Things you need to know before buying an LCD monitor…..

Research, research, research…..and then some more research. (most) LCD manufacturers are trying to cut costs down so you need to know what you’re paying for before you walk into the store. So here are a bunch of good sites to go to in order to find the relevant information:

And now for the Apple portion of this program…..If you’re buying an Apple Macbook Pro laptop thinking that it’s got the PRO attached to it so it must be a great 8-bit panel, think again. They use 6-bit TN panels (as of this writing) like everyone else, but make a point of “millions of colors”, when that’s not completely truthful. See this article to see why I say didn’t say “It’s a lie”.

If you have an OSX machine and want to quickly find out the manufacturers part number of your display(s) (yes even external panels are supported by this program), use SwitchresX. I grabbed the Control panel version of it since I did not want to install the entire application. Once you run the control panel you’ll see the following screen:

On my Macboo Pro I have an external monitor (which we will not look at in this article). Make sure the pulldown selects the appropriate monitor/lcd and click the Export EDID button. This will export the EDID data stored in your monitor into a text file. This is what it looks like:
DDC block report generated by SwitchResX version 3.8.3 for display
Color LCD (1)

-----------------------------------------------------
------------------- RAW DATA ------------------------
-----------------------------------------------------
      0  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  A  B  C  D  E  F
-----------------------------------------------------
0  | 00 FF FF FF FF FF FF 00 06 10 62 9C 00 00 00 00
1  | 0F 10 01 03 80 25 17 78 0A 7E A0 98 57 51 8B 27
2  | 22 50 54 00 00 00 01 01 01 01 01 01 01 01 01 01
3  | 01 01 01 01 01 01 7C 2E 90 A0 60 1A 1E 40 30 20
4  | 36 00 6F E6 10 00 00 18 00 00 00 01 00 06 10 30
5  | 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 0A 20 00 00 00 FE 00 4C
6  | 50 31 37 31 57 45 32 2D 54 4C 41 31 00 00 00 FE
7  | 00 43 6F 6C 6F 72 20 4C 43 44 0A 20 20 20 00 EB
-----------------------------------------------------
 <  00FFFFFF FFFFFF00 0610629C 00000000 0F100103 
80251778 0A7EA098 57518B27 22505400 00000101 
01010101 01010101 01010101 01017C2E 90A0601A 
1E403020 36006FE6 10000018 00000001 00061030 
00000000 00000000 0A200000 00FE004C 50313731 
5745322D 544C4131 000000FE 00436F6C 6F72204C 
43440A20 202000EB >

-----------------------------------------------------
                   Valid EDID block: checksum passed

-----------------------------------------------------
------------------- MAIN EDID BLOCK ------------------
-----------------------------------------------------

EDID Version........1.3
Manufacturer........APP
Product Code........25244 (629C) (9C62) 
Serial Number.......00000000
Manufactured........Week 15 of year 2006
Max H Size..........37 cm
Max V Size..........23 cm
Gamma...............2.20
Display Supported Features:
---------------------------

Display type:
-------------  
            RGB 4:4:4 & YCrCb 4:4:4 Color Encoding Formats 
            Display is non continuous frequency 
            Default color space is not sRGB standard 
            Preferred timing mode includes Native Pixel Format

Input signal & sync:
-------------------- 
Digital Input 
           Color Bit Depth is undefined  
           Digital Interface is not defined   

Color info:
----------- 
Red x = 0.595  Green x = 0.319  Blue x = 0.154  White x = 0.312
Red y = 0.343  Green y = 0.545  Blue y = 0.135  White y = 0.328

Established Timings:
-------------------- 

Manufacturer Reserved Timings:
------------------------------ 

Standard Timing Identification:
------------------------------- 

Monitor Description blocks:
---------------------------  
             Descriptor #0 is Timing definition: 
             Mode = 1680 x 1050 @ 59.883Hz  
                            Pixel Clock............. 119.00 MHz  Non-Interlaced
                                                          Horizontal  Vertical  
                           Active..................    1680 pixels  1050 lines  
                           Front Porch.............   48 pixels     3 lines  
                           Sync Width..............   32 pixels     6 lines  
                           Back Porch..............   80 pixels    21 lines  
                           Blanking................  160 pixels    30 lines  
                           Total...................    1840 pixels  1080 lines  
                           Scan Rate...............  64.674 kHz   59.883 Hz  
                           Image Size..............  367 mm   230 mm  
                           Border..................    0 pixels     0 lines   

                                          Sync: Digital separate with    
                                                      * Negative vertical polarity    
                                                      * Negative horizontal polarity 
             Descriptor #1 is Manufacturer specific data (not interpreted here) 

             Descriptor #2 is ASCII data:   LP171WE2-TLA1 
             
             Descriptor #3 is ASCII data:   Color LCD

Now as you can see my LCD’s part number is LP171WE2 (TLA1 is not important). If you type this on LG/Philips lcd site you’ll get the details of it:

Well now atleast I KNOW FOR SURE….I’m in 6-bit Hell….Thanks Apple!!!!

Leave a Reply