Downgrade uMBP 17" screen? possible?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by darkus, Dec 25, 2009.

  1. darkus macrumors regular

    Nov 5, 2007
    I was wondering if its possible to do this?

    The current uMBP screen is too high of a resolution for my eyes (and the LED gives me headaches).

    Has anyone done this or think its possible to replace the LCD with the previous gen screen 1680 x 1050 ? The non-LED and lower resolution was far better on my eyes.

    Im no stranger to opening up computers and fiddling, but have never messed with a laptop before. Im wondering if the conmnections, etc are universal if I simply buy a panel, will the wires and ports lineup and just plug and play and go ?

    Thank you!
  2. appleguy123 macrumors 604


    Apr 1, 2009
    15 minutes in the future
    I don't think its possible but you can lower the resolution in the system prefs. Its doesn't look pretty but here are some screen shots.

    Attached Files:

  3. Sneakz macrumors 65816


    Jul 17, 2008
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Quick question (slightly off topic), why didn't you simply get the 15"?
  4. appleguy123 macrumors 604


    Apr 1, 2009
    15 minutes in the future
    Maybe he under estimated the resolution of the display. 17" with 24" resolution seems great on people. I love it but it's too much for some people.
  5. darkus thread starter macrumors regular

    Nov 5, 2007
    I actually own both of them. The 15" with 1440x900 display has nearly identical DPI/PPI as compared to the 17" with a 1680 resolution screen but you get that extra real estate on the 17".

    Using a 17" with the 1920x1200 display gets you alot of extra real estate but the DPI shoots up alot.

    Besides the DPI issue, I really want to get rid of the LED portion of the display because i'm one of those people that gets migraines from LEDs. The previous gen MBP LCDs I could work on from 9am to 9pm without a problem. These new ones I can only work on for 30 minutes max :( I want to stick with apple instead of moving to dell or even worse :(

    Thats why I want to try this slightly unconventional method. The first real question for me is if the connections and locations of the connections for these LCD panels is universal and its just a matter of getting the correct size screen
  6. Matthew Yohe macrumors 68020

    Oct 12, 2006
    I wouldn't imagine that going down this road is going to give you very good results.

    Also, have you had your eyes checked recently or discussed this issue with a physician? I know that in some people, the "migraine" was actually just a headache from strained eye muscles/astigmatism, and that the new screens caused previously asymptomatic issues to become symptomatic.
  7. nick9191 macrumors 68040

    Feb 17, 2008
    You wont be able to fit a non LED screen into a 17" MacBook Pro. Besides that, it's the backlight that is LED, not the screen, hence the 'LED Backlit'.

    Dude you're getting a Dell... Or an older MacBook Pro.
  8. EndlessMac macrumors 6502

    Aug 20, 2009
    Are you sure it's the LED that's causing your migraines? If it's the brightness you can turn that down. Over brightness can cause headaches. I believe it's the small fonts and overall tiny appearance of things on the screen that is making your eyes work harder which can cause also headaches. I know I had eyestrains before I permanently increased the font sizes in my web browsers. Try reading the tiny print from advertisers for 30 minutes and you'll probably also get headaches. ;)

    I really wish Apple would finally get resolution independence on their OS. For me high resolution starts to be counter-productive when everything becomes so tiny that I need a magnifying glass in order to see. It wasn't as much of a problem in the past because with CRT monitors we were able to change the resolution ourselves, but with the popularity of laptops you have to use the native resolution or things become blurry.
  9. mastercool10 macrumors member

    Dec 23, 2009
    I can't even imagine getting a 17" screen on a laptop. If your going that large of a screen, why settle for a laptop to begin with? If I were you, I'd just go with a Mac Pro.
  10. njean777 macrumors 6502

    Oct 17, 2009
    you could always attach it to an external monitor if the situation permits.....
  11. HellDiverUK macrumors 6502

    Oct 24, 2009
    Belfast, UK
    I think you're talking total and utter rubbish to be honest. A CCFL backlight is likely to give migraine, as it flickers. LED backlights don't flicker, so won't give migraine.

    I suspect you've got the backlight much brighter on the new laptop compared to what was possible on your old one.

    You'll have fun getting a Dell machine with a CCFL backlight now too, most if not all are LED backlit.

    But, again, I think you're just running the backlight too bright which is giving you migraines.

    I suffer migraine, and use CCFL and LED backlit LCDs, the only ones that cause eye strain are LEDs turned up too bright.
  12. Thunder82 macrumors 6502

    Jul 16, 2008
    Chicago, IL
    I'm not sure why all of these people are bashing you, seems like a logical question to me. Putting a CCFL screen in the 17" won't work, mainly because these screens are much thicker (because of the ccfl backlight itself) than an LED screen. I would try turning the brightness down and switching to a 1680 resolution as others have already mentioned.

    Funny you mention all of this.. The only reason I "had" to buy the 17" was for the 1920x1200 resolution. I'd much prefer a 13 or 15" notebook, but the 1280x800 and 1440x900 screens are a complete no-go for me. Trying to juggle spreadsheets on those is a joke. I just wish apple would offer more options.. I'd love a 1920x1200 15"!
  13. hj100 macrumors newbie

    Dec 25, 2009
    LED's do pulse at a certain frequency and this is addressed by a very knowledgeable person in the Apple Support Forums. I have eye and headache issues with LED backlighting that I never did with CCFL since they have existed.

    To the OP try turning the resolution down. I have a 15" and have it set about 3 levels down from maximum. I can't stand the max resolution either especially since there is no global way to increase font size reliably and some things are stupidly tiny and zooming constantly is ridiculous. I found the lowest I could do without it looking cartoonish and stopped there. Worth a try.
  14. darkus thread starter macrumors regular

    Nov 5, 2007

    Thank you for telling me that how I feel after using a computer is 'rubbish'. You aren't me and know nothing about how a screen effects my eyes, so stop sounding foolish ok?

    I have owned THREE non-LED apple products and regularly put in 8+ hours on the computers without a single problem with eyestrain/headaches. Last month I purchased a new uMBP 15" with the identical resolution to my current 15" aluMBP, that is to say 1440x900. The only difference in the screen between the two is that the new unit uses the LED backlighting. (both are matte BTW). Within one hour of using the new unit I was already having problems looking at the screen with the eye strain and headaches. I gave the unit a fair shake down for about 3 days, but never could get 'used' to it or get the color setting to a point that it didn't feel like a knife was going through my eyes into my brain.

    Im a photoshop and web design professional, so I went through all the brightness and color calibrations before sitting down to use the computers.

    I'm not sure what kind of headaches you suffer, but some people have different headaches then you do.

    My symptoms are very real, don't dismiss me because you don't want me to say anything bad about LED. There are NUMEROUS threads on this site and many other sites about this problem. I'm not here blaming anyone, I understand the vast majority of the population don't have this problem and so it probably isn't important to apple, and I don't blame them in the least. I'm just looking for a solution so that I can stay with Apple as I've been an apple user from the start but I cant keep nursing my poor AluMBPs along.

    As for turning the resolution down, that is a good thought, but my work is mainly in graphics and the non-native resoltuion has alot of blurring that makes my kind of work impossible to do. I need cripness which every mac thankfully has.

    Thank you to everyone who has given me constructive advice it has been very helpful. I've come to the conclusion that this probably isn't possible because the uMBP is wired to give power to an LED backlit screen and the power draw of the CCFL is probably much different. I will keep hunting for some kind of solution, unfortunatly an external monitor isnt completly in the cards as I use my MBP on the road frequently.

  15. appleguy123 macrumors 604


    Apr 1, 2009
    15 minutes in the future
    I carry my 17" around school all day. It does not feel heavy nor cumbersome. It is only the weight of most 15" laptops and it's like carrying a 24" laptop (workspace not weight).

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