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[Discuss] 4K monitors

In this blog posting the author makes the case that 4K resolution is
hardly needed for TVs, but makes for a great monitor for programmers:

  At our office, we just equipped all of the programmers' workstations
  with Seiki 39" 4K televisions as monitors. At $500 a piece, you should
  be doing the same. For the time being, there is no single
  higher-productivity display for a programmer.

As you read through the long post, he makes a compelling case for this,
and particularly fun is the comparison table he puts at the end
comparing televisions versus monitors, and how 4K makes a whole lot more
sense for monitors.

Also he makes the argument that we've seen specification stagnation on
desktops due to all the energy being focused on mobile devices. We've
had a trailing-off of compelling reasons to upgrade you desktop (or
laptop) happening for quite a few years now, and I'm not convinced
mobile devices have been the center of attention long enough to take
that blame. But they might be one of many factors.

As for Linux support for 4K he notes:

  A bit of trial and error was involved in getting our Linux
  workstations to 3840x2160. The latest nVidia drivers make it easier.

Although he mentions Haswell in passing (saying that if your current
system doesn't support 4K, that means it is old enough that you probably
have a lot to be gained in CPU and RAM by upgrading the system to
something modern, say running Haswell), he doesn't specifically mention
the built-in support for 4K (which it has), or whether the Intel driver
handles this well on Linux (I haven't heard).

At CES Toshiba announce it will have laptops with 4K displays this summer:

though with the comparatively tiny screens typically found on laptops,
this is less compelling, unless you have super eyesight.

So will your next display be 4K? Have you upgraded already? Does it play
well with Linux?

The author said that the ideal size for a computer monitor was 50" in
his opinion. Do you feel that a screen that big actually gains you
something? Beyond a certain size, when you are sitting only a few feet
from the display, large portions of the display end up only being in
your peripheral view.

While you can of course move your eyes to focus on other parts, you may
find that the small pitch text you work with in your code editor that
works great when it is front-and-center, now is too small when it is off
in the far corners of the screen.

There is always good use for more screen space, but given the above, the
high resolution across the full 39" inches might be wasted. Even the
cost premium of using one big screen instead of multiple screens may not
be justified, if you are only doing detailed work on a small portion of
the screen space. Though if the premium isn't much, it's hard to be the
cool factor of a giant display.


Tom Metro
The Perl Shop, Newton, MA, USA
"Predictable On-demand Perl Consulting."

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