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NeoForever
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Is a bigger monitor with lower pixel density necessarily worse than a smaller one with higher pixel density?

Mon May 14, 2018 5:44 pm

I was thinking about this. Assuming you can resolve a 2560 x 1440p 24" display, how does it compare with something like 1080p 66" display that is farther? I.e. something that is bigger (fills the same field of view), and has lower resolution (increasing pixel pitch), but sits further (keeping angular pitch the same)

Infact, would it be better from a manufacturing cost, and GPU load perspective?

Tl;Dr: If TVs had better input lag, would everyone be happier? Is that what I'm saying?
 
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Re: Is a bigger monitor with lower pixel density necessarily worse than a smaller one with higher pixel density?

Mon May 14, 2018 6:13 pm

AFAIK twice the view distance, half the DPI, is the same visual result.

There are TVs with rather low input lag, and I think it's getting more common recently:
https://www.rtings.com/tv/reviews/lg/uk ... rison_1800
https://www.rtings.com/tv/reviews/samsu ... rison_1800
 
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Re: Is a bigger monitor with lower pixel density necessarily worse than a smaller one with higher pixel density?

Mon May 14, 2018 8:13 pm

Personal preference mainly, and sitting distance and eye sight.

Ask yourself, do you like the screen on your smart phone? What resolution is that and what resolution would it be if it was 24"??

Myself, I have a BenQ BL2420PT 2560x1440 at 23.8" and I like it much better than my old 21.5" 1920x1080 Dell P2214h. Only downside sometimes is the less than optimal win10 and/or old programs scaling.

I think a 24" 4k screen would be really nice, if all the scaling issues were fixed.
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Re: Is a bigger monitor with lower pixel density necessarily worse than a smaller one with higher pixel density?

Mon May 14, 2018 8:52 pm

I run a 40" 4K for the best of both worlds. :P I've had a 40"+ monitor for over a decade now - I don't think I could go back if I tried. Once you get used to the size it's just so much easier on the eyes for long coding or gaming sessions.
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Re: Is a bigger monitor with lower pixel density necessarily worse than a smaller one with higher pixel density?

Mon May 14, 2018 8:59 pm

I've currently got a 31½" 2560x1440 primary monitor with a 24" 1200x1900 secondary beside it. Both of these are around 96 ppi. Once you're old enough to begin getting far-sighted, teeny tiny pixel pitches will not seem as cool as they do when you're in your 20s.
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Re: Is a bigger monitor with lower pixel density necessarily worse than a smaller one with higher pixel density?

Mon May 14, 2018 9:25 pm

I still personally don’t see the value in scaling. I’ll admit I haven’t seen one work. 27” at 1440p or 23” at 1080 seems to be about right for me. This is for work stuff. For gaming it is all about GPU resources.
 
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Re: Is a bigger monitor with lower pixel density necessarily worse than a smaller one with higher pixel density?

Tue May 15, 2018 12:12 am

Usacomp2k3 wrote:
I still personally don’t see the value in scaling. I’ll admit I haven’t seen one work. 27” at 1440p or 23” at 1080 seems to be about right for me. This is for work stuff. For gaming it is all about GPU resources.



Monitor size is all about vision and its corollary - youth - IMO. When the Mac first came out in '84, it had a 9" screen, but with good pixel density. Young people said a larger screen wasn't necessary, but those of us thinking about putting them on secretarial desks found that the small characters were just too small to be useful. So we went with those huge 13" monitors that were available at the time.


Move forward a few decades, and I find myself using 40+ inch monitors as my eyes age.
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Re: Is a bigger monitor with lower pixel density necessarily worse than a smaller one with higher pixel density?

Tue May 15, 2018 10:38 am

Is it retina? https://designcompaniesranked.com/resources/is-this-retina/
Somewhere around 110ppi is ideal for typical desktop use. That's a 27" 1440p screen or a 40" 4k screen.
You're right to mention that viewing distance is a major factor in choosing pixel density. Of course, assuming scaling always works perfectly and you have no budgetary constraint (for monitor or GPU if gaming) then a higher pixel density will most certainly look better. We all lean in toward our screens from time to time.
From my guestimation, Windows' 100% scaling is based on a 24" 1080p screen at 30-36" away.
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Re: Is a bigger monitor with lower pixel density necessarily worse than a smaller one with higher pixel density?

Tue May 15, 2018 1:01 pm

Usacomp2k3 wrote:
I still personally don’t see the value in scaling. I’ll admit I haven’t seen one work. 27” at 1440p or 23” at 1080 seems to be about right for me. This is for work stuff. For gaming it is all about GPU resources.


Turn off font smoothing and cleartype and you'll get some idea of how sharp text can be (on body size Arial or similar). HiDPI/Retina screens (scaling) allow you to use that sharpness for a lot more fonts without them ending up looking jagged or inconsistent width.
 
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Re: Is a bigger monitor with lower pixel density necessarily worse than a smaller one with higher pixel density?

Tue May 15, 2018 9:14 pm

Thanks for the responses everyone (although some of you seem to have missed the point :wink: )

DPete27, thanks for that link. According to that, a 24'' 1440p monitor becomes retina at little closer than "standard" monitor viewing distance.
https://imgur.com/a/EXxtgVw

A 50'' 1080p instead would give you the same apparent pixel density (quality) at 6.5 ft.
https://imgur.com/a/cRTobTD

So we could really get more out of our GPUs by switching to TVs! :P
In another universe perhaps... where you could get low input lag at the same low price per diagonal size.
 
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Re: Is a bigger monitor with lower pixel density necessarily worse than a smaller one with higher pixel density?

Tue May 15, 2018 9:38 pm

The "is it retina" website nicely illustrates the relationship between pixel density and viewing distance. However, it doesn't account for the % coverage of your field of view. The best site I have bookmarked for that is this TV distance-to-size page. As you can see in the chart for 40° FOV** a 25" monitor at 2.5' is the same as a 50" at 5'. Therefore, if you're sitting farther than 5' away from a 50" TV, you'll probably find that you need to increase the scaling % to maintain a comfortable size of text/items on screen, and in games, you're just going to want to sit a bit closer.

If you're going to sit 6.5' away from your 50" 1080p screen, that's not exactly "desktop" use, it's called HTPC/console/couch gaming.

**It would seem that most people prefer 40° FOV for desktop usage, which would be a 27" monitor at arm's length away. I would say that 50° would be the max for most people before the screen is uncomfortably close/large.
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Re: Is a bigger monitor with lower pixel density necessarily worse than a smaller one with higher pixel density?

Tue May 15, 2018 11:17 pm

You definitely need to factor in vision to this though. Some people just won't benefit from a 4K screen on a 15" laptop because (myself included) they can't read anything that small from a reasonable distance, but thisssssss is where scaling comes into play and is OH SO lovely. My rMBP is 2560x1600 on a 13" screen, but there is no way in hell I need that kind of strain on my eyes or to hunch over the screen killing my back and neck. Scaling on macOS is great and I use the 1680x1050 setting. Sharp as a tack (for the most part).

Really wish Windows would figure out scaling. It's still not as good as default macOS stuff though it has got better, especially with W10. Anyway, I use that rMBP (1680x1050 scaled at 13") and a 27" 2560x1440 monitor for my desktop at native and both serve me very well. I'm not a big fan of the TV as a monitor thing, but that's again, mostly because of my vision. I have to sit closer to the screen than most people and if it were 40" instead of 27" I'd have to move my whole head or possibly even body to look at different parts of the screen.

Pick what suits you best. "Better" doesn't always mean "better for everyone."
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Re: Is a bigger monitor with lower pixel density necessarily worse than a smaller one with higher pixel density?

Wed May 16, 2018 7:12 am

JustAnEngineer wrote:
I've currently got a 31½" 2560x1440 primary monitor with a 24" 1200x1900 secondary beside it. Both of these are around 96 ppi. Once you're old enough to begin getting far-sighted, teeny tiny pixel pitches will not seem as cool as they do when you're in your 20s.


Yup, I try to keep everything around 100dpi as well.

I use a 24" 1920x1080 flanked by two 19" 1280x1024 monitors.
Works out really well for my gaming setup.
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Re: Is a bigger monitor with lower pixel density necessarily worse than a smaller one with higher pixel density?

Wed May 16, 2018 7:17 am

DancinJack wrote:
You definitely need to factor in vision to this though. Some people just won't benefit from a 4K screen on a 15" laptop because (myself included) they can't read anything that small from a reasonable distance, but thisssssss is where scaling comes into play and is OH SO lovely. My rMBP is 2560x1600 on a 13" screen, but there is no way in hell I need that kind of strain on my eyes or to hunch over the screen killing my back and neck. Scaling on macOS is great and I use the 1680x1050 setting. Sharp as a tack (for the most part).

Really wish Windows would figure out scaling. It's still not as good as default macOS stuff though it has got better, especially with W10. Anyway, I use that rMBP (1680x1050 scaled at 13") and a 27" 2560x1440 monitor for my desktop at native and both serve me very well. I'm not a big fan of the TV as a monitor thing, but that's again, mostly because of my vision. I have to sit closer to the screen than most people and if it were 40" instead of 27" I'd have to move my whole head or possibly even body to look at different parts of the screen.

Pick what suits you best. "Better" doesn't always mean "better for everyone."


We have people using Dell Precision 5510's and these have 4k 15" screens.
Some apps we use are not DPI aware at all so you get itty bitty text about 1mm tall.

We force the screen to 1920x1080 and then everything works as it should.
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Re: Is a bigger monitor with lower pixel density necessarily worse than a smaller one with higher pixel density?

Wed May 16, 2018 7:20 am

Ya'll are making me want to try it again on my third screen to see what I'm missing. 2160p scaled down to 50% would be pretty close the the 1440p that I was running it at manually.
EDIT: Done. I'll live with it for a little while and see. Off the bat Remote Desktop doesn't like it, but they added a zoom feature in Win10 that for 50% is pretty close.
 
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Re: Is a bigger monitor with lower pixel density necessarily worse than a smaller one with higher pixel density?

Wed May 16, 2018 8:13 am

Waco wrote:
I run a 40" 4K for the best of both worlds. :P I've had a 40"+ monitor for over a decade now - I don't think I could go back if I tried. Once you get used to the size it's just so much easier on the eyes for long coding or gaming sessions.

Any specific window management techniques you use? For me, the convenience of maximizing a window and having a decent amout of it contain meaningful content (and not just whiteness) is why I'm still on a 24" dual-monitor setup. That said, I've been toying with the idea of moving into the 30" range for the primary monitor.

JustAnEngineer wrote:
Both of these are around 96 ppi. Once you're old enough to begin getting far-sighted, teeny tiny pixel pitches will not seem as cool as they do when you're in your 20s.

+1 to this.
 
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Re: Is a bigger monitor with lower pixel density necessarily worse than a smaller one with higher pixel density?

Wed May 16, 2018 9:23 am

Lower pixel density just means that you can put it further away from you and use the reclaimed desk space for something far more useful than a monitor stand.
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Re: Is a bigger monitor with lower pixel density necessarily worse than a smaller one with higher pixel density?

Wed May 16, 2018 10:41 am

Chrispy_ wrote:
...use the reclaimed desk space for something far more useful than a monitor stand.

ahem....
More people should use desk mounts for monitor(s). They're so nice for freeing up desk space, especially when you start getting into >1 monitor.
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Re: Is a bigger monitor with lower pixel density necessarily worse than a smaller one with higher pixel density?

Wed May 16, 2018 12:33 pm

DPete27 wrote:
Chrispy_ wrote:
...use the reclaimed desk space for something far more useful than a monitor stand.

ahem....
More people should use desk mounts for monitor(s). They're so nice for freeing up desk space, especially when you start getting into >1 monitor.

This. Mounting my monitor to the desk/wall was the best decision I made.

In terms of window management, I just run scaling at 150%. My primary desktop use case is gaming, so window management takes a back seat. When I do split things up for programming or something, I tend to run 4 windows equally spaced, each at effectively 1920x1080 (my VMs don't enable DPI scaling, so it's purely a 4K monitor at that point).
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Re: Is a bigger monitor with lower pixel density necessarily worse than a smaller one with higher pixel density?

Wed May 16, 2018 12:35 pm

DPete27 wrote:
Chrispy_ wrote:
...use the reclaimed desk space for something far more useful than a monitor stand.

ahem....
More people should use desk mounts for monitor(s). They're so nice for freeing up desk space, especially when you start getting into >1 monitor.

And that particular mount is very high quality. I waxed poetic on the front page a couple weeks ago when TR reviewed a very expensive mount.

I like the 100-DPI range for monitors, but I also like the 200-DPI range. a 4K display 27" with scaling set to 200% does pretty nicely and has the benefit of sharper text.

Yes, some apps don't scale well. Particularly stuff written with WinForms. But the apps that most folks use every day - browsers, office-type apps, etc. do great.
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Re: Is a bigger monitor with lower pixel density necessarily worse than a smaller one with higher pixel density?

Wed May 16, 2018 2:16 pm

For me, no, but there are exceptions.

My T480 has a 14" 2560x1440 display that I run at 100% scaling. I prefer using a 27" 2560X1440 display at 100% scaling.

One of my fav displays is the 12.9" 2732x2048 display found in my iPad Pro. It has a very high 264 PPI but it uses a quad pixel resolution (1,366x1024) so it is an absolute joy to view.
Last edited by End User on Wed May 16, 2018 2:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Is a bigger monitor with lower pixel density necessarily worse than a smaller one with higher pixel density?

Wed May 16, 2018 2:41 pm

JustAnEngineer wrote:
I've currently got a 31½" 2560x1440 primary monitor with a 24" 1200x1900 secondary beside it. Both of these are around 96 ppi. Once you're old enough to begin getting far-sighted, teeny tiny pixel pitches will not seem as cool as they do when you're in your 20s.

You are muddying the waters.

A 27" 5120x2880 display has a PPI of 217.57 (super tiny pixel pitches). It's not designed to be used at its native resolution. In reality you have a quad pixel 2560x1440 resolution. The clarity/sharpness is amazing and individual pixels become extremely hard to see (a good thing)

My desktop displays are roughly 107-108 PPI (38" 3840x1440 and 27" 2560x1440). Individual pixels start to become more noticeable the lower your PPI becomes (much like the screen-door effect with VR). I can see the individaul pixels at 108 PPI. @ 96 PPI on a 31½" display you must really see them.
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Re: Is a bigger monitor with lower pixel density necessarily worse than a smaller one with higher pixel density?

Wed May 16, 2018 6:23 pm

I agree about desk mounts, I've owned a high-quality german gas-lift model ever since buying a my first cheapo Korean IPS monitor almost a decade ago now.

We desk-mount home users are an incredibly niche, almost irrelevant minority though.
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Re: Is a bigger monitor with lower pixel density necessarily worse than a smaller one with higher pixel density?

Wed May 16, 2018 6:37 pm

The monitor for my test bench is already on an arm. I'd like to arm-mount my other displays as well but just haven't gotten around to it yet.
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Re: Is a bigger monitor with lower pixel density necessarily worse than a smaller one with higher pixel density?

Wed May 16, 2018 6:44 pm

I’m currently using 4 Ergotron MX Desk Monitor Arms.
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