Change to 34" curved monitor?

Hi everyone,

I’m short of space on my desk, so I’m thinking about buying a 34" curved monitor (HP M34d 3440 x 1440 (UWQHD)). On my job I use 2x 24", which is OK to me, but no room nor money for that setup at home. The curved idea is somewhat the opposite to a pcb…
Does anyone have experiance?
Does KiCad support the resolution?

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Maybe the question should be does the PC graphics card and its OpenGL graphics driver support that resolution?

good point, @davidsrsb!
I don’t care to much about PC, as they are just rotten, undeveloped tools to me, that I would’t dare to sell.
I really should first replace my 14 yo homeoffice PC that I inherited from my father…
But now I opened the box, so let’s assume my PC is suitable:
One monitor curved, or one falt monitor ?

I thought the curved screen sales gimmick finished about 5 years ago.

KiCad doesn’t seem to in itself limit the screen resolution, rather the limits are in the graphics card and possibly drivers, in other words on the OS level rather than application.

My general experience of monitors is that screen height is typically a limiting factor. I like a 4k (3840x2160) of 32-34 inch diagonal, or even better two of them side by side.
At the moment the setup I run KiCad on has a 1920x1080 screen where I typically have the project manager and datasheets, web browser etc., a 32" 4K screen for the board editor and a 2k (2560x1440) screen for the schematic editor. When I exclusively work on the schematic, I move it to the 4K screen and have datasheets etc. on the 2K screen.
You will need an reasonably modern graphics card (I mean a 14 year old one will probably not support this setup, but from 2015 or so and newer it might.
I have doubts that a 14 year old graphics card will support a 3440x1440 monitor either; typically it was more like 1920x1200 or 2K at that time. But it depends what you have, check the specifications for the graphics card you have.

(I don’t find a curved wide and low screen very useful for office and CAD work, but other people might have other opinions. Given that KiCad is not a game, splitting it on multiple screens is not such a big deal.)

It took industry some 50 to 80 years before they were able to make monitors flat. And then there was a marketing gimmick that really went too far by bending monitors the other way around. In the end it probably does not matter much, as you probably will get used to whatever you’re looking at daily, but I only buy flat monitors myself.

About 2 years ago I bought a 107cm monitor 3840x2160 pixels. And to be able to use it, I had to buy a new PC too. My old one was over 10 years old and did not support that resolution. Look at the documentation of your 14 years old PC to see what resolutions it support before you buy a monitor. I bought a Ryzen 5600G (Processor with built in graphics which costs EUR80 these days) and it is plenty of processor power for everything I want to do with it. KiCad itself does not care about resolution. It just uses operating system functions to throw pixels at your monitor. KiCad supports whatever your OS and graphics card supports. I also don’t like small pixels, which is why I bought the bigger monitor, and the combination is perfect. When I put on my reading glasses I can barely see individual pixels, but without my reading glasses and a normal viewing distance (about arms length) everything is just sharp without seeing the pixels themselves.

I would also never buy such a letterbox monitor. Screen height is useful, and it does not use up any desktop space. Just think about all that empty space above your low-height monitor, and think of what you can do with it if it was filled with monitor too.

Also, 34" monitors tend to have a single feet in the center while my bigger monitor has a “v” shaped feet on both the left and right side. I can use the room in between for other things. From shoving in the keyboard when I need desk space for other things to breadboards and pens. When I bought the big monitor, I first thought I would not like these feet (but were a compromise for the big monitor) but they turn out to be really practical. I have around of 60mm of free height under the monitor to store things. If desktop space is really precious, you could make a custom feet and make it in such a way that it does not touch the top of your desk at all.

I also still have my two old 24" monitors. One of them is in portrait mode next to the big monitor, and they are pretty much the same height. It’s nice for viewing web pages and for PDF’s datasheets and other documentation, but I rarely turn it on as the big monitor is big enough for most day to day work. But sometimes when I’m “multitasking” the extra monitor is still a bit useful.

I think saving space at desk is the last possible reason to direct you to curved monitor. I believe they aren’t so curved that they take less space than flat monitor.

I’m on my second 34" monitor (the first one broke). 3440x1440p curved. I like it better than two 24" that I used previously (I’ve used even three external monitors in the past). I didn’t really loose any vertical space, because the old monitors were about the same height, but only 1200 pixel. I really like it and I think my next monitor will be a larger, similar one. No problem running KiCAD on Linux. There are some issues with my Windows work laptop, the screen sometimes starts flickering (only the external monitor) and I have to reboot it or change screen refresh rate back and forth in Windows to reset it (I hate Windows). As long as you stay 1440 vertical or smaller, pretty much any graphics card will handle it. It’s the 4k resolutions (2160 vertical) that starts to be demanding and you have to have a decent or at least modern graphics card (check card specs).

IMHO, large curved computer screens are OK, because you sit right in front of them, so the curvature is about right (not perfect, but a wide flat screen isn’t perfect either). It was the curved TVs that were a really stupid gimmick (unless you sat close in front of them like a computer screen).

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I use a monitor arm with the 34" monitor. It’s a model that clamps to the edge of the desk, on the side of the monitor. It saves some desk space too. Highly recommended if you don’t like to have the foot in the middle taking up space.

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I’m using a 4K (3840 x 2160) monitor with a 150% resolution scale in windows (so the real resolution is 2560 x 1440). All UI icons are visible and render correctly both on KiCad 7 and 7.99. Should work with 3840 x 1440 just as well.

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that’s a lot of input, thank’s to all of you!
The full truth is, that not only my desk is small, it is also placed under the roof slope, so there is only 42cm in height.
Today, I guess the best option is to use two 22" monitors, despite the fact they use rather much space horizontally. But that’s cheaper and more versatile than one curved 34".
As it’s not for business use, I can live with that.
I’ll sleep that over and make my decision next year!

Dual monitor setup also works good with KiCad.
What do you have now? I assume you already have a monitor. They don’t have to be the same, you can just add another one. Second hand monitors are also often quite cheap, maybe that is an option for you. But a quick check… New 24" monitors have apparently dropped under EUR100. Probably hardly worth messin’ with second hand stuff.

I agree, I use dual setup at work (2x 24"). At home an 14yo 22" is the main monitor via DVI.
A very poor 10 bucks 17" VGA hardly works as sidekick. Used monitors are not worth the annoyance IMO.
I cannot imagine to work with a single monitor at all.

I’ve been using a 34" Samsung 3840 x 1440 curved monitor for a bout 3 years now and it’s great.
I don’t have a graphics car, just the native Windows 10 driver.
The schematic fits nicely on the left of the screen and the PCB layout on the right if necessary.
It’s really good having such a large area of the PCB displayed in high resolution. I couldn’t go back to a single 1920x1080 HD screen again. Do it, you won’t be sorry.

I saw a show on the idiot box about the Mars rover a day or two ago ( I think it was a repeat).
There were views of the control center at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Every computer monitor was a curved screen.
I suppose the curved screens must be good if NASA uses them, or they did a deal on a bulk order because they had a lot of money to spend? :rofl:

Control rooms get designed by “consultants” and style very often wins over function

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Why not? We (small firm) use 24" HP Compaq LA2405X. I have 3 of them at my desk (and 2 at home). 5 years ago we bought 10+ of them second hand for about $75 each (those time). There are firms who change PCs and monitors after leasing them for example for 3 years. During these 5 years we use them no one of those monitors broke.
I just tried to shift it down as much as possible - in such position the total height is less then 40 cm.

5 year old monitors are fine. But they do age. I had a really old LCD monitor (could have been 10 years) at work that I used as a third screen. The picture was clearly yellowish, dim and bad in comparison with my newer monitors. At work they insist on buying Lenovo stuff. At some point Lenovo “downgraded” their standard line of 24" monitors from 1920x1200 to 1920x1080 panels with really thin plastic frame and stand, could as well been made of rubber. Product “improvement”. I’m sure the price didn’t go down, though.

oh boy, even more aspects to my simple question.
Thanks for that!
By now, this is what I’m going to do:
Reorganize and tidy up my desk (most important…).
Buy two Asus VA229QSB 22" flat screens.
Here’s why:
I’ve seen 34" curved screen at my colleagues office. After all, they are more expensive than 2 flats.
And I really need a setup of one main screen in the middle and one side-screen for schematics, DS, music and whatever more.
A single curved screen is only a compromise in that aspect, the smaller amount of needed space cannot compensate for that IMO.
The Asus can pivot to save some width, which is worth a try.
Brand new screens offer the advantage of a longer lifetime/usetime from purchase, modern features as DP, HDMI, USB, speakers, pivoting, narrow frame and so on, thus beeing more versatile.
I’ll order a pair in a minute, and as this topic caused more interest than I expected, I’ll come back with a short report and maybe even a picture. (Not shure about the pic, for my equipment is far from beeing pro :face_with_open_eyes_and_hand_over_mouth:).

The only issue I have when working with two monitors is that dialog boxes tend to “stick” to one display space, so when I need to shift the KiCAD window to the other monitor, I have to shuffle the window back and forth to pick up any dialog boxes that get stranded on the other monitor (when they inevitably do not appear on the active monitor).