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Backlights Explained

Note: Screens based on either of these technologies are non-interchangeable. This is because the laptop is designed for only one type of backlight. So a laptop with a CCFL panel cannot use a LED panel and vice versa.

In order to ensure you are purchasing the best screen to fit your needs, here are three things you can do:

  1. Refer to the documentation or owner's manual which came with your laptop (it may be online, too).
  2. Call us so that we may guide you with our laptop screen expertise.
  3. Find the screen-manufacturer's part number on the back of your screen, and then search our inventory using that part number. Feel free to use our removal-instructions to achieve this.

LED, LCD, and CCFL - what do these mean?

Liquid crystal displays (LCDs) do not produce any light by themselves, so they need a source of light to illuminate an image and make it visible. In laptop LCDs this illumination is made possible with a backlight, so called because it is positioned on the back or side of the panel.

LCD panels come with these backlights built-in and generally form the last layer of the LCD screen. The light source in the backlight is commonly made of the following:

  • Cold Cathode Fluorescent Lamp (CCFL)
  • Light-Emitting Diode (LED)

Cold Cathode Fluorescent Lamp (CCFL)

CCFL's are an older technology, and for the moment are the most widely used backlights in laptops LCDs. They consist of a fluorescent tube connected to a voltage inverter board which provides power to the backlight. Sometimes the backlight contains 2 tubes along with 2 pairs of inverters; these are called "Dual Backlights" or 2-CCFL.
Image credit: Wikipedia

Light-Emitting Diode (LED)

LED's are a newer technology and use a matrix or a strip of LED's instead of a tube. Most LED based backlights do not need inverters. LED backlights are already used in most mobile devices like phones and GPS devices. LED use in laptop screens has recently become popular due to advantages in size, power consumption, etc.
Image credit: Wikipedia

Differences in CCFL and LED Backlight Technologies

  CCFL LED
Size Thicker and heavier Thinner and lighter
Cost Cheaper and more cost effective More expensive, but are becoming more affordable as more laptop manufacturers are using LED backlights
Power Higher power consumption and heat generation Lower power consumption and heat generation
Brightness Lower brightness Generally higher brightness
Finish Available in Matte or Glossy Available in Matte or Glossy
Lifespan Shorter lifespan Last longer than CCFL's