply. Let me know if you have any more questions!
Product Manager, Professional and Medical Displays
NEC Display Solutions of America
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