Displays and Input Devices

It's Time to Buy Bigger, Better Monitors

11 Sep, 2012 By: Robert Green

CAD Manager's Toolbox: Is your company avoiding a much-needed display upgrade? Try bolstering your argument with these facts.

I'll begin this toolbox tip with a question you may have already puzzled over:

Why will companies spend thousands on software, computers, networks, and other modern tools, yet refuse to upgrade old, small, efficiency-hampering monitors?

I am amazed by how many CAD users I see struggling with outdated monitors that can barely display the new ribbon-based CAD interfaces that are ever more prevalent in today's software. I'd love to give everyone a 27" flat-screen monitor, but I can't. What I can do is give you some ammunition to make new monitors a priority in your company's budget.

Here are the key points you can make:

  • Larger monitors reduce task minimization and restores, so users can have multiple sessions open more easily.
  • A new 27" monitor is inexpensive and compatible with almost any computer graphics systems you already have.
  • Newer monitors are very energy efficient, so you save on electricity. They also produce less heat, which reduces the need for air conditioning.
  • Users love bigger, better monitors, so you can boost morale and increase productivity at the same time.
  • Once the larger screen is installed you can opt to use the older, smaller monitor as a second screen for e-mail, spreadsheets, and other office apps, leaving the large screen dedicated to CAD.

I really believe that a 27" HD monitor for less than $400 is a no-brainer expenditure that can be easily justified via the points listed above. Of course, larger screens are fine too, but 27" is the current pricing sweet spot and should now be considered a working minimum for CAD.

CAD is such a visual tool that it simply doesn't make sense to have employees use it on tiny monitors. After all, just because many of us worked on small screens for years doesn't mean we enjoyed it, or that we didn't want a larger monitor, right?

Now, cost is no excuse, so push your management for larger screens for your CAD users, and reap the savings and productivity benefits.

Do you have a tip or question for the CAD Manager's Newsletter? Send it to me at If I use your tip in the newsletter you'll receive a cool Cadalyst prize!

About the Author: Robert Green

Robert Green

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Re: It's Time to Buy Bigger, Better Monitors
by: Sharp Pencil
September 12, 2012 - 4:30pm
We used a similar argument for updating all of our CAD user computers. Their existing machines were approaching four years old. We calculated that new machines with more memory and graphic cards supporting dual monitors would improve productivity by two hours per week/per drafter. Since we carried a backlog of work, these are real dollars we could justify the payback of the hardware in only a few months.
Re: It's Time to Buy Bigger, Better Monitors
by: rimahara
September 13, 2012 - 3:37pm
Can you do a review of 1080p tv's to use for cad. LED or LCD. 32"~34" I think would make an ideal size. These can be had for under $350 all day. I have been looking for some good feedback for production cad using these for a few months now and haven't found anything useful.
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