Monitor Suggestions: Music composition and gaming on the side


Jun 1, 2017
Hey all,

Considering doing a pc build within the next year and doing some research on appropriate monitors for my needs. Any help or comments is highly appreciated.

Will be using this monitor as a single monitor, for many hours at a time. I well be composing music on this computer. This entails a lot of real estate on my screen, so I'm thinking a semi-large screen (debating somewhere in between 24 and 27 inches; any input on this would be helpful as well) and most likely a 2K resolution, 16:9 aspect ratio. Additionally need a lot of mobility with the screen itself; large portrait-oriented scores would likely require the screen to flip 90° to go from landscape to portrait. Turning the screen left and right, tilting up and down slightly and height adjustment is also needed, as I will need to adjust often and will be buying a new desk as well, and I don't yet know how it will sit.

Additionally, I will be doing gaming on the side. Stuff like Overwatch, Far Cry, Batman Arkham, Borderlands, Deus Ex, etc. Will likely be purchasing a low to mid range graphics card for the build. With this in mind, I don't know if purchasing a monitor with a refresh rate higher than 60 Hz will yield much benefit. I don't yet know if my gaming will be done at 2K or 1080p. I imagine that my graphics card would struggle to reach 60 fps on some games with 2K resolution. This is something I would like some advice on for sure in addition to the above paragraph.

Cost is rather restricting; I am hoping to keep the monitor below $350 USD.

Currently, I have the following models in mind. These are by no means the only ones I am considering; please make any recommendations for different models and/or advice concerning the ones I have looked at.

ASUS P278Q 27" (

ASUS P277Q 27" (

ASUS P258Q 25" (

Samsung S32D850T 32" (

Some of these have a 75 Hz refresh rate, which might give a little bit higher refresh rate for those games that can do a little extra (in my mind at least, this might be false for all I know, do let me know if this is incorrect).

Also the ASUS P277Q and the P278Q are very similar. I've been reading a lot about TN vs IPS screens, which differs on these two models. I am not sure which is best or needed for what I am doing, so please advise if you can.

Thank you all for your help in advance with all of these questions!!

Most of the studios I have done computer work for have dual or triple monitor setups. You might want to consider 2x 24" 1080p monitors instead, one good gaming one and a cheap one for extended desktop. As a bonus you can get away with a lesser GPU as you will be at a lower resolution.

What apps do you use for composing?
Most of the studios I have done computer work for have dual or triple monitor setups. You might want to consider 2x 24" 1080p monitors instead, one good gaming one and a cheap one for extended desktop. As a bonus you can get away with a lesser GPU as you will be at a lower resolution.

What apps do you use for composing?

Thank you very much for your reply!

I will have to check and see if the desk I am considering buying will physically fit two monitors...

Here is the desk I'm currently considering, and the dimensions for the shelf is in the description. Let me know if you expect the two monitors to fit comfortably together on the top shelf.

I would like a similar format for the shelf if that one doesn't fit, something with two shelves and a sliding keyboard section, around the same price range if possible. If you have any alternatives to that desk that would work better let me know, though I don't expect that to be your area of expertise, as this is a monitor forum, after all.

The dual monitor idea is intriguing. I hadn't really considered it because my thought process was that one monitor would generally be cheaper than two. You are correct when you say that musicians often have a multi-monitor setup, so I am definitely looking for something that is tried and true.

Do you know of a couple options for monitors pair that would work well for my situation? I am assuming one would be a higher refresh rate and Gsync/Freesync compatible (I'm leaning towards NVIDIA for the graphics card at the moment). Not sure what the other would specifically require if anything. I would like both to be able to have a generous amount of movement though, especially the landscape-to-portrait thing. It would be nice but not essential that they look good together.

EDIT (forgot apps): I primarily use Sibelius for notation. I use Reaper as my DAW and a variety of memory-intensive virtual instruments such as East West products and Komplete 11. I will be expanding my instrument libraries in the future as well. Main point I guess being that my 15.6" 1080p laptop screen gets clogged very quickly, have to close/minimize things often. I want this PC build to rectify that.

All that being said, do you have any suggestions? Thanks again so much for your input on this, it's kind of a niche situation from what I've seen on other forums.
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Hmmm, that desk looks awfully tiny.

Here is my desk and old rig as a comparison:

I use 2x IKEA Galant curved desks (one left, one right) bolted together and T-legs to avoid smashing my knees. The monitors are using Ergotron DS100 vertical mounts, a modified Atdec vertical mount (to have dual arms above), and an old Moview quad mount. This setup was recently upgraded, I threw out the 3x 30" 1600p monitors and replaced them with a single 43" 4K monitor. I'd take a picture of my current setup but I'm out of province right now.

Since you are using Reaper you actually might want taller than 1080p - how many instruments do you program in at once? If you use a lot, 1440p may not be enough - one of the studios I do freelance for has vertical mounts like mine to split the windows so the instruments are on the upper row and the mixer board on the lower row. I built their rig years ago when 4K wasn't available, they might consider upgrading now but I know they are pretty happy with the current setup.

As for Sibelius you might want to get a Surface Pro 4 - by using the touchscreen and a stylus you can do notation much faster and it is way more natural. Alternatively you could simply get a touchscreen for the non-gaming monitor, but you'll need a bigger desk.

Since you are going nVidia G-sync is a good option for the gaming monitor.

You do realize that your $350 budget is completely inadequate for what we are discussing? I spent more than that on my desk before even starting on the 11 monitors.
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Oh, for sure. This is a bare bones operation here. I am a student so I'm just trying to get started somewhere. Currently all i have is a single laptop for everything, so I'm upgrading to a desktop PC. I won't be doing any serious mixing or anything, mostly need room for my 61-key MIDI keyboard and other normal pc peripherals.

Sorry if I came across as building a much bigger professional rig lol. In reality, I'm just looking for something a lot less extreme at this point.
Don't buy a TN panel if you intend to rotate the screen. Even on the better 8-bit TN panels the portrait orientation looks pretty crappy as somehow it pronounces the vertical viewing angle color shift even though it is svery much unnoticeable in landscape on these displays. Cheap TN panels will have much more severe issues with viewing angles.

Cheaper than the samsung., 2560x1440

1920x1080, but 144Hz.

Keep an eye on the Samsung 2017 model

A used one showed up for $369 some time ago.

my advices:

- get the largest you can, so you use it as a TV.
- do not bother with a gaming monitor right now. you do not have the budget to get a graphics cards to run 2560x1440 at 120+Hz yet.

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