Replacement LCD, Part Deux
I received the WXGA+ panel two days ago. It took longer than I expected due to a delay with Paypal. For some reason, my backup credit card wasn't linked to my account anymore, so I had to wait until an eCheck cleared. Anyway, the good news is that it arrived intact, and doesn't have any defects or dead pixels. It's a beautiful panel, with a bright display. The WXGA+ resolution, as I suspected, works much better on a 17" screen. The display is much easier on the eyes.
The bad news is that the panel isn't 100% compatible with my Inspiron 9300. It won't display an image upon bootup at all. In fact, I thought the panel was defective, until I hooked up an external monitor. With the external monitor attached, I was able to view the bootup and BIOS screens. The BIOS showed that the panel was indeed attached. Unfortunately, it also showed the native resolution as "0 by 0 pixels." Obviously, this wasn't right. I was able to get the panel working in Windows (using the CRT/LCD toggle on my notebook), but it's a kludge at best.
I did some searching on the Notebook Forums (fantastic site, by the way), and discovered that Dell hard-codes the model numbers of supported panels in the BIOS. If the panel isn't one of those listed, it won't work properly. So, in order for the panel to work, I need to find one with a Dell part number.
Looks like I'm going to have to send this panel back and eat the restocking fee. I just can't live with it. Hopefully I'll be able to find a panel with a Dell part number on it. Shouldn't be too hard...I hope.