The goods I purchased during the online Boxing Day sales have started to arrive, with almost everything in my hands now, aside from a Sandisk SDHC card. The fun now begins, as I tear into the packages and sniff up the new computer hardware smell. It doesn’t get much better than this.
First up, a look at all the cardboard boxes. What could possibly be in them? Canada Post sure didn’t take it easy with the Westinghouse monitor box – there was a fairly large hole in it. No thanks to BestBuy for the lack of packaging either. Luckily the display wasn’t damaged at all.
Here are the smaller items. That’s 4GB of dual channel RAM, a Linksys WRT54GL, a Diamond Radeon HD 3850 256MB, a TrekStor 500GB external drive (Western Digital drive on the inside), a 6ft HDMI cable (for the Westinghouse) and the perennial NCIX calendar. Not shown at the Westinghouse L2410NM and a Samsung SCX-4200 Multifunction printer.
Yes, 4GB of RAM goodness. I’ll have to upgrade to the 64 bit version of Vista soon, to take advantage of all 4 gigabytes. Currently, only 3200MB is seen by Windows, unfortunately. Perhaps I’ll perform the upgrade after Service Pack 1 is released sometime in the New Year.
As well, here’s the Diamond Radeon HD 3850 256MB video card along with the card it’s replacing, the EVGA 7900 GTO. ATi’s drivers have far better support for HDTV’s, which is why I chose this card. There’s no need to get into overscan compensation like I had to with the NVIDIA card. Lots of stock resolutions are pre-configured and work perfectly with the HTPC. Initially, I ran into some issues with very weird fan noise and overheating, which I discovered was the result of an improperly installed fan – a little push and the fan clicked into place. Now all is well.
And finally, the piÃ¨ce de rÃ©sistance – the Westinghouse L2410NM. As I said above, although the box was a little beat up, the monitor was in perfect condition. First impression is that it is much larger than my current LG L204WT – there is a significantly larger difference between the 24″ and 20″ LCDs than I had anticipated. The MVA panel is quite different from the TN panel found in the LG. Viewing angles are significantly better and colors pop. The Westinghouse is also extremely bright – I had to turn down the brightness so that it didn’t hurt to look at. The photo below shows both monitors at 100% brightness. For $330, you can’t go wrong. BestBuy is continuing the sale on the Westinghouse over its Boxing Week Sale. I’m very pleased with it thus far. No dead pixels to speak of.
Now it’s time to go do some serious gaming on this thing. I want to test how the 8ms panel handles quick actions. Hopefully my 8800GT can push the 1920×1200 native resolution at decent frame rates.