External Monitor w/ the Lid Closed Question

Discussion in 'MacBook Air, MacBook & MacBook Pro' started by madhaw, Jan 27, 2009.

  1. madhaw

    madhaw New Member

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    Good day! :cool:

    I have been using my MBP with an external LCD monitor (Samsung SyncMaster 226bw) for quite some time now. My usual setup is; I open my MBP (keeping the lid/screen open) then plug my power adapter, dvi cable, keyboard and mouse. Keep in mind that I am running the MBP with the lid open.

    Recently, I discovered by accident that you can run the MBP with the lid is closed. After a Google search, they said that this is a normal way of running the MBP with an external monitor; and is safe since heat is coming out from the rear rather than from the keyboard.

    With both screens up and running, I can't help but notice how much better the screen of the MBP is compared to my Samsung. Now here's something that's perplexing to me, I don't know if it's just me or are my eyes deceiving me, but everytime I run it with the lid closed, the external LCD will go black for a moment but when it turns on back again, the screen seems to be a lot better. I can't compare it to the MBPs screen since it's closed and will not even turn back on, but it somehow changes to a much clearer, better and sharper version compared when the lid is closed.

    I checked under "preference" and my external monitor's screen resolution is still the same at 1680x1050. It doesn't change even if the lid is closed or open.

    Can anyone explain why the external LCD's resolution is a lot better when the MBP's screen is closed?

    Still baffled,
    -madhaw
     
  2. acid

    acid Member

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    Wow you are really a kin observer. This is new! I never heard about this before...
    My theory is that because the video is concentrated on the projector since the screen of the MBP is off...
     
  3. rafaelc378

    rafaelc378 Active Member

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    @acid: OT-I think you mean to say "keen" or sharp observer. Kung kin observer, pamilya ang tinitingnan mo. :)
     
  4. alikishi

    alikishi Well-Known Member

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    i think it's because of the difference in the native resolution of both screens. Your external LCD runs on 1680x1050 native while your macbook pro runs on 1440x900 native. When both screens are on, one has to follow the other. If the MBP's screen is closed, the graphics adapter of the MBP can present the screen using your external's native resolution. This makes it better
     
  5. Salaryman Ryan

    Salaryman Ryan PhilMUG Addict Member

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    That is strange so the Samsung external monitor seems more blurry?

    I'm pretty sure having 2 monitor having different resolutions shouldn't be a problem with the Macbook Pro. Even my ancient Tibook G4 Powerbook running OS 9 works perfectly with an external monitor sporting a completely different resolution. :)
     
    #5 Salaryman Ryan, Jan 27, 2009
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2009
  6. madhaw

    madhaw New Member

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    That's my initial thought but when I checked my display settings under preference, instead of having 2 display configuration/window, I only have one now (maybe since only one monitor is running) and its set at the external monitor's resolution of 1680x1050. But I also noticed that my dock got smaller, which may prove that the resolution is indeed changing.
     
  7. madhaw

    madhaw New Member

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    Yes, a bit blurry (compared to the MBP's LCD) when both screens are running. But it gets noticeably better when run alone.
     
  8. Salaryman Ryan

    Salaryman Ryan PhilMUG Addict Member

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    Could either be a driver or a problem with the connecting cable. Anyway have you tried the Apple Graphics update that was released just now? Just a wild shot but it might fix your problem.
     
  9. alikishi

    alikishi Well-Known Member

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    My mistake. I checked it again today and it seems that both will run natively although one of the monitors will still have to adjust to the other.

    I currently connect my MBP to my LCD TV which runs at a resolution of 1344x756. The MBP still runs at 1440x900 but you'll see that there are black spaces above and below the screen of the MBP. This only means that the LCD of the MBP has adjusted to the lower resolution of the LCD TV
     
  10. elbert

    elbert Active Member

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    As mentioned in this review, I've had experience with a 19" widescreen Samsung LCD.

    There are three ways to use your Mac with an external display: Mirroring, Extended Desktop, or external display.

    In Mirroring, the Mac's and the external's displays will show the same thing, in the same resolution. The smaller display's resolution (in this case, your MacBook Pro's), takes precedence. As such, the larger one is not with an ideal resolution setting.

    In Extended Desktop, both external and MBP display will show up differently and the Mac will figure out the ideal resolution for each display. As such, the external will have a sharper image than it would in Mirroring mode.

    If you close the lid, the Mac will automatically use the most ideal resolution for the external, just like in Extended Desktop.

    You can quickly tell the resolutions being used by each display by adding the Display Preferences icon on the menu bar (System Preferences > Displays > Show displays in menu bar) and clicking on it. This will also allow you to quickly switch between Mirroring and Extended Desktop.

    I suggest the following routine when connecting yout MBP to the external display:
    1. with both external display and Mac on, plug in the DVI cable, USB mouse and keyboard
    2. close the lid
    3. wait for the sleep light to start throbbing
    4. press the space bar on the external keyboard to 'wake up" the MBP
    5. enjoy using your Mac.

    Personally, I like using Extended Desktop. You can setup the orientation of the two displays in System Preferences > Displays (only shows up when the external is attached and Mirroring is switched off). You can position exactly where the external is in relation to the MBP by dragging and moving it around (i.e. external to the left of the MBP, with the base around 4 inches higher). It'll be like you have one large and connected display (you can drag windows from one display to another). In the display settings, you can also select which display shows the menu bar by dragging the menu bar from one display to the other.

    Hope you find this useful.
     
  11. dbmonster

    dbmonster Member

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    "Can anyone explain why the external LCD's resolution is a lot better when the MBP's screen is closed?" - madhaw

    it uses the maximum resolution setting of your external monitor. I've been using this set up for quite some time now using Samsung 940bw (19") at home and AOC (17") at work without opening the lid of my MB (saves my MB LCD lifespan). I can set the samsung monitor to 1440x900 and the AOC @ 1280x800 and. Mac OSX preserves the setting including color setting of all monitor. Color profiled it with spyder2express.

    It works wih Macbook too, just follow Elbert's suggestion above. Use extended version when on multitasking mode for larger workspace using the built in lcd and the external one as elbert described above.This is one feature i like with our Mac.
     
    #11 dbmonster, Jan 27, 2009
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2009
  12. gracegal

    gracegal Member

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    elbert, thank you for this tip! I've been trying to search on how to do this. ;) :D
     
  13. madmax168

    madmax168 Active Member

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    Elbert's answer explains it all. I also run my Macbook with an external monitor. If you run both screens as mirrored, the display of both screens will default to the lower resolution of both the monitors. So if you have a monitor which has a native resolution of 1600 x 1440 and you use a macbook which is 1280 x 800, the external monitor will display the screen as 1280 x 800 which is not the native resolution of the monitor so image is blurred.

    This is why I'd recommend either putting off the screen of the macbook or run both of them as extended desktop. I prefer extended since you can have one screen for your mail or msn or ym and the other bigger screen is for my work.
     
  14. Chito Limson

    Chito Limson Unfrozen…
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    On a side topic with external monitors, I have my MBA connected to my HDTV (via DVI hookup). Oftentimes, my MBA's lid is closed and the unit is asleep. I turn on the HDTV, wake up the MBA with my Apple Remote, and run Front Row. Then I watch a movie or something in my external HDTV. After I'm done, I quit Front Row, turn off the HDTV and let the MBA go back to sleep. Nifty, no?
     
  15. madhaw

    madhaw New Member

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    Ah... so now I got it!

    If I use both monitors (external and mbp lcd), the resolution used is the smaller one which is 1440x900. If the MBP LCD is closed and only my external monitor is running, then the resolution used is 1680x1050, hence the better quality.

    Thanks for the explanation guys! =)
     
  16. SonicYan

    SonicYan Member

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    Hehe yep, this is the setup I use as well. (external monitor that is) I think its commonly called clamshell mode where you close the lid of your mobile mac and just use the external monitor. I do this for gaming in bootcamp but most of the time run in extended desktop mode for more screen real estate.
     

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