It was almost exactly seven years ago when I last bought a monitor for my main desktop computer. The best monitors of the day maxed out at 2560 x 1600 pixels on a 30 inch display. That’s more than four million pixels. It wasn’t cheap at around $1500. I’m still using it after seven years and I still consider it a great investment!
The bar has now been raised as ASUS has released a monitor that is slightly bigger (31.5 inches) and has a much higher resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels. That’s right, the ASUS PQ321Q 4K Monitor has over eight million pixels. So that you can relate to it better, it has the same number of pixels as four 1080p monitors arranged in a 2×2 grid. As you can probably already guess, it isn’t cheap.
I first saw this monitor mentioned a little over a month ago and the price listed was $3500. As I write this, Amazon has it priced at $2699. So while I don’t think you’ll find it in the bargain bin anytime soon, the price is already dropping to slightly less insane levels. If it is something that lasts you as long as my current monitor, the price may not be that crazy after all.
There are also some other hurdles because you need some serious hardware to push all those pixels onto the monitor. Top of the line graphics cards like the GeForce GTX 780 Ti or Radeon R9 290X can do it. For better performance, you might want to put more than one of those cards in your computer. These cards aren’t cheap which makes a switch to a monitor like this an even higher price tag. You’re also in somewhat uncharted territory so there may be a few more hurdles to overcome.
I would be very surprised if any of you were to purchase this monitor right away. Within a year, it will likely become an easier choice to make. Prices will likely drop, graphics cards that can drive it will be easier to find and computers will have caught up to this new resolution.
Why would you want all those pixels? I got a message from a user just last week that couldn’t see the full path of files on the title bar because the path contained so many characters. There are only two ways to solve it, either use shorter paths or get a monitor with more pixels. Want to be able to see more of that multi-megapixel image when editing? This is your answer. Tend to have a lot of windows open at the same time? This monitor lets you see even more.
In short, there are numerous reasons you’ll want a monitor like this. When the prices drop and it becomes easier to connect, they will become quite popular!
Foster D. Coburn III is author of 13 best-selling books on CorelDRAW and has been a contributor to numerous technology and graphics-related magazines. Foster has taken many projects, including this Web site, from the early design stage through to a finished piece. He has been a featured speaker at many graphics conferences. His first Web site was built in 1995 and he has been working exclusively in WordPress since 2013.