PB17 (1.67GHz) screen as bright as Cinema Display 20"?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by bzgnyc, Feb 19, 2006.

  1. bzgnyc macrumors newbie

    Oct 19, 2005

    I am helping a friend with a new PowerBook G4 17" 1.67GHz (he needed a 17" screen and he's not ready for early adopter hardware) and we're trying to figure out if the screen is as bright as it is supposed to be. He is fortunate to have ample light in his office, and his current Cinema Display 20" (1680x1050, 250nits, 350-400:1 contrast) is bright enough to handle it. However, one has to strain to view the his new PowerBook's screen (1680x1050, brightness and contrast ratio specs hard to come by). The Apple website claims this model is 46% brighter than the last generation and I heard it is on par with the current Cinema Displays. We recall this PowerBook's screen being brighter when it first arrived a week or so ago, but we're not certain that we're not just imagining things. Is his unit defective or is this model of PowerBook supposed this dim?

    I should have mentioned that we did set brightness all the way up, disabled automatically adjust brightness as ambiet light changes, and we're running with the thing plugged in (though I think reduce brightness on battery is disabled as well). I also tried calibrating the display but did not focus on whitepoint temperature.

    By the way, compared to the Cinema Display, this laptop's screen has noticably dimmer whites (as in white is not very white). I didn't do a full color profile comparison, but visually blues are also much darker (as viewed on the default Mac desktop background). I don't have the laptop in front of me, but I remember that gamma response curves for Red and Blue in the calibrated ColorSync profile were significantly lower than in the default LCD ColorSync profile. I am not sure if that is normal or not.

    Has anyone out there compared their recent PB17 to a good desktop LCD?
    Do any of you with PB17s find that your display is too dim or
    wonderfully bright?

  2. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus


    Jan 9, 2004
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    I hate to be acerbic about it... but just look at the basic math. How much power does a desktop LCD consume? Much of that power is going to the lamps in the backlight. Now how much power does a laptop screen -- any laptop screen -- consume? Laptop screens are never going to be as bright as desktop screens, unless radical changes in battery technology come about.
  3. bzgnyc thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 19, 2005

    While I agree that desktop LCDs will always have more power to draw on, the MacBook Pro's screen is actually rated at 300 nits. That's slightly higher than the Apple Cinema Display. I don't if the MacBook Pro's LCD is actually as bright as Apple's desktop LCDs, but David Pogue of the NYT declares:

    First, the gorgeous, 1,440-by-900-pixel screen is much whiter and brighter. It's very, very bright. At half brightness, it matches the brightest setting of other laptops; at full brightness, it could illuminate a runway. It's really bright.

    That sounds like the brightness we need and were expecting from the PB17. Sometimes throwing more power at the bulb isn't the answer. Its getting more light from it (and through the liquid crystal).
  4. andrewfee macrumors 6502

    Aug 29, 2004
    If it's 46% brighter, expect it to be about 140-150cd/m2. I have a 17" 1.67GHz Powerbook before the the update, and it measures around 100cd/m2 at max brightness. It's almost a year old now though, so I expect it to have dimmed a little.

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