Calibrating the U2413

Last December (2014) my big 24-inch monitor croaked, and I purchased a replacement – the Dell U2413. Same dimensions, noticeably lighter, soundbar still fits fine, LED backlight… and capable of 30-bit color when driven by a card and software compatible with the ‘standard.’

I have the card – AMD FirePro V5700 – and Photoshop and a couple of other packages of sufficient currency to make it work. And so I went forward into the brave new world.

But I kept calibrating using my venerable DataColor Spyder 3… until one day I noticed that I couldn’t differentiate all the blocks on a grayscale test strip. Oh dear, whatever is the problem?

The Spyder is one part – it operates only on 8-bit/channel color and modifies the tables in the graphics card… but the U2413 has hardware support for LUT (look-up tables, used for color matching). Hmm. Need a new colorimeter – and the only one supported is the X-Rite i-1 Display Pro. Ok – start watching for a deal, found it heavily discounted, got it. Downloaded the software from Dell, fired it up, and…

It couldn’t find the i-1. Ok, back to X-Rite, get a new driver, yep, finds the i-1. But it can’t find the monitor. In order to reprogram the hardware LUTs on the monitor, the software needs to be able to talk to the microprocessor in the monitor – via the USB port. More time browsing, finally I decide it’s time to upgrade the USB 3 hardware, so I get the top-rated card from Amazon, put it in… and still the problem persists.

Much gnashing of teeth later, having read a few hundred messages on Dell’s various forums, I run across a note about the card-reader that’s embedded in the side of the monitor. One user says the reader software driver must be installed for the calibration to work, so I go through that exercise, and… no joy. Then I put my SDHC test card back in the reader to make sure the reader is working ok (it is), and then bring up the calibration software again – and it works!

So at least if you have the A01 variant of this monitor, always calibrate with an SD card in the reader.

Now back to [re-]adjusting photos. I think I understand much more about my [perceived] print mis-match issues.

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