Value of IPS display?

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Value of IPS display?

Postposted on Tue May 03, 2011 3:04 pm

I am thinking of buying a new laptop in the next couple of months. In particular, I am interested in the recently released Precision M4600 from Dell. There are two different kinds of displays available (well, there are others, but they're 1366x768 and that's a complete non-starter):

15.6" UltraSharp™ FHD(1920x1080) Anti-Glare LED-backlit with Premium Panel Guarantee
and
15.6" UltraSharp™ FHD(1920x1080) PremierColor IPS RGB Anti-Glare LED-backlit Premium Panel

The second one costs $370 more than the first one despite both being LED displays with the same resolution. It would bring the price of the laptop from around $1800 to around $2200 -- not catastrophically expensive, but not exactly cheap either (moving into Apple territory). I intend to use this machine for work and gaming (e.g. Mass Effect 2). My work is scientific -- I occasionally have to make a pretty histogram for a presentation, but I don't do serious photography or video editing. Is an IPS display worth that kind of money for this usage?
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Re: Value of IPS display?

Postposted on Tue May 03, 2011 3:20 pm

Probably not.
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Re: Value of IPS display?

Postposted on Tue May 03, 2011 3:23 pm

Nope. I'd argue a Precision isn't either.
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Re: Value of IPS display?

Postposted on Tue May 03, 2011 3:31 pm

the average user cannot tell the difference in regards to color accuracy between most monitors

actually, I take that back
the average user will choose the over saturated screen over a color accurate screen since the accurate one will always look duller
you only need to worry about an IPS panel if you need to have color accurate print or do other photo production work
if your monitor is not accurate, the color on the screen might not be the color printing in your printer, and thats a problem if your business depends on design

bottom line you have no use for it unless you need to compensate for some other insecurities
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Re: Value of IPS display?

Postposted on Tue May 03, 2011 3:32 pm

grantmeaname wrote:Nope. I'd argue a Precision isn't either.

What would you suggest instead?
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Re: Value of IPS display?

Postposted on Tue May 03, 2011 3:32 pm

The primary benefits of IPS are
1. Viewing angles
2. Color reproduction
The first matters more as screens get larger, because you're increasingly likely to be viewing at least part of the screen off-axis. The widespread TN tech tends to be worst off-axis up-and-down rather than left-to-right (which is why you rarely see TN screen that can pivot to portrait orientation, and why tablets either have IPS screens or complaints). For a 15" laptop that you're using in the usual way (not regularly having people read over your shoulder or whatever), IPS doesn't offer a huge advantage.

The second can be a big deal if you're doing anything that needs to be color-correct on screen or when printed -- photography, rendering, medical imagery, etc. You specifically said you're not doing that, so it sounds like this doesn't offer you an advantage either.

You mention gaming, and some hardcore gamers eschew IPS as they perceive it to be more prone to lag than TN, but usually that's a result of the screen electronics rather than the panel type (compounded by misleading and oft-misunderstood "response time" specs published by the mfrs). So without actual testing it's impossible to determine if this difference would exist (or if you'd notice it) between these two screen options.

So there are real benefits to IPS, but it doesn't sound like they'd be worth $230 to you.

Which is a really long-winded way of saying what bthylafh did in two words.
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Re: Value of IPS display?

Postposted on Tue May 03, 2011 3:43 pm

Thank you, all. It looks like the consensus is that the IPS is not worth it. I thought so too, but I was wondering if there was something I missed. Indeed, I don't really care about color accuracy and almost everything I print has to look good in black-and-white anyway.
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Re: Value of IPS display?

Postposted on Tue May 03, 2011 3:48 pm

Althernai wrote:What would you suggest instead?

The Latitude E5520 can be had with the a 1920*1080 panel, a 9-cell, and Sandy Bridge processor for around $900, especially if you're willing to buy RAM somewhere else. Unfortunately, you're stuck with the Sandy IGP. Its slightly better-built big brother the E6520 can be had for a couple hundred more with decent graphics. Best of all in my opinion would be the XPS 15... take the base model (i5-2410M, 500GB, 4GB DDR3), throw in a GT 540M and a 1920*1080 panel, and it's only $1050. If you're comfortable with a consumer laptop, that is... The biggest difference I'd be concerned with is if you need GPU acceleration for any scientific computing- would it be locked to workstation class cards only?
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Re: Value of IPS display?

Postposted on Tue May 03, 2011 4:05 pm

I'm a graphic designer, gamer, and all-around Internet user. I can tell you definitively that you will notice the difference if you do any of those things, more so on the former two. A few important notes:

Viewing angles - Laptops suffer the MOST from poor viewing angles, because of the way you almost never are able to look directly at the screen as you would a desktop monitor. If you look at TN panels from an angle, you will notice significant differences in contrast ratio, color issues, and even brightness. IPS does not suffer these problems.

Color depth - Once again, laptops generally offer the worst color depth of ANY computer screen, averaging 50-60% of the for TN panels. Good displays in that regard are extremely hard to find. The Dell upgrade options are excellent, as are a few from HP and Lenovo. Macbooks by default are VERY good for laptops - offering 70-80%.
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Re: Value of IPS display?

Postposted on Tue May 03, 2011 4:17 pm

grantmeaname wrote:If you're comfortable with a consumer laptop, that is...
... and its glossy screen. I don't know if that's a factor for the OP, but it's a non-negotiable instant fail for me.

I'd suggest the Lenovo 520s as an alternative, but I imagine it'll end up being even more expensive priced out with equivalent options. (Though I'd always pick the minimal RAM and HD and then upgrade with aftermarket parts after the fact, if I'm paying out of my own pocket)
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Re: Value of IPS display?

Postposted on Tue May 03, 2011 4:20 pm

UberGerbil wrote:I'd suggest the Lenovo 520s as an alternative, but I imagine it'll end up being even more expensive priced out with equivalent options.

Lenovo often runs some fantastic deals / coupons. We were able to get some well-specced systems for around 40% off late last year.
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Re: Value of IPS display?

Postposted on Tue May 03, 2011 4:29 pm

Yeah, Lenovo does run a lot of coupons though there doesn't appear to be anything amazing available at the moment.

I guess I should get the model right: it's the T520 (for some reason the equivalent 14" is the T420s, but they don't use the "s" suffix for the upgradeable-screen version at 15")
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Re: Value of IPS display?

Postposted on Tue May 03, 2011 4:38 pm

grantmeaname wrote:The Latitude E5520 can be had with the a 1920*1080 panel, a 9-cell, and Sandy Bridge processor for around $900, especially if you're willing to buy RAM somewhere else. Unfortunately, you're stuck with the Sandy IGP. Its slightly better-built big brother the E6520 can be had for a couple hundred more with decent graphics. Best of all in my opinion would be the XPS 15... take the base model (i5-2410M, 500GB, 4GB DDR3), throw in a GT 540M and a 1920*1080 panel, and it's only $1050. If you're comfortable with a consumer laptop, that is... The biggest difference I'd be concerned with is if you need GPU acceleration for any scientific computing- would it be locked to workstation class cards only?

No, it would not be locked to workstation cards only -- I need the GPU for gaming, the work is entirely x86. The problem is, the E6520 and XPS 15 both come with GPUs that are significantly worse than the M5950 (basically a Radeon 6770M) in the Precision and probably wouldn't be usable at 1920*1080. I also heard that Nvidia's Optimus doesn't play nice with Linux. I've spent quite some time looking for a laptop and in the lower price range, there is always something not up to par. The closest I've come is HP's dv6t which has a 2630QM, 6770M... but is stuck with a 1366x768 display which is completely unacceptable. Argh. :(

I guess I could live with the XPS15, but I'm a little wary of consumer laptops because I will buy it in the US, but spend most of my time in Europe. One of my friends got into a hilarious warranty situation -- it took Dell 5 months (without exaggerating!) and probably a dozen phone conversations to fix his Inspiron. Their business warranty is a little more reliable. The other problem with them is that they almost inevitably come with a glossy display. The lab I work at is big on using sunlight, but with my current laptop, it's either closing the shades and turning the lights on in the day or staring at a mirror (or restricting myself to the desktop, but then I'm down to one screen).
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Re: Value of IPS display?

Postposted on Tue May 03, 2011 4:50 pm

UberGerbil wrote:I guess I should get the model right: it's the T520 (for some reason the equivalent 14" is the T420s, but they don't use the "s" suffix for the upgradeable-screen version at 15")

The T520 suffers from the same problem as the Latitude: the best graphics card they offer is the Nvidia NVS 4200M which appears to be some variant of the GeForce 525M or something (48 shaders, 64-bit memory bus). The W520 is somewhat better in this respect (it can be upgraded to a Quadro 2000M which has 192 shaders and a 128-bit DDR3 bus), but then I'm paying more than for the Precision M4600 and I don't think the quality is significantly better. I suppose if it's on sale when I'm ready to buy I will consider it.
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Re: Value of IPS display?

Postposted on Tue May 03, 2011 5:11 pm

Well, there are "gamer" laptops with better GPUs -- the ASUS G53JW-A1 "Republic of Gamers" one has a GTX 460M, for example, and a (glossy) full HD screen -- but yes, you're dealing with "consumer" products and all that entails.
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Re: Value of IPS display?

Postposted on Tue May 03, 2011 6:09 pm

I just got a W520 for about the price of the lower Precision. I prefer the build quality of Lenovo laptops over Dell (consumer and business). If you can wait a week or two Lenovo will probably have a 10% off sale. I got an i7-2820QM, 4GiB of RAM, 500GB HDD, FHD screen (1080p) for $1850, but that included a pricey 3-year warranty (onsite and Thinkpad Protection) and was using a student discount. I stuck with the lower end graphics card, but I think it'll probably be enough for light gaming. I believe it's equivalent to a GeForce 540M, with 2GiB of video memory.
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Re: Value of IPS display?

Postposted on Tue May 03, 2011 6:54 pm

Pretty steep upgrade price. Might be worth it if you work outside a lot, but other than that, no forget it imo.
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Re: Value of IPS display?

Postposted on Tue May 03, 2011 7:19 pm

potatochobit wrote:the average user cannot tell the difference in regards to color accuracy between most monitors

actually, I take that back
the average user will choose the over saturated screen over a color accurate screen since the accurate one will always look duller

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Re: Value of IPS display?

Postposted on Tue May 03, 2011 7:49 pm

For even mundane tasks I prefer IPS. TN panels are servicable and I use one regularly at work, but it is like night and day when I go home to my IPS display or use the IPS display on my MacBook Pro. The IPS displays are more pleasing to look at and don't cause me as much eyestrain. Unless you see them side by side it's difficult to point out the differences immediately, but the advantages of IPS pay dividends for my personal computing experience. I surf the 'net, create documents, presentations, lessons, and play games every once in a while. Even though I don't do graphic design I still notice a huge difference.

Honestly, IPS offers the same kind of pleasurable experience that my MacBook Pro does. My MacBook Pro is much more expensive than a PC counterpart but the MBP just provides a more pleasing user experience. I prefer using Windows, but the Apple user experience is just solid, smooth, and pleasurable. IPS is the same way -- it may be hard to justify the price based on specs, but it's just better. You have to use it for a while to understand.

As others have said, though, why a Dell Precision? Lenovo is among the best. I wouldn't buy any other brand (unless I was buying Apple).
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Re: Value of IPS display?

Postposted on Wed May 04, 2011 6:22 am

FireGryphon wrote:As others have said, though, why a Dell Precision? Lenovo is among the best. I wouldn't buy any other brand (unless I was buying Apple).

I have not definitely decided on the Precision. The reason I made this thread is that the Precision is one of only two 15.6" laptops that offers an IPS display (the other one being the HP EliteBook 8560w which will be out later this month) and I wanted to see whether this is worth it (opinion seems mixed). Lenovo does not offer this. It also doesn't have a NumPad despite being 16:9 and having a lot of space on both sides of the keyboard. Furthermore, the Nvidia cards which are the W520's only option are ill-suited to my purposes: 192 shaders is reasonable, but what good is 2GB of VRAM if that 128-bit DDR3 bus only has 28.8GB/s worth of bandwidth? I suppose it might be useful for CAD and such, but the machine will be bandwidth starved at 1920x1080.

I'm still going to wait for reviews of both the Precision and the EliteBook (I'm not buying anything with a bad keyboard), but the graphical options on the Lenovo don't seem to be as good.
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Re: Value of IPS display?

Postposted on Wed May 04, 2011 8:32 am

FWIW, my dad has the E6410 as his work laptop and its keyboard is beautiful - much better than my Studio 15.
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Re: Value of IPS display?

Postposted on Wed May 04, 2011 3:12 pm

Althernai wrote:
I'm still going to wait for reviews of both the Precision and the EliteBook (I'm not buying anything with a bad keyboard), but the graphical options on the Lenovo don't seem to be as good.

You should look up some more reviews of the Lenovo screens then. Anandtech consistently rates them among the best they've seen, up there with the Dell RGB-LED screens and almost as high as the HP DreamColor screens. It may not be IPS, but it's a high quality screen. I can understand wanting a NumPad, but that wasn't something I was looking for when I made my decision.


Edit: Coulda sworn I found it on Anandtech, but haven't been able to find it again. And really the only decent Lenovo screens are the 1080p ones.
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Re: Value of IPS display?

Postposted on Wed May 04, 2011 4:04 pm

I think he meant GPUs.
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Re: Value of IPS display?

Postposted on Wed May 04, 2011 4:14 pm

lonleyppl wrote:
Althernai wrote:
I'm still going to wait for reviews of both the Precision and the EliteBook (I'm not buying anything with a bad keyboard), but the graphical options on the Lenovo don't seem to be as good.

You should look up some more reviews of the Lenovo screens then. Anandtech consistently rates them among the best they've seen, up there with the Dell RGB-LED screens and almost as high as the HP DreamColor screens. It may not be IPS, but it's a high quality screen. I can understand wanting a NumPad, but that wasn't something I was looking for when I made my decision.


Edit: Coulda sworn I found it on Anandtech, but haven't been able to find it again. And really the only decent Lenovo screens are the 1080p ones.


One major point against Lenovo in my opinion is all of the crap-ware that gets preinstalled. My wife got one about two years ago, and it came with an entire suite of useless applications, toolbars, and so forth. Most of the applications just replicate stuff that the OS already does, only not as effectively. We had an issue where her network adapter would randomly shut down - finally fixed that by removing ReadyComm (a very common fix on their forums for network issues is to remove this program).
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Re: Value of IPS display?

Postposted on Wed May 04, 2011 4:29 pm

cphite wrote:
One major point against Lenovo in my opinion is all of the crap-ware that gets preinstalled. My wife got one about two years ago, and it came with an entire suite of useless applications, toolbars, and so forth. Most of the applications just replicate stuff that the OS already does, only not as effectively. We had an issue where her network adapter would randomly shut down - finally fixed that by removing ReadyComm (a very common fix on their forums for network issues is to remove this program).


One thing I'd come across in most of my reading before settling on my ThinkPad was that ThinkPads don't come with much bloatware and some of it's actually useful. Can't speak on that yet as the laptop should be showing up tomorrow.
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Re: Value of IPS display?

Postposted on Wed May 04, 2011 5:21 pm

UberGerbil wrote:Well, there are "gamer" laptops with better GPUs -- the ASUS G53JW-A1 "Republic of Gamers" one has a GTX 460M, for example, and a (glossy) full HD screen -- but yes, you're dealing with "consumer" products and all that entails.

Asus has the best warranty in the business on consumer laptops. I'd buy one just because of it.
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Re: Value of IPS display?

Postposted on Wed May 04, 2011 5:27 pm

lonleyppl wrote:You should look up some more reviews of the Lenovo screens then. Anandtech consistently rates them among the best they've seen, up there with the Dell RGB-LED screens and almost as high as the HP DreamColor screens. It may not be IPS, but it's a high quality screen. I can understand wanting a NumPad, but that wasn't something I was looking for when I made my decision.


Edit: Coulda sworn I found it on Anandtech, but haven't been able to find it again. And really the only decent Lenovo screens are the 1080p ones.

grantmeaname wrote:I think he meant GPUs.

Yes, I meant the GPU. The Lenovo displays are said to be very good (here is a W520 review), but the graphics card is not really meant for gaming.
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Re: Value of IPS display?

Postposted on Wed May 04, 2011 5:46 pm

Althernai wrote:The second one costs $370 more than the first one despite both being LED displays with the same resolution.


Wow, if that is the only difference between the two models (same cpu/ram/HD/etc) it seems like way too much.

The lenovo x220 is a no brainer $50 upgrade from TN to IPS, same resolution. Sadly nothing higher is offered but at 12.5" it is not a big deal for most people.

PS: Thinkpads come with very little bloatware, no idea about their other brands but if you enter the glossy hell of "consumer" models its your own fault.
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As a whole, laptop screens really do suck

Postposted on Wed May 04, 2011 6:29 pm

Althernai wrote:I also heard that Nvidia's Optimus doesn't play nice with Linux.


Its worse, the current type of optimus will never be made to work with linux in a timeframe that anyone will likely care. It sits there unused.

UberGerbil wrote:I guess I should get the model right: it's the T520 (for some reason the equivalent 14" is the T420s, but they don't use the "s" suffix for the upgradeable-screen version at 15")


_s suffix stands for slim, there is a regular T420. The T420s is rarely really worth the compromises (7mm HD, no GPU option, etc) for a very slight reduction in thickness and weight compared to T420. There is a W520 too ;)
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Re: Value of IPS display?

Postposted on Wed May 04, 2011 8:13 pm

Althernai wrote:Yes, I meant the GPU. The Lenovo displays are said to be very good (here is a W520 review), but the graphics card is not really meant for gaming.

Sorry to misunderstand.
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