Author Topic: What's the best screen setup for Altium?  (Read 1050 times)

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Offline trevwhite

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What's the best screen setup for Altium?
« on: June 22, 2020, 11:24:18 pm »
I currently use 2 screens with my desktop PC. I am not finding it very comfortable with Altium and was wondering about widescreen monitors or 4k. What monitor configuration do people find works well for them?
 

Offline thm_w

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Re: What's the best screen setup for Altium?
« Reply #1 on: June 23, 2020, 12:09:19 am »
Specifically what is not comfortable?
I keep Altium on one side, separate the properties panel if desired. Then have datasheets/etc on the other monitor.

Free electron does schematic on one monitor PCB on the other: https://www.eevblog.com/forum/altium/altium-(disable)-fractal-panel-grouping/

Kinda up to your personal preference if you prefer ultra-wide over dual monitors. 4K shouldn't really matter.
 

Offline ANTALIFE

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Re: What's the best screen setup for Altium?
« Reply #2 on: June 23, 2020, 01:17:37 am »
I like my 1.5 monitor setup
On the big screen I have the SCH/PCB editor, and on the vertical ex-lappy screen I have the different tabs

[attach=1]

Offline trevwhite

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Re: What's the best screen setup for Altium?
« Reply #3 on: June 23, 2020, 08:08:24 am »

I think its partly me still finding my way around Designer and understanding the best use of space whilst at the same time getting stuff done. The current configuration is to have PCB on left screen and schematic on right screen. Panel docked on right side of each monitor with properties panel pinned. That actually works okay.


The issue came when I wanted to read messages or open Storage Manager. Then I needed to start faffing around with screen positions and sizes of panels. It just got a bit messy/clumsy for me then. I think the portrait monitor dedicated to these things would help my setup. 


This monitor looks pretty nice but I do not think it gives any benefit over using the 2 screens I already have other than it looks really nice. I think adding a portrait monitor would be a better option.


https://www.ebuyer.com/911110-iiyama-34-ips-ultra-wide-monitor-xub3493wqsu-b1


Trev

 

Online T3sl4co1l

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Re: What's the best screen setup for Altium?
« Reply #4 on: June 23, 2020, 10:53:50 am »
I can't imagine finding use with more than three.  But when I have three monitors, I do this:

Main monitor: main window, maximized.  Maximum work area, no sidebars (except a few pinned ones that aren't used much, and stay out of the way).

Secondary monitor: all the panels needed for editing and navigation, tiled in narrow vertical strips.  Properties is closest to the main window.  Next is a stack of Filter, List, Messages and Compiler.  Next is Project.  If I'm using other panels, like PCB, they go here as well.  Next, if used: Storage Manager.

Dialogs are generally positioned over the main window (unfortunately they have a tendency to wander, anyway).  Some dialogs are less important since AD18 (e.g. object edit), but Project ECO, Parameter Manager, Polygon Manager, etc. are big and important.  (Parameter Manager usually gets stretched to full screen width, sometimes across several screens if I need to.)

Tertiary monitor: anything else.  If I need dual window editing, I can drag off a file and reference it there.  Other dialogs and panels.  Supporting tools -- browser (shopping for and looking up datasheets of components, reading the forum---oh wait, etc.), calculator, uh terminal maybe I'm testing a project, etc.

Layer Panel (AD18+) also goes here, if there's no room left on the 2nd monitor.

Note that each configuration must be set for each open file type.  Since AD18+, whole panel configurations change, so it's a PITA to get their positions consistent between modes.  >:(  Repeat for each of SCH, PCB, SchLib and PcbLib.

One difference: Sch and SchLib List is not enabled.  It runs fucking slow.  Also set PCB and PcbLib List to "selected objects".  Considerable time is spent populating the full list with every click.  (There are other stupid speedup tricks but these are relevant to present discussion.)

For single monitor use, I tend to keep one sidebar and flip between the panels as needed.  It's a bit slow, so the 2nd monitor adds a lot of value.  The 3rd monitor doesn't add much value, but doesn't need to be much added cost -- the case I have is two HD monitors (DVI and VGA) and the laptop's main monitor (docked).  Laptop screen of course is smaller, which makes it harder to work between, so it tends to serve as the tertiary monitor.

Tim
« Last Edit: June 23, 2020, 10:55:45 am by T3sl4co1l »
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Offline Pseudobyte

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Re: What's the best screen setup for Altium?
« Reply #5 on: June 23, 2020, 11:50:34 am »
4k is the answer. I run dual 4k 32" monitors with a RTX2070 in a GPU enclosure. For programming it is phenomenal. It works exceptionally well for Altium, especially when working on large boards. I can full screen the pcb on one monitor, then have the schematic in one corner of the other for cross probing. On that second monitor i have datasheets open, email, and team chats open. The third display from my laptop screen is just used for music. Just keep in mind that you need to sit very close to your screens when using 4k for them to provide any benefit. I would also recommend at a minimum 32" for 4k.
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Offline trevwhite

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Re: What's the best screen setup for Altium?
« Reply #6 on: June 23, 2020, 12:01:32 pm »
How close can you sit to 32inch, 4k monitors without getting eye strain? Sounds an awesome setup.
 

Offline olkipukki

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Re: What's the best screen setup for Altium?
« Reply #7 on: June 24, 2020, 06:47:55 am »
I currently use 2 screens with my desktop PC. I am not finding it very comfortable with Altium and was wondering about widescreen monitors or 4k. What monitor configuration do people find works well for them?

I did asked similar some time ago, have a look

https://www.eevblog.com/forum/altium/curved-monitor/msg1478513/

Also, do not forget that with 4K you very likely will scale up, not all Windows apps can handle this very well, Altium 20 is not too bad now
 
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Offline julianhigginson

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Re: What's the best screen setup for Altium?
« Reply #8 on: June 24, 2020, 11:26:37 am »
I run two 27" monitors (Dell ultrasharp, 2560x1440 each) side by side from my laptop for Altium and I am pretty happy with that. No real drive to upgrade yet.
For a while I also tried opening up the laptop and run my full HD laptop monitor for an extra auxiliary screen, but really it gets a bit impractical having that much screen to look at, so I stopped doing it.

I don't treat the two screens as one screen, but as a "main" screen and a "secondary" screen that I swap between. there's too much screen to take in if you treated them as one, and so the fact that there's a bezel between them (well, two bezels, and right now even a small gap) isn't an issue for me. because how I use it, no single thing ever actually spans the screens.

Normally I have Altium in one single window on just one screen for whatever I'm doing, and web browsers and pdf readers and my excel "database" for by dblib  etc  in the other. It's quite common if I'm working on library parts to have chrome open half-maximised with a component supplier page for a component, with excel half-maximised next to it, as I'm moving data from the supplier page to the database document... Then I replace the supplier website with the part datasheet, and jump to altium in the other window, making/checking the schematic library part and the footprint library with reference to the database and datasheet.

If I'm cross probing a design then I will split Altium into two separate windows, have one window on each screen and have schematic one side, PCB other..

Sometimes if I want multiple Altium docs open (like say, two or more schematics if I'm tracing something complex)  I will vertically split one altium window to show the two docs side by side.  You have a fair bit of flexibility that you can use with arranging your documents in windows in Altium.

I could probably do everything I do more than happily in one large higher res screen, but I have what I have now, and don't see the point of paying money to change for something that I don't believe would actually be any material improvement.  The screens I have already show as much detail as my eyes can use from where I sit, and zooming in and out of things in Altium is really quick and simple, anyway... I can do that without thinking.
« Last Edit: June 24, 2020, 11:32:50 am by julianhigginson »
 

Offline trevwhite

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Re: What's the best screen setup for Altium?
« Reply #9 on: June 24, 2020, 01:23:32 pm »
I think 2 screens is better than 1 large one because, as you say it divides windows conveniently. You can maximise windows on each screen quickly. On one large screen I think it takes a bit more work to size and position  windows. Currently I drag something to a window and maximise it or half max it vertically, etc and its quite quick to do.



 

Offline dunkemhigh

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Re: What's the best screen setup for Altium?
« Reply #10 on: June 24, 2020, 02:49:45 pm »
You can get utils that split big screens into areas, such as:

https://www.actualtools.com/windowmanager/features/desktop_divider/

There are others, and despite what it looks like on that page, that one lets you do stuff like have a big central panel with a small one underneath, and two full-height side panels, etc. You can change saved layouts on the fly so it's pretty quick and easy to make your big monitor work like two or more smaller ones.

I have a 4K 32", which is the primary reason why I started wearing glasses for PC work. Previously had two 1600x1200 plus a 1600x1040 and wouldn't go back. Even with 'large fonts' or whatever they call it now, it's a much better experience visually, and you do have more space, although psychologically you get used to it very quickly and think it's getting small because  there aren't the enforce physically bezels splitting things up.

A problem with a big monitor is that you tend to sit in the middle of it. With a two-screen (or more) setup you likely have a primary which was square-on in front, and a secondary off to the side. Now you have the equivalent of that primary plus two half-sized secondaries each side, so that makes you think you have less space. Since your side monitor stuff won't fit on two separated halves, it does cramp your style a bit until you adjust.

 

Offline Pseudobyte

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Re: What's the best screen setup for Altium?
« Reply #11 on: June 24, 2020, 08:29:26 pm »
You can get utils that split big screens into areas, such as:

https://www.actualtools.com/windowmanager/features/desktop_divider/

There are others, and despite what it looks like on that page, that one lets you do stuff like have a big central panel with a small one underneath, and two full-height side panels, etc. You can change saved layouts on the fly so it's pretty quick and easy to make your big monitor work like two or more smaller ones.

I have a 4K 32", which is the primary reason why I started wearing glasses for PC work. Previously had two 1600x1200 plus a 1600x1040 and wouldn't go back. Even with 'large fonts' or whatever they call it now, it's a much better experience visually, and you do have more space, although psychologically you get used to it very quickly and think it's getting small because  there aren't the enforce physically bezels splitting things up.

A problem with a big monitor is that you tend to sit in the middle of it. With a two-screen (or more) setup you likely have a primary which was square-on in front, and a secondary off to the side. Now you have the equivalent of that primary plus two half-sized secondaries each side, so that makes you think you have less space. Since your side monitor stuff won't fit on two separated halves, it does cramp your style a bit until you adjust.

If you have an nvidia card you can just use nview which works a treat.
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Offline Pseudobyte

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Re: What's the best screen setup for Altium?
« Reply #12 on: June 24, 2020, 08:40:21 pm »
For those curious. The wide angle lens on the phone makes the setup look a lot smaller than it actually is.

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Offline mpbrock

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Re: What's the best screen setup for Altium?
« Reply #13 on: June 25, 2020, 05:34:22 am »
Is that a Space Navigator I spy? Pseudobyte :-) .. i've been tempted to get one of those for a while.. does it work well with Altium?

Offline Pseudobyte

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Re: What's the best screen setup for Altium?
« Reply #14 on: June 25, 2020, 01:10:01 pm »
Indeed it is and indeed it does. I actually use it the most when routing to pan around.
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Offline free_electron

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Re: What's the best screen setup for Altium?
« Reply #15 on: June 25, 2020, 02:14:39 pm »
4 screens :)
from left to right (home setup. work setup uses 30 inchers with higher def but those are over 1000$ a pop... not palatable for home. my screens are HP Pavillions. cost 200$ a piece)
Laptop screen 1920x1080 17 inch : email
Monitor 1  : 2560x1600 x 27 inch : Chrome with digikey / mouser and all other web related stuff . Acrobat for datasheets and the Vault viewer (this last thing may not apply to you )
Monitor 2 , 2560x1600 x 27 inch right in front of me : PCB
monitor 3 : 2560x1600 x 27 inch Schematic

That being said: i do this 12 hours a day 5 days a week ... so i don't want to be shuffling windows all the time. 1 monitor = 1 window.


If i'm working schematic i bring 3 onto 2. when i'm doing layout they swap. it is very helpful during layout to be able to read the schematic notes , crossprobe things etc.


If you think about workflow :

when working in the library : 1 screen digikey / datasheets , 1 screen symbols and footprints
when doing schematic : 1 screen digikey / datasheets, 1 screen schematic
when doing pcb : 1 screen schematic, 1 screen pcb

so you can get away with 2 monitors but at least get big ones.

I woudl not go for those ultrawide things. i don;t think you can't get the same amount of pixels. (2560x1600 doubled to 5120x1600 ? don;t think it exists. And then there is the issue of the windows not 'docking' properly (unless some fancy driver allows you to 'split' the screens in emulation.
I keep a separate window for schematic and pcb. the reason is in altium you can dock the various control panels. So my schematic window has all the schematic control panels docked and my pcb window has the pcb panels docked.
i never liked that 'vertical split' tabbed thing you can do in altium.
« Last Edit: June 25, 2020, 02:18:22 pm by free_electron »
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Offline ehughes

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Re: What's the best screen setup for Altium?
« Reply #16 on: June 29, 2020, 02:22:53 pm »
They are very hard to come by,  but 30" 16:10 aspect ratio (2560x1600) monitors are the best I have found for altium.    It is a good tradeoff vs 4K as you get quite a few extra pixels but don't need crazy video cards.

There are very few 16:10 available though.  I had to settle for some 32" 16:9 (2560x1440) HP Pavilion monitors for a new setup.    There were on sale at for $250 a year ago.

I use QTY 2 of the 32" monitors and one 58" on the wall to show things to colleagues.

 

Offline RedLion

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Re: What's the best screen setup for Altium?
« Reply #17 on: July 26, 2020, 04:53:02 pm »
I use the cheapest HD monitor I could find on my left and my elderly laptop on the right.
Not ideal but you gotta piss with the dick you got, works pretty well for me.
Things sure got out of control quickly and spectacularly,
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