Best monitor for staring at code

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by kmo19, Jan 17, 2014.

  1. kmo19 macrumors member

    Jan 7, 2009
    I know there are other monitor threads out there, but I want to ask specifically for my needs. I'm a programmer and I often spend 10-12 hours a day looking at code. I have a mid 2012 Retina MB Pro with NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M 1024 MB. I want the best external monitor possible for the main purpose of being easy on my eyes. I currently use a Dell U2412M but I feel like I could do better.

    I've read about the new 28-inch 4K dell coming out, but people complain about the 30 Hz refresh rate. Does that matter for me? I don't care about gaming. Like I said I just need something that won't hurt my eyes after staring at it for 50+ hours a week.

    Obviously the higher the resolution the better. I am willing to pay for something good. Maybe not $3500 but any reasonable cost.
  2. mikepj macrumors regular

    Nov 2, 2004
    I've seen a 30Hz display in action. It feels a lot like controlling a Mac over a VNC connection, where the mouse lags behind you as you move it. If you are just editing code by using the keyboard for navigation, then it might be okay, but you would see a delay as soon as you tried to do anything with the mouse. As a developer myself it would drive me crazy.

    I'm not sure, but I think the other new 28" 4K monitors by Asus and Lenovo will do 60Hz and are only $100 more than the Dell. You might want to look into one of those.
  3. a.coward, Jan 17, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2014

    a.coward macrumors regular

    Jun 1, 2010
    As the previous poster said, you'd get a lot of jerkiness with 30Hz,
    especially with the mouse. This can impact cursor accuracy. I tend
    to use my mouse as a "guide" when reading code and a jerky cursor
    would just drive me nuts.

    But, as I understand it, a 4k monitor would not be an option for
    you anyway: everything I've read points to the mid 2012 rMBPs
    not being able to support 4k (I also own a 2012 rMBP and was
    considering 4k myself -- ended up getting the U2713HM).
    Correction: It looks like 4k support may have been enabled with

    I really don't have any monitors in mind, but I would look at getting
    at matte display if you primary requirement is for it to be easy on
    the eyes (there are some who complain about the anti-glare coating
    on the Dell U-series monitors and sometimes I find the U2713HM
    to be a bit too "bright" or "vivid" -- so while being nice to look at,
    it can be hard on the eyes for too long a time).

    As an alternative, I would recommend you look at getting another
    monitor and going dual-head. You'd be amazed at how much
    more productive you can be when coding/debugging with two
    displays. Depending on your coding style, you may want to even
    consider placing one of the screens in portrait mode for more
    vertical space.
  4. glenthompson macrumors 68000


    Apr 27, 2011

    Before I retired our company did a SAP implementation. A lot of people on the project used 2 Lenovo wide screen monitors (company standard) with one in wide screen mode and the other vertical. The vertical monitor was for code and the horizontal one for anything else. The ability to see about two pages of code at a time was really helpful.
  5. kmo19 thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 7, 2009
    I actually do use two externals. So I have my MB Pro screen, one horizontal, and one vertical external.

    But back to the actual monitor selection. Sounds like the new Dell 4k 30 Hz is not a good option, although I'm not even sure why they would release something like that if there's a noticeable lag in mouse movement. Who would put up with that?

    The 28" 4K monitors by Asus and Lenovo are still a few months away and may be good options if I can wait that long.

    The Planar PXL2790MW looks nice, but very glossy. I'm curious about the matte display options. Any particular models to recommend?
  6. robgendreau macrumors 68040

    Jul 13, 2008
    I've got a 2560x1440 running off the same card, in a hackintosh. I don't code, but do a lot of word processing. Aside from getting more space, you might try some anti-glare solutions. I thought that I needed higher resolution, but when I got my new glasses with a good anti-glare coating I found that my eyestrain lessened considerably. Might not work for you, but at least eliiminate glare or ergonomic problems first. The ergonomic guru at my work would tell you that no screen change is gonna help if you're staring at it for that long....
  7. mcarling macrumors 65816

    Oct 22, 2009
    Anyone have good results with a 4K monitor available for purchase today? It would be used with a Haswell 15" rMBP.
  8. bravenewmac macrumors member

    May 19, 2010
  9. chfilm macrumors 68000


    Nov 15, 2012
    I've connected my projector over hdmi to my iMac to check out how bad 30hz looks like.
    If you have a tv I would suggest you try the same.

    It's not AS bad as I suspected but it's also not good looking how the mouse moves...


    In fact I would be more interested in seeing how small the text looks like on such a 4k monitor and how that would affect your ability to stare at it for 50+ hours a week.
  10. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    Agreed, why pay a premium for such a product that will be underutilized. I like the dell ultrasharp and I'm rocking with an Apple Cinema Display. I'd recommend either one :)
  11. mm201 macrumors regular

    Feb 17, 2013
    Not if you want to Retinafy your site.

    Content and software creators need to make the jump to hiDPI now so that everyone else will have a compelling reason to go hiDPI later.
  12. mikepj macrumors regular

    Nov 2, 2004

    Any web developer not thinking of making the jump to a HiDPI display now or soon is going to be at a pretty big disadvantage in the market. There are already millions of HiDPI devices browsing the web right now.

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