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.

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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.

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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.