17", 8-bit display or not

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by rickeames, Jan 6, 2009.

  1. rickeames macrumors regular

    Mar 12, 2008
    The SONY's and HP's now have these high density "full color" displays -- is this one of those, or are we looking at visual trickery?
  2. MBX macrumors 68000

    Sep 14, 2006
    What's the difference exactly?

    Is 8bit in these Sony's & HP's significantly better than what we had in the current MBP's and this new 17'' one?
  3. MVApple macrumors 6502a

    Jul 18, 2008
    You sure those are 8-bit panels in the Sony's and HP's? I'm pretty sure they are 6-bit panels as I've never heard of a TN panel that was anything higher than 6-bit.

    Sony's AW laptop does have a huge color gamut, but only the version with the Adobe RGB LED display has that large color gamut. And the reason it can achieve the large color gamut is because of the RGB backlighting, the display itself is still 6-bit.

    I don't know anything about the HP though. Dell also has the RGB backlighting btw.

    I've seen the Sony AW in person and it still has the poor viewning angles associated with TN panels.
  4. Dreamail macrumors 6502

    Jun 17, 2003
    HP's workstation class EliteBook 8730w comes with a 17" 'Dreamcolor' display.
    It is 8 bit and has professional color accuracy.

    It was introduced August last year.
    I had hoped Apple would introduce something similar with the new 17" laptop - since it is supposedly for photographers and graphic pros.

    But those 140 degree Horizontal and 120 degree Vertical viewing angles are very underwhelming. Very.


    Looks like a rather cheap panel to me. Nothing much 'PRO' about it. Middle-of-the-road more likely.

    I guess we have to face the fact that Apple is a consumer product company.
    If it ever talks about 'PRO' machines, they mean pro-sumer and not professional.

    Gone are the days that Mac would have superior graphics for graphics professionals.

    If you want professional graphics in a laptop go buy a HP or DELL portable workstation.
  5. MBX macrumors 68000

    Sep 14, 2006
    Hmm but the specs of the 17'' are pretty good. Up to 2.9x Ghz CPU, up to 8GB Ram, anti-glare option too now. So the only thing that's bothering you it's still the screens they've used so far instead the 8bit ones? Not sure if that justifies calling it pro sumer now since the current screens are great.

    But then again i've never seen a 8bit version in real life and don't know if it's really that of a magical difference.
  6. Dreamail macrumors 6502

    Jun 17, 2003
    If you look at the inverted blacks in this image, you'll notice that the viewing angles aren't really that great. No matter how good the contrast ratio and gamut are.


    This image has me a bit worried as it is not taken from a really extreme angle. It's just a bit off center. Someone sitting next to you would have that kind of viewing experience. And it seems quite a bad experience.

    Especially on a 17" screen you will have viewing angle issues due to its size already. Adding a rather middle-of-the-road panel will make it worse.
    120 degree vertical is really nothing to be proud of. Not on a 17" panel.

    For a top-end, premium-priced model, I'm not sure the screen is that great. For that price I might want to expect better. Seemed like Apple spent all the money on the unibody and battery tech - saving on the LCD again.
    I'll have to see it in person first, though.

    Would be great to get some reports from people who made it to MacWorld.
  7. winterspan macrumors 65816

    Jun 12, 2007
    Well the specs aren't bad... The RAM limit moving up is one of the main concerns I had.

    That said, here is what a competing pro model from Dell has that the MBP doesn't:

    - Intel quad-core 2.5Ghz
    - professional OpenGL graphics cards like nVidia Quadro
    - supports 16GB RAM (4 slots)
    - 7200RPM harddrives standard (5400RPM standard in MBP)
    - Dual harddrives or SSDs in RAID, Blu-ray burners
  8. Chrysaor macrumors 6502

    May 16, 2006
    Forgot to mention Dell has much better warranty options like on-site service, accidental protection, ability to extend warranty for more than 3 years, etc.
  9. MBX macrumors 68000

    Sep 14, 2006
    Umm yeah but that thing is a portable fridge.

    Until it becomes as sleek/ ergonomic as the MBP it's not an option. And of course OS-X is another huge point (yeah you could hackintosh-it sure).

    As for viewing angle, is that problem only on the glossy versions i guess? Why would that problem occur on the anti-glare versions if it's not apparent on the current 17'' matte screens... right?
  10. evilzardoz macrumors newbie

    Oct 19, 2008

    My TN panel on my 17" has discoloured and completely lost all sense of colour at that viewing angle. This looks fantastic!

    Very glad to see the antiglare option. This is why I bought the 17" MBP only three months ago as I didn't want to risk Apple not doing this.
    The Dell is 3.8kg. The Dell has a poor battery life - think sub 2 hours. The Dell is not a notebook PC - it's a portable workstation.

    The new MBP gives you a massive battery while still retaining its 3kg weight. A bit dismayed to see the lack of quad core however this is a power concern - the Core 2 Quad CPUs cannot power down three out of four cores; only one core per die ( x 2) can be powered down so two cores are always up, running, producing heat and chewing power.

    The non-removable battery won't need to be removed during the useful life of the system. 1000 cycles is fantastic and is a cost and weight saving. I don't know if I've ever neeed more than 8 hours however 4 hours at reasonable power would be a lovely thing to have. Remember you're getting more charge per cycle, too!
  11. dingus macrumors member

    Mar 4, 2008
    So, what the hell, it's just an improved TN display then? Does a 700:1 contrast ratio and 60% greater color gamut really mean anything? Ugh, I don't want to wait a month to compare.
  12. evilzardoz macrumors newbie

    Oct 19, 2008
    Hell no! We don't yet know what it is however but I'm fairly certain that's not a TN! Photos like that can really make a mockery of screens - I had a Samsung PVA panel look quite poor from a photo I took. That's taken using a wider angle lens so this accentuates the limited viewing angle.

  13. MVApple macrumors 6502a

    Jul 18, 2008
    I'm looking at the specs of the HP and I don't see a listing anywhere that the HP has an 8-bit display. It says "dreamcolor" but is very vague about it. It also states "millions of colors" which some manufacturers state when they mean dithered colors.

    It's possible the HP really does millions of colors but is actually 6-bit like the Sony. The DreamColor might simply refer to an RGB backlighting system.

    That laptop is a "workstation" though. Apple tries to appeal more to consumers than to those looking for workstations.
  14. Dreamail macrumors 6502

    Jun 17, 2003
    Probably should have linked to this instead:

    It shows the movie as well, but also offers 'DETAILS' in the lower left corner.
    According to that info the DreamColor display has:

    - 24bit color depth with support for millions of active colors
    - integrated color sensor which automatically calibrates the system to maintain accuracy
    - 800:1 contrast ratio, plus dynamic contrast ratio improving it to 3000:1
    - 300 nit luminance
    - tri-color LED backlight offering deeper colors, CRT-class blacks and user defined, programmable white points
    - user-adjustable luminance, gamma, gamut and white point
    - achieves completely accurate renditions of sRGB and Adobe RGB color spaces
    - covers 128% of the NTSC color gamut (CIE 1976)

    At least by the sounds of it, this display is a true 'mobile pro' color display. And has been available since September.
    Whereas Apple's is kinda-maybe-approximately-not-so-bad; trust Apple, they say so.

    Apart from being arsenic and mercury free there is no hard fact data on Apple's info pages. '60% better gamut than previous generations' doesn't mean much in absolute figures. Could be anything.

    And I like the fact that the HP actually offers a choice of NVidia Quadro FX 2700M or NVidia Quadro FX 3700M with 1GB VRAM. Those are much better GPUs than what Apple offers in its top model.
    I'm not saying those are for everyone, but they should be available as a BTO option IMHO.

    This article has a video of the DreamColor display, comparing it to a 'traditional 15" workstation EliteBook LCD':
  15. cal6n macrumors 68000


    Jul 25, 2004
    Gloucester, UK
    That'll be 6 bit per colour plus an alpha channel, then.
  16. Dreamail macrumors 6502

    Jun 17, 2003
    In the video from the article the HP representative explicitly says that this panel displays 16 million colors, which is about 60x more than on traditional LCDs.
    The article also says 16 million colors.

    At least it seems legit and HP seems to make an effort to get color accuracy into their pro workstation displays.
    Whereas Apple seems to be more hung up on environmental aspects than color accuracy...
  17. MVApple macrumors 6502a

    Jul 18, 2008
    The number of colors doesn't mean the display is 8-bit. The Sony AW with RGB screen can also do millions of colors. The display is 6-bit though, meaning the display itself can only do thousands of colors. The millions of colors comes into play because the RGB backlighting lets it reproduce more colors than the panel itself can with a normal backlighting system.

    It would be nice to see some detailed reviews come out though because I really question how good the color accuracy is in say a photoshop situation. Assuming I am right about the backlight in the HP, that would mean that even though it can reproduce millions of colors it may not be accurate. I wonder how many LEDS are in the backlight because each LED is probably covering a wide number of pixels.

    Meaning if each pixel can only do 6-bit color then what happens if some pixels are green and the adjacent ones are red? What is the backlight system going to do? I'm guessing the display will be limited in the number of colors it can reproduce adjacent to each other.

    So in theory in can do millions, in practice the actual color depth will be somewhere inbetween 6-bit and 8-bit.
  18. Dreamail macrumors 6502

    Jun 17, 2003
    The important part is HP claiming to achieve "completely accurate renditions of sRGB and Adobe RGB color spaces".

    I have not heard or read any such claim about the new MacBook Pro 17" display.
    I'd be happy to be proven wrong, though.

    HP's built-in environment sensor also allows to adapt the display apparently to different lighting conditions.

    The display reportedly was developed in cooperation with DreamWorks who needed a portable workstation that has accurate color reproduction.

    I would have liked to see Apple do cooperations like that. They used to be at the fore-front in the graphics industry but seemingly are losing interest in that market.
  19. jjahshik32 macrumors 603

    Sep 4, 2006
    16GB under windows? No thanks, its just a waste of good rams. Also dual harddrives in a notebook (battery killer) (SSDs way too expensive) is overrated.

    No OSX, no go for me. And not to mention Dells are big, clunky and not to mention, ugly.
  20. Dreamail macrumors 6502

    Jun 17, 2003
    Not everyone uses workstations under Windows. In fact a lot run under Linux.

    Most mobile workstations have very poor battery life. But that is often not an issue as general mobility is more important to these users.
    And 1TB of internal storage in a RAID might be more important too. Just look at the many requests for a MacBook Pro with a drive bay to let people choose a Superdrive or second HD.

    That's true for many DELL machines, and taste is not the same for everyone, but I think their Precision M6400 is not a poorly designed machine nor 'ugly'. Solid metal case too.
  21. jjahshik32 macrumors 603

    Sep 4, 2006
    But people still do use windows on a pc most of the time.

    But thats the whole point of the new 17" mbp's battery technology.

    Which many request are you talking about? I know many people requested a bluray player but from what I've seen from threads I havnt seen much 2nd hdd solution requests. Not to mention you can carry around a small 2.5" 500gb external hdd even with fw800 built in. Just wait a little longer and you will see the 2.5" 750gb hdd.

    And dont put the word convenience, because when you carry around a big notebook like that, 1 small 2.5" hdd isnt going to make the world of difference. Especially if you conclude that the 17" mbp is much smaller than any other 17" notebooks out there which already reduces size/weight and allow you to carry more accessories around with you.

    I know looks are subjective, beauty is in the eye of the beholder type deal... but when compared to the mbp.. there is still no contest.
  22. apox macrumors newbie

    Jan 19, 2009
    From: http://lowendmac.com/macbookpro/17in-macbook-pro-jan-2009.html :

    From Hp: http://government.hp.com/taw_detail.asp?fid=429&agencyid=136

    I was about to buy my first Mac, but this thing is making me reconsider the high end mobile workstations from hp and dell...
  23. piefordinner macrumors newbie

    Apr 8, 2009
    Lies, Damn Lies, and Specs

    Unless you're just a spec-monkey/gearhead, and I can relate, you'll never want to use that HP. I did, and it's not only a boat-anchor, its display isn't even in the same class as the MBP 17"'s which I own. I had a chance to buy that decked-out HP, and ultimately turned it down flat. Never mind the sucks-rocks XP/Vista/Windows 7 debacle they stuff onto its innocent 'lil hard drive; the lousy drivers for the video card, the amazing OS-bloat, the poor fit/finish, frig-size and weight, and the misleadingly written specs that specify its limitations much more clearly than its strengths... it was *punishment to lug and use, anywhere. Note to HP: NEVER let your Marketing folks werite your spec copy, at least let the engineers LOOK at it first!

    The NTSC color gamut is practically a cold-war standard that's easier to exceed than losing the crappy accessories packed into HP's excuse for a shipping box for that monstrosity. Specs mean absolutely nothing if ya can't USE them in PRACTICE. The HP is like a Baby Huey kind of product- big, strong, and astonishingly immature and limited, both in portability, build quality, ergonomics, OS, battery life, and dsplay quality.

    I've calibrated my 17" MBP's screen to EXCEED ProPhoto RGB, a color space that's larger than Adobe RGB, an aging CMYK-friendly on conversion standard that's become too cramped for anyone using current printing technology, here or overseas. Blacks- check. Luminance- check. Contrast ratio- check. Ability to actually USE in mission-critical, $300.00 an hour color work, doing everything from batch-processing 2000 D3X NEFs via Aperture or Capture One Pro,
    WHILE THE CLIENT WATCHES?- check. Ability to replicate ANY CMS output-profiled 2 GB file to ANY pro output device, from a Heidelberg to an Epson 9800?- check.

    The HP has gotten, literally, laughed out of a major Ad Agency's Conference Room, due to its cartoonish, bloated appearance and inability to actually produce anything resembling industry-standard CMS-compliant output files on even COMPING devices, let alone PROOFING devices. That's why I took it on the road to test-drive, riding shotgun next to my 17" unibody MBP, of course, and at 900.00 asking price, I thought it might be a good training tool for publishing departments at Universities (Harvard University and Middlebury College are two of my educational clients), but its checkered Ad Agency past caught up to it. People poked at it like it was a wet parade float, or a beached whale. NOT the reaction I'm after, not for what I charge. It looks like I'm there to CAUSE problems with the HP; and like I'm there to SOLVE problems with the 17" unibody MBP, which is what I do with it, and why I bought it- it pays for itself many times over, like NO other Pro laptop/notebook does, and I've owned them ALL. BTW, it's not a TN screen, and 'user-adjustable luminance, gamma, gamut and white point' is exactly what any software or hardware screen color calibration system does... a $99.00 Pantone Huey does that. In MY world, a $2700 Gretag-MacBeth hardware color calibrator/ICC+CMS profiler for display, capture and output is what I use, and the HP's exclaiming that fact in its marketing materials PROVES that it's going after the CMS and Pro spec illiterate consumer market segment of the pie- NOT the Pros, who laugh at USA Today pie-chart ad-copy like that, and NEVER base their or their clients' purchases on drivel like HP's... not that Apple's any better most of the time, but at least Apple's DELIVERED a truly professional tool that's also a joy to use and own, as well as an OS that gets closer every day to truly professional, unlike the Windows on the World Gone By OS that's shoveled onto HP's stab at greatness.

    Miles of cliff-drop-off between use and specs. The HP's a case in point.

    But that's just me... =^P
  24. Abstract macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location
    Since when? There's 1, possibly 2, laptops released to the public which have had an 8-bit display. One. Think about how many laptops have been released over the last decade. Why do you think Apple have fallen behind, particularly the 17" MBP? Besides, implementation is just as important as ability.

    Personally, I'd much rather have an 8-bit display like we normally see on external LCD Monitors, but since people can't even tell the difference between 6-bit and 8-bit displays (notice how not even the pros haven't complained about this for absolutely ages.......they just calibrate their MBP display and say it's good), perhaps the interpolated colours are fine for everyone except those who are most demanding of colour accuracy. What percentage of "professionals" does that make up? A very small proportion, I'd bet. Having said that, why would these people be using their laptop screen for colour work anyway? :confused:
  25. piefordinner macrumors newbie

    Apr 8, 2009
    Pros+everyone else+24-bit hardware in Apple laptops...

    I agree. An 8-bit hardware display should be the norm, NOT the exception, even in MacBooks. There's more color accuracy built into a G4 iBook from 2005 than there is in a new MacBook. I actually proved that last week, when two students in my Digital Imaging and Photography class both wanted to print from their laptops to the wireless color Epson 9800 in one of the labs at Smith College. The screens were over 4 years apart in age, but, with 19 years of professional experience to my name, the G4 iBook's seemingly 'low-fi' matte screen calibrated with the big Gretag-MacBeth color calibration unit BETTER than the beautiful, vibrant MacBook display; dithering a 6-bit up to an apparent 8-bit/channel LCD was definitely a huge factor, IMO, if not THE determining factor in that comparison. The MBP 17" unibody, or ANY 17" MBP has NEVER been a mainstream, consumer-grade portable... their laptops, and I've made many thousands with them all; NO windows laptop I've ever owned, and there have been far too many, are as color-accurate as the past, or present, 17" MBPs.

    That said, you don't understand why anyone would want accurate color in a $3k+ laptop? Actually, I'm selling over $900,000 of 17" MBPs this year to various clients in video and film post-production, educational and corporate digital imaging, advertising agencies, medical imaging (you think publish's color-critical? Try convincing Mass General that your computer will faithfully depict a patient's CAT Scan using the HOSPITAL'S CMS), publishing, fine-art photo imaging and archival/gallery printing companies, . The laptops that are sold with dithered 24-bit screens are mostly sold, you're right, I'll bet, to those for whom 'color' and 'profession' will always be two different worlds, let alone words.

    'Why would these people be using their laptops for colour work?' Because if you're a pro who NEEDS color accuracy in a laptop, it's to check proofs in the field, do draft video editing, photo-editing, pre-press image-editing and graphics, and many other mission-critical color work on a plane, or in the middle of a press-check on a 2.5 Million dollar Heidelberg press that's running YOUR Editor's final digital files, just burned to plate and hanging on that big press, and you... *don't have* a Barco Reference Calibrator with you, just your laptop, an ICC output and display profile to match the waiting printer's CMS, and about 24 minutes to find out why the Magenta Plate's bunging up the colors on the two-page spread in your magazine that cost the client who bought the ad space around $75K... times like THAT, and MANY other occasions, are where, and why, I pay LOTS of money to make a LOT more, using an addition to my desktop color work, not a substitute... Thank goodness, there's still NO blessed substitute to a carefully calibrated 30" Cinema Display. But- the closer you can get, as a pro, or even as a non-pro trying to build your eye and skills, and just save valuable ink and paper and TIME, to what you can expect to see on your desktop monitor, and KNOW why and where those displays will diverge, is why the 17" MBP exists, not for Johnny's web-surfing in the dorm, or editing out the red-eye on the sRGB P&S JPEG file that's coming out of a $99.00 life-support system for selling ink cartridges in the Den. But a display that can display 24-bit color accurately used to be Apple's game for the losing. And lose it they have, on all but the 17" unibody MBP. And that, as they say, is too bad. Too bad for anyone who wants to be unfettered from the growing limitations of hardware that only displays a 'rough' approximation of the print, even though the consumer's/student's photographer's/enthusiast's/Graphic Designer's skills at P-shop, and ICC profiling, and CMS, and paper output profiles has grown faster than his/her wallet, and knows *how* to use accurate equipment, but doesn't have the spar bucks lying around for a 17" MBP, or a full-on Mac Pro/24" iMac system AND a good Tabloid printer, just ONE or the OTHER. Apple used to have THAT market LOCKED. No more. When I made $56.00 an hour in the late 1990's doing GD work on spec to supplement my consulting and teaching in backwoods Vermont, I couldn't afford a consumer-grade, then a pro-grade laptop, so I went with a Lombard. Years later, my son Declan made over $22,000 one summer working nights in the Living Room, HBO on, sitting in the easy chair under a full-spectrum bulb in the floor lamp, a good micro-fiber cloth and an American Recorder CO2 cartridge compressed air blower scanning, cropping, color-correcting and burning to DVD-R thousands of 35mm slides for a local College. He used my older-than-dirt 14.1" G3 iBook with 640MB of RAM, a hardware-calibrated screen, and a 40GB hard drive, an RF USB wireless mouse, a FireWire Nikon slide-scanner and a 250GB FireWire Hard Drive... the iBook's screen? Hardware 24-bit. He got a great reference from the College's (Middlebury College in Vermont, to be specific), rave reviews on the P-shop editing he did to bring out the true colors of the slides he was digitizing. To do that same thing with a current shipping MB would be impossible, because of the 18-bit MB screen. My son? No pro. But he had a great and profitable experience as a NON-pro, because Apple built a screen into its lowly iBook that could depict color accurately.

    Apple exists to *exceed* those MacBook buyers' needs, so the next step up in their skills and needs is met, a atste of quality that begets another purchase from the company smart enough to see that consumers are PEOPLE who evolve and grow, not just earn more, over time. And it wouldn't kill 'em to do what they've done so often, and to such good effect, in the past... give the consumer, the artist, the neophyte, the same excellent technology, in this case TRUE 24-bit hardware color capability, that those who part with thousands more have because they absolutely REQUIRE it for their livelihoods.

    OK, rant over... =^P



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