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The 5 Best CAD Monitors Under $1000: Compared

Compared: Best CAD Monitors

If you work with CAD, you’re working with complex images on a daily basis. As a result, there are few other fields where detail and precision are quite as paramount as in CAD. Despite this, it can be all too easy to forget how important it is to invest in a CAD monitor. After all, you need a high quality display to accurately view your designs. With so many CAD monitors on the market, however, it can be difficult to know which one to choose. Worse still, plenty of them come with incredibly hefty price tags, which can make them prohibitively expensive for small businesses and hobbyists.

Luckily, we here at Scan2CAD have done the legwork for you. In this article, we’ll provide a handy rundown of the 5 best CAD monitors available for under $1,000. We’ll compare everything from size and resolution to response time and pixel density, helping you to make an informed choice. So, whether you’re just starting out in the world of CAD, or simply need to replace a longstanding display, you won’t want to miss this rundown of CAD monitors. Read on for everything you need to know.


CAD Monitors

It’s important to invest in a monitor that meets your needs. However, when you’re on a budget, you should also avoid overspending on extra features that you don’t need for CAD work. In our list below, we’ve featured a selection of monitors which offer a good compromise between great technical performance and reasonable prices.

1. BenQ PD3200Q

BenQ PD3200Q Monitor

Screen size

32″

Aspect ratio

16:9

Resolution

2560×1440

Contrast

3,000:1

Response time

~ 4ms (gray to gray)

Price

~ $499.00

Availability

→ Check availability on Amazon

BenQ are one of the few manufacturers who produce monitors designed specifically for CAD professionals. Their PD3200Q model is a perfect example of this commitment. Part of their Designer range, the PD3200Q comes with 2K QHD resolution, meaning greater detail and sharper image quality than is possible with standard Full HD screens. This monitor also includes a CAD/CAM mode. When this mode is active, you’ll be able to see great contrast between lines and shapes, making this perfect for technical designs. The P3200Q also offers superior ergonomics—you can alter the height, tilt, and even orientation of the monitor.

2. Philips BDM3490UC

Philips BDM3490UC Monitor

Screen size

34″

Aspect ratio

21:9

Resolution

3440×1440

Contrast

1,000:1

Response time

~ 5ms (gray to gray)

Price

~ $820.00

Availability

→ Check availability on Amazon

The Philips BDM3490UC is one of the more expensive monitors on our list—but there are plenty of good reasons for that. On offer here are some incredibly impressive specs for a surprisingly low price. For starters, the display is ultra-wide, with a resolution of 3440×1440, and at 34″, it’s one of the biggest monitors on our list. It also offers an immersive curved display—though this admittedly may not be to every designer’s taste. However, those who require some convincing will be pleased to note that the BDM3490UC’s image quality is incredibly impressive, with designs appearing sharp and bright. For those interested in purchasing an ultra-wide, curved display, this is the way to go.

 

3. Samsung U28E590D

Samsung U28E590D 4K Monitor

Samsung U28E590D 4K Monitor

Screen size

28″

Aspect ratio

16:9

Resolution

3840×2160 (4K)

Contrast

1,000:1

Response time

~ 1ms (gray to gray)

Price

~ $338.00

Availability

→ Check availability on Amazon

Tech giant Samsung have created one of the cheapest 4K displays currently available on the market: the U28E590D. With its 3840×2160 resolution, this model offers stunning picture quality. Its price tag of under $400, however, makes it far more affordable than many other similar displays. The monitor’s PiP (Picture in Picture) technology also makes it an ideal choice for multitasking.

4. BenQ BL2711U

BenQ BL2711U Monitor

Screen size

27″

Aspect ratio

16:9

Resolution

3840×2160 (4K)

Contrast

1,000:1

Response time

~ 4ms (gray to gray)

Price

~ $463.00

Availability

→ Check availability on Amazon

The second entry in our list from BenQ, the BL2711U boasts fantastic image quality thanks to its 4K resolution. As with the model featured earlier in the list, the BL2711U is part of BenQ’s range of Monitors for Designers, which offer great resolution and accurate color display. Specifically designed to meet the needs of professionals working with SolidWorks, AutoCAD, and other CAD software, this model also features a CAD/CAM mode. Additional advantages of the BL2711U include a wide 178° viewing angle and optimal multitasking capabilities.

5. Dell U3417W

Dell U3417W Monitor

Screen size

34″

Aspect ratio

21:9

Resolution

3440×1440

Contrast

1,000:1

Response time

~ 5ms (gray to gray)

Price

~ $716.00

Availability

→ Check availability on Amazon

Dell’s UltraSharp range of monitors is considered the gold standard for business use. It’s easy to see why: the U3417W offers great color accuracy, ergonomic features, and a fantastic 34″ curved screen. The priciest model on our rundown of CAD monitors, the Dell U3417 has nonetheless come down in price recently, making it a somewhat more affordable choice. If you do opt for this model, it’s certainly a great investment: PC Mag has listed it as the best monitor on the market for business users.

Still unsure which choice to make? Read on to learn the most important factors to consider when looking for a new CAD monitor.

Which factors should I take into account when buying a new monitor?

Deciding on a new monitor means making an investment. After all, many CAD professionals will end up using the same display for years, and may rely on it in their business. As such, it is important that they consider all relevant factors. We’ll provide a quick rundown of these factors here.

Monitor - Do More

Size and aspect ratio

In the field of CAD monitors, size certainly does matter. The size of a typical laptop screen, for example, is generally far too limiting to be useful for CAD software. However, it’s important to remember the constraints of desk space. A monitor size of around 23″ or above is suitable for CAD work, and should provide enough space for all designs to be displayed clearly on screen. However, the exact size you choose will vary depending on whether you opt for a single or multi-monitor display. If you do decide to purchase only a single monitor, consider opting for an ultra-wide, 30″+ model.

It’s also important to consider the aspect ratio of your monitor. Essentially, this refers to the ratio between width and length. Typical ‘widescreen’ monitors feature an aspect ratio of 16:9; if you opt for an ultra-wide monitor, the aspect ratio will be around 21:9.

Number of monitors

Multi-monitor displays are ever more common amongst CAD professionals. One key reason for this is that different programs may be involved in creating a single design or part. In this scenario, it makes sense to be able to use each piece of software on an individual screen. Using multiple monitors also allows users to see different visualizations of a single design at once—or to view 2D and 3D versions of a design side by side.

The more monitors you opt for, the more cautious you’ll need to be about size—desk space, after all, is at a premium. Purchasing more than one monitor also brings up the question of cost. However, choosing a multi-display workstation can give you much greater flexibility over how you work.

Resolution

Typical HD displays offer a resolution of 1920×1080—better known as 1080p. We would recommend this as the minimum standard for CAD work. 4K displays—with a width of around 4,000 pixels—have, however, recently started becoming available at more consumer-friendly price points. Whilst we’re still a way off “budget” 4K monitors, there are plenty of monitors with similar resolutions at very attractive prices.

Pixel density

As well as your monitor’s resolution, another related relevant factor is its pixel density. This refers to the number of pixels present in a given area—usually a square inch. As such, pixel density is usually measured in pixels per inch (PPI). The larger the pixel density, the less noticeable individual pixels are, meaning you see a sharper image.

Response time

This measures the amount of time it takes for a pixel to transition between two colors as the image displayed on the monitor changes. As such, the shorter the response time, the better—and slow response times can result in blurry images. Whilst monitors featuring incredibly fast response times (as fast as 1 millisecond) are available, these are best suited to gaming use. When it comes to CAD monitors, a response time of around 5-7ms is great, allowing a balance between price and good image quality.

Contrast

CAD monitors should be able to clearly display the difference between the detail of a design and the background. As such, good contrast is important. This is typically expressed using a contrast ratio—e.g. 1,000:1. This means that the brightest pixel on your screen will be 1,000 times brighter than the darkest.

Ports and inputs

This is a fairly obvious point, but it’s still worth noting: make sure you check that the monitor you purchase has suitable ports for your workstation. Most monitors will include support for the common HDMI and DVI connections. If you require a less commonly used port, it’s important to check that your chosen monitor supports this.

Ergonomic features

When purchasing a monitor, it can be all too easy to focus on the specs—only to forget that this is a display you’ll be using day in, day out. It’s therefore important to choose a monitor that you’ll be comfortable working with. Being able to adjust both the tilt and height of your monitor ensures comfort whilst working.

Another factor to consider is the viewing angle of your monitor. Monitors with a high viewing angle can be viewed from a number of different angles and positions whilst maintaining good image quality. This is an important factor to take into account if you often need to share your monitor with colleagues, or show your design to others.

Price

Last on our list—but certainly not least—is how much your monitor costs. When purchasing CAD monitors, different businesses and hobbyists will have a wide range of budgets. As such, there’s no specific ‘right price’ to aim for. It’s possible to purchase monitors for under $200, but this means sacrificing on many technical features that are crucial to CAD work. Meanwhile, some incredibly high-end monitors come in at over $1,000.


Setting up your own workstation? Check out our guide to the 5 Tools Every CAD Designer Needs—or explore our list of the Best CNC Kits for Beginners.

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2 Responses to The 5 Best CAD Monitors Under $1000: Compared

  1. Steve Lawnick Dec 10, 2017 at 4:45 PM #

    Ready for 4K; running 3DS Max. Any experience with the 32″ BenQ PD3200U?

    • luke
      Luke Kennedy Jan 29, 2018 at 5:59 PM #

      Hey Steve, I’ve not used that model myself but I know many people who swear by Benq’s range so I see them as a brand worth trying.

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