PWM on new baseline 2019 MBP?

spraycansoul

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Original poster
Apr 12, 2019
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Anyone able to confirm if PWM is present on the 2019 baseline MBP 13 inch?

Thanks in advance.
 

CRoebuck

macrumors member
May 16, 2014
44
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Anyone able to confirm if PWM is present on the 2019 baseline MBP 13 inch?

Thanks in advance.
Same panel (according to sys prefs) as the 2018 / 2019 TB Macbook Pro. So PWM is used but very high frequency of > 120KHz (Notebookcheck measured it on 2018). They do appear to be using a different dither algorithm on the 2018/2019 panels so those especially sensitive to PWM might want to check one out before purchasing. It bothers me where the 2017 was fine. I have 2 side by side on my desk right now and the 2019 bothers me. The 2017 is fine.
 

spraycansoul

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Apr 12, 2019
22
3
Same panel (according to sys prefs) as the 2018 / 2019 TB Macbook Pro. So PWM is used but very high frequency of > 120KHz (Notebookcheck measured it on 2018). They do appear to be using a different dither algorithm on the 2018/2019 panels so those especially sensitive to PWM might want to check one out before purchasing. It bothers me where the 2017 was fine. I have 2 side by side on my desk right now and the 2019 bothers me. The 2017 is fine.
Thanks CRoebuck!

I was hoping it kept the same panel as the 2017. Will check out in person before ordering but have a feeling it’s going to bother me too!

I had a similar situation when choosing between the iPhone XS and XR , opted for the XR in the end mainly due to no PWM.
 
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CRoebuck

macrumors member
May 16, 2014
44
28
Thanks Croebuck!

I was hoping it kept the same panel as the 2017. Will check out in person before ordering but have a feeling it’s going to bother me too!

I had a similar situation when choosing between the iPhone XS and XR , opted for the XR in the end mainly due to no PWM.
I have tried several flavours of 2018 and 2019 including the new one and they all bother me (there appears to only be one panel for the 13" and one for the 15" since 2018) whereas there we at least two of each of the 2016 /2017. I desperately want a new Quad Core 13 but using it for more than 15 mins hurts my eyes. I can use my older one all day long. I wonder if some of it is Intel iGPU related as I recently updated a Surface Pro 5 to Windows 10 Build 1903 that included new Intel Graphis drivers and it had a similar effect on my eyes. I rolled back and all is good again.
 
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sg9

macrumors member
Jan 7, 2019
42
24
There is no excuse to use PWM, no matter how many users are sensitive. Especially on premium devices. Lenovo is much worse, using sometimes even lower frequencies, from 200Hz up.
 

CRoebuck

macrumors member
May 16, 2014
44
28
Honestly. I wish I knew what difference there is between the A03E (2018/19) and A034 (2017) panels. PWM frequency on both is 118KHZ or higher so "shouldn't" be a problem and yet I can only work with the new panel for 15 mins at a time. I spoke to one genius who suggested a lower refresh rate to save battery life but I'm struggling to confirm that. I have seen far more aggressive use of dither on the Intel drivers supporting Coffee Lake, perhaps it's related? (I guess this could be proved using an external panel)

It certainly feels like it's not affecting many although one guy on LEDStrain forum described the exact same symptoms as me. He got totally burned for it of course !!

For now, my 2017 is stepping up to the plate but I'd appreciate more speed/space etc etc
 
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Falhófnir

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Aug 19, 2017
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I'm pretty sure they've been using it since at least the start of the retina generation machines, so 7 years and 8 generations of machine at this point!
 

powerslave12r

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Sep 19, 2010
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Honestly. I wish I knew what difference there is between the A03E (2018/19) and A034 (2017) panels. PWM frequency on both is 118KHZ or higher so "shouldn't" be a problem and yet I can only work with the new panel for 15 mins at a time. I spoke to one genius who suggested a lower refresh rate to save battery life but I'm struggling to confirm that. I have seen far more aggressive use of dither on the Intel drivers supporting Coffee Lake, perhaps it's related? (I guess this could be proved using an external panel)

It certainly feels like it's not affecting many although one guy on LEDStrain forum described the exact same symptoms as me. He got totally burned for it of course !!

For now, my 2017 is stepping up to the plate but I'd appreciate more speed/space etc etc
Have you paid attention to the brightness?

Different panels use different PWM curves, and in line with its intended purpose, frequencies increase as you increase the brightness. Some panels show no PWM above 30%, some above 50% and so on.

You can try working at a somewhat reasonably higher brightness to possibly reduce its effect.
 

Maven1975

macrumors 6502a
Aug 24, 2008
882
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The only current devices I can now use in Apples portable lineup are the Ipad Pro's or iPhone Xr.

It's a shame they don't listen or care about this issue. This is nothing new and has been reported for years now.

I would give them my money but it's just not an option. :/

Having to use and adjust to Windows, breaking the continuity advantage when having all Apple devices. (iMessage/Handoff/Airdrop) Most importantly, not having OSX.
 

ghanwani

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Dec 8, 2008
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Is PWM used just to save power? If so, why don't they provide an option to disable it?

I have had my 2019 MBP 4TB* for about 3 weeks now and have been noticing quite a bit more eye strain/tiredness when using it compared to my 2017 MBP 2TB*. I wish I could return it and buy something else but at 3 weeks I'm out of the return period.

* TB = thunderbolt ports
 

TheBigApple2006

macrumors regular
Feb 20, 2006
234
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Is PWM used just to save power? If so, why don't they provide an option to disable it?

I have had my 2019 MBP 4TB* for about 3 weeks now and have been noticing quite a bit more eye strain/tiredness when using it compared to my 2017 MBP 2TB*. I wish I could return it and buy something else but at 3 weeks I'm out of the return period.

* TB = thunderbolt ports
Have you tried something like Gamma Control? https://michelf.ca/projects/gamma-control/ This could in theory get rid of PWM, and has other adjustments too.
 

spraycansoul

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Apr 12, 2019
22
3
Anyone else purchase the new 2019 MacBook Pro and experienced PWM or use Gamma Control to help combat this problem?
 

Falhófnir

macrumors 68040
Aug 19, 2017
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Is PWM used just to save power? If so, why don't they provide an option to disable it?

I have had my 2019 MBP 4TB* for about 3 weeks now and have been noticing quite a bit more eye strain/tiredness when using it compared to my 2017 MBP 2TB*. I wish I could return it and buy something else but at 3 weeks I'm out of the return period.

* TB = thunderbolt ports
I think in a lot of cases it extends the brightness range down a lot dimmer than the panel would otherwise support. Typically OLEDs don't have a brilliant range of brightness levels going by constant voltage, I don't know the rationale for the LCDs in the MacBook Pros using PWM.
 
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BLBL

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Apr 11, 2018
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My understanding is that PWM is used because when backlight is not consistent/high quality enough when dimmed (like changing color temp too much) you can bypass that problem by running it constantly at 100% but instead of dimming it you just flicker (turn it on and off constantly) it at varying rate to trick the eye see it as dimmer. So basically in very short using PWM just allows to use lower quality cheaper panels that appears look like good ones for the most peoples but when PWM rate is too low some peoples sense it and get all kinds of symptoms, and some even when PWM rate is rather high.
 

ghanwani

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Dec 8, 2008
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My understanding is that PWM is used because when backlight is not consistent/high quality enough when dimmed (like changing color temp too much) you can bypass that problem by running it constantly at 100% but instead of dimming it you just flicker (turn it on and off constantly) it at varying rate to trick the eye see it as dimmer. So basically in very short using PWM just allows to use lower quality cheaper panels that appears look like good ones for the most peoples but when PWM rate is too low some peoples sense it and get all kinds of symptoms, and some even when PWM rate is rather high.
If this were the case why would MBP nTB models not have it while MBP TB have it?
 

BLBL

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Apr 11, 2018
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Isn't nTB using older generation panels? They can be better actually. Doesn't Apple often keep manufacturing older models still after newer ones have been introduced but still building the old models using the same specification as before.
Good example is that nTB models sold today and even built recently still have just 2nd gen butterfly keyboards even newer ones have been introduced and known to even fix or improve thing that caused older gen keyboards to fail...
 

ghanwani

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Dec 8, 2008
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Isn't nTB using older generation panels? They can be better actually. Doesn't Apple often keep manufacturing older models still after newer ones have been introduced but still building the old models using the same specification as before.
Good example is that nTB models sold today and even built recently still have just 2nd gen butterfly keyboards even newer ones have been introduced and known to even fix or improve thing that caused older gen keyboards to fail...
I have no way to check that now, but you may be right.

I did try the 1.4 and 2.4 machines again today side by side. The display still looked different and I still had a slight preference for the 1.4. I tried to focus on the keyboard difference and yes there is a subtle difference. I felt like I was typing more accurately on the 1.4 even though the 2.4 had a slightly softer feel to it.
 

BLBL

macrumors 6502a
Apr 11, 2018
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You did not notice any difference in colors between 1.4 vs 2.4 other having more colorful look? Because I remember Pro (older models) demo models at shops use to look having very strong and warm colors but at home using my 1.4 Pro it does not feel the same. Could be just that at the shop they are always running screen at full 100% brightness and maybe demo models are somewhat hand picked better units. I also thought that they might has set Pro display to sRGB icc-profile making normal colors like in web browsing appear stronger (while being of course too saturated if doing so) burt from what I have checked the demo units they were using default color LCD profile (which should be using P3) but I cannot be sure if demo models are set to do something weird with profiles to make them appear more colorful.

Anyway, display in 1.4 is not very bad. It just have some banding that I'm not sure 2.4 suffers from. Also backlight does appear to be just about noticeable with bright like full white screens. Not really leaking but you can actually notice where they are located in the edges of the image if you look hard enough. Good thing is that with full black image there does not appear to be and backlight bleeding.
Plus 1.4 screen has very very tiny uniformity issue with full white picture (slightly reddish one side and slightly bluish other side but most in lower part of the picture). But that is very minor and needs to be looked very hard in certain conditions and mostly still just appear with both TT and NS on when picture is much warmed. Probably most peoples would not even notice it. Also I don't know if it is the same thing with display in 2.4 as I have not had that at home for extensive testing, especially uniformity issues are pretty common with LCD and practically you never find two panels 100% equal. These kind of things are something that take time and certain conditions to be able to seen. Shops in generally are about the worst conditions to make any good tests for display.

About keyboards also good if you like the feel of the 1.4 kb and noisier typing does not bother you. Actually 1.4 keyboard needing more force to press the keys might have benefit later on, since it may have stiffer "spring" so that in case some debris get in the mechanism it will not jam so easily... Just a guess. Anyway, I personally prefer silent keyboards and certain soft but accurate feeling of the key presses. In my opinion force needed to press keys in 1.4 is just a bit too much. It is harder to type this keyboard by just sliding fingers across the keys and lighly and silently press them like I learned to do with my Air 2018. I actually notice using much more force pressing them and hitting them more like if I was using the traditional desktop keyboard which increases the noise from 1.4 keyboard even more...
 
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spraycansoul

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Apr 12, 2019
22
3
Bump!

On the verge of purchasing a MBP 2019 , how have people been getting on , is the PWM tolerable?
 
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ghanwani

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Dec 8, 2008
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I didn’t receive the 1.4 yet.

I’m wondering if it might have been True Tone that resulted in headaches for me rather than the PWM. This is the first device that I had that had True Tone, but also the first device with PWM.

I have not been able to find info yet on whether the 2TB3 model has PWM.

FWIW I have been using my work windows laptop for the last couple of weeks or so and have had no issues with headaches. Being a matte display, it is of course vastly different.
[doublepost=1565559968][/doublepost]I didn’t receive the 1.4 yet.

I’m wondering if it might have been True Tone that resulted in headaches for me rather than the PWM. This is the first device that I had that had True Tone, but also the first device with PWM.

I have not been able to find info yet on whether the 2TB3 model has PWM.

FWIW I have been using my work windows laptop for the last couple of weeks or so and have had no issues with headaches. Being a matte display, it is of course vastly different.