Struggling Over too High DPI (Dell Precision + Apple MBP) Watch

Galadirith
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Report Thread starter 8 years ago
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Hi Guys, Hows Everyone doing, been away from TSR for a little while .

Ok so I'm in the market for a nice new laptop for my first year starting in October. Now I have had a real good search around, looked particularly at Dell, Sony and Apple. I had set out a preliminary budget of £1000, which has sort of been pushed to £1600. The intention for the laptop is of course all Uni work, I'm doing Maths so pretty much would be word and spreadsheet processing, and maybe some Matlab in later years. However I would fully intended on using the laptop for all of my own hobbies to, so its Programing, Web Dev, so would be using one of Adobes Suites, some 3D modeling using Blender and some light gaming, Guild Wars, Runescape () and when it comes out Guild Wars 2. And I do defiantly want it in a 15" form factor, no more no less.

Below in the spoiler is my evolution of considering laptops, and how I have got to this point, I would love if you could read it, but please don't feel you have to .
Spoiler:
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I was fully intent on purchasing one of Sony E-Series Laptops, which came with a free Bluray writer, very enticing. But I choose in the end to not go through with the e-series, there have been some reports of high-pitch noises and HDD crackling, even if isolated events, that along with other reasons like battery life and quite substandard screen, I decided not to go for it.

Initially Looking at Dell's Studio 15 range, it certainly seemed to fit the bill, but again when nearly committed to the purchase I stumbled upon a forum thread describing how the Black chain link is not actually a solid colour, but infact has some weird "Chain Link" patterning on it. Now I just cannot deal with patterning of any sort, I suffer from migraines, and even thin striped shirts really mucks around with my eyes. So I could have switched to another colour which would be solid, but they wanted like £30, to switch colour to one I didn't even want. Spending this much on a laptop only to not be satisfied with it, I said no and didnt go for the studio 15.

I then turned to Apple's top of the range 15" MBP. Now that was a bit of a beast i7-620M, 4GB DDR3, 330M GT 512MB, it might not me a gamers best friend, but packing the toppest (I know not a word ) mobile dual core intel i7, it would certainly fit my criteria. Yes it did go quite a bit over budget but I thought look, I will be using this laptop for 4 years at least on my course, I want a great laptop that will last those years. However, as everything was looking up It sort hit me, the screen. I was so looking forward to getting an apple this didn't cross my mind but I realised of course its has a ridiculously glossy screen. To cut a long story short I got on my Mum's laptop that has a glossy screen, which I have never had an issue with, but tried it out in my room and several more lit environments, suffice to say on my desk where I use a desktop with matte screen no problem, I got lots of glare and just couldn't look at the screen for long.

Basically it has come down to these two laptops,

Dell Precision M4500
CPU - i5-540M, 2.53GHz
RAM - 4GB DDR3, 1333MHz (Clocked at 1066MHz)
HDD - 500GB 7200RPM
GPU - Nvidia Quadro FX 880M, 1GB
OS - Windows 7 Pro 64bit
Screen - 15.6" LED Backlit LCD, 1366x768, Anti glare (ie Matte)
Warranty - 3 years Parts and Labour

Price £1384.15


Apple MacBook Pro 15"
CPU - i7-620M, 2.66GHz
RAM - 4GB DDR3, 1066MHz
HDD - 500GB 7200RPM
GPU - Nvidia GeForce 330M GT, 512MB
OS - Snow Leopard 64bit
Screen - 15.4" LED Backlit LCD, 1680x1050, Anti glare (ie Matte)
Warranty - 3 years Parts and Labour

Price £1665.15

I know of course the Dell uses a Quadro, so its not optimized from gaming, but its still certainly not bad at all, the FX880 is actually based on the same chip the 330M uses, so they are basically the same card, so you would expect roughly the same performance from both on less demanding games like Guild Wars. And in fairness, the Quadro would defiantly be more useful for the rest I want to do, 3D modeling + CUDA .

Battery life was also something I considered a lot. Both of these can handle 4+ hours on battery with light usage, which is prefect really, if I'm doing some heavy use though like 3D rendering obviously its shoots right down, be lucky to make an hour on the Dell, but if I'm doing that, I'll be sitting somewhere with the mains anyway, so not an issue.

As I said in the spoiler if you read it, I suffer from migraines, their not frequent maybe 2-4 times a year, but its all about my eyes, intense bright lights, crazy patterns, all this can set one off, and the last thing I want in my first year is a migraine to knock me out for a couple of days! So I HAVE to have a matte screen. So Configuring those two laptops with matte screen.

So finally to the point of the thread, DPI. Right now it looks like I will choose the Dell. The DPI of the Dell sits at about 100 DPI, where as the Apple has about 128 DPI. I have used to this date an 80 DPI screen (I know dont laugh ) a 90 DPI screen and a 100 DPI screen. I am convinced that for my eyes, 100 DPI is the sweet spot. I've tried simulating a 128 DPI environment my scaling down text in browsers, and I can just about handle it, perhaps my eyes would adjust.

But consider, what if I get back to my room, after a long day, tired eyes but need to get some work finished. I'm so worried that having to stare at a screen with smaller interfaces and text could just push me over the edge, I know I could zoom in browsers etc, but then it could distort the page etc, I don't want to have to zoom, it's just not something that should be necessary, and it wont always solve the problem. I wish Apple did a lower res matte screen like they used to, but they don't.

So can anyone give me any advise, have you got a High DPI screen and love it/hate it? have you got either of these laptops. Any advise would be so appreciated. As usual everyone, thank you so much
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cowsgoquack
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you do know dpi is only used to computer pt font size, it doesn't really work to talk about monitor dpi. But still, we know what you mean. If you want a big interface, get a crappy res (e.g. lowest pixel dimensions for physical dimesnions) - usually this is the opposite of what you want.
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Chrosson
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(Original post by Galadirith)
So finally to the point of the thread, DPI. Right now it looks like I will choose the Dell. The DPI of the Dell sits at about 100 DPI, where as the Apple has about 128 DPI. I have used to this date an 80 DPI screen (I know dont laugh ) a 90 DPI screen and a 100 DPI screen. I am convinced that for my eyes, 100 DPI is the sweet spot. I've tried simulating a 128 DPI environment my scaling down text in browsers, and I can just about handle it, perhaps my eyes would adjust.
DPI is an incorrect measurement to use when talking about monitors.
PPI and/or resolution (where ppi is resolution with screen size factored in) are what you need to consider.
Looking at the size of screens, as both are functionally the same, we can just consider resolution - a very high resolution is what you seem to be against.
However, you can just change the resolution to something smaller (i.e. everything on the screen is bigger) whenever you want, so I'm not sure what the issue is.
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cowsgoquack
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(Original post by Chrosson)
DPI is an incorrect measurement to use when talking about monitors.
PPI and/or resolution (where ppi is resolution with screen size factored in) are what you need to consider.
Looking at the size of screens, as both are functionally the same, we can just consider resolution - a very high resolution is what you seem to be against.
However, you can just change the resolution to something smaller (i.e. everything on the screen is bigger) whenever you want, so I'm not sure what the issue is.
when it's reduced to a non native res its going to look (even) crappy(er)
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Galadirith
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Report Thread starter 8 years ago
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Hi guys thanks for the replies, Yes Chrosson, sorry your absolutely right I did mean Pixels Per Inch (PPI), and yes cowsgoquack, to be honest I probably used DPI as I spent ages yesterday pouring over the different units CSS sizes may use .

Yes Chrosson, changing the resolution within the OS was something that I considered, but the issue with that is interpolation, you get horrible interpolation artifacts, which in games would be fine as you wouldn't notice it really due to AA. But for everything else non-gaming wise, especial in web development where it always comes down to the pixels, I have to be working at a native-res. It would be good if LCD's functioned in the same way CRT's did, where lower resolutions didn't mean interpolation.

Thanks so much much for you thoughts guys

EDIT: Cowsgoquack, you beat me to the native res issue
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