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Portables (Apple) Bug Displays Hardware

Grey Lines Mar MacBook Air Displays 288

adamengst writes "Numerous users have been complaining about grey lines that muddy the crispness of the displays of the recently updated MacBook Air. Doug McLean explains the problem in TidBITS, along with what Apple appears to be doing about it."
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Grey Lines Mar MacBook Air Displays

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  • No surprise (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Mad Merlin ( 837387 ) on Friday December 05, 2008 @09:32AM (#26001863) Homepage

    LCD panel quality in general has been on the slide for a couple years now. Pretty much every LCD sold today has a trashy TN panel (6-bit colour and awful viewing angles), instead of mostly just the cheap ones like a couple years ago.

  • by MemoryDragon ( 544441 ) on Friday December 05, 2008 @09:48AM (#26001991)

    DonÂt get me wrong die macbook air has so many things done right, but I get the feeling that it was released prematurely. I am not sure how it is with the current ones.
    But I have one of the first generation, and you cannot run more than 10 minutes on 60% processor load after then the speed drops significantly due to excessive heat.

    Which means since I mostly use ot for development I reach this stage after a few hours of work.
    I called apple about this, and the support seemed to be rather dumb regarding this issue! Searching on the net revealed that others have the same problem. I assume this is a broken by design issue, since the heathing itself might be a problem in this formfactor.

    Well maybe this problem is resolved with the current generation but seeing that they now have another problem with the otherwise excellent display.

    Well to sum it up, if they aluminium macbooks would have been out back then I would have opted for a macbook instead of the air, but for now I live witht it and a handful of hacks installed to make the heating/venting issues more bearable!

  • Dithering (Score:5, Interesting)

    by AC-x ( 735297 ) on Friday December 05, 2008 @09:49AM (#26002007)

    The picture [] posted of the problem looks like the dithering's gone wrong and it's just showing lines rather then the usual checkerboard pattern

  • by Tastecicles ( 1153671 ) on Friday December 05, 2008 @09:55AM (#26002053)

    ...considering I now use LCD wherever a visual display unit is required, I'm very fussy about the flaws I allow. I sent some Samsung panels back and had them replaced because two of them had ghost patches. One had a bug (a real bug!) sandwiched in between the LCD layer and the backplane. Yet another had a partially detached backplane (which resulted in uneven lighting). No good to me at all. I can deal with one or two hot or dead pixels, unless it's on a panel I use to do serious work on (read: graphics-intensive stuff) where the panel has to be pixel perfect and the backlight has to be even and of the right colour temperature. As for Apple's not very new problems: yes, their panel quality has suffered a huge amount over the years. I have a G3 Lombard with a perfect panel (no hot/dead pixels and the light is even), and a G4 iBook with a panel which has dark corners and four hot pixels right in the middle of the panel. Not hugely offputting unless I try and watch a DVD... and now the Airs have panel problems? Hardly surprising... tho don't try and pick one up by the top edge of the screen, I heard of a guy who couldn't wait to get home from the Apple dealer over here and took his MBA out of the box as he left the shop... snapped the notebook in half. ...sort of put me off from buying one...

  • Re:No surprise (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Friday December 05, 2008 @10:05AM (#26002161) Journal
    A little while back the HD in my MacBook Pro died (shortly after completing the first full backup I'd done in almost a year, which was pretty incredible timing). While it was off being repaired, I switched back to my old PowerBook. The resolution of the screen was slightly lower, but the difference was amazing. With the PB I have massive viewing angles - unless I'm off at such a wide angle that the screen is almost a sliver, the image is still clear. With the MBP it starts to go as soon as I'm not flat-on to the display. You'd have thought that the 'pro' lines would still have decent technology, but maybe no one's making it anymore (and the newer ones have those horrible glossy screens, so I won't be getting one of them). If it wasn't for the fact that LaTeX documents that build in 10 seconds on the MBP take over a minute on the PowerBook, I'd be tempted to switch back to it.
  • by je ne sais quoi ( 987177 ) on Friday December 05, 2008 @10:17AM (#26002295)
    That sounds like a likely possibility. Seems like if it's a calibration issue, you wouldn't have to replace the display, but you would have to recalibrate it. In the FTA, they suggest that:

    Theories about the lines are scant, but the main ones attribute them to the new anti-glare coating or the new Nvidia graphic chips. Many users seem suspicious, though hopeful, that a firmware update will resolve the problem.

    The anti-glare coating idea is bollocks I think, because if it's a coating it would wear out in circular patterns like spots, not horizontal lines. If it's NVidia's fault it'll be a bad year for them with their crummy vista drivers having come out as well.

  • by aqui ( 472334 ) on Friday December 05, 2008 @10:37AM (#26002477)

    HP came out with a new LCD display and (also in notebook form) that displays billions of colors.

    This beats even apples cinelerra displays: []

    HP press release (on the notebook): []

    Many people don't know about it yet but it appears to be making waves..

    Possibly apple is getting to comfortable with it's new marketshare.

    Personally I will be looking at the displays as an alternative, when I buy yet a bigger monitor...

    (disclosure: I work for EDS an HP company, as a consultant)

  • by MemoryDragon ( 544441 ) on Friday December 05, 2008 @11:06AM (#26002775)

    In my case it was, i am constantly on the road due to being in a consulting business, and dragging around something more heavy is a major pain. Add to that the OSX is pure unix, and the formfactor of the air is close to being rugged, and you get the perfect roadwarrior machine. Not everyone who has to travel a lot is a salesman, I am sort of a wandering developer :-)

  • Re:tag: appleispants (Score:5, Interesting)

    by AKAImBatman ( 238306 ) * <> on Friday December 05, 2008 @11:34AM (#26003101) Homepage Journal

    In Soviet Russia.... well, I have no idea what they call their underclothes, but I'm sure it has something to do with the underclothes wearing YOU. Or something like that.

    After WWII, Russia ended up with tons of German clothes as part of the spoils of war. Not being familiar with the styles of clothing worn in Germany, many women were seen using German undergarments as evening gowns. (e.g. going to the Opera, a ball, or a fancy party) For the most part no one noticed the difference, but those that were more familiar with German life were amused to no end.

  • Re:Suprise... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by tsa ( 15680 ) on Friday December 05, 2008 @12:10PM (#26003533) Homepage

    I agree. My MacBook Pro has a really crappy display for such an expensive laptop IMO. From whichever angle I look at it, I never see the whole screen in the same brightness.

  • by lysergic.acid ( 845423 ) on Friday December 05, 2008 @01:40PM (#26004711) Homepage

    who the hell are you people who are constantly having hardware issues (and just put up with it)?

    if my video card or sound card breaks, and there's no way to fix it, i replace it. if my system is acting strange and affecting my productivity, i troubleshoot the problem and resolve the issue, or reformat and do a fresh install when necessary. there's no reason to put up with a system that is constantly crashing or that "goes black once a week." it's not a problem with technology; it's a problem of, either having the incredibly bad luck of consistently buying defective hardware, or simply being too undiscerning when shopping for a computer.

    honestly, this idea that computers can never work properly for long periods of time is incredibly misguided. in my experience the only people who resign themselves to a fate of having a computer that never functions properly are generally people who aren't very computer savvy. otherwise, it shouldn't take more than 2-3 weeks to troubleshoot a problem and get it resolved one way or another. and you shouldn't be having computer problems all the time.

    heck, even the computers i have to fix at work usually stay fixed for at least 3-4 months. and only very rarely do hardware problems crop up (maybe once every 1~2 years one of the 5 computers in the office will need something replaced). and we don't even get manufacturer warranties. honestly, there's no reason to settle for a less than fully functional system. after all, you paid good money for it. so fix it yourself, or find someone who can.

  • by Haeleth ( 414428 ) on Friday December 05, 2008 @05:53PM (#26007851) Journal

    This is not entirely true. For example, Apple's cinema displays are 8-bit panels.

    It's also not just an Apple thing; if you buy a computer from absolutely anyone, and don't go out of your way to make sure you're getting an expensive monitor, you'll end up with a 6-bit panel. Most people don't care. Gamers even prefer 6-bit panels, because they have better black levels and faster response times.

  • by piltdownman84 ( 853358 ) <piltdownman84 AT mac DOT com> on Friday December 05, 2008 @06:07PM (#26008007)
    No, the scary part was I truly believe that he thought the cable was better. It didn't seem like the guy was trying to screw me, but more so that he was so brainwashed himself that he believed I needed the high end cable.

    I do feel somewhat bad for the salespeople that have to ask about warranty on ever item. I just recently got a PS3 at EB and the girl had to ask me for every item if I wanted the warranty. After I declined it on the console and the first remote control I said I don't want a warranty on anything, but she said it was store policy that she had to ask for every item and she would get in trouble if she didn't ask, so she had to ask on three more controllers, and a remote control.

God help those who do not help themselves. -- Wilson Mizner