Once you get a 4K monitor, there is no going back. Phones are fine for browsing social media and texting. Laptops work for writing email. But when it’s time for serious business, you want a 4K monitor.

Following up on my last post about how the best monitor for programming is a cheap 40″ 4K TV, I am now expanding the recommendation to data scientists: the best monitor for data science is also a cheap 40″ 4K TV. All data scientists should be equipped with a 4K monitor. If you’re doing exploratory data analysis on large data sets, you need all the pixels you can get.

Try this out.

If you don’t have a 4K monitor, this image will be downsampled. Click the “full size” link in the caption to see.

Screen Shot 2018-06-02 at 1.50.52 PM

15yrs of SPY closing prices (full size)

Yuck! That means your display system is deciding on a summary statistic for you, to compute the color at each pixel. What arrogance. Maybe it’s even mixing data from a point in the future with one in the past, to squeeze them all in. A gross violation of the arrow of time!

Save yourself from this mess. Get a 4K monitor. They are insanely cheap for the value you get. The model I use (Sceptre U415CV-UM) seems to be out of stock at Amazon, but this newer one by the same manufacturer is only $240 on Amazon, or here’s a similar one at Walmart for $220. Seriously. Crazy-low prices.

See my previous post on using a 4K TV as a monitor for details on how to connect your computer and tune settings (turn “sharpness” to 0) for best results. And if you’re using a recent Mac laptop, you’ll need an active USB-C to HDMI 2.0 adapter like this one, plus SwitchResX to enable 4K resolution at 60FPS. Again, see my previous post for full details on the setup.


Since the last 4K TV post, I’ve upgraded from yoga blocks to these nice little black-and-white cubbies. The perfect size for storing miscellaneous desk accessories.