Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Macbook Pro Unibody 2009 LCD Display

This is the next piece of my MBP Unibody to receive my attention.  I am dismayed at the support for the LCD under Windows.  No driver is provided for the monitor so it using the Generic PnP Display driver.  As i have previously posted, it seems the ACPI support is almost missing.  Because of this, Windows is unable to adjust the brightness of the screen as is apparent from its absence in the Mobility Centre:


This also means that some of the cool new power management features of Windows 7 like the idle screen dimming feature are unavailable.  I really like this feature in OSX and would love to see it working under Windows.  I decided tonight to investigate this further and the first step was to find out some useful information about the panel.  Running the following command in an OSX terminal window gives you the model of your display:

ioreg -lw0 | grep IODisplayEDID | sed "/[^<]*</s///" | xxd -p -r | strings –6

Finding the model information under Windows is even easier:

  1. Open device manager
  2. Expand the Monitors node and double-click the display to bring up its properties dialog
  3. Change to the Details tab and select Hardware Ids from the drop down list

The model can be seen in the last 4 digits of the hardware ID.  For example mine is MONITOR\APP9CA4 which means i have the 9CA4 screen.  A quick Google search reveals that this means i have the Samsung LTN154BT08 LCD panel.  You can also use the trial version of the excellent Everest application to get even more detailed information:


Now that i know the panel specifications i can continue my hunt for a driver that will hopefully provide better control of the screen.  In the meantime, i highly recommend running the Calibrate display colour wizard included with Windows 7 as a minimum.  When i ran the wizard, i found the gamma to be WAY too high, which was leading to a washed out image.  I ended up following the fantastic guide and lowering the as low as it would let me.  Admittedly, up to that point i had not noticed the high gamma since the screen is so damned nice, but after making the adjustment, i can honestly say the colours are much richer.  It seems a lot of other people have come to the same conclusion even compared to the standard OSX colour profile.

Oh by the way, if you are thinking of purchasing the matte display option, read this article first.  While it does reduce glare to a certain extent, you do sacrifice quite a lot of colour richness.  I personally dont find the glare distracting at all, but i guess its personal opinion.


Josh said...

I really appreciate you posting your efforts towards making the Macbook / Windows 7 experience better.

I'm in roughly the same boat, having recently purchased a 13" Macbook Pro with the intention of using Windows 7 as my primary OS.

I might have a partial fix for your sound issue.

I noticed that the red line-in light on my Macbook is always on in Windows, and it occured to me that Windows might think that my Macbook is always 'recording'.

When I opened the 'Sound' control panel, when to the 'Communication' tab, and checked 'do nothing' (as opposed to the 'reduce volume by 80%' that was checked), and clicked apply, my system sounds got significantly louder. Clicking 'virtual surround' under Speakers > Properties > Enhancements also helped a bit...

Keep it up...

Xca][ibur said...

Thank you very much for the encouragement! I am really motivated to write about this topic since, as i think you'll agree, i find the MBPU/Windows 7 combination to be the best computing experience i've ever had.

Cheers for the suggestions it sounds promising and i will be trying them out tonight. The red light you are seeing on is the S/PDIF optic light, used for playback. The driver should turn it off when not in use but fails to do so. You can read more about it on Wikipedia