32-inch UHD monitor for Linux productivity


TL;DR is a 32-inch UHD display usable at 100% scaling at a c. 100 centimeter viewing distance if you want to use it as “four Full HD displays in one” as some people put it? If so, are there any specific displays to recommend?

I’m interested in getting a 4K monitor mostly for productivity, i.e. reading, programming, etc., but I feel pretty lost. Considering I use Linux, scaling things up from 100% to 150% or 125% isn’t really an option, so at first I thought a 43-inch screen might be a good choice. Apparently though 4K displays at that size have serious issues with ghosting or lag, and because I do also play games, I really don’t want to deal with that. What’s more, I sit about 100 centimeters away from my display, which it seems is too close for a 43-inch screen.

So, maybe a 32-inch display would be better instead. But then there’s the concern with needing to scale things up to make it usable. The main reason I’d like a UHD screen is to be able to have four windows up at the same time, in each corner, and have them be “full-size” as if they were on Full HD displays of their own. If I need to start scaling things up, (especially on Linux since that means scaling things up to 200%), that advantage will be lost.

If someone has experience using a 32-inch UHD screen this way I’d like to hear about it.

I daily drive a Dell U3216Q which I paid nearly $1200 for in 2016 and it has been worth every penny. I use it every day for work where I frequently do side by side with docs, or quad with meetings, docs, chat, web, ect.

I also game on it and its fine, it does a solid 60hz with good color reproduction. Good enough for some light photo retouching, and video editing.

I do not scale in linux or Windows. I find the 32" a great balance of size, resolution, and DPI when sitting about arms length from the screen (2-3ft depending).

The U3219Q is the most recent replacement at about $900, and the U3223QE is the most recent which add’s HDR('nt) 400 support for about $1200. The UP3221Q is the serious PRO version with actual HDR 1000 and highly tuned colors I would not suggest it unless you have money to burn or HDR is important to you.

I also tested the Acer Predator 32 120hz Gsync and it was trash, I would never suggest a monitor from them.

32" on the desk, 24" 1920x1200’s on the ceiling.

4K on a 32” screen is legible at 100% scaling, but it’s small. What desktop environment and display server are you using? Plasma on X11 handles fractional scaling exceptionally well.

I will second that, Plasma on X11 and what little I tested on Wayland handled native KDE applications well.

I do have issues with Wayland and my KVM so I have not gone back to it yet.

Been using various 32" 4k 1:1 for last 5-6 years… usually a pair, sometimes single + laptop.

It works, there’s the same concerns with picking legible fonts and setting gamma ramps as you’d have on a 30" 2560 or an old huge pixels 96ppi display, as you’d expect.

In comparison, I find that scaled/retina UIs on various laptops I’ve used over the years are more forgiving of font/color scheme choices for code/text editors.

The minimum distance from my eyes to the display is 3.4 feet or so. I have a deep desk and I make use of it with papers, books and such, so the display is quite far away.

My pain point is about 1500€ so that one’s definitely out of budget for me. I’ll take a look at the other ones though. Thanks for the recommendations.

I use Gnome with Xorg right now, but starting with the next Fedora Workstation release in April I will probably try to switch over to Wayland. They enabled Wayland with Nvidia drivers as an option during this last release, and hopefully most teething issues have been ironed out.

So it works, but it’s not necessarily ideal? That’s a shame. I suppose I do have the option of trying one out, and then returning the display if it doesn’t work out.

Yes. for me, 1:1 + some font tweaks for productivity, absolutely work.

Most productivity apps (text editors/spreadsheets/browsers/etc) let you change default font sizes or zoom in/zoom out, and these are things you need to dial in once and you can do these without having to deal with drivers.

What I was getting at is that it won’t look “as good as” or “as nice as”, e.g. a 5k 27" display driven from mac os scaled to 125% - 150%. … or even better e.g. a pair of them driven by an m1 pro machine - if you have unlimited budget. (I’ve always had a soft spot for good displays as I tend to use them for a long time).

@Gibson : What monitor are you using today?

I’ve got a BenQ XL2430T right now.

I love my 49in Samsung G9

so much real estate.

Just got back my VX3211-4K-MHD from the repair shop for dead pixels. Still a great choice for programming because of the high contrast ratio. Just don’t make your Terminal/Console background dark grey and you should be fine.

If you dont need Tensor/Cuda I would strongly recommend moving away from nvidia cards. The quality of life on AMD (not to mention the much better performance/watt value) with linux has really hit a new level.

How far away from your eyes do you keep the display?

I’d really like to, but I’m waiting for the prices to come down. The MSRP for an RX 6800 XT was something like 700€ but they’re selling for around 1400€.

With fractional scaling you should be able to get it to 125% scaling. If you manage to do so I think it’s the optimal use of a 32" 4K monitor. I’m using one right now, at arms lenght and everything is comfortably readable.

With 125% scaling it’s 3070x1750 ish screen. The best windows layout for this resolution, in my opinion, is the one vertical window in one half of the screen and two staggered in the other half of it.

Fractional scaling is sort of a problem. I don’t want to deal with potentially blurry applications or messing with xrandr [HiDPI - ArchWiki] and what’s more I would really like to be able to use the quad-FullHD layout. That’s the main draw for me when it comes to 4K screens in the first place.

I don’t think 100% scaling is usable on 32" 4K, straight up. Fonts gets too small and scaling just the fonts messes up most of the UI because it starts making the title bar and other parts bigger to accomodate the larger font. Or it straight up spills outside the boundaries it should be set to be in. Some applications ignore just the font scaling and than you need to mess with application scaling to be able to read or use the UI.

I have 20/20 vision and I had to concede defeat on that combo of screen size and resolution. And I’m the kind of freak that uses their phone at the lowest font and UI size allowed by Android (not messing with the DPI settings) and always gets comments about text being too small hahaha

I dont have 20/20 (not sure what it is these days) but I have 0 issues with 100% scale on my 32" in only the worst cases where a developer has fixed font size and used something stupid small I find it very readable.

Im talking like 7pt font in word. anything over 10pt in word or other document program is perfectly readable.

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