The Dell Panel Lottery
Simon Baker, 1 Oct 2006 (updated 8 Dec, 2007)

Dell are a popular manufacturer of TFT monitors, offering well designed models, great functionality and features, low prices and most importantly to many consumers, a good choice in LCD panels. However, Dell have commonly varied the panels they use in their range, largely due to availability and cost. This has created confusion amongst potential buyers and an elitism towards some versions. The following article will cover the so called 'panel lottery' in the Dell monitor range, allowing you to understand the differences and how to tell which version you have.

 
 

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Dell 1905FP

One of the earlier models in Dell's range was the 19", Dell 1905FP. This commonly began to feature one of two different panels. The Dell 1905FP has always been advertised the same way by Dell and other retailers, offering a 20ms response time along with 800:1 contrast ratio, 250cd/m2 brightness and 178 / 178 viewing angles. This was based on a Samsung PVA panel, the LTM190E4, which had already been used in the Samsung 193P as well. There was arguably one of the best 19" panels for the non-gamer at the time, offering excellent image quality, colour reproduction and viewing angles. However, the slow response time, and lack of RTC / overdrive meant this was not really suitable for much gaming. Nevertheless, the 1905FP remained popular for other users.

In April 2005 Dell started shipping monitors to customers in France which came with a different panel, which was a P-MVA panel from AU Optronics (the M190EN03 V0). This is the same panel which has been used in the popular Viewsonic VP191B model, and was offering an 8ms G2G response time. This panel is much more suited to gamers, offering a truly low response time and still offering the benefits of the VA panel technology including good colours and wide viewing angles. In May 2005 the UK stock began to feature this new panel as well. There was not really any easy way to find out which version you might get, as the 1905FP was still listed as 20ms on the official Dell website. There was a way to tell which version you had however, by using the following method:

To find out which version of the 1905FP you have:

1- Turn off your screen
2- Press simultaneously the 'Menu' and '+' button of the screen.
3- While holding the 2 buttons press now the 'Power' button.
4- Once the screen in ON, unpress the 3 buttons.
5- Go to OSD menu (by pressing 'Menu' button) then select the 'Reinit' option (red point at the bottom of menu).
6- Select 'Factory' option.
7- You can see now the panel manufacturer

You should get one of three screens:

        LTM190E4 - Samsung 20ms PVA (LTM190E4)
        M190EN03 - AUO 8ms G2G P-MVA (M190EN03 V0)
        AUO 19 - AUO 8ms G2G P-MVA (M190EN03 V0)






Click for larger images

This left the consumer with a confusion around what they might receive and many potential buyers were quick to decide which was the "better" of the two versions. This was probably the first well documented 'panel lottery' in the range, and look where it's left us today!
 


Dell 2007FP

The Dell 2007FP has also had this panel lottery since it's release. The screen is either supplied with a 16ms (8ms G2G) 20" LG.Philips S-IPS (LM201U04) or and 8ms G2G Samsung S-PVA (LTM201U1). Originally, it was easy enough to identify which panel is used in the screen by using the following steps:

To find out which version of the 2xx7 you have:

1- Turn off your screen
2- Press simultaneously the 'Menu' and '+' button of the screen.
3- While holding the 2 buttons, press now the 'Power' button.
4- Once the screen in ON, unpress the 3 buttons.
5- Just press '-' button.

However, later firmware releases have resulted in the information being hidden from the OSD menu, and instead being replaced by generic Dell internal codes. This seems to have happened from revision A03 onwards. You can often tell which panel is being used by observing the serial code on the back of the screen, with the last letter indicating which version you have. 'S' for Samsung and 'L' for LG.Philips. Some users have also attempted to decipher the internal Dell OSD codes based on user reports and evidence accumulated, and the codes seem to correspond as follows:
 

Panel Code UW473 = S-PVA Samsung LTM201U1 - Some disembled proof
Panel Code HN210: S-IPS LG.Philips LM201U05 - Suspected, process of elimination.

 


Dell 2007WFP

The widescreen version of the 2007 model also features a so called panel lottery, with either a 16ms ISO (8ms G2G again) 20"WS LG.Philips S-IPS (LM201W01) or Samsung S-PVA (LTM201M1) panel being used. Again, you used to be able to check which panel you had through the OSD factory menu as above, but this has since been hidden by Dell in later firmware updates (again from revision A03 onwards). You can often tell by observing the serial code on the back of the screen, with the last letter either showing 'S' for Samsung or 'L' for LG.Philips. If not, users have again tried to match up Dell's internal codes to the panels being used:
 

Panel code RT803: S-IPS LG.Philips LM201W01 - Overwhelming evidence
Panel code PM330: S-PVA Samsung LTM201M1 - Strong evidence

 


Click for larger version

  


Dell 2407WFP

The Dell 2407WFP had several firmware changes during it's first year, with corrective measures being taken to address the early problems with text clarity and colour banding. You can read more about the issues and the changes which were made in our article here, but ultimately it was the same S-PVA panel from Samsung being used throughout; that being the LTM240M2 S-PVA panel.

 

Recently there has been discussion of a second type of panel being used, based on user observations and reported difference with viewing angles most notably. It was suspected that an S-IPS panel might be used, but it appears this isn't the case. ChrisM, a representative from Dell, recently posted on their support forums that the 2407WFP also uses and "AUO M240UW01" panel. There is not much in the way of further information about this unfortunately, but it is suspected this may be a recent change, possibly being used in some later stock of revision A04 onwards? It is also unclear which revision of the panel this is, and whether it is P-MVA or AMVA.

 


Dell 2407WFP-HC

 

There is only one panel used in the HighColor version of the 2407WFP, that being Samsung's LTM240CS01 S-PVA panel. Since Dell have stated they will not be updating the panel / monitor to correct the reported ghosting issues, I wouldn't expect to see any panel lottery or change here.

 


Further reading: Hardforum Discussion

 

 

 

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