Monitor Recomendations and Monitor Configuration Ideas

6 Months ago I started a new job/position working remotely, first time working remotely. My primary responsibility is Support/Sys Admin. Most of my time is spent in the browser and terminal. The company specializes in e-commerce web hosting. Say pretty even 3 way split between browser for ticketing, browser for troubleshooting and working in a shell.

I am trying to solve several problems, I am hoping for monitor recommendations and ideas for how I can solve the below issues.

  • Ready to “finalize” my setup. Been waiting to see how this new job position working from home played out and feel like I have a good feel for that now. My current setup is just what I already had for the most part and was not designed to be my primary work setup.

  • Eyes are killing me. My eyes are really hating me right now. I have always had good vision. Never really had issues, I thought I was in front of a monitor a lot before but apparently this is different. Need to do everything I can to reduce eye fatigue. Going to see an eye doctor and will talk to them about what I can do but I am guessing they won’t be able to recommend a monitor for me.

  • Inefficient use of space. Currently for my work space I have a dual monitor setup. Two 27" QHD monitors, one primary and one secondary. The primary monitor will have my web browser, NOC monitors and a drop down terminal. Secondary monitor is almost wasted. I only use half to two-thirds of the monitor at a time because it hurts to turn enough to see the outer edge for any amount of time other then glances, I don’t have anything I need to glance at. The secondary monitor has Slack, Discord, text edior, maybe a company wiki or some other reference material on it. Current secondary monitor has bad enough view angle/matte coating that I can’t see it well when turned vertical.

  • Multiple computers. So the more keen will notice this is actually a triple monitor setup. That is because I refuse to use my work NUC for personal use. The third 23" monitor on the right is used for my personal desktop. I use Barrier so that I can have personal browser and chat accessible throughout the shift. The only issue with this is that outside work it is difficult to use my personal desktop on the primary monitor, which I would like to easily do outside of my working hours. I would consider switching inputs easy, but where it gets weird is that for 8 hours a day, it’s only connected to the one 23" monitor and then keyboard is connected to the work pc. So I would have to switch inputs, configure display settings, and switch keyboard to use desktop. MX Master mouse is enough to switch manually. All of that switching inevitably causes weirdness with getting everything back to the way it was. One potential option is to actually use my Thunderbolt 3 laptop connected to a TB3 capable monitor when I want to use a personal machine on the primary monitor. I don’t really game anymore so the desktop is pretty big overkill, the personal work I do is pretty similar to work, web browser and shell so my laptop can do just fine in that scenario. I want personal computer on the primary screen simply because of screen real estate and to use my mouse/keyboard on it for longer sessions.

So far my research has me leaning towards the Dell U3223QE. The idea being I would go to a single primary monitor. Keep a secondary monitor for personal stuff on desktop. Connect my laptop via USB-C when I wanted to use primary monitor for personal stuff and have a built in KVM so It could use mouse and keyboard with single USB-C connection. That’s an expensive monitor and I will spend the money if it’s the best solution, but I need to be confident that this will be a solid setup for a very long time at that price.

I’m in the US. I can spend what I need to but it really has to be worth it. The three computers that might be in use with the monitor are.

NUC with i5-8259U. Has DP over TB3 and fullsize HDMI
6700K with GT970 Desktop multiple DP/HDMI
Dell Precision 5510 w/TB3
Plasma/KDE X11 (Barrier is X11 only) on all 3 systems.

Thanks for reading through all of this and any and all recommendations and ideas are appreciated.

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I think you’ll like it.

You may want to compare with a similar BenQ ProDesigner PD3220* it’s a similar class of panel to the Dell and it’s meant to fit the same productivity crowd’s use case in terms of features wrt having built-in KVM etc.

edit: nevermind, the BenQ is a bit old and prices haven’t really gone down. I wonder if any of the 3k USD minileds or quantum dot monitors are worth it.

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Do you happen to have a windows behind where you sit?
Direct light from a window on the monitors and the ensuing glare is an instant eye strain/headache in most cases
If not, and the eye strain is because you are forced not only to move your eyes to cover all the screen space but also your neck, and if in order not to do that you strain your eyes on the periphery of your vision, that may be another cause of the strain.
So, even before thinking about a new monitor, check that you have enough distance between where you sit and the monitors, and check you don’t have direct light during any time of the day hitting the screens at any angle, even by reflection …
Having said that, the panel you linked is ‘nice’ but for 900USD it only gives you three inputs, and you’re betting your farm on everything working as expected on the connectivity/kvm side …
Also, 4K on a 32 inches at native resolution is going to be … tiny … not going to play well with eye strain, so you’ll probably be forced to use scaling and good luck with that with apps that do not behave

If you have the space, I’d contemplate a 43" solution, but you will probably need at least 3 feet of distance between your head and the monitor to be able to cover the whole screen without turning your neck … I have mine hanging on the wall and a deep desk, so I am sitting at about 100cm and use it 10+ hours a day, have been doing that for 4 years now and would never go back to a smaller monitor/dual monitor setup.
The way I run it is wih Picture in Picture enabled, and my main pc using 3/4 of the screen and my secondary using the top righ 1/4, that is still an equivalent of a 24"inch 1080p at full resolution.
That gives me the additional bonus of not having to use a KVM at all, I just use the monitor controls whenever I don’t need them active at the same time / need the full screen for a single input …
Prices for a good 43" with a better input selection (maybe not usb-c though) should definitely be lower that the Dell … or for the same money you can get a better panel … that is going to be another option … just make sure you check the matte/glare of the display in relation of where you are going to mount it (that goes for whatever monitor you end up with) …

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The dell 43" option costs about the same than the 32", sans the KVM …

A possibility to consider, some monitors use PWM to dim their backlights. The flickering this causes is usually not consciously noticeable, but some suspect it can be straining on the eyes.

I think it is sometimes argued that PWM flicker is too high frequency to cause any issues, but I have yet to be convinced—though I myself have not performed any rigorous experiments.

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That’s in interesting option. How does the keyboard/mouse switching work with the PIP/PBP? I assume it’s software controlled? That could be a deal breaker since it’s all Linux machines connected to it. I assume no KVM means no keyboard mouse switching on input change?

It doesn’t … I use two keyboards, one for my main VM where I then use remote desktop to log into the others, the second for the windows machine …
If you don’t dig multiple keyboards you would need a logitech like combo that can support connecting to multiple hosts using a key to switch … like a kvm but much cheapre because it doesn’t have to switch video …

Moonlander !!! (sorry I had to:)

Thanks for the heads up on the sunlight. Put up some temporary blackouts today and I feel like just that made a huge difference especially on the left side monitor which faces the window. The first 5 hours of my day is sunlight hitting that monitor. It sucks to have the blinds closed, threw of my internal clock but maybe I can figure out so way to compensate.

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there are kvm out there that only switch usb (sometimes called kvm despite not having video sometimes called usb switchers) - that’d allow you to use any keyboard/mouse. (example on amazon)

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