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You are here: MacNN Forums > Enthusiast Zone > Hardware Hacking > Putting a higher resolution, matte display in a MacBook

Putting a higher resolution, matte display in a MacBook
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shifuimam
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Aug 10, 2011, 01:07 PM
 
Has this been done by anyone? Can it be done?

My experiences with my clamshell iBook upgrade indicated that not all LCDs are the same, even if they appear to be - Apple seemed to be doing something to the video signal back then. That may not be true anymore.

That being said, is it possible to put a matte 13.3" widescreen LCD in a MacBook? What about a higher resolution display?
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ShortcutToMoncton
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Aug 17, 2011, 01:53 PM
 
I guess, after 273 views, I'll ask the obvious question: "okay...why?"
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cgc
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Aug 17, 2011, 03:09 PM
 
Originally Posted by shifuimam View Post
...Apple seemed to be doing something to the video signal back then. That may not be true anymore...
No, Apple still controls the vertical and the horizontal...

There is nothing wrong with your television set. Do not attempt to adjust the picture. We are controlling transmission. If we wish to make it louder, we will bring up the volume. If we wish to make it softer, we will tune it to a whisper. We will control the horizontal. We will control the vertical. We can roll the image, make it flutter. We can change the focus to a soft blur or sharpen it to crystal clarity. For the next hour, sit quietly and we will control all that you see and hear. We repeat: there is nothing wrong with your television set. You are about to participate in a great adventure. You are about to experience the awe and mystery which reaches from the inner mind to... The Outer Limits.
— Opening narration – The Control Voice – 1960s
     
shifuimam  (op)
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Aug 17, 2011, 03:32 PM
 
Originally Posted by ShortcutToMoncton View Post
I guess, after 273 views, I'll ask the obvious question: "okay...why?"
Because I flipping despise glossy displays. Yes, I know the colors are "richer". Yes, I know it looks prettier up close. Frankly, I don't care. I have had laptops with matte displays, and I have had laptops with glossy displays. I prefer matte by a long shot.

The display on this MacBook needs to be replaced - there are small bits of debris trapped between the LCD panel itself and the reflective layer behind it, along with some significant bright spots all over the bottom half of the display. I figure if I'm going to replace it, I may as well upgrade while I'm at it.

There should be no question as to why I want a higher resolution display. If I can put a 1440x900 or 1600x900 display in here instead of the standard 1280x800, why shouldn't I? I'm a pixel density whore.
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Waragainstsleep
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Aug 19, 2011, 09:53 AM
 
I put a lower resolution 3rd party display in a MacBook Pro once and that worked fine. The chip in your MacBook can certainly run a higher res, its all about the connection on the panel. FWIW, panels these days seem to be more compatible than they used to be. If the connector fits, chances are it will work. No guarantees though.

Have you even found a higher resolution 13.3" panel? If we are talking about the non-unibody MacBooks, then as far as I know most of the higher res 13s (like in the Air) are LED which those MacBooks are not.
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Koralatov
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Aug 22, 2011, 08:54 AM
 
Originally Posted by shifuimam View Post
There should be no question as to why I want a higher resolution display. If I can put a 1440x900 or 1600x900 display in here instead of the standard 1280x800, why shouldn't I? I'm a pixel density whore.
I totally understand your love of higher pixel-density; in almost all cases, a higher pixel-density is better than a lower one. And if you *are* having to replace the screen, you may as well try and upgrade it, but I don’t think 1600×900 is an option, because that’s a 16:9 ration, whereas the MacBook is 16:10. 1440×900 should work just fine, though, and you could maybe find a 1600×1000 panel to replace it with.
     
shifuimam  (op)
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Aug 25, 2011, 08:54 PM
 
I'd have to use a non-Apple display if I wanted to up the resolution. I'd settle for 1440x900. I might try to pick up a busted display first to see if it's even doable, before I spend the money on a more expensive display in good condition.

The problem is, there's no OF to do NVRAM edits, so I don't know what will happen if I put in a higher res display. Maybe I can use SwitchResX to force it...
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angelmb
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Aug 26, 2011, 03:16 AM
 
I wish I had the guts to replace the glossy 1440*900 display on my Unibody MBP with the Hi-Res matte display current MBP come with, but alas I am a kitchen so I have a MBP that gets no use whatsoever due to its terrible awkward shitty despicable quality low resolution display. (relief)
     
Spheric Harlot
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Aug 26, 2011, 04:14 AM
 
Originally Posted by angelmb View Post
alas I am a kitchen
Awesome turn of phrase.
     
angelmb
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Aug 26, 2011, 07:47 AM
 
Sh*t !!!, I mean 'chicken'. Lets pretend you didn't read and I never did that embarrassing mistake.

Also, 'alas I am a chicken' is kinda funny as 'alas' is spanish for wings'.
     
shifuimam  (op)
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Aug 26, 2011, 08:59 AM
 
I kind of like "I am a kitchen"...it's very pertinent. My kitchen is used for feeding my cats and storing ice cream and beer...it's only marginally more useful than a glossy display on a laptop.
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Eug
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Sep 4, 2011, 01:22 PM
 
Originally Posted by Koralatov View Post
I totally understand your love of higher pixel-density; in almost all cases, a higher pixel-density is better than a lower one. And if you *are* having to replace the screen, you may as well try and upgrade it, but I don’t think 1600×900 is an option, because that’s a 16:9 ration, whereas the MacBook is 16:10. 1440×900 should work just fine, though, and you could maybe find a 1600×1000 panel to replace it with.
Everyone has his own preferences, but…

I MUCH prefer the 1280x800 resolution of the 13" MacBook Pro over the 1366x768 resolution of the 11.6" MacBook Air. The higher pixel densities are very squint inducing. I also wish I had a matte screen on my MBP.

I really don't like the relatively high pixel density of the 27" iMac I have either. I've had to change all the font sizes for everything and put Safari in zoom mode. It's MUCH better on the 21.5".

High pixel density would be great if OS X had resolution independence, but it doesn't. Maybe for my next Mac desktop, I'll just get a Mac mini, swap in a 256 GB SSD, and then run an external USB 3 data drive… and get two matte sub 100 ppi screens.

EDIT:

Here are some of the screen resolutions vs. pixel densities:

15" G4 iMac: 1024 / 12" = 85 ppi
24" iMac: 1920 / 20.4" = 94 ppi
20" iMac: 1680 / 17.1" = 98 ppi
17" iMac: 1440 / 14.4" = 100 ppi
21.5": 1920 / 18.7" = 102 ppi
27": 2560 / 23.5" = 109 ppi
13" MacBook Pro: 1280 / 11.3" = 113 ppi
12" G4 iBook: 1024 / 9" = 114 ppi

You'll note that the 13" MacBook Pro actually has a higher pixel density as compared to the 27" iMac. The difference here though is that people usually have the MacBook Pro situated much closer than the iMac. On the MBP the font sizes look decent, but the iMac's default fonts are tiny. My favourite desktop screens are around 90-100 ppi, but the 21.5" iMac isn't bad either. My favourite laptop screens are around 110-115 ppi. The 11.6" and 13.3" MacBook Airs are much higher.
( Last edited by Eug; Sep 4, 2011 at 01:40 PM. )
     
reader50
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Sep 4, 2011, 02:06 PM
 
Eug, have you tried turning Resolution Independence on? It works perfectly in many apps. You might be able to find an app set that works for you, and live with a few graphical glitches in the essential apps that don't.
     
Eug
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Sep 4, 2011, 03:20 PM
 
Well, I've never turned on that feature, partially because it's not directly supported, although part of the reason is because my main machine is Snow Leopard not Lion and I suspect it doesn't solve the issue with remote desktop apps over VPN either.

Does it work better in Lion? I'll probably wait another couple of point updates before I switch to Lion on my main machine though.
     
   
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