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View Full Version : 10 bit output on 2011 MBP's




Kristan
Jul 21, 2011, 05:13 AM
Hi all,

Had a bit of a google but couldn't find a decent answer as to whether the 2011 MBP's will output 10bit colour over the thunderbolt / miniDP port. I'm looking for a decent wide-gamut monitor for photography, something like a 27" Dell 2711, but I can't tell if the MBP will support that depth? And would it be thunderbolt->DVI, DP or HDMI that would give the most accurate results?

Thanks!

Kristan



flosseR
Jul 21, 2011, 06:35 AM
Best guess.. DP would be best output... Oh and I run a 2711 Dell and it is NICE :)

drbubbles
Jul 21, 2011, 08:55 AM
Unfortunately not. Only mac pro desktop with quadro or firepro card will do that. (apple website describes the new thunderbolt display as millions of colors max, so it too is only 8 bit.). It'll be a few more increments in apple evolution before we get 10bit support from mbp :)

Not entirely apples fault though; how much would they have to charge for a Mbp with an actual "pro" graphics card? (mbp is a bit of an oxymoron) and still keep investors happy?

Nvidia and Amd want to make people pay for 10bit, so no 10bit drivers for consumer cards (although it is not a limitation of the card). Some are starting to have displayport even, but still with drivers crippled to 8bit. Some medical displays can do 10 bit greyscale with compression over dual link dvi, but again the pro cards only.

You might get somewhere with hdmi and deep color, but then you are limited to sub optimal resolution, and maybe only for movies (not sure if deep color can be used for other applications)

I phoned apples asking about 10bit on mbp and they said great idea, put the request in the comments page... Typical.

Kristan
Jul 21, 2011, 09:12 AM
Interesting, thanks, that's exactly what I was looking for....

Well not exactly, the answer I wanted was yes! ;)

So it's really not worth shelling out the extra for the likes of Eizo or the top end NEC displays on an MBP. Looks like that Dell will do just fine then!

drbubbles
Jul 21, 2011, 09:19 AM
Unfortunately not. Only mac pro desktop with quadro or fireproof card will do that. (apple website describes the new thunderbolt display as millions of colors max, so it too is only 8 bit.). It'll be a few more increments in apple evolution before we get 10bit support from mbp :)

Not entirely apples fault though; how much would they have to charge for a Mbp with an actual "pro" graphics card? (mbp is a bit of an oxymoron)

Nvidi and ati want to make people pay for 10bit, so no 10bit drivers for consumer cards (although it is not a limitation of the card). Some are starting to have displayport even, but still with drivers crippled to 8bit. Some medical displays can do 10 bit greyscale with compression over dual link dvi, but again the pro cards only.

You might get somewhere with hdmi and deep color, but then you are limited to sub optimal resolution, and maybe only for movies (not sure if deep color can be used for other applications)

I phoned apples asking about 10bit on mbp and they said great idea, put the request in the comments page... Typical.

Ruahrc
Jul 21, 2011, 01:20 PM
According to Ars Techinica, there is no Apple system capable of 10-bit, since it sems to be a software support issue. I don't know if it's drivers or some limitation of the OS itself though.

http://arstechnica.com/apple/guides/2011/07/does-apple-still-care-about-creative-pros.ars/2

(look at the very bottom paragraph)

An honest question, is 10-bit really a meaningful improvement? I heard somewhere (yeah yeah, typical right?) that the human eye can't really distinguish beyond what 8-bit color currently provides, so aside from some minute gain you may get from fixing rounding/discretization error in color calculations and/or transformations between color spaces, 10-bit physical output on a display won't really look any better than the current standard?

Ruahrc

drbubbles
Jul 21, 2011, 08:57 PM
Gradients across the display should have less banding with 10bit vs 8bit (1024 steps vs 256).

I'm more interested in getting more simultaneously displayed grey levels for monochrome images. (I have 16 bit greyscale images so going from 8 bits to 10bits will reduce the amount I have to mess with adjusting the lookup table). I've just ordered a quadro 4000 to replace a gt470 in my pc desktop just to get 10bit. The 470 is way better than the quadro but doesn't do 10bit (but it costs ~$800 compared to ~$250!). My other pcie slot (I only have two) has a tesla card the driver for which just had 10bit enabled over dual link DVI using pixel packing, but my dell u3011 doesn't do pixel packing over Dual link DVI as far as I am able to tell. So I have to ditch the gt470. (Some expensive medical displays do 10bit over dual link dvi).

For my MBP I don't hold out much hope for 10bit. I'll post here when I've seen how much of a difference it makes on my PC desktop when I've had a chance to try it. May be of interest to people with a Mac Pro deciding whether to invest in quadro for 10bit.

drbubbles
Jul 21, 2011, 09:10 PM
Ruahrc, you are right, Lion still doesn't support 10bit according to this (in the "fourthly" paragraph):

http://www.digitalrebellion.com/blog/posts/5_great_lion_features_for_editors.html

(even though CS5 for Mac supposedly will support 10bit when the drivers are available).

toxic
Jul 23, 2011, 04:08 PM
And would it be thunderbolt->DVI, DP or HDMI that would give the most accurate results?

only DisplayPort supports 10-bit color.

So it's really not worth shelling out the extra for the likes of Eizo or the top end NEC displays on an MBP. Looks like that Dell will do just fine then!

10-bit color exists because wide gamut monitors display more colors. 8-bit output to a wide-gamut monitor has a higher risk of banding. the brand has nothing to do with it.