Tuesday, November 04

Geek

The Dam Breaks

Computer monitors have been stuck at around 100 dpi for the past twenty years.  There have been a few exceptions like IBM's legendary T220, but that cost $10,000, so not something likely to show up on the average desktop.

The new wave of ultra-high-definition (3840x2160) monitors started showing up last year, beginning with Sharp's $3500 32" model, and Asus and Dell's versions, then followed by a range of cheap 28" TN panels and the occasional 24" IPS model.  LG showed up with an ultrawide format 3440x1440 34" screen.

And then, just in the past few weeks:
  • Dell teased a 27" 5K monitor for around $2500.
  • Apple shipped a 27" 5K iMac for around $2500.
  • Dell leaked new 24" and 27" 4K IPS monitors, and a 25" 2560x1440 monitor.
  • Acer also have a 27" 4K monitor and a 25" 2560x1440 monitor.
  • LG, Dell, and Samsung all announced curved 34" 3440x1440 displays.  If you remember CRTs, these are curved the other way.
  • LG have a 31" 4096x2160 (Digital Cinema 4K) IPS monitor going for about half the price of the various 31" 3840x2160 monitors based on Sharp's IGZO panel.
  • And Philips called all the others a bunch of pikers and announced a 40" 4K monitor for under $1000.  (With DisplayPort, 60Hz refresh, and a good quality VA panel with 176° viewing angles, so a big step up from the Seiki 4K TVs that have been popular in this size.)
I was saving for something new, and the Retina iMac looked perfect for my needs.*  But I could get three of those Philips 40" 4K monitors for that price, and plug them straight into my existing PC.  Or I could get the 5K iMac and a Dell 4K 27" monitor; with Apple's auto-scaling on high-definition displays, there would be little apparent difference between the two screens.  Or the iMac and the 27" Dell and a 40" Philips, and watch my credit card curl up in a little crispy ball of pain...

* Programming, web design, documentation, and the occasional bit of gaming.

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