Graphics cards and monitors

Is it sufficient to be editing photos on a monitor only capable of 1440 x 900 at 75 Hz, pixel pitch 0.283 mm, 16.7 million colors ?

Would 4k monitor be, ‘better’ ?

Current monitor: Acer X193W with a GeForce 730 GT graphics card

I’m considering upgrading the monitor, would I then also have to upgrade the graphics card ?

I suspect, yes…

Your assumptions seems justified, 1440 x 900 is just really short on real estate to accommodate the raw processing software UI and a GT730 won’t give you much of an edge if you activate openCL and I do not think it can output 4k signal to drive a 4k monitor at full resolution.

The only scenario where changing your card doesn’t matter is If your CPU is already fast enough to give you satisfaction when you process your raw and you’re willing to settle for a full hd or a 1440p monitor.

I upgraded from a 1080p 24" to a 2K(1440p) 27" a while back. For me, I don’t think a 4K monitor would suit my needs. I would need to sit in front of one with Darktable running to convince me if it would be worth it or not. As far as your GPU, see how the GeForce 730 works with whatever you decide to get. If it lags, go with the best your budget allows to boost the opencl performance. Good luck!

Well I think you “need” 4K if you want a screen that is larger than 27 inch. For 24 inch fullhd is enough.
Maybe more important than the resolution is the accuracy of the colors.


I went from a 27" 1920*1200 monitor to a 30" 2k monitor and it made a big difference in comfort. Didn’t need a new card, running a radeon 550.

Whether the graphics card matters depends on what program you use.

darktable uses graphics card acceleration for processing, so you’d have to rely on the CPU only. RawTherapee, Filmulator, and others use the CPU for processing, so the graphics card doesn’t matter.

1440x900 is a rather low resolution for photo editing. 4k, or even just 2560x1440, would definitely give a better view of the image. However, it’ll cause programs aside from Filmulator to run slower (Filmulator runs the full size image regardless) when moving sliders.

My understanding from watching @Andy_Astbury1videos is the ideal PPI is between about 90-110, which usually works out between 0.2 and 0.3 pixel pitch. Above or below that can appear under or over sharp, more exaggerated the farther away you get. I’d be interested to hear what others think about this.

Assuming 16x9 aspect ratio:
For a 24" monitor, 1920 or 2048 pix wide.
For a 27", 2560 pix wide.
For a 32", 2560pix wide.

Sharpness also depends on quality of vision, and how close to the screen you sit. If you have great vision and/or sit close, your eyes will be able to resolve higher detail, thus noticing more difference with higher res screens. If you have poorer vision and/or sit further back, your eyes will resolve less detail, thus noticing no difference with higher res screens. For a 19" inch screen like yours, assuming you sit about a metre away, there should be noticeable benefit going up to 1920 pix wide (1080p), unless you have very poor vision. But unless you have above average vision, you wouldn’t notice much or any difference going above 2k.

16.7 mil colours is 8 bit per channel, and standard for most consumer level monitors. It will be fine in 99% of scenarios. Having 10 bits helps ensure any banding you see is in the image not the monitor. Many low end pro monitors have 8+2 bits, which means they are 8 bit monitors plus 2 bits dithering. In my research true 10 bit monitors (no dithering) cost an arm and a leg. So for most, colour accuracy is a more important consideration. If you go with a 10 bit monitor, make sure the GPU can deliver it.

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A lot depends on how colour critical your work is, but in any case I’d look at “full hd”, 1920x1080 as minimum. It should be an IPS panel, not TN, for more accurate colour. I just recently upgraded from an HP 23" IPS 1920x1080 to a Samsung LU28R55, which is a mid-range 28" IPS panel, 4K and decent colour specs. I calibrated it using my Spyder4, and there is a noticeable difference when I turn calibration on or off. It is absolutely a pleasure to work on this monitor compared to the old HP, and I have a lot more confidence in the accuracy of the colour.

If your image editing is for casual, personal use, then a 1920x1080 entry level IPS monitor will be fine. If you’re doing a lot of image editing and colour needs more accuracy, then consider spending a bit more and get a monitor that shows close to 100% sRGB, and is 2K or 4K. In this case you would likely need to upgrade your graphics card.

As a quick and easy check for approximate colour accuracy, compare some sRGB images on your computer screen to a couple of phones with good displays.