Ingram Micro Brings House-Brand Monitor to System BuildersBy Frank Ohlhorst | Posted 2008-03-04 Email Print
Ingram Micro's latest V7 monitor is geared toward enticing system builders and resellers with its low price and basic feature set. But is it enough to get system builders to abandon their name-brand displays?
With an MSRP of just $459, the 24-inch Ingram Micro V7 D24W33 display brings high resolution (1920 by 1200), high contrast (1,000:1), brightness (250cd/m2) and a 160-degree viewing angle to the channel. The unit also offers excellent video by incorporating a 2-millisecond response time. Not too bad, considering the low price! But, before writing any checks to Ingram Micro, there are a few things to know about this 24-inch price leader.
That low price comes with a hidden cost. Solution providers will not find some expected components in the box—for example, a power cable, audio cable or video cable, even though those items are listed in the quick-start guide. I queried Ingram Micro about the lack of those components, but still have not received an answer. The unit arrived at the eWEEK Channel Lab in what appeared to be brand-new factory packaging, so the missing components might very well not be included with the shipping product.
There are design elements also aimed at keeping prices down. Unlike many of the competitors in the market, the D24W33 does not include a DVI (Digital Video Interactive) port or an integrated USB 2.0 hub. Buyers will find just a VGA connector, audio port and HDMI connector on the bottom of the unit. Including an HDMI connector instead of a DVI connector proves to be an interesting choice, simply because most high-end PCs will use either DVI or VGA interfaces.
HDMI is typically associated with high-definition video components and not PCs. The unit offers native aspect ratios of 16:10 and 5:4, which don't mesh up with the high-def video resolution of 1080i, commonly used with HDMI connections, and which typically uses an aspect ratio of 16:9. The unit's resolutions, aspect ratios and connector choices work to muddy up the target market a little bit, making one wonder whether the unit is geared toward PC, 1080i video or console game users. Adding to the cost-versus-features confusion is the fact that the unit also sports built-in speakers—a strange mix of features indeed.
To further reduce costs, the company only includes
very basic driver software and a reduced feature set of Pivot Pro, an
application that supports dynamic rotation of the monitor. Even though the
company has made many concessions for price, however, no shortcuts were taken
for a warranty; the Ingram Micro V7 offers a full 3-year warranty and 5x12
While some cutting of corners on some features and options is evident, the overall construction of the unit screams quality. A heavy, solid base snaps into the back of the display, which has a metal mounting plate. While many low-priced monitors use plastic clips to attach the mounting arm, not so with the V7 unit.
We put the monitor to the test using DisplayMate, a PC display testing tool, which displays various high-resolution complex images. We also plugged the monitor into a Kill-A-Watt Pro electricity meter. During operation, the monitor pulled about 60 watts of power—a lot less than a big CRT but noticeably more than a typical 19-inch LCD. The power usage was not unreasonable considering how bright the display was.
DisplayMate showed the monitor to be crisp, with no distortion. Using the DisplayMate tuning utility, we were able to set the unit to show realistic colors, which represented the actual color of real objects well. The software included with the monitor does not offer any tuning or setup capabilities, so those looking for the best possible image may want to use DisplayMate or a similar product to fine-tune the colors, contrast and brightness. DisplayMate also showed how well the monitor's high resolution of 1920 by 1200 displayed complex, highly detailed images. Artistic and technical images were crisp and clear and the 2-ms response time helped to make video smooth and easy to watch.
In short, the image quality was excellent, especially for a low-priced LCD. While the monitor may offer an odd feature set and little in the form of setup utilities, the low price and image quality make up for any of the other shortcomings, making the D24W33 a good choice for today's system builder looking for the most bang for the buck.