Dell introduced the industry’s first mass-market 8K display aimed at professional designers, engineers, photographers and software developers. The UP3218K will be available this March, but its rough $5,000 price tag will be rather high even for professionals dealing with content creation. That being said, $5K or so was the price that the original 4K MST monitors launched at in 2013, which perhaps makes this display price more palatable. On the other hand, right now an 8K professional display is such a niche product that the vast majority of users will have to wait a few years to see the price come down.

Up to now, 8K reference displays were available only from Canon, in very low quantities and at very high prices. The displays were primarily aimed at video professionals from TV broadcasting companies like NHK, who are working on 8K (they call it Super Hi-Vision) content to be available over-the-air in select regions of Japan next year. A number of TV makers have also announced their ultra large 8K UHDTVs, but these are hardly found in retail. Overall, Dell is the first company to offer an 8K display that can be bought online by any individual with the money and be focused on the monitor market rather than TVs.

At present, Dell is not publishing the full specifications of its UltraSharp 32 Ultra HD 8K monitor (UP3218K), but reveals key specs like resolution (7680×4320), contrast ratio (1300:1), brightness (400 nits), pixel density (280 ppi) as well as supported color spaces: 100% Adobe RGB and 100% sRGB. 

Preliminary Specifications
Dell UltraSharp 32 Ultra HD 8K (UP3218K)
Panel 32" (IPS?)
Resolution 7680 × 4320
Brightness 400 cd/m²
Contrast Ratio 1300:1
Refresh Rate 60 Hz
Viewing Angles 178°/178° horizontal/vertical
Color Saturation 100% Adobe RGB
100% sRGB
Display Colors 1.07 billion
Inputs 2 × DisplayPort 1.3

For interconnection with host PCs, as a single DisplayPort 1.3/1.4 cable does not provide enough bandwidth for the 7680×4320@60 Hz configuration Dell is targeting, the UltraSharp UP3218K uses two DisplayPort 1.3 inputs to provide the necessary bandwidth, stitching the two display streams together internally using tiling. This is similar to early 5K displays, which used a pair of DisplayPort cables to get around the bandwidth limitations of DisplayPort 1.2. Using two cables not a big problem given the target market, but it's interesting to note that because 7680×4320@60Hz alone consumes all of the bandwidth supplied by the two cables, there isn't any leftover bandwidth to support HDR or the Rec. 2020 color space.

On a side note, while the company could have used DisplayPort 1.4's Display Stream Compression 1.2 (DSC) feature to reduce the bandwidth requirements of the monitor, they opted not to. DSC is promoted as visually lossless, but given how demanding many professionals are and problems that potential artifacts introduced by DSC could bring, Dell decided to stick to two DisplayPort cables as a result.

While a high display resolution is good for photos and images, it also makes everything smaller; and while modern operating systems support scaling, it does not work perfectly for all programs. It's likely that professional applications like AutoCAD or Photoshop will support 8K the day the UltraSharp UP3218K hits the market, but general use applications, already struggling with 4K and HiDPI in general, will be another matter. Practically speaking, if the price tag alone isn't convincing enough that this is a monitor for specific editing tasks and not for general desktop usage, then the lack of good HiDPI support elsewhere will. And while I'm sure someone will try to use the UP3218K as a gaming display, at four times the resolution of a 4K monitor, we're at least a few years off from GPUs being able to render high-fidelity games at a 33Mpix resolution.

Dell promised to start sales of the Dell UltraSharp 32 Ultra HD 8K monitor (UP3218K) on March 23 on its web-site. Initially, the monitor is stated to cost $4999. Time to put in some hardware requisition forms.

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Source: Dell

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  • arayoflight - Wednesday, January 11, 2017 - link

    All the 10xx cards carry DP 1.4 support last time I heard.
  • tk.icepick - Tuesday, January 17, 2017 - link

    There is an XFX RX 470 on sale from Newegg right now. It has 3 Displayport 1.4 ports, 1 HDMI 2.0b, and 1 DL DVI-D, for 180 USD. ($165 after a 15 dollar rebate). Some models of 1050 Ti also have multiple DP 1.4 ports.
  • TristanSDX - Tuesday, January 10, 2017 - link

    Samsung was rumored to begin mass production of 8K panels, so prices may quickly fall
  • bill44 - Tuesday, January 10, 2017 - link

    All this talk about HDR, 8k for professionals. First, MS needs to fix (add a proper) color management in windows 10, then add HDR support.
    If the creator ed. only sorts scaling, it may be possible to use his monitor with a Mac?
  • SodaAnt - Tuesday, January 10, 2017 - link

    Well considering they announced the UP3017Q, which was a 120Hz 4k OLED display last year at CES and still haven't released the darn thing, I'll believe this thing when I see it for sale.
  • d7v7d - Wednesday, January 11, 2017 - link

    The Dell UP3218K has been a huge surprise to this person, an old large format landscape photographer. For the last two years I've been struggling trying to figure out how to put together an effective off the shelf 8k display by going to a 2x2 video wall panel system of 4k monitors with thin bezels on all 4 sides. However there has not been a single 4k display product at monitor sizes as all such products have at least one wider side for control and buttons. Actual video wall panels that put all that stuff fully behind screens are much larger at 46 inch diagonals or more and almost all are 2k sizes because their market is all about viewing video from a distance.

    My expectation had been that any actual 8k panels in the near future would be very expensive as has been the case targeting a video market. I can understand why Dells first 8k display is only 32 inches because much of the associated hardware and software is barely and or just recently available. Thus any marketing for a more expensive larger monitor could fall flat. However this one product will encourage acceleration with the rest of what is needed.

    I already own Dell 15.6 inch and 24 inch Ultrasharp 4k displays and believe the 24 inch to 32 inch or so size is the sweet spot for 4k pixel density for photography displays that apparently is shared by those that have been engineering those products as well as graphic and photography pros. I say so personally because my large images look awesome at 100% pixels on a 24 inch display that is at 187 ppi. That corresponds of course to historic high end fine art pixel printing densities of 200 to 300 dpi. Conversely photographs look mediocre up close on my old 24 inch 2k NEC display that is about half the density as do usual static images used at consumer retailers of larger 4k TV video screens.

    Currently there are many millions of photographers worldwide with high end digital cameras especially DSLR's that take images far larger than can fit at 100% pixels on even 4k monitors. But they cannot display their work at 100% resolution except in sections. To view full images requires downsizing. Further, today unlike my view camera film work of past decades, I create images much larger than top digital camera sensor sizes with multi row column stitch blending with focus stack blended individual frames. The logistics of exhibiting large bodies of work of such large images via traditional large prints is impossibly expensive as is logistics of moving around dozens of large framed prints. Hence I see the future of professional photography exhibition using the next generation of digital displays. And that will lead to myriad consumers wanting to see their images so likewise. A potentially HUGE market though likely sluggish initially.
  • NoSoMo - Thursday, January 12, 2017 - link

    I have thought about this for some time. It shouldn't be hard for a MFG to make a small "magnifying" overlay that can enlarge say a 27" monitors viewing area enough that 4 panels can be placed next to each other nearly seamless. Basically some type of optics that enlarges the viewing area by 15mm all the way around the display. This would allow any number of displays to be placed next to each other while appearing as a single unit. Any 3d printers that can print optically clear mediums at very fine detail?

    2 ways I see to accomplish it. The first is to arrange, let's call them "light pipes" so that each one overlays a single pixel at the display and then increases in size ever so slightly ending up in a slightly trapezoidal shape. The second is using lenses in a more traditional method.

    Of course it seems the easiest way overall to do this is to just manufacture a panel 4x larger, use 4x the electronics and 4 video ports, and have the computer put the 4 images into one just as the current 2-in-1 displays such as this do it.
  • d7v7d - Friday, January 13, 2017 - link

    NoSoMo, reads like you are not familiar with video wall systems, a major commercial display market that is also mature. They are at trade shows, in airports, in stock exchanges, in sports stadiums, and is what you are looking at during television news say when a weather guy is standing in front of a large display showing radar and satelite videos. These systems have narrow bezels on all 4 sides with all the electronics, mounting, and connectors on the back. There are mounting products with multiple arms from a superstructure frame to mount rows and columns of 2k panels. All this is major commercial cost. There are also expensive controllers for operating such video walls from individual as well as combined feeds. Video requires considerable bandwidth due to frame rates through image pipelines that often must be stored in stages with expensive fast memories while static images of photographers can get by with far less electronics because it doesn't matter if it takes a few seconds to load a single frame.

    AMD makes video cards with software that can drive 6 each 4k cards at once and make up for what is lost behind the narrow bezels. Much more, just search a bit. All the panels have dot pitches only worth looking at from a distance. But same designs COULD be implemented with 4k panels at the dot pitch densities I mentioned at say 24 to 32 inch sizes in order to make effective 8k displays that would be significantly cheaper than a single say 48 to 64 inch diagonal 8k display. Narrow bezel lines though less than ideal are really not that distracting when looking at large displays.
  • fanofanand - Friday, January 13, 2017 - link

    400 Nits of brightness isn't sufficient for HDR anyway, regardless of available bandwidth. No more fake HDR!
  • Syed_Listening - Sunday, January 29, 2017 - link

    Hope this series of Dell Monitors are free from sporadic pixelation.

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