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Old Jan 8, 2007, 12:33 AM   #1
dogbone
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Powerbook screen resolution query

I'm honing in on the purchase of a powerbook.

One area that has me a bit confused is the screen resolution of the 15" models.

I can see two models that look identical in specs (apart from one having 128Mb of VRAM and the other 64. both are 9700 cards)

Anyway one ad says it is 1280x854 widescreen and the other says it is 1440x960 widescreen. I can see these are the same proportions and maybe the 1280x854 can be set at 1440x960. The 1440 one is about 6 months old and the other one is about a year older so maybe some specs were changed.

My question is, are these two different resolutions meant to be the native resolution on each machine respectively? Or do they both have the same native resolution and are just set up differently.
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Old Jan 8, 2007, 03:36 AM   #2
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The last powerbook rev increased the resolution to 1440x960. From wikipedia

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In October, 2005, the two higher-end PowerBooks were upgraded once again, with higher-resolution displays (1440x960 on the 15" model, and 1680x1050 on the 17" model) and faster 533 MHz DDR2 (PC2-4200) memory. The SuperDrive became standard equipment and included support for dual-layer DVDs on the 15- and 17-inch models. The 17" model was updated with a 120 GB standard hard drive, as well as a 7200 RPM, 100 GB build-to-order option. These drives were also options on the 15" PowerBook. The 12" model with SuperDrive remained unchanged in this respect, although each new PowerBook boasted a longer battery life.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PowerBook

Last edited by devman; Jan 8, 2007 at 03:38 AM. Reason: added link
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Old Jan 8, 2007, 03:45 AM   #3
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OK,

But what I don't understand yet is that I hear about lcd's having a 'native' resolution which apparently is the best quality to view. But what I don't know is if the 1440 is the native resolution, ie will the 1280 res on the non updated model be a better quality than using 1280 on the 1440 model, if that makes sense.
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Old Jan 8, 2007, 03:54 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by dogbone View Post
OK,

But what I don't understand yet is that I hear about lcd's having a 'native' resolution which apparently is the best quality to view. But what I don't know is if the 1440 is the native resolution, ie will the 1280 res on the non updated model be a better quality than using 1280 on the 1440 model, if that makes sense.
The native res of the older model is 1280x854. The native res of the newer version is 1440x960. They're the same physical size but are two different LCD panels.

You should only run your LCD at the native resolution. Using a resolution of 1280x854 on a 1440x960 screen will appear blurry as the screen needs to interpolate the pixels. You can't run an LCD at higher than it's native resolution because the resolution is a physical property - you can't make any more pixels.

I would go for the 1440x960 and run it at 1440x960, anything lower will look crap.
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Old Jan 8, 2007, 04:39 AM   #5
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I would go for the 1440x960 and run it at 1440x960, anything lower will look crap.
I presume you mean anything lower on a 1440x960 machine will look crap? I have the slightly earlier generation PB that specs out at 1280x854 and my display is far from crap. In fact, I have seen worse on some current MBP's - though, admittedly this was largely not to do with resolution.
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Old Jan 8, 2007, 04:48 AM   #6
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@Chundles

OK I understand now that's great info. I never realised that the screen itself was physically different.

I don't know if this makes sense but what would the difference in size of objects on screen be on the 1440x960 screen compared to a 17" emac screen running at 1280x960
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Old Jan 8, 2007, 04:54 AM   #7
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@Chundles

OK I understand now that's great info. I never realised that the screen itself was physically different.

I don't know if this makes sense but what would the difference in size of objects on screen be on the 1440x960 screen compared to a 17" emac screen running at 1280x960
Well, the screen would display the same amount of information vertically but the PowerBook would have more space horizontally. The 17" eMac screen is larger so the information would appear bigger but the PowerBook would look clearer.

Stuff on the eMac screen would be bigger as the "pixels" (CRT screens don't have pixels they have fluorescing dots but they aren't pixels) are larger but the PowerBook would look clearer due to the nature of the LCD screen and the physical pixels being smaller. Items would be somewhat smaller on the PB but the extra space horizontally and the advantages (clearer, no flickering, no eye-fatigue) of the LCD screen would far outweigh the slight reduction in size.
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Old Jan 8, 2007, 05:40 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by davidjearly View Post
I presume you mean anything lower on a 1440x960 machine will look crap? I have the slightly earlier generation PB that specs out at 1280x854 and my display is far from crap.
Well, 1280x854 is your display's native resolution, so comparing it to running the same resolution on a display with a higher native resolution is rather pointless.
Read more here.
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Old Jan 8, 2007, 06:51 AM   #9
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I still don't understand why a crt does not have the interpolation problem. I mean if you look at it magnified it appears to consist of fixed pixels.

Another question about the two powerbook displays. So then a native 1280 display will be as sharp but larger than a 1440 native display although it will show less of the object. Yes?

Bearing this in mind is the updated 1440 screens on the powerbook actually better quality as well or is it just the resolution that has change.
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Old Jan 8, 2007, 09:37 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dogbone View Post
I still don't understand why a crt does not have the interpolation problem. I mean if you look at it magnified it appears to consist of fixed pixels.

Another question about the two powerbook displays. So then a native 1280 display will be as sharp but larger than a 1440 native display although it will show less of the object. Yes?

Bearing this in mind is the updated 1440 screens on the powerbook actually better quality as well or is it just the resolution that has change.
The CRT just projects information - "pixels" - to the screen surface. It can produce "pixels" of different size, because those dots are not fixed on the screen, but are generated by the tube, while LCDs have dots fixed in the screen.

I assume, the 1440 screen has slightly better specs, because they are newer.
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Old Jan 8, 2007, 06:22 PM   #11
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One final question. I was originally going for a 17" but they seem to be a bit too dear for me but occasionally one comes along that is a reasonable price.

There is a 17" available at the moment that is 20 months old. It has the 128mb card but it is the pre october model which means it will have a resolution of 1440x960.

So that means it will have the same resolution as a late model 15" but will obviously show object a bit larger.

But what does this mean in practice? Does that mean that the physical size of the pixel are larger, would this just be like looking at the 15" 1440 at a slightly closer distance. What would be a better display a 15" at native 1440 or a 17" at native 1440?

Also would the 17" use significantly more power.

What would you guys choose. A late model 15" at 1440 or a slightly earlier model 17" at 1440 if they were both in good nick with the same 128mb card.
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Old Jan 8, 2007, 09:21 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dogbone View Post
One final question. I was originally going for a 17" but they seem to be a bit too dear for me but occasionally one comes along that is a reasonable price.

There is a 17" available at the moment that is 20 months old. It has the 128mb card but it is the pre october model which means it will have a resolution of 1440x960.

So that means it will have the same resolution as a late model 15" but will obviously show object a bit larger.

But what does this mean in practice? Does that mean that the physical size of the pixel are larger, would this just be like looking at the 15" 1440 at a slightly closer distance. What would be a better display a 15" at native 1440 or a 17" at native 1440?

Also would the 17" use significantly more power.

What would you guys choose. A late model 15" at 1440 or a slightly earlier model 17" at 1440 if they were both in good nick with the same 128mb card.
First of all, that 17" has resolution of 1440x900, not 960, because the screen aspect ratio on those is 16:10, while on 15" PowerBooks it is 15:10.

Next, its completely up to you to decide if you want a bigger laptop of almost the same amount of pixels, or a more portable laptop with 60 more pixels of vertical display size. Personaly, I'd choose the 15.

3rd. I'm not sure about the display quality on 15 last rev. vs 17 pre-last rev., but I'm pretty sure that the last rev PowerBooks boasted better battery life and brighter displays than their predecessors.
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Old Jan 8, 2007, 09:25 PM   #13
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OK, thanks for that. Yes, I think I will end going for a last rev 15''
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