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Eye strain from LED backlighting in MacBook Pro

431617 Views 1,978 Replies Latest reply: Apr 15, 2014 9:01 AM by Jessiah1 RSS Branched to a new discussion.
  • MisterMojo Calculating status...
    Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 26, 2013 4:58 PM (in response to dmendel)

    I am using a 2012 Mac Mini with an NEC WUXi-2 display. I purchased it two years ago. (The display is discontinued and has been replaced by http://www.necdisplay.com/p/desktop-monitors/p241w-bk.)  I chose a CCFL backlit display because I didn't want to take a chance with an LED monitor; I don't have the option of personally demoing a new display where I live.

     

    I have absolutely no problems using the display. In fact, I'd say that it's the best computer display I have ever owned. I use it for many hours every day without a hint of eyestrain. I am using the stock display NEC profile for the WUXi-2 and it is remarkably accurate. Since I am a photographer I'm relatively picky about display quality.

     

    The PA241W-BK is currently available at B&H Photo for $582 vs. its $749 list price.  If that is too high or you just want something different NEC has a wide-range of displays priced from cheap to expensive. While most display manufacturers have switched-over to LED displays NEC offers both LED and CCFL displays. Go to http://www.necdisplay.com/category/desktop-monitors and use the fields on the left-side to quickly find displays that meet your various requirements.

  • StefanD13 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Nov 30, 2013 5:47 AM (in response to mvanier)

    An update on the proprietary NVidia linux driver... It is definetely much less eye strain than the open source nouveau driver, but I still get sore eyes after some hour or two . I also cannot see any difference when playing with the dithering options

     

    In the mean time ordered the iPad Air as well, but cannot use more than half an hour or so...

  • Kxtr73 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Nov 30, 2013 7:18 AM (in response to StefanD13)

    StefanD13

     

    I've tested half the year - 3 different 24-27-32' LCD screens with fluorescent/LED and even incandascent backlight. It always ended the same - pain and sore in right eye. Sometimes bad symptoms appeared after many days, then weeks later even after a few minutes of watching those LCD created immediate eye strain. The image was without PWM and any visible dithering and V-com flicker. I looked through the magnifying glass and everything was stable on the screen. Brightness, lack of blue colour, many eye glasses tested, glass and plasctic sheets before screen or vision distance (from 60 cm to few meters) has changed only some. As a result the pain always came.

     

     

     

    I gave up and returned to CRT. I have no problems at all from 30 years with this technology with min. 85 Hz refresh rate.

     

    You and me have sore eye problem or our eyes are different some kind (mayby ill?) then other people. My wife has watched the same 3 LCD screens as me and did not complain at all.

  • StefanD13 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Nov 30, 2013 7:32 AM (in response to Kxtr73)

    there is no illness, i have different levels of eye strain (from none to very bad) depending on operating system, driver or color depth. the image may look stable, you will not perceive flicker below 30hz, but your eyes will do. i think i need to invest the 600€ for a frame grabber just to prove myself i'm not crazy...

  • Kxtr73 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 30, 2013 8:11 AM (in response to StefanD13)

    I don't think it's a good idea. Try better camera with slow motion. Every LCD could flicker from: PWM, dithering and V-com. You can make screen without PWM (now many screens are PWM free) and dithering (ex. 6 BIT TFT panel in 16bit colour Win XP or 8-10 BIT in 32bit colour) but V-com flicker is always there: http://www.intersil.com/content/dam/Intersil/documents/an12/an1208.pdf

     

    From some distance (depends from size of screen it could be two meters or more) human eye cannot see dithering or V-com, like you can't even see very visible dithering in plasma technology. Try testing your screen by watching films from distance first for many hours.

     

    BTW. Human eye can see more then 200 HZ flicker in peripheral vision. I switched off 250 HZ PWM in CCFL monitor and I saw the difference. The picture was much nicer and steady.

     

    http://amo.net/NT/02-21-01FPS.html

    There is a common misconception in human thinking that our eyes can only interpret 30 Frames Per Second (...)   The USAF, in testing their pilots for visual response time, used a simple test to see if the pilots could distinguish small changes in light. In their experiment a picture of an aircraft was flashed on a screen in a dark room at 1/220th of a second. Pilots were consistently able to "see" the afterimage as well as identify the aircraft. This simple and specific situation not only proves the ability to percieve 1 image within 1/220 of a second, but the ability to interpret higher FPS.

  • Kxtr73 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Nov 30, 2013 8:25 AM (in response to Kxtr73)

    Read this first and test your screen for inversion and dithering. Get magnifying glass.

     

    http://www.techmind.org/lcd/ inversion=V-com

    http://www.lagom.nl/lcd-test/

    http://www.tftcentral.co.uk/features.htm

  • StefanD13 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Dec 1, 2013 4:08 AM (in response to Kxtr73)

    Hi Kxtr73,

     

    I know my monitor is not perfect . I have indeed used magnifying glass + slow motion camera (unfortunately cheap and poor quality) and I can see that even in the configuration where I get absolutely no eye strain (Win8 + older Nvidia driver) there is pixel flickering.

    However on same hardware and using Linux + nouveau driver there is huge eye strain, so there must be an influence from the graphic driver itself. This could be catched by a frame grabber...

     

    (Some time ago I tried as well to compare good and bad case using magnifying glass and slow motion camera but couldn't see much. Back then, the bad case was not so bad, maybe I should try again...).

     

    BR,

    Stefan

  • mvanier Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 1, 2013 8:51 AM (in response to StefanD13)

    Stefan,

     

    I'm curious: how do you change graphics drivers on Linux?  Do you recompile the kernel or X windows?  Also, I've read that on Windows there are extensive customization for the graphics card; have you experimented with any of those?  The goal would be to find options related to pixel flickering/dithering that would actually make eyestrain worse.  BTW, I don't think that all pixel flickering is necessarily going to cause big problems.  If you are flickering a pixel only very slightly (the last bit in the resolution, as dithering often does) and it is done in a regular way (no random spatial flickering) you might not be able to see it and it might not cause eyestrain.

     

    BTW I know this conversation may seem to have drifted far from MacBooks, but since I'm pretty sure the same phenomenon is at work in all OSs, it's still relevant.

  • StefanD13 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 1, 2013 9:34 PM (in response to mvanier)

    Hello mvanier,

    No, there is UI option where you can select whether open source or proprietary driver, see als here a description: http://www.psychocats.net/ubuntu/drivers.

    Only if you change the open source driver, you will need to recompile the kernel and the nouveau kernel module (maybe you can even skip the kernel compilation, but is better to have both original and custom kernel installed, in case you do something wrong in the custom configuration).

    I have tried several options without success. For example there are many settings which you can adjust using nvidia-settings, but at least for dithering (yes, for this you don't even need to fiddle with the xconf.org) they seem not to be working properly, since whatever I set, there is visually not difference and also no difference in the eye strain.

    BR,

    Stefan

  • mvanier Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 1, 2013 9:44 PM (in response to StefanD13)

    Stefan,

     

    Thanks for the information.  Is there a nouveau mailing list?  If so, have you asked them to help you with this problem?  There must be someone out there who understands the inner workings of graphics cards/drivers who would be willing to discuss this with us.  I've looked around at the Linux/Xorg source code and it's certainly not for the faint-hearted.  What's worse is that I'm pretty sure that this "random dithering" effect is being put in by the graphics card and simply requested by the driver.  Or maybe not even that; it may be on by default and the driver would have to explicitly ask for it not to be enabled.  But a number of people have mentioned that updating graphics drivers caused eyestrain symptoms to appear on the exact same hardware, so the hardware can't always be the problem.  What would be ideal is if we could locate a change in an open-source driver like the Intel drivers that caused the problem to appear.

  • ArtechokiQ Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 4, 2013 9:33 PM (in response to mvanier)

    Did you get a chance to check out EIZO FORIS FG2421?

  • spprt Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 4, 2013 10:57 PM (in response to ArtechokiQ)

    In my opinion that monitor is not worth a try. TFT Central's review shows it uses all kinds of eye-hurting technology:

     

    - Backlighting type: W-LED (strong blue spectrum)

    - Color depth: 8-bit + FRC (pixel flicker)

    - PWM below OSD brightness setting 20

    - OSD brightness 20 = 118.05 cd/m2 (ouch!)

  • ArtechokiQ Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 5, 2013 4:36 PM (in response to spprt)

    Yes you might be right but it has 120Hz VA-panel plus DC dimming above 20%. The frc can be avoided with lower colors and an older operating system or a simple linux OS like Crunchbang. Maybe I am wrong!

  • Spock66 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 5, 2013 6:23 PM (in response to RMartin111)

    I've written before on this forum about my problems with Led Backlighting.
    I have tested several led computer monitors, including one Eizo without PWM, Ipad 3 and 4 and an LG 55" Led TV set. All of them have given me a terrible eye strain.
    But a week ago, i was in to a Tv and Radio shop to buy a cable and i took the opportunity also to watch the television sets they had there.
    They were all LED.
    One of the television sets had a very soft and comfortable image.
    I was standing and looked at it for about half an hour and to my surprise i didn´t get any eye strain.
    I bought the TV and now i can finally watch a movie without the eyes start to bleed
    The brand of TV is Sony KDL-47W805A (EU) and it has an IPS LG panel, but i've read that the U.S. version is called KDL-47W802A.
    It's very strange that i do not get any eye strain when i get it from all the other led screens i tried?
    So I start wondering if it really is the LED lighting that is the main problem?
    But for those of you who have problems and are looking to buy a TV, go in to a shop and check this tv out. It can be the solution to one of the problems anyway.
    I really hope i can find the right computer screen too

  • Exandas Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 6, 2013 6:28 AM (in response to Spock66)

    Regarding Sony, I would suggest to try Sony Xperia M. It is a budget smartphone, I used it for a week and i got eye strain and blurry vision after an hour of continuous use, which for me is a great improvement compared to the iphone 4s. I am thinking of buying it for everyday use.

     

    I cannot understand why it is better for my eyes. I think it is a normal LED backlight display.

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