What Monitor for Viewing Construction Documents/Plans?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by zachlegomaniac, Nov 5, 2016.

  1. zachlegomaniac macrumors 6502a

    zachlegomaniac

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2008
    #1
    I am trying to find the right monitor to view 24" x 36" construction documents. When I bid jobs I typically shell out $55 to a print shop, and I feel like I'm throwing money out the window because I don't need a physical copy (typically) unless we win the work. It would be hooked up to either my Mac Mini (late 2014) or rMBP (late 2013). Right now I am using the 13" display on my rMBP or the piece of junk 19" Magnavox LCD that's got to be nearing a decade old. It's painful (hence the printing every time). Also, it is my wife's primary computer, but she doesn't need it for any special tasks.

    I don't want to break the bank, but I don't want to be staring at a piece of junk, either. I will also use the monitor for work with Excel and Powerpoint, and I'm sure it will get the occasional video streaming (although that's not incredibly important). I will also use it for the typical stock apps such as Photos, iTunes, etc.

    I went to Best Buy today to gain some clarity as I am starting from scratch and just trying to gather info on pricing, brands, etc. I explained to their salesperson everything above. He showed me a few monitors, but said I might want to check out the 40" televisions as they would cost roughly the same as the 27" monitor I was looking at (it was a 4k LG for around $500). He suggested this size because I could view the whole plan plus have a little room to work. That seems insanely huge, however. When he said that I figured rather than have my mind boggled at Best Buy I'd come here and ask opinions from folks that may be better versed in monitors as I've never had to really purchase one (I do miss my 27" iMac), and I'm not a big TV fanatic, either.

    Any guidance would be wonderful. Seeing the monitors at the store I was surprised by the huge difference in the 1080 displays versus the 4k (although I probably shouldn't have been).

    Thank you!

    ZLM
     
  2. mattDC5R macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2009
    Location:
    Perth, WA
    #2
    In my previous job I was dealing with house plans all day long. Initially I was given a ~30" single monitor.

    I found that doing take offs etc was a pain on only a single monitor regardless of size, as I was constantly flipping back and forth between programs. Even though you can use quick program switching shortcuts I always found it tedious compared to having the second monitor.

    I found it much easier using 2 monitors, almost regardless of the size of them as you can have the plan zoomed to a suitable level and what ever program your using for estimating on the other.

    I ended up with 2 x 27" screens and it was great.

    As to specific monitors I can't offer much input other than to say as it's just a static image, mainly black and white that you don't need anything too serious, unlike if you were gaming or using it for image processing where speed or colour accuracy is important so a something at the lower end of the price scale should do just fine.

    I would suggest to be careful of the 40" TV though, check the resolution on the screen being suggested, if it were a 1080P monitor that would lower pixel density than a regular monitor which will result in a less clear plan, large yes but possibly less detailed.
     
  3. Zenithal macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2009
    #3
    I think 30" TN 4K monitors exist now. That should do the trick without breaking the corporate piggy bank.
     
  4. zachlegomaniac thread starter macrumors 6502a

    zachlegomaniac

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2008
    #4
    It appears (based on this MR article) I can only run a 4k monitor at 30hz with my late 2014 Mac Mini. Am I better off purchasing a 1080 monitor that refreshes at 60hz because of this? Thanks!
     
  5. campyguy macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2014
    Location:
    Portland / Seattle
    #5
    Longtime engineer and construction manager chiming in. Design work for our clients and takeoffs for the contractors I work with are our two staples. We use hopped-up Minis alongside Macs and PCs. I do recommend being picky, consider a 4k display mainly for its sharpness and clarity, and looking at business displays (not monitors, there's a difference) that are designed for CAD/CAM work mainly for the pixel accuracy (nice to have if you're doing takeoffs...). Don't waste your time with a TV - they're not designed for work that requires some precision. Don't think of not being able to "use" the full capability of the display - you're future-proofed a bit, yes - but the clarity is what you're looking for here IMHO; you'll get a bit more clarity in most 24" displays here and a bit more space on larger displays.

    We use Eizo displays for our structural/mechanical work, but not the lower-priced ones. We use cheaper Dell 4k displays for production work only. Our takeoff work is done on workstations (including Minis) that have either a HP Z27s or BenQ BL2711U display - they're reasonably-priced (the HP Z27s is on sale right now at HP and I ordered a few late last week and the BL2711U has come down in price recently as well). They're set up for CAD/CAM work with multiple work profiles, have 3-year warranties, great stands (although most of ours are mounted on arms), have CAD profiles available, have excellent screens, plenty of controls, and they're both Mac-friendly (especially the BenQ). I find the 27" size to be about perfect, and all 3 of my workstations (2 offices and my home office) have two BL2711U displays attached; I recently moved my two Dell P2715Q displays to my mom's house so I can do a bit of work when I'm visiting...). The Dell is a consumer-oriented display, but with a 3-year warranty and a decent screen; my knock on Dell is that they're not too Mac-friendly and their consumer displays are IMHO cheap builds when compared to the business-class BenQs and HPs and not even in the same class as the Eizos.

    Our Minis are set for either 1200p or 1440p.

    I'd also offer that you consider buying direct from any of those companies, I do, and I always get awesome service if there's an issue. Sure, you may spend a few more dollars, but I get a replacement display overnighted to me if there's a problem - as a production-oriented business person you may appreciate that one day... Cheers!
     
  6. zachlegomaniac thread starter macrumors 6502a

    zachlegomaniac

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2008
    #6
    That is the the most helpful reply I've ever received on MR. Thanks a ton @campyguy .
     
  7. campyguy macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2014
    Location:
    Portland / Seattle
    #7
    Any time, I hope my input helps you out! Cheers!
     

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