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Author Topic: NEC PA-243w  (Read 2807 times)

Chris Kern

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NEC PA-243w
« on: December 28, 2017, 02:29:39 PM »

My 24-inch NEC monitor, a venerable PA-241w, has reached the end of its useful life, and I'm wondering whether to replace it with the current but obsolescent PA-242w model or wait for the PA-243w, which was announced in October and, according to the B&H website, should be available Real Soon Now.

Has anyone out there managed to get their hands on a PA-243w?  Is it a sufficient advance over the PA-242w to make it worth waiting for and paying the (U.S.) $150 price difference?  Looking over the specs, the only significant difference that jumps out at me is the backlight technology: RGB LED for the current model and WLED for the new one.  I presume the latter will use a little less electricity, but is there any other advantage?  Can anybody suggest anything else that would inform my decision?

DP

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Re: NEC PA-243w
« Reply #1 on: December 29, 2017, 09:49:51 AM »

My 24-inch NEC monitor, a venerable PA-241w, has reached the end of its useful life, and I'm wondering whether to replace it with the current but obsolescent PA-242w model or wait for the PA-243w, which was announced in October and, according to the B&H website, should be available Real Soon Now.

Has anyone out there managed to get their hands on a PA-243w?  Is it a sufficient advance over the PA-242w to make it worth waiting for and paying the (U.S.) $150 price difference?  Looking over the specs, the only significant difference that jumps out at me is the backlight technology: RGB LED for the current model and WLED for the new one.  I presume the latter will use a little less electricity, but is there any other advantage?  Can anybody suggest anything else that would inform my decision?

there is also USB3.1 hub in 243 vs USB2.0 in 242... might be convenient.
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Chris Kern

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Re: NEC PA-243w
« Reply #2 on: December 29, 2017, 12:46:49 PM »

Looking over the specs, the only significant difference that jumps out at me is the backlight technology: RGB LED for the current model and WLED for the new one.

On closer inspection, I also see a potentially significant difference in color accuracy.  The PA-242w—the current model—achieves its claimed 10-bit color depth on a natively 8-bit panel by sequential dithering (FRC, or frame rate control) while the newer PA-243w has a native 10-bit color depth.  Has anyone with the PA-242w experienced noticeable problems in the real world attributable to this dithering—e.g., color banding or flicker?
« Last Edit: December 29, 2017, 06:06:36 PM by Chris Kern »
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Kirk_C

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Re: NEC PA-243w
« Reply #3 on: December 29, 2017, 10:38:15 PM »

Chris I see you're a senior member on this site, and I'm just a newbie, but based on what I've read here I think you're question is more likely to be answered in the Colour Management discussion area.

You may even get a reply from the eminently knowledgeable Andrew Rodney there. He's knows more about color calibration and NEC monitors than all the other pundits here put together.

FWIW I'm just installing a NEC PA272W to use with my new iMac. I've been using calibrated systems for as long as they've been available. In my 30+ years of experience in trying to accurately reproduce color the difference between the 8 bit dithering and actual 10 bit will be negligible if and when OSX offers 10 bit color.
« Last Edit: December 29, 2017, 10:45:00 PM by Kirk_C »
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Chris Kern

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Re: NEC PA-243w
« Reply #4 on: December 30, 2017, 10:06:48 AM »

FWIW I'm just installing a NEC PA272W to use with my new iMac. I've been using calibrated systems for as long as they've been available. In my 30+ years of experience in trying to accurately reproduce color the difference between the 8 bit dithering and actual 10 bit will be negligible if and when OSX offers 10 bit color.

I suspect you're correct, which is why I asked if anyone here has any experience with the new 24-inch monitor.  I also use a PA272w as my primary display—the 2010 vintage 24-inch NEC that I'm planning to replace is a secondary one—and I've been very pleased with it.  But while it's the same generation as the PA-242w, they are, of course, built around different panels.

It's not clear to me why NEC is making this change: does it represent an improvement in performance or reliability or sample variation, or does it simply reduce manufacturing cost?  (My guess is that an RGB LED panel is more expensive than a WLED panel with similar performance characteristics.)

Frodo

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Re: NEC PA-243w
« Reply #5 on: January 09, 2018, 05:20:59 PM »

I'm looking at an NEC PA series monitor, so interested in this question (and the other thread on the higher resolution and larger PA-272).

I note from this site (https://www.displayspecifications.com/en/comparison/6e0c3aeb6) that the 243 has W-LED backlighting compared to GBr-LED backlighting, although I'm not sure of the significance of this.
It also includes "31 percent slimmer design than the previous model as well as integrated speakers and a new Low Blue Light setting" (https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20171012005219/en/NEC-Display-Updates-Popular-Wide-Color-Gamut) neither of which are deal-breakers for me.
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Chris Kern

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Re: NEC PA-243w
« Reply #6 on: January 09, 2018, 08:05:14 PM »

I note . . . that the 243 has W-LED backlighting compared to GBr-LED backlighting, although I'm not sure of the significance of this.

(N.B., in case it isn't obvious, I have no expert knowledge of computer monitor technology.)

After contacting a NEC technical support specialist and an audio/video pre-sales consultant for a major U.S. retailer, I still don't know the answer to this question, which seems to me to be the most important issue with respect to the comparative color accuracy—and the reliability of color accuracy over time—between the current NEC PA2X2w and new PA2X3w products.

My impression is that, in theory, an RGB-LED backlight would be superior to a "white" LED backlight.  The former, properly calibrated, should be able to emit more accurately white light than the latter, which actually is composed of yellow LEDs with a blue coating to neutralize the inherent color cast.

On the other hand, I suspect a panel with three colored LEDs would be more prone to differential aging: in other words, the red, green and blue LEDs could not be expected to degrade at exactly the same rate over time.

But if you use NEC's SpectraView software to calibrate your monitor(s), and you perform the calibrations frequently (say, every few weeks), you may get equivalent color accuracy with either panel technology.

That's what both the NEC tech rep and the retail sales rep told me.  They both argued that the color accuracy of the RGB-LED and white LED products would be equivalent with rigorous calibration, and that the other enhancements offered by the newer product should tip the balance in its favor.  Of course, the NEC rep could be expected to tout his company's new product (which, I'm fairly certain, has a lower manufacturing cost as well as a higher MSRP than the previous generation) and the retail rep could be expected to recommend the product with the higher sales price.  Still, their employers' respective economic interests don't negate their arguments.

For what it's worth, I've decided to wait for the PA243w product to begin shipping.  Not because of its admittedly superior weight, power consumption, and peripheral output features—none of which matter to me—but because I'm persuaded that the SpectraView software will adjust for any theoretical disadvantages of the WLED panel and, most important, because I upgrade hardware infrequently and I suspect that parts availability for the RGB-LED monitors will be an issue as time goes on because NEC appears to be abandoning this technology.

aderickson

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Re: NEC PA-243w
« Reply #7 on: January 10, 2018, 06:11:03 PM »

I just got a notice from B&H Photo that they have them in stock and I ordered mine.

Allan
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digitaldog

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Re: NEC PA-243w
« Reply #8 on: January 10, 2018, 06:33:33 PM »

My impression is that, in theory, an RGB-LED backlight would be superior to a "white" LED backlight. 
Yes indeed! With GB-R LED too.
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Andrew Rodney
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Chris Kern

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Re: NEC PA-243w
« Reply #9 on: January 10, 2018, 07:24:15 PM »

My impression is that, in theory, an RGB-LED backlight would be superior to a "white" LED backlight.

Yes indeed! With GB-R LED too.

Understood, but GB-R isn't an option with NEC, correct?  Since I'm using a PA-272w as my primary monitor, and SpectraView for calibration, I'm inclined to stick with a 24-inch NEC replacement for my PA-241w secondary display.

Am I missing something?

Frodo

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Re: NEC PA-243w
« Reply #10 on: January 11, 2018, 03:59:28 AM »

Following some on-line research, I found out that:
- Some TVs use AMOLED technology (active-matrix organic light-emitting diode), where the sub-pixels actually emit light.
- Our displays are highly likely to use LCD sub-pixels which do not emit light, so need some form of backlighting.

Backlighting is generally of four types (http://www.en-touch.com/comparing-the-different-types-of-lcd-backlights/):
- Cold Cathode Fluorescent Lamps (CCFL)
- Edge-lit LED (EL-WLED)
- WLED –with WLED, the rear panel of the LCD display is lit with a vast array of white-colored LEDs, all of which are placed behind a diffuser.  one of the benefits of WLED is its ability to dim the brightness of the LED in certain areas. Much like EL-WLED, this boosts the contrast ratio of the display. WLED backlights are commonly use in big-screen LCD TVs and select computer monitors.
- RGB LED — a fourth type of backlight display use in LCDs is RGB LED. This technology is similar to WLED but with one major defining characteristic: it uses an array of red-green-blue (RGB) LEDs instead white LEDs. This results in higher color gamuts and better overall picture quality than its counterpart.

There is another type: GBr-LED, which uses green and blue LEDs with a red phosphor to provide whiter light.
There is also a relatively recent technology called quantum dot, but I won't go into this.

This site provides good analysis of the benefits of WLED vs RGB: https://pcmonitors.info/articles/the-evolution-of-led-backlights/
From this I conclude that:
- W-LED are not actually white, but strongly blue and use a yellow phosphor to broaden the spectrum.  However, they still have a strong peak in blue and a shoulder in yellow, green and red.  The blue must be flitered out. This technology is typically used in sRGB screens
- RGB-LED have three peaks, but are presumably easier to filter out to produce a more easily controlled white light.  This technology is used in wide-gamut displays
- GBr-LED seems to fall in between.

EL-LED displays have the advantage of being thinner.
RGB-LEDs are much thicker and typically (much) more expensive.

It also seems that the quality of the display will depend on the quality of the LEDs, the filters and the TFT LCD matrix.
However, it seems that RGB-LED will produce a wider gamut than W-LEDs, and that GBr-LED is also better than W-LED (everything being equal).

It is not clear to me why the PA-243 has gone to W-LED from the 242's GBr-LED.  I speculate that this is driven by a desire to reduce the thickness of the display and possibly to reduce costs.

As it appears to me that the PA-243 has moved backwards, I will purchase a PA-242.

PS: I'm a dumb biologist, not an electronics engineer and probably have lots wrong in here!

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DP

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Re: NEC PA-243w
« Reply #11 on: January 11, 2018, 08:08:32 AM »

It is not clear to me why the PA-243 has gone to W-LED from the 242's GBr-LED.  I speculate that this is driven by a desire to reduce the thickness of the display and possibly to reduce costs.

NEC does not make panels, it buys panels from the likes of LG ... so whatever supplier has to offer... and if supplier makes panels using WLED that deliver on specs then why not. more so when there is more margin to be made ?

thickness ? PA242 simply reuses the old plastic shell housing panel assembly that was left from the days of CCFL in PA241 (a lot of heat to be dissipated)


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digitaldog

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Re: NEC PA-243w
« Reply #12 on: January 11, 2018, 10:26:22 AM »

Understood, but GB-R isn't an option with NEC, correct?
It is on some, my PA272W uses GB-R backlight.
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Andrew Rodney
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DP

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Re: NEC PA-243w
« Reply #13 on: January 11, 2018, 01:13:11 PM »

It is on some, my PA272W uses GB-R backlight.
as does PA242W
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Chris Kern

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Re: NEC PA-243w
« Reply #14 on: January 11, 2018, 06:21:36 PM »

It is on some, my PA272W uses GB-R backlight.

Is that true of all the NEC 27-inch monitors of that generation?  I was under the impression my 2015 PA272w used an RGB-LED backlight.  (That's one of the reasons for my bias in favor of that technology.)

Frodo

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Re: NEC PA-243w
« Reply #15 on: January 11, 2018, 08:13:50 PM »

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digitaldog

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Re: NEC PA-243w
« Reply #16 on: January 12, 2018, 10:43:17 AM »

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Andrew Rodney
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Chris Kern

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Re: NEC PA-243w
« Reply #17 on: January 13, 2018, 08:39:55 PM »

For what it's worth, I've decided to wait for the PA243w product to begin shipping.  Not because of its admittedly superior weight, power consumption, and peripheral output features—none of which matter to me—but because I'm persuaded that the SpectraView software will adjust for any theoretical disadvantages of the WLED panel and, most important, because I upgrade hardware infrequently and I suspect that parts availability for the RGB-LED [correction: GBr-LED] monitors will be an issue as time goes on because NEC appears to be abandoning this technology.

One quirk that may be of interest to anyone else who is planning to acquire a PA243w: for the first time in all the years I have been using these PA-series displays with various computers, the NEC SpectraView software needed a separate USB channel to perform the calibration rather than communicating with the display bidirectionally through the video cable.  A NEC technical support rep was familiar with this issue, although he didn't know the cause.  He said the PA243w was so new he hadn't actually had an opportunity to use one yet himself.  The product bundle includes a USB cable to be used for this purpose.  After installing it, I was able to calibrate the monitor normally.  The white point and colors seem to be a good match for the PA272w I use as my primary display.

Czornyj

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Re: NEC PA-243w
« Reply #18 on: January 22, 2018, 05:07:50 PM »

One quirk that may be of interest to anyone else who is planning to acquire a PA243w: for the first time in all the years I have been using these PA-series displays with various computers, the NEC SpectraView software needed a separate USB channel to perform the calibration rather than communicating with the display bidirectionally through the video cable.  A NEC technical support rep was familiar with this issue, although he didn't know the cause.  He said the PA243w was so new he hadn't actually had an opportunity to use one yet himself.  The product bundle includes a USB cable to be used for this purpose.  After installing it, I was able to calibrate the monitor normally.  The white point and colors seem to be a good match for the PA272w I use as my primary display.

The x80 and x90 used to rely on DDC/CI communication, which was often a cause of problems, because of graphic card drivers and OS issues. Since introduction of PA-series there's also an alternative to use USB communication, so it's actually nothing new. I had opportunity to use PA243W and it's there's no night and day difference to PA242W - it's thinner, lighter, has USB3 hub, slightly larger gamut, and so on.

digitaldog

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Re: NEC PA-243w
« Reply #19 on: January 22, 2018, 08:04:14 PM »

Since introduction of PA-series there's also an alternative to use USB communication, so it's actually nothing new.
Exactly; in the past I had to use such a cable in older SpectraViews.
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Andrew Rodney
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