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Purchasing a new display

ptram

Senior Member
Hi,

Since I need a monitor for a second workstation, I’m thinking of replacing my current 24” (16:10, 1920 x 1200 2k) HP LP2475w with a 27” (16:9, 3840 x 2160 4k) HP Z27 or Dell U2728Q monitor.

The new display will be used at an equivalent QHD resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels, using the Mac's rescale function to give some semi-Retina smoothness while still working at the optimal resolution (a perceived 108 ppi pixel density, nearly identical to a typical non-Rerina Mac display - 110 ppi).

Is a 27” QHD screen comfortable to work on orchestral scores? My current 2k monitor is a bit short, so I guess the added vertical room can make things easier.

Also, I’m still convinced I want to avoid going to 32”, since I suspect too big a monitor would also mean more fatigue to my neck, while not giving significantly more space.

What do you think?

Paolo
 
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Quasar

Senior Member
This is really subjective, but I know that a 24" screen is about as much as I can handle. I bought something similar to what you have now, a Dell 24-something 1900 X 1200 because extra vertical space of the 16:10 ratio makes a huge difference over the standard 16:9 IMHO. This primary DAW screen has a second 23" 16:9 monitor next to it for either the MIDI editor or other 2ndary open windows. This is all I would ever want or need.

I have a 27" 2011 iMac (bought used from a friend) that I use for non-music related things, and if I could wave a magic wand and make it a 21", I would. For me, the 27" screen forces me to adjust my head & neck position to the screen rather than vice-versa, and it's just too much, too straining. I wouldn't even consider a 32". But everyone is different.
 
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ptram

ptram

Senior Member
For me, the 27" screen forces me to adjust my head & neck position to the screen rather than vice-versa, and it's just too much, too straining.
Thank you for your answer. I'm still thinking to a 27”, because my current 16:10 24” s physically as high as a 16:9 27”. Neck pain shouldn't be an issue.

The more pixels translate as more density. This should mean that even if zoomed out a bit, an orchestral score should be easier to read.

Paolo
 
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Jdiggity1

Stroking The Frog
Moderator
27" QHD is the perfect match, in my opinion.
If you want to utilize UHD (4K) you'll want 32" or bigger.
 
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ptram

ptram

Senior Member
27" QHD is the perfect match, in my opinion.
While it's true that QHD is the right resolution for a 27”, MacOS is forcing us to think Retina. That is, text is not very smooth at native resolution, unless you physically increase the pixel density. So, I hope that a higher resolution (UHD/4k, in this case) may allow some effective smoothing via the Monitor scaling preferences. Keep the same pixel density of UHD, and an apparent resolution of QHD. Shouldn't it work?

Paolo
 

Jdiggity1

Stroking The Frog
Moderator
While it's true that QHD is the right resolution for a 27”, MacOS is forcing us to think Retina. That is, text is not very smooth at native resolution, unless you physically increase the pixel density. So, I hope that a higher resolution (UHD/4k, in this case) may allow some effective smoothing via the Monitor scaling preferences. Keep the same pixel density of UHD, and an apparent resolution of QHD. Shouldn't it work?
Yes. I've used a 43" UHD screen with Mac at a scaled resolution of 2560x1440p and thought it looked fantastic. So I would assume a 27" will too.
 

mauriziodececco

Maurizio, composer and piano player in Paris
Hallo, there is a lot of confusion on Mac OS resolution/scaling, confusion also generated by the terms Apple use.
The discussion above make the assumption that scaling works as the scaling a monitor would do: that the image is rendered at the scaled resolution (2560x1440) and then pumped up to the display 4K resolution. This means that the for example text would be of a less quality when scaled. But this is not true: the image is *always* rendered to the screen resolution (4K in this case). In most of the cases (*) the scaling is used to map the logical size of the graphic components an application define to the actual number of pixel used; text, for exemple, will be made bigger or smaller depending on scaling, but always rendered to 4K resolution, using dithering etc. So, a 4K screen used with 2560x1440 scaling will look crisper than a 2560x1440 native resolution monitor.
(*): the definition of most cases is complex: the Core Graphic API and other graphicals API garantee this behaviour, but not bitmaps for exemple, or for code not respecting certain rules; this is what Apple mean for an application to be 'Retina ready'.
 
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ptram

ptram

Senior Member
the image is *always* rendered to the screen resolution (4K in this case)
I might not have been able to explain me, but this is what I intended when I told that I wanted to "keep the same pixel density of UHD, and an apparent resolution of QHD".

With the new, gorgeous HP Z27 in front of me, I can say that my old Mac immediately recognized it as a Retina display, and proposed me a Full HD resolution (1920 x 1080). There was not an option to switch to what I wanted in the Mac preferences, so I installed SwitchResX, and went to a scaled QHD resolution (2560 x 1440). The monitor says that it is receiving signal at UHD/4k resolution (3840 x 2160), despite at 30 Hz. So, everything is going as I hoped.

At my sitting distance (about 90 cm), a 27" at QHD is a bit smallish. But I must still accustom to the new resolution (and the huge space reserve). And Ctrl-Up is always there, ready to make everything bigger. And zooming at this resolution always preserves the image smooth, crisp and clean.

Paolo
 

Wunderhorn

Active Member
In my experience the often mentioned "neck fatigue" turned out to be just a myth and it proved actually easier on the eye and brain to have a larger monitor that does not require you to read too small text or discriminate details that are too hard to decipher. I have two 43" at 3840 x 2160px and I would never want to go smaller ever again. Bigger would be even better.
 
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ptram

ptram

Senior Member
SwitchResX allowed me to discover a resolution that seems perfect for a 27” display: 2304 x 1296. It's 10% smaller than QHD, and lets the user interface elements have the same size they had on my old 24”, without stealing too much real-estate.

Some calculations: my old 24” was about 50 cm wide, and the new 27” monitor is about 60 cm wide. That is a 20% increase on the old size.

So, 1920 pixels * 120% = 2304 pixels. That's exactly the same virtual resolution as the old monitor, transposed on the bigger size. Zooming out I can have the detail of an UHD monitor, but with the same UI size as the old Full HD display.

Paolo
 
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