Dell UltraSharp 2713 monitor – bait and switch warning

I bought a Dell-branded product this afternoon. That was a mistake I will not repeat.

Summary: the 2713UM only reaches its rated 2560×1440 resolution when connected via DVI-D. On HDMI it is limited to 1920×1080; on VGA to 2048×1152. This $700 and supposedly professional-grade monitor is thus functionally inferior to the $300 Auria I still have connected to the other head of the same video card, which does 2560×1440 over any of these cables.

Two things make this extra infuriating:

I spent more than four hours on the phone with three different Dell technical-support people to find out that not only don’t they know how to fix this, nobody can give any reason for it. It’s a completely arbitrary, senseless limit. The monitor’s EDID hardware apparently tells lies to the host system that low-ball its capabilities. This couldn’t happen by accident; somebody designed in this nonsense.

And then neglected to tell potential customers about it. Nothing anywhere in the promotional material for this monitor even hints at these limits, and Dell’s own technical support people haven’t been clued in either. Bait and switch taken to a whole new level.

(Why did I buy a Dell product? Because it was the only thing I could get my hands on same-day that matched the specs of my other Auria, which went flickery-crazy early this afternoon.)

When I unloaded about this on Tech Support Guy #3, he passed me to a marketing representative. I explained, relatively politely under the circumstances, that I has over 15K social-media followers and was planning to give Dell a public black eye over their repeated bungling unless somebody gave me a really good reason not to.

She declined to send me $400 so I wouldn’t have been taken worse than by buying another Auria, then passed me to somebody she described as a manager. But I could tell by the accent he was just another drone in a call center in East Fuckistan who had neither the ability nor the intention to improve my day. After two more iterations of this I had had enough and hung up.

Dell. You pay more, but you’ll get less. Pass it on.

(Yes, I typoed the model number originally.)

97 thoughts on “Dell UltraSharp 2713 monitor – bait and switch warning

  1. Scott Mueller (who I think is just a little more famous than you) blew up a Dell computer in 2001 when they made a series of power supplies and motherboards that were physically compatible with ATX so you could physically plug them together, but were not electrically compatible. As a result, you could unknowingly plug together two incompatible components and have one, the other, or both literally burst into flames before your very eyes. I read about it in Upgrading and Repairing PCs (I forget which edition and page), and have never touched anything marked “Dell” since.

  2. None of Dell’s tech-support weenies ever heard of dual-link DVI? That was the first thing I suspected when I saw the resolutions supported by DVI-D vs. HDMI (which is basically single-link DVI with some extra capabilities) and VGA. Quoting Wikipedia:

    “The DVI specification mandates a maximum pixel clock frequency of 165 MHz when running in single-link mode. With a single DVI link, the highest supported standard resolution is 2.75 megapixels (including blanking interval) at 60 Hz refresh. For practical purposes, this allows a maximum screen resolution at 60 Hz, for widescreen 16:10 ratio of 2,098 × 1,311 or, for 4:3 ratio of 1,915 × 1,436 pixels, or for 5:4 ratio of 1,854 × 1,483 pixels.”

    Dual-link DVI offers twice the bandwidth, so it can pump out twice as many pixels. You’re not going to get 2560×1440 over single-link DVI or HDMI as it’s implemented in most currently-available hardware. (HDMI 2.0 would do what you want, but that spec’s not even two months old yet.)

  3. Erik, which of those resolutions did you expect to exceed, the VGA or the HDMI?

    In my experience, VGA gets too fuzzy at high res anyhow, and on panels, it’s made worse by the whole digital->analog->digital thing.

    HDMI 1.4 adds support for higher resolutions, but all versions prior to that were limited to 1080p. At this point in the market, 1.4 support is still somewhat newish, so if they don’t specifically call it out, you should probably assume it’s limited to 1080p.

    (FWIW, I’m mostly pleased with my Dell U3014, but don’t get me started on its “video enhancement” features…)

  4. Try DisplayPort. It’s just superior to anything else.
    I have two Dell monitors, and they do max resolution only through DP (not even through DVI-D). But I don’t mind, I’m even glad they push everybody to DP. Cables are cheaper and less bulky than DVI, especially miniDP. Hopefully one day we’ll even see multiple monitors through one DP on *nix.
    Consumers are lazy, if you don’t push them, they’d still use VGA. Well, some still use it .

  5. (And by the way, I’m totally embarrassed to have misspelt your name. I’ll stick to “esr” next time.)

  6. The Asus PB278Q supports 2560×1440 via HDMI 1.4, or so they claim.

  7. I had a similar problem with a Kogan monitor at work recently; connected via HDMI it wouldn’t give me max resolution. It wasn’t until I connected via DP that it would.

    Had it been my money spent on the thing, I’d have been returning it for a refund.

  8. This issue has run for years, and across a number of models.

    I’ve got an older U2711, which can be coaxed into native resolution on HDMI, but it’s a struggle, as it tells the world that it only does 1080p on that interface.

    DL-DVI and Displayport are definitely the way to go, but the newer model is weaker having lost one of the DVI inputs (and not gained anything in return).

    To be fair on Dell most of the other vendors wrapping some electronics around these same 27″ panels do an equally bad job on the HDMI front (some only do DL-DVI single input), and VGA is a lost cause past 1600×1200.

  9. @esr: This comment is serious; it is NOT a taunt. It seems that you are looking for more resolution, but maybe things look fuzzy for another reason. At your age you should be well into the need for reading glasses. Hie thee unto an optometrist.

  10. I have a monitor that is high res like this, and I use DisplayPort on it as well. There’s little reason to use HDMI or VGA on a monitor of this resolution. The other reason for display port, of course, is that it allows you to use 3 monitors on a single card. My other two old Samsung monitors are using up the two DVI ports.

    I’m using the HP equivalent of this monitor however, a 27 inch 2560×1440 ZR2740w monitor. I hadn’t heard of the Auria monitors however. They look like they might be in the appropriate price range fro me to invest in one for home use.

    Display port is really the direction things are heading for higher resolution monitors. HDMI is a protocol meant for TVs, not computer use.

  11. >It seems that you are looking for more resolution, but maybe things look fuzzy for another reason. At your age you should be well into the need for reading glasses. Hie thee unto an optometrist.

    This is reasonable advice, but happens to be misdirected. In fact I handle small print on a screen better than a lot of people half my age; a constant refrain around me is “How can you read fonts that small?”

    No, the reason I like hi-res monitors is simple: I like having lots of lines in my Emacs buffers.

  12. @Jay: The underlying problem really is that the data link on HDMI isn’t fast enough. Dell fails for not noting this fact and for not being able to explain it, but (most, older) HDMI doesn’t have the bandwidth to transmit higher-than-HD resolutions at 60Hz. That’s one of the main reasons DisplayPort was developed. The reason DVI “works” is that Dual-Link is basically multiple DVI connections. The EDID isn’t actually wrong, it’s just that the bottleneck isn’t in the usual spot (the monitor’s panel).

  13. At last one of *MY* pet hates …
    http://www.lindy.co.uk/audio-video-c2/matrix-switches-splitters-c166/vga-c168/edid-ddc-adapter-for-vga-displays-p6698 is one of the solutions I found and it works nicely. But as others have said the HDMI port is not supported as it IS only single channel. You need the two channels of the DVI for digital, or good old fashioned analogue! You must be running the Auria on the DVI port and the data sheet says it will only work at high res on DVI ;)
    The reason I need the dongles is that pigging Linux and actually to a lesser extent in this case windows default to 1024by768 nowadays when they can’t find EDID and I’m sitting in the office with all the computers on an expensive KVM switch in the garage, which does not have any EDID capability. It’s more of a problem with the DVI switch which promptly switch off a screen when the EDID is lost !!! so I can’t even VNC in without a monitor. Now I’m running 1920×1200 stably and I can evenreboot without having to plug in monitors direct … not that that worked half the time.
    Dell is another hate … I’ll never buy anything from them again anyway. They don’t understand the hardware they are selling as you have found here and they CERTAINLY are not worth the inflated prices!

  14. @esr: In the context of the article; was it necessary to call the Dell’s call center operator’s country – “East Fuckistan”?

  15. Assuming you bought it directly from dell, my guess is this is the relevant webpage, http://accessories.us.dell.com/sna/productdetail.aspx?c=us&l=en&s=dhs&cs=19&sku=225-4015&baynote_bnrank=0&baynote_irrank=0&~ck=baynoteSearch .
    Having had a look at the tech spec, i can see that there is no hint that hdmi connectivity will not give you the optimal resolution 2560×1440@60Hz. So how about VGA? Can we as mere customers expect optimal resolution using VGA connectivity?

  16. So you can’t return it to where you bought it? Either ‘not fit for purpose’, or ‘not as described’? Oh wait, do you even have consumer protection legislation like that where you are? Perhaps not. Sorry to have even mentioned it.

  17. Well, kind of disappointed to see ESR in position of reporter from the infamous strip:

    http://latestwebstuff.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/How-science-reporting-works.jpg

    Because REAL story is much simpler and less sinister: Dell uses obsolete components which results in some limitations in their brand-new monitors which *were* *obvious* and *expected* a few years back but now are annoying while their technical support is incompetent.

    Just how this perfectly mundane “nothing to see here, move along” story was converted to the “this couldn’t happen by accident; somebody designed in this nonsense” yellow journalism at it’s best nonsense is beyond me. And what makes it even more infuriating is that this was done by seemingly competent technical guy!

    So what ACTUALLY happened? Well, 2560×1440 monitors are nothing new for Dell. Heck, they sold 3008WFP with such resolution five years ago! Single-link DVI, single-link HDMI and single-link VGA, they *all* were not sufficient to drive 2560×1440, back then you could ONLY use dual DVI *or* dual HDMI to drive such resolution. Yes, dual HDMI does exist – or at least the spec for it exist, look on the page 27 of the spec:
    https://engineering.purdue.edu/ece477/Webs/S12-Grp10/Datasheets/CEC_HDMI_Specification.pdf

    All perfectly valid reasons TECHNICAL reasons to get the ESR-observed result. AND THAT IS HOW DELL MONITORS WORKED EVER SINCE.

    Just WHERE is this awful “bait and switch” if DELL monitors have ALWAYS worked this way? No, really?

    Yes, it’s sad that Dell uses old circuits in a new models, yes, the reason is probably not technical but political (they will need a new license to support HDMI 1.4 while DP support can be added for free), but so what? What makes it so newsworthy?

    As for incompetence of tech support staff… They are paid to resolve problems. Technical design of monitors is WAY above their payslip. Again, nothing new or strange.

    I’m really disappointed. By ESR, I mean. Dell.. well, Dell did what it could, I don’t think it can go and remotely change circuits in the monitor sold to the customer.

  18. Lots and lots of lines – scrolling a small peep-hole makes it hard to find things vs glancing. I have a stand so I can put my 1080p into portrait mode, (Lucida console 8 or equivalent) and treasure my old apple 30″ 2560×1600 cinema display! Also have the same good eyesight – I take long drives so keep my far focus, though I have glasses for when my eyes are fatigued or if I need to have the eyes of a hawk.

  19. FWIW: you can apparently email the Dell CEO at Michael@dell.com.

    Why do I know this? Well, I don’t have nearly the same social media clout, but I will soon post on my blog about my own recent bad customer experience with Dell. In this case I wanted to buy a Dell XPS 13 developer edition, an ultrabook with Linux pre-installed and supported:

    http://www.dell.com/us/business/p/xps-13-linux/pd.aspx?~ck=mn

    After two days of working my way through their sales people I discovered they DO NOT ACTUALLY SELL THAT PRODUCT! Yes it is on their webpage. Yes they did a big push on it last year and sent out review laptops all over the place with the result that it is very high in search returns for ‘supported linux ultrabook’. But they don’t actually sell the XPS 13 Developer Edition. (It is unclear if they once did sell it and pulled it off the market because of low sales figures or what, but the upshot is: you can’t buy one.)

    Note to the commentariat: I would appreciate any pointers to products with similar features and capabilities that I can actually buy.

  20. So far, my Dell Inspiron laptop has been doing alright, but I don’t ask a tremendous amount from it. A fast look at amazon finds mixed but mostly positive reviews of Inspirons, and definitely happier with Windows 7 (which I’ve got) than Windows 8.

    A little more googling turns up evidence that Dell has bad customer service. Are there any computer companies which are notable for good customer service?

  21. @Nancy:
    >So far, my Dell Inspiron laptop has been doing alright, but I don’t ask a tremendous amount from it. A fast look at amazon finds mixed but mostly positive reviews of Inspirons, and definitely happier with Windows 7 (which I’ve got) than Windows 8.

    The one thing I can say about Inspirons is that they’re a real pain to do hardware maintenance on. Latitudes and other Dell business-class machines are much more pleasant to work with.

  22. >Single-link DVI, single-link HDMI and single-link VGA, they *all* were not sufficient to drive 2560×1440

    But the $300 Aurias do 2560×1440 over single-link DVI and HDMI. Before yesterday that’s exactly how I was running two Aurias off a Radeon 7800. One of them is still running 2560×1440 over single-link DVI right now – and until last night it was doing same over VGA, I swapped in DVI after somebody mumbled about VGA going fuzzy at high res.

    That’s why I say somebody had to choose this outcome. They had to choose not to ship HDMI 1.4 in recent 2713s. They had to choose not to tell EDID not to step down the refresh rate or do whatever else is needed to make single-link DVI drive 2560×1440. Then they had to choose not to inform their customers about the per-interface limits.

  23. >So you can’t return it to where you bought it?

    I don’t want to return it, I want it to work. But I may yet; I have that option within 15 days.

  24. >@esr: In the context of the article; was it necessary to call the Dell’s call center operator’s country – “East Fuckistan”?

    No, but it was funny. And until subcontinental call centers shake their well-earned reputation for institutionalized incompetence (a reputation thumpingly reaffirmed in this debacle) you are not in a good position to complain about it.

  25. ESR, as I’ve mentioned above, the Asus PB278Q will do 2560×1440 over HDMI. I’ve personally had very good luck with Asus monitors.

  26. …just another drone in a call center in East Fuckistan…

    HA HA HA
    You really know how to make my day :)

    Thank your lucky stars that you don’t have to work with the monkey-grinding output from their ‘technical’ colleges. Lord have mercy.

  27. A little more googling turns up evidence that Dell has bad customer service. Are there any computer companies which are notable for good customer service?

    Yes. Apple. They’re basically the only company out there that’s really nailed it in terms of both product quality and customer service. Lenovo comes close, but doesn’t quite get there. Not a problem for me, since I run Linux and generally take care of my own machines. But if you want a great machine and excellent customer service to go with it, buy a Mac. The premium you pay for this is way, way less than you might think.

  28. But the $300 Aurias do 2560×1440 over single-link DVI and HDMI. Before yesterday that’s exactly how I was running two Aurias off a Radeon 7800.

    You’re running a Radeon under Linux? Multihead? Your tolerance for pain must be through the roof!

    Have you tried plugging that Dell into a Windows machine and seeing how it responds?

  29. >You’re running a Radeon under Linux? Multihead? Your tolerance for pain must be through the roof!

    Running two Aurias with the Radeon I experienced no pain to have to tolerate.

    Unlike the Nvidia card I tried first, which was a disaster. My fault, I was stupid to think I could trust anything with proprietary driver blobs.

  30. > You’re running a Radeon under Linux? Multihead? Your tolerance for pain must be through the roof!

    Apparently, Radeon’s Mesa drivers are getting pretty good these days. If he’s running the Catalyst driver, though, then you’d have a point.

  31. Kazriko said: Display port is really the direction things are heading for higher resolution monitors. HDMI is a protocol meant for TVs, not computer use.

    What’s the practical difference for “computer use” vs. “TVs”?

    TVs are, these days, displaying a digital signal at – for that newfangled and stupid 3D stuff – 60 hz (Very often 120 hz total, 2 channels for 3d, thus effectively 60 for the net signal).

    Computers display a digital signal at … typically 60hz, yes? (I know mine is, right now.)

    HDMI “normally” [1080p] uses smaller resolutions that high-end computers these days, but 1.4 is perfectly capable of handling a 27″ high-res display like ESR’s (or like the pair of Monoprice 27″s I have here).

    HDMI 2.0 will do 4K video at 60hz, which covers “computer use” for the foreseeable future for any normal human being, doesn’t it?

    (DP has one significant feature to this user, though, which is cable retention. HDMI’s biggest weak point from my perspective is that the cables can be … loose.

    Avoiding HDMI royalties might be compelling for a manufacturer, but I don’t see why – as a user – I should strongly prefer DisplayPort.

    I have nothing against it, I just don’t see how it’s superior in compelling practical terms, for general consumer or even enthusiast use.)

  32. OT….but,

    “Google, Red Hat, Oracle and other companies are contributing dozens of computer engineers and programmers to help the Obama administration fix the U.S. health-insurance exchange website.”

    Didn’t anyone read “The Mythical Man-month”?

  33. Sigivald: DisplayPort is:
    1. Smaller (mini).
    2. Able to do multiple monitors on one port. Apple does that now, calling that Thunderbird. Probably others too (my xrandr doesn’t seem like supporting that, I’d pay $200 for implementing it).
    3. HDMI 2.0 *will* do something. Not *is* doing something. DP does right now.

    In general, difference between TV vs computer monitors is that with TV interface you expect TV to handle more stuff, while with computer you’d want more control, so computer would handle more stuff.

  34. >Which model Auria are you using? Here’s a $400 Auria 27? IPS panel that has the same limitations as the Dell

    This just gets weirder and weirder. The 276 is my monitor, all right. But I read the text that said “To achieve the maximum resolution of 2560 x 1440, a DisplayPort or DVI port must be used on both ends.” on an EQ276W running at 2560×1440 over a single HDMI port. Here’s my xrandr display to prove it:

    Screen 0: minimum 320 x 200, current 5120 x 1440, maximum 16384 x 16384
    HDMI-0 connected 2560×1440+2560+0 (normal left inverted right x axis y axis) 597mm x 336mm
    2560×1440 60.0*+
    1920×1080 60.0 50.0 59.9
    1920x1080i 60.1 50.0 60.0
    1680×1050 60.0
    1280×1024 75.0 60.0
    1440×900 59.9
    1152×864 75.0
    1280×720 60.0 50.0 59.9
    1440x576i 50.1
    1024×768 75.1 60.0
    1440x480i 60.1 60.1
    800×600 72.2 75.0 60.3
    720×576 50.0
    720×480 60.0 59.9
    640×480 75.0 60.0 59.9
    720×400 70.1
    DVI-0 connected 2560×1440+0+0 (normal left inverted right x axis y axis) 597mm x 336mm
    2560×1440 60.0*+
    1920×1200 60.0
    1920×1080 60.0
    1600×1200 60.0
    1680×1050 59.9
    1280×1024 75.0 60.0
    1280×800 59.9
    1152×864 75.0
    1024×768 75.1 60.0
    800×600 75.0 60.3
    640×480 75.0 60.0
    720×400 70.1

    Also note the 60Hz refresh on both monitors.

  35. Update on my earlier comment: turns out you CAN buy an XPS 13 Developer Edition.

    I got a call from Dell’s corporate office wondering what the problem was. When I took them to the webpage to explain I discovered the purchase link now goes to the Dell configurator and not a ‘contact me’ form. So you can buy it.

    Or, rather, you can as of today. You couldn’t buy one yesterday and even their own sales staff was unable to configure one for me.

  36. > Here’s my xrandr display to prove it:
    The DVI port is “connected”. What’s on the other end?

  37. >The DVI port is “connected”. What’s on the other end?

    Here’s the xrandr command my i3 configuration uses:

    xrandr –output HDMI-0 –auto –right-of DVI-0

    So, the DVI is the Dell to the left. The HDMI is the Auria on the right. Both 2560×1440 @ 60Hz.

  38. > So, the DVI is the Dell to the left. The HDMI is the Auria on the right.
    Ah, ok. Looks like you finally got it, then.

  39. Is it the IPS panel 276W though? Looks like EDQ makes a few Auria EQ-276 models. The EQ-276L only supports 1920 x 1080 for example. I imagine it must be the W… Unfortunately, the EDQ site is dogshit and is less informative than sites selling them. So I can’t investigate what’s happening any further based on their info. I wouldn’t expect much better or even comparable support from them if you ever actually needed it, that’s for sure.

    But what has been said above re: DVI and HDMI is accurate and it seems like there was a bit of rush to judgment (although one would hope and expect that Dell could make this clearer to anyone less informed about video standards).

  40. I work at a non profit and we find the Dell Outlet to be invaluable if you stick to the business lines but buying “new” is a pain. We just went through 2 months of delays on the new 7240u ultrabooks before we gave up and canceled the order. Getting last year’s models off the outlet gets you good bargains and the machine shipped to your door in about 2 days.

    Dell _Business_ tech support (Latitude laptops, Optiplex desktops, PowerEdge servers, PowerVault Storage) is pretty good with the server/storage groups being very good in my experience. And Next Business Day Onsite warranties are a wonderful thing, especially if the users are working remote. And no real complaints when they have to replace major components either. I had one (out of probably 30 servers we bought off the outlet) that failed the smoke test after coming out of the box, Dell replaced everything except the chassis, front panel, and HDs before noon the next day and its still running strong 5 years later in production on an extended warranty.

    Dell Consumer support, which the monitors fall under IIRC, well THAT stinks!

  41. I bought the same model monitor on sale a few months back. Took me a while to find that I had to use DP to get the advertised maximum resolution. The documentation stated (once I knew to look for it) that VGA resolution was limited to something unimpressive; I only hit on DP after trying the alternatives.
    However, once that annoying lacuna was dealt with, I’ve found it to actually be a pretty good monitor.
    Unlike ESR, I did not bother trying to get assistance through Dell tech support; it did not seem a productive use of time. :-)

  42. I can’t explain why you were able to run your monitors at 2560×1440, but the DVI single link/older HDMI standard can’t run more than about 4Gbit/s through the link (after encoding overhead). This results in a 24bit 2560×1440 image having a refresh rate of about 45Hz.

    The logical conclusion is that some combination of the driver and the monitor is doing something to fake it. Either it’s running reduced bit depth so it doesn’t have as much data to push (18 bit vs 24?), or it’s running the pixel clock out of spec (dual link DVI is allowed to push it faster than 165MHz, but single link isn’t). I suspect it’s the latter, as HDMI 1.3 allowed a faster pixel clock (up to 340MHz), and they’re just using effectively the same hardware for the DVI as the HDMI input. It also expands the allowed resolution to 2560×1600.

    Dell is probably still using old HDMI 1.2 capable hardware on the HDMI input. They should make it explicit, but they’re probably expecting most people to be utilizing either the Displayport or DVI-D connections.

  43. @Sigivald:

    > HDMI 2.0 will do 4K video at 60hz, which covers “computer use” for the foreseeable future for any normal human being, doesn’t it?

    Doesn’t. According to Wikipedia, 4K is 3840×2160. That’s just barely enough for a 24? monitor at 200dpi, which I am impatiently waiting for, for quite a long time now.

  44. Unlike the Nvidia card I tried first, which was a disaster. My fault, I was stupid to think I could trust anything with proprietary driver blobs.

    ….and yet, my nvidia cards are driving 3 monitors at full rez, full accel, with no probs at all. I do use the “mosaic” mode, however. Xinerama is a steaming pile of shit. I long for Wayland.

    Go figure.

    (I share your distrust of their binary blobs, of course…but it has yet to bite me in the ass)

  45. > This is reasonable advice, but happens to be misdirected. In fact I handle small print on a screen
    > better than a lot of people half my age; a constant refrain around me is “How can you read fonts
    > that small?”

    Followed by: “And could you please increase the refresh rate somewhere *above* ‘bad PowerPoint presentation’?” ;-)

  46. Dell is on my “Banned for Life” list (along with GM, Radio Shack, and every gun maker in the Freedom Group).

  47. In case anyone here doesn’t want to do the math themselves, the three resolutions here have respective pixel clocks (assuming no overhead) of 221.2, 124.4, 141.6 MHz at 60 Hz, and assuming 24 bits* per pixel, 5.3, 3.0, and 3.4 Gbps.

    *not that it’s coherent to talk about the number of bits in a VGA pixel.

  48. >Followed by: “And could you please increase the refresh rate somewhere *above* ‘bad PowerPoint presentation’?” ;-)

    Hey. Hey. You saw my xrandr output. I’m crankin’ 60Hz, boy.

    I can’t see a difference.

  49. Have you seen some of the crap-ola coming out of Marlin and Remington? It’s a crying shame. The rest of them, I got no use for. For all their products, there are better alternatives.

  50. So, in this article you showed:

    A) failed due diligence in any tech buy…namely reading user reviews. The first three on the dell site complained about not having full res without using dual link dvi or DP. Dell did screw up in not noting that 1080p is the best you get without dual link DVI or DP in the docs but I’d have thought any techie would remember why we have dual-link DVI at all.
    B) are prone to make stupid racist comments (east fuckistan…really?)
    C) laughably threaten a dell call center with your huge 15k “social media” followers. I’m sure the guy just rolled his eyes.

  51. So, in this article you showed:

    A) failed due diligence in any tech buy…namely reading user reviews. The first three on the dell site complained about not having full res without using dual link dvi or DP. Dell did screw up in not noting that 1080p is the best you get without dual link DVI or DP in the docs but I’d have thought any techie would remember why we have dual-link DVI at all.
    B) are prone to make stupid racist comments (east fuckistan…really?)
    C) laughably threaten a dell call center with your huge 15k “social media” followers. I’m sure the guy just rolled his eyes.

  52. Odd there was a double post.

    As to what Remington did wrong…the gun zealots started hating on them because they choose not to fuck over the town of ilion for NY adopting dumb gun laws and move to some other state. Remington has history there and I’m glad they stuck to their guns.

    Their parent holding company decided to divest themselves of the freedom group because some investors don’t want to buy firearms stocks but how that’s THIER fault I haven’t a clue. What were they going to do? Insist that Cerebus not sell them off?

    /shrug. I’m pro gun but some folks have seriously dived off the deep end seeing enemies everywhere even among the companies like Remington.

  53. >B) are prone to make stupid racist comments (east fuckistan…really?)

    I’m disappointed in you. That wasn’t even honest. You are too smart to confuse a gibe flung at Indian call centers with actual racism.

    Every time you use pretensions of anti-racist outrage as a cheap rhetorical club, you damage anyone’s ability to attack the real thing; you give power to racists. Don’t do that.

  54. While it’s not specifically related to the Dell, I think this is the second time I’ve seen a post of yours complaining about hardware that you bought off the shelf because you wanted something same-day. I’m curious why you don’t just order something you *know* works (the Auria in this case) by next-day air. I assume you have a spare somewhere, even if it’s not as good; 24 hours on a reduced setup can’t be that bad. Especially after factoring in the time spent shopping and the risk of something like this happening.

  55. I’m disappointed in you. That wasn’t even honest. You are too smart to confuse a gibe flung at Indian call centers with actual racism.

    Your gibe at Indian call centers did not address the call centers specifically, but rather, their Indianness. Don’t expect us to not interpret that as what it clearly is — an ethnic slur. Thing is, you’ve done this kind of thing in the past; the incident I recall is making fun of Christophe de Dinechin’s French name when you came to a disagreement with him.

    And you didn’t address Nigel’s main point, which is that after failing to do your homework and getting taken for a wad of cash by a vendor with a known spotty track record, you lose all legitimacy in getting publicly butthurt about it.

  56. @ Jeff Read

    ESR’s remark was about a place, not a race. Places have cultures and business specialties that have nothing to do with race.

    Don’t US companies typically use Indian call centers when the cheapest solution is adequate?

    And…

    It seems that ESR’s adventure started in the US, but, after getting a whole lot of nothing from multiple people, he gets to a marketing rep, leans on her a bit and that’s he is dumped to the guy in the Indian call center (whom they called a manager – either they were lying or this call center is special – it has 1800 “managers” ready to take your call).

  57. >Don’t US companies typically use Indian call centers when the cheapest solution is adequate?

    Or believed to be adequate, or fondly hoped to be adequate.

    >It seems that ESR’s adventure started in the US, but, after getting a whole lot of nothing from multiple people, he gets to a marketing rep, leans on her a bit and that’s when he is dumped to the guy in the Indian call center

    Actually, everybody I talked to had an accent straight outta Bangalore.

    It was all pretty obviously designed to prevent customers from using the time of anyone with enough clues to get paid more than minimum wage.

  58. One outfit that has fantastic customer service is Network Solutions.

    Actually, their regular customer service is pretty good. But if you have bought at least ten domain names over the years (and I qualified long ago) or a few other ways, I think, you become a “Gold VIP” customer.

    This gives you various deals on things, which are nice. But the best thing is you get a different support number to call. Call this number and within seconds, it seems, you are talking to someone who is polite, profesional and knows what he is doing, fixes your problem, tells you to log out and log back in to see that it is fixed and, if you are trying to buy something, often gives you an extra-low price. You call with a technical problem or question and you are done and out of there in a few minutes. It is sweet.

  59. @BRM re: Gold VIP support number

    Shouldn’t it be possible to have all that just by saying “shibboleet”?

  60. Shibboleth – maybe? “a word used by the Gileadites as a test to detect the fleeing Ephraimites, who could not pronounce the sound sh (Judges 12:4–6).

    I don’t know what your point is. If you have been a good customer, they just automatically give you this special status. No extra email beyond reminders about domain names and such that are going to expire.

    Actually, since they are always offering different deals on things, they are always tweaking their website and sometimes something doesn’t work when you are trying to buy something. If you are a Gold VIP customer, the guy you are talking to within seconds of calling at 2:30 am is an expert with the power to just do it, sometimes charging a quarter of the stated price (“a special deal”) and you are done 3 minutes later. It is great.

  61. Outsourcing in general is the major problem these days. It does not matter which country the outsourcing IS to, it is always being done to ‘save money’ but neatly sidesteps the fundamental problem of finding work for the people – like my children! – who are sacked when the local service is shut down. We all end up paying for this outsourcing twice over? At least these days, the playing field is starting to level with the third world countries now expecting higher wages more in line with ‘the west’ and the local wages ave stalled so the cost advantage is becoming less. Facilities closed down only a few years ago are now being reopened in many cases because the owners have had no luck disposing of them in the meantime anyway and are still paying for them! Another ‘hidden cost’ …
    Language is less of a problem when one has to deal with regional dialects in the UK … a broad Geordie or Brummy caller has just as much trouble with a Scottish based call centre :)

  62. Shibboleth – maybe?

    xkcd

    Outsourcing in general is the major problem these days.

    Which is why you sew your own clothes and churn your own butter?

  63. @BRM re: Gold VIP support number

    It seems like everybody has plans these days, all based on heavy metals. At work, we used to make cracks about how “we shoulda bought the Uranium Plan…”

  64. Outsourcing in general is the major problem these days.
    Which is why you sew your own clothes and churn your own butter?

    Anything that saves money these days … certainly I’ve lost a number of contracts to ‘outsourcing’ simply because we can’t compete on price … but I still have to pay the same rate of tax!

  65. esr – can’t believe you haven’t chimed in on “badBIOS” yet ;)

    Most interesting story since stuxnet…

  66. But the $300 Aurias do 2560×1440 over single-link DVI and HDMI. Before yesterday that’s exactly how I was running two Aurias off a Radeon 7800. One of them is still running 2560×1440 over single-link DVI right now – and until last night it was doing same over VGA, I swapped in DVI after somebody mumbled about VGA going fuzzy at high res.

    Having encountered support issues here at work with high resolution panels and single- vs dual-link DVI, I highly doubt that. More likely is that you’ve been using dual-link DVI on the Auria without realizing it. In the Xrandr data you post, the info for the DVI connection shows nothing to indicate it being single- or dual-link. However the indicated resolution and refresh rate combination is one that is not possible over only a single DVI link. You are aware that single- and dual-link DVI both use the same connector and only a single cable, the only difference being pin-count, right?

  67. To make it even more fun everyone in Dell’s credit and payments department also has an accent straight from that area of the country.

    After getting a massive run around from them Dell officially went on my Do Not Buy From list. Cause someone who can’t even reliably tell me if the account’s closed or not isn’t someone I want handling anything related to my finances!

  68. 1440p is not a real resolution. When a bigger 4K monitor has burnt pixel/pixels on the edges, they cut the panel and fit it in a smaller-inch 1440p monitor.

    Some years back they did the same with 1050p monitos.

  69. esr – can’t believe you haven’t chimed in on “badBIOS” yet ;)

    Most interesting story since stuxnet…

    I’ve followed that story wth some interest. My conclusion is that BadBIOS has to pass a higher standard of evidence than it has so far in order for me to consider it anything more than a case of electronic Morgellons.

    If real, BadBIOS may be the most insidious piece of malware ever written — Morris worm to the nth power. Yet, all of the “research” concerning BadBIOS comes from a single researcher. A bug so devilishly clever should have found its way into multiple sites by now, and thus yielded multiple, independent sightings. So far, that hasn’t happened.

    Also, some of the transmission vectors — especially the air-gap-hopping through audio — sound downright Stieg Larsson.

  70. My BS meter is flashing, for reasons including some of what you mention.

    Individual aspects of the described malware are all possible – indeed many have been demonstrated – but tying them all together in an agnostic/portable payload must surely be a dog of a task. If real, it is a hack of truly next-level status.

    But my vote goes with “fiction”….although I do not believe the guy is a bullshit artist. I think he might just be a very clever bastard. I suspect that this is a fiction designed to provoke deep thought by intelligent, knowledgeable & skillful people into the enormous scope of security vulnerabilities. What currently passes for “security” is a rather laughably thin slice of the pie.

    I wonder if he’ll tip his hand at the next security conference he organizes?

  71. kurkosdr said: 1440p is not a real resolution. When a bigger 4K monitor has burnt pixel/pixels on the edges, they cut the panel and fit it in a smaller-inch 1440p monitor.

    What’s a “real” resolution…?

    Apple and Dell have been selling 2560×1600 or 1560×1440 monitors for years now.

    Who was making “bad” 4K panels in 2010 to feed Apple’s 30″ Cinema Display habit?

    I’m sure panel-makers happily salvage defective 4K panels, of course – but there wasn’t enough of that to support even Apple, let alone Apple and Dell in 2010 or early 2011, was there?

  72. But my vote goes with “fiction”….although I do not believe the guy is a bullshit artist. I think he might just be a very clever bastard. I suspect that this is a fiction designed to provoke deep thought by intelligent, knowledgeable & skillful people into the enormous scope of security vulnerabilities. What currently passes for “security” is a rather laughably thin slice of the pie.

    Most of the other security researchers who took BadBIOS seriously did so under the justification that “Dragos Ruiu is a legitimate and well-respected researcher; there has to be something to this.” My first hunch was calculated trolling: i.e., that Ruiu was attempting to penetrate human networks in the security community, by trying to pass off plausible-sounding BS as legitimate research and seeing how many people bite based on his authority alone — in much the same manner as Sokal is famous for having done with liberal arts.

  73. @Chipsa: Dell is probably still using old HDMI 1.2 capable hardware on the HDMI input.

    I’m not so sure. They support DP, after all. More likely then not they use a piece of silicone which is physically capable of going to HDMI 1.4 speed. Do they actually disable speeds above HDMI 1.2 or do they just advertise only small resolutions via EDID.

  74. Actually, Dell has terrific customer service – for their big corporate and education customers. I’ve worked at a couple of all-Dell universities and the tech support folk had nothing but praise for Dell. But I wouldn’t buy one. No need, actually, as I have a houseful of hand-me-downs from work that are just fine.

  75. @Jeff Read:

    BadBIOS does not use audio as a primary infection vector; its primary vector is actually a bit more mundane, yet still sufficiently exotic to give you the creeps: USB stick firmware. Yeah, firmware, not USB-infected files. Watch where you put those things.

  76. Actually, Dell has terrific customer service – for their big corporate and education customers. I’ve worked at a couple of all-Dell universities and the tech support folk had nothing but praise for Dell. But I wouldn’t buy one. No need, actually, as I have a houseful of hand-me-downs from work that are just fine.

    If you’re big and have fucktons of money, of course you’re going to get exemplary service, because losing your business means leaving lots of money on the table. If you’re an individual customer, the company can give two shits about losing your business while chasing those big corporate accounts, and you get screwed. The only hardware company that actually gives a shit about you as an individual is Apple. That’s why savvy developers buy Macs.

    And this is true of a lot of industries from telecommunications to health insurance. Comcast internet service is dependable and you can get access to competent engineers if there’s a problem — IF you’re an enterprise customer with a business account.

    One of the reasons why Europe has such strong states is to protect individuals from predation by bigcos, predation which would go largely unchecked in more relaxed regimes like the USA’s.

  77. Yeah, Morgan’s right…after an initial infection from a USB device, other virgin USB devices can be infected to spread it to other machines. The alleged audio networking (encrypted IPv6 I believe) is speculatively used to mesh infected computers together to ‘repair’ them if you have the temerity to attempt to remove the virus ;)

  78. > I don’t want to return it

    You have the possibility of getting your money back and buying any other monitor, but no, you want someone earning a shit salary to magically upgrade your hardware over the phone.

    What is wrong with you ? Aren’t you being a bit of a fanatic here ? What about pragmatism ?

    > I has over 15K social-media followers

    Don’t you have better things to do than boast about how many “social media followers” you have to underpaid tech support ? Do you think that boasting in lolcat makes you seem less pathetic ?

    That said, I cant wait for your Christmas 2013 gadget reviews.

  79. Just as a note, I have a 27″ auria, and mine doesn’t (so far as I know) do 2560×1440 over HDMI, it just scales up from lower resolutions. It has explicit warnings that 2560×1440 requires the DVI or displayport plugs. Maybe yours is a different model?

  80. > Maybe yours is a different model?

    Probably. There are different revisions with different letter suffixes, and it’s possible they slipstreamed in capabilities without even changing those. Sometimes these move-them-by-the-palletload outfits would rather do that than pay to change their box art – I’ve seen this happen.

    My old dual-Auria setup was one HDMI and one DVI, and both were vary obviously running at the same 2560×1440 resolution. What’s probably going on is that yours predated HDMI 1.4, which was the first revision that could go that high.

  81. FWIW, I had a pleasant experience with Dell support today. We’d bought a new Optiplex 9020 all-in-one for a customer (we buy machines, then load our software on them before shipping them out). I pulled it out of the box and put it on the bench. It refused to boot.

    I got on a live chat with a Dell support type who, if he wasn’t actually in the US, did a very good job of sounding like it. He talked me through a series of tests, and when all of them failed, scheduled shipment of a replacement hard disk next day air.

    We’re not a big company, but since we’re buying SMB hardware instead of consumer hardware, I guess they roll out the good support for us. (Not the really great support, but good enough. I spent an hour with a screwdriver in my hand, after all.)

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