Laptop display upgrade options

Discussion in 'Hardware Components and Aftermarket Upgrades' started by Shark00n, Apr 3, 2018.

  1. Shark00n

    Shark00n Notebook Evangelist

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    Howdy-ho!

    So I own a HP Omen X with a 120Hz IPS panel (AUO B173HAN01.4). It's not a very good panel. Colors are good, not great, but what really bothers me is the pixel response times.

    They are simply abismal! If there's any sort of movement on the screen everything just becomes blurry.
    Simple scrolling thru a web or excel page is already quite annoying, gaming is not a good experience at all. In a fast game like PUBG, with lots of grass and trees always moving across the screen, it just becomes a blurred mess and it's getting in the way of my chicken dinners :mad:

    So I'll probably upgrade the panel. I know my way around laptops but I've never swapped displays so I have a few questions. My laptop model is also offered in some markets with a 144Hz IPS option (same as in the new Asus G703), that particular model should be a straight fit. It's a AUO B173HAN03.0.

    However, I can only find this particular panel in some chinese sites and none of them advertise it as being made by AUO. What do you guys think of this? Scam? Poor quality copy? Will the colors and overall quality be lower?
    Here's a link for one - Aliexpress

    My current display is G-Sync enabled. The 144Hz option from factory is also G-Sync enabled and the Asus G703 also has G-Sync. But none of the panels I find online has G-Sync in the specs. How does G-Sync in laptops work? Does the display also have to be certificated by Nvidia (hence the low price of the unit I posted above?) or is it all done at the motherboard level and I'll keep G-Sync if I upgrade the panel?

    Another option, if I'm going after the best response times possible, is the Chi Mei N173HHE-G32. It's a 120Hz TN panel usually available in the MSI GT73 and GT75 range. You guys think it's also a straight fit? These are easier to find online too.

    Between the 120Hz TN Chi Mei or the 144Hz IPS AUO which do you think is the better option?

    Pardon my newbness, I'm willing to learn though! :D
     
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  2. Danishblunt

    Danishblunt Notebook Virtuoso

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    I call uppon the god of panels @t456

    Personally I'm a bit suprised to see a 120hz ips panel performing this bad. Well in terms of response times the MSI panels are the fastest yet. So if that matters for you, the Chi Mei it is then.
     
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  3. KY_BULLET

    KY_BULLET Notebook Evangelist

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    I know what your talking about with PUBG with the motion blur plus tearing. Mine wasn't as bad as you're describing but it was pretty annoying.

    It went away when I enabled Vsync and motion blur. (in game settings).

    My external monitor is 144hz at 1ms response time. I'm talking about an external desktop monitor so, I'm not for sure if this will help you or not but might be worth trying at least if you haven't already.

    Like Danish said, t456 is the man when it comes to these problems. I'm sure he will have some things for you to try out.
     
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  4. Shark00n

    Shark00n Notebook Evangelist

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    I don’t have tearing, at all.
    G-Sync is ON and the FPS are limited to 116 so it’s always working. But the motion blur is really noticeable. Specially when coming of another screen.

    Thanks for your input guys! I’m leaning toward the Chi Mei as I can get it online knowing what I’m getting exactly. Just the question of compatibility and G-Sync is holding me up
     
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  5. t456

    t456 1977-09-05, 12:56:00 UTC Moderator

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    Thanks for the vote of confidence you two :vbsmile: , but you're being very helpful already.
    Price looks alright and it may very well be the genuine article. Not mentioning 'AUO' means little; the 'B' in the part number designates it as such.

    Stickers are easily printed though and the tough, gold wrapper obscures the pcb. If you want certainty then ask them to peel away a bit of the wrapper; the pcb will be labeled with the part number. That 'Don't Touch' bit is nonsense, it isn't like you're squeezing the backlight in that area (risk of bleeds). The wrapper does have to be put back in place though; the pcb is abundantly dotted with exposed contacts and they're a poor match for the aluminium Faraday foil in the display lid (this insulates the wifi cable and antenna from em noise).
    It's both plus the gpu that have to be 'certified' (an empty process, it's really just down to paying Nvidia). G-Synce is nothing special really, the technology was already there and free-of-charge; see Panel Self Refresh.

    There's no guarantee the new panel will be 'approved', unless the seller will vouch for that. Even with two 100% identical panels one may be 'approved' and the other may not since their edid might differ and it's the edid that is whitelisted in the verification process. Same thing for the (v)bios; if a brand-new lcd model is G-Sync approved then that is of little value if the system firmware's whitelist hasn't been updated.

    Don't really see the benefit of this gimmick on a DTR, tbh. The underlying variable refresh rate technology was mainly developed with energy conservation in mind, helping ultraboooks get a slightly larger battery life. Granted, the gpu can also skip a bit of work, dropping temperatures, but with a sufficiently powerful system pushing 120Hz consistently then no frames will be saved and temperatures gains will be zero. Battery life will even be a little less than for a non-G-Sync screen since the option itself consumes additional power.
    Since blur is the primary issue here then look no further; the TN any time of day. Nice panel, too.

    Bit of a spoiler might be that it's a 4-lane panel and your current lcd is only a 2-lane. Good sign for the G32 though; 1080p/120Hz would've required only 2 lanes of bandwidth, so it's grossly over-dimensioned, even at 8-bit depth vs. the 6-bit of your AUO. Have a specification sheet for the G32, but not for the AUOs, so can't even tell whether the AUOs are 40-pin or 30-pin. We also have to know whether your cable can actually run a 4-lane lcd, aside from having a 40-pin connector.

    If you don't mind a bit of investigation; peel back the cloth-like wrapper from the lcd end of the cable, right near the connector. That will expose the individual wires inside and we'll be able to check whether the cable is fully populated. The wrapper can be quite difficult to remove, so it's often easier to use a tiny, sharp scissor and create an opening that way, being really careful not to snip a wire or two in the process :vboops: .

    Pin count can be determined simply by counting, of course.

    [​IMG]
     
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  6. Shark00n

    Shark00n Notebook Evangelist

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    Wow, thanks man, really helpful!

    I'll try asking them to peel off a bit of the sticker, just hope nothing is lost in translation and I end up adopting a chinese babeh.

    I like G-Sync. The no tearing is awesome, specially in games that can't go up to 120Hz, like Witcher 3 for instance. I would miss it but it's not a dealbreaker.

    I'll check the LCD connector on my Omen X soon then.
    Just to make sure, I'm checking the CABLE that connects the MB to the display, right? Should I see 40 little colored cables inside the wraper then?

    Thanks again


    *EDIT
    Haven't checked the cable yet but started to do some digging:

    [​IMG]

    So if my current cable isn't 40 pin, maybe the one that ships in units with a 4K or 144Hz screen is.
    Asked HP Parts for a price on it.
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2018
  7. t456

    t456 1977-09-05, 12:56:00 UTC Moderator

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    Yes, but there's likely less than 40 wires inside; non-generic cables aren't fully populated since part of the pins are only used at the factory.
    Excellent! No need for unwrapping it then; you only have to check the sticker attached to the cable and if it says 940593-001 then you'll need that UHD cable.
     
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  8. Shark00n

    Shark00n Notebook Evangelist

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    Yeah, it's one of those :(
    Good advice on the part #, getting to unwrap the cable to count the wires was proving difficult.

    So, with the UHD cable, I can probably get the G32 to work, right?

    Can anyone reccommend me a place to get the display from? I want to make sure I get a quality one, want to stay clear of Aliexpress if possible. I'm in europe BTW
    I found a few but the have different REV numbers, like C1, B1, etc... Any thoughts on that?
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2018
  9. t456

    t456 1977-09-05, 12:56:00 UTC Moderator

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    Definitely so; eDP is far more standardised than LVDS. The 4K/UHD screen needs a 4-lane/40-pin to run and that is exactly what you need for the G32.

    Aliexpress has always worked for me, but you could try ebay instead; some of the listings are UK-based, so if something's amiss the return window is ample and there'll be no issues with customs and duties (i.e., until Brexit is finalised). Just be sure to inquire before ordering and insist on an exact panel, so the G32 or no deal.

    Wouldn't worry about revision numbers. Instinct would say later = better, but ssd and hdd manufacturers are known to send high-quality samples to reviewers and skimp on the components in later runs when the product is mass-launched. Don't know about panels, but if they did something similar then you'd want the earliest revision instead. So ... a toss-up, really.
     
  10. Shark00n

    Shark00n Notebook Evangelist

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    Cheers

    Gave ebay a go. Ordered a G32 from france. It's an early rev (I think), C1. Same as in the MSI GS73 series.
    They have a return window which is is giving me peace of mind at least.

    Unfortunately it's proving impossible to find that HP UHD cable anywhere that ships to Portugal. It's not available in the european HP Parts store and the US one doesn't ship to europe. Sent some e-mails to a couple of EU distributors, let's see how that goes.

    In the meantime I'll try the panel with the current cable (FHD, 120Hz). maybe it'll work fine...?
     
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