Looking At 4K Monitor, Trying To Figure Out Budget Graphics Card

I’m looking into purchasing a budget 27" IPS 4K Monitor ($350 range) as a second monitor (currently have 27" Wide 1080P). The IPS is important since I work in a space with a glare problem.

I want to increase my total screen real estate (thus 4K) allowing me to display more windows at one time.

Why? I have multiple applications, from Microsoft Word with Accordance to Dorico with VSL. I want a minimum of four full-size windows over two monitors. I do not do any real gaming.

Have done some research, and I’m looking at this one: https://www.amazon.com/LG-27UD58-B-27-Inch-Monitor-FreeSync/dp/B01IRQAYPE/ref=pd_ybh_a_1?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=1ZWEF6WWWK17XMJ6SAZ6, but I’m open to suggestions.

I’m realizing that my aging Radeon R7 250 graphics card will likely not support 4K resolution, thus I need to look at a budget graphics card that will support a 4K monitor. Not being a gamer or a video editor, it’s hard to wade through the myriad of “ten best” review sites with any understanding, since all are aimed at those two markets.

I’d love some suggestions from people who are using 4K monitors for Dorico or any other non-gaming applications. I want to purchase what’s good enough for what I do, but there’s no need for me to chase the latest and greatest.

Edited to add: In looking further, it appears that the integrated graphics card with my Intel i5-9600K will support 4K. That might be a good (and cheaper!) first step.

I have a GeForce GTX 1660. Works just fine. About $200 I think.

Thanks, Dan. I’ll check that out. Not sure if I can get one nearer to $120 that will work, so something in that range might be my best bet.

Keep 'em coming, folks!

In looking further, it appears that the integrated graphics card with my Intel i5-9600K will support 4K. That might be a good (and cheaper!) first step. (updated original post)

Yeah I was going to suggest that. Non-gamers usually don’t need a dedicated graphics card!

Don’t know why I didn’t think of that at first.

Laughs) The only game I play is a text-based baseball simulation. It ceased development in the early 2010’s. It would probably run on a microwave.

Just my two cents, but I’d suggest going for a 32" if you’re going to be running 4k in native resolution. I originally bought a 28" 4k monitor and everything was just too small. Yes, it is more expensive, but I find it much better than trying to decipher tiny pixels (and I have decent vision at only 33 years old).

I have a 32" BenQ BL3201PH IPS 4k Monitor that I purchased refurbished 3 years ago during one of BenQ’s frequent sales. Back then, I paid only $500 for it and it still runs like a champ. The latest version of this same monitor is the PD3200U. SlickDeals is a great place to set a deal alert for BenQ’s sales.

I run the monitor on an Radeon RX 560 4GB card and its perfectly smooth (albeit, on a Mac, not a PC)

Here’s an image of it in my studio:

I don’t think you’ll get much benefit from a 4k that small. You’ll have to run at a much lower rez, or scale things way up to be able to read anything. Have you thought about just getting a second 1080 monitor?

Personally I (and my 68 year old eyes) wouldn’t go smaller than 40" for a 4k.

And a 28" is especially small if you are thinking of dividing it into 4 screens.

There really is a significant difference when viewing large orchestral scores. 1080 pixelates them so details are completely illegible, whereas 4K makes them much clearer.

Granted, I have decent eyesight, but I don’t think 1080 is just as good, at all. A 27-inch monitor is quite big, and on a monitor arm, you can move it fairly close to you when needed.

I’m with Dan on most things but not about monitor sizes. For me a 27" monitor is way too small. Me and my 65 year old eyes are with wcreed - 40 and upwards. The extra space that comes with the size gives you width - possibly more width than you need but much more importantly it gives you height. And, for me, height is a super-critical parameter with Dorico.

Thanks for the comments people. I was viewing this as a second monitor, with each monitor holding a minimum of two full-sized windows. Not sure if that changes your point of view.

I am 65 in three days, however, and I do have the eyes of a 65-year-old. I plan on ordering through Amazon, in part so it will be easy to return if needed. I just don’t have a large enough desk for a bigger addition, unless I go with a far bigger single monitor. That would defeat the purpose of the purchase so far as I can tell.

I’m hoping Dan is correct that I will get better resolution at the same size as my current 1080p. If I have to run as at less than full resolution, at least it should be better than my 1080p.

One of the big driving forces behind getting another monitor is an attempt to deal with glare problem in my current environment.

Feel free to comment further, or continue to argue your case!

Checked out your BenQ Monitor, and it does look like a great alternative if the LG 27" doesn’t work out. Could simply be out of my price range.

Thanks for the suggestion.

Edited to add: Looked at your pic, couldn’t help but notice that your carpet, moulding and wall color are pretty much identical to the second bedroom I work in. Is that a statue of your uncle on desk? (grins)

Yeah, I have. I just find the resolution on my 27" 1080p makes my older eyes get really tired after awhile.

It’s very possible if I try the one I’m looking at that you’ll turn out to be right, in which case I’d have to return it and try a different solution.

I definitely see the point. For orchestral scores height is indeed very important. I’m taking notes. Let’s see where this goes…

The bust is Beethoven (would love it if he was my uncle!):

Yeah, I was just kidding. Like your setup.

Another alternative to consider (not to muddy the waters, and a bit OT) is a 1920x1200 monitor, but rotated to vertical (several offer this option, but not inexpensively). This would give a tall view of full scores, with a few more bars of the score in view. Those monitors are harder to find (and more expensive) but well-worth the investment for the extra real estate onscreen. I’ve only used these monitors (at home, but not work) and have been very satisfied (and miss it at work).

This won’t solve your desire to show four separate windows simultaneously, but it offers a different view which could be just as helpful. YMMV

Ended up getting the LG 27UD58 linked in my OP. So far loving the better resolution running at 175%, sharp and clear. Also loving the two monitor setup.