Illyama 4K screen for Developer, Use Of

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Photograph of motherboard and CPU

I have developed with two or three screens connected to my PC (or laptop – using Matrox’s excellent Dual Head 2 Go) for many years. Like desk space, my view is you cannot have enough screen space to help keep organised and productive.

Recently I took the plunge and purchased a 4K screen from Amazon. Some motherboards have HDMI outputs, which support 4K, but my main PC has not, and as I use multiple screens in any case, I purchased a NVS510 quad port 4K card that can run 4 x 4K screens if necessary. At the moment it is running 3 screens: my 4K screen and two 1920 x 1200 screens on Windows 7.

I chose the screen based on the reputation of the manufacturer and the fact that this screen has many different ports on it, so I can use HDMI to plug my Macbook in, and even split screen between two inputs (doubt I’ll use this I prefer more not less screen space).

The results are amazing the 4K screen is exactly 4 times the screen area of 1920 x 1080 screens, so I could have stopped being greedy and replaced my 3 screens with the one 4K screen and almost gained an additional screen to boot. But its good having one 1920 x 1200 at least because I can get the main Visual Studio window I’m working on up on that screen and really focus on the code in that window.

What I did find was that with Windows 7 the text on the 4k screen was a little on the small side if I didn’t want it to be too big on the 1920 x 1200’s. Windows 8 is better in this respect because it allows you to set your text size individually on each monitor.

Photographs

4K and 1920x1200 screen side by side

Illyama 4K and Samsung 1920x1200

Photograph of Illyama 4K Screen

Illyama 4K screen

Photograph of Samsung 1920x1200 screen

Samsung 1920x1200 screen

The images above show a comparison. This blog is shown maximised on the Samsung, with the same size window on the 4K screen alongside.

A More Realistic Development Scenario

A photograph of the 4K screen with four browser windows and Visual Studio open.

More typical Development screen shot

To the left is a more realistic image, taken with four normal size browser windows on the big screen and a normal sized Visual Studio 2013, along with a maximised Visual Studio 2013 window on the Samsung.

An old, but useful podcast on developer hardware and screen space (multiple screens) can be found at Hanselminutes #74.

Links to Hardware mentioned in this Post

N.B. When considering the DualHead2Go, please check your display output on your PC, you may prefer a display port version of this product.

About Phil

I have been working as a software developer since 1983. This blog could have been called "From Fortran 77, C and Cobol to C# in 20 (not so) easy years", but it doesn't sound quite right somehow. Besides I'm talking about what's happened since 2003, not before!

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