In multiple monitors and productivity, I proposed three LCD panels as the standard developer desktop configuration. The only thing holding us back was price, and the minor inconvenience of obtaining a second video card to drive the third monitor.
This is a companion discussion topic for the original blog entry at: http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/2005/02/multiple-lcds.html
Great post. I’ve been looking at re-working my setup at home and this is some great info.
Very good idea! I’ve only recently decided that the price of the Dell 2001FP display is now good enough to allow me to buy three of them. I did that and I’m now looking at a 4800x1200 total resolution… already starting to wonder how I ever did without that
A quick froogle check shows $674 for the 2001FP. That’s over 2x the price for 1.46x the display area of the Rosewill 19" panels – 1,920,000 pixels/panel vs. 1,310,720 pixels/panel.
That said, I did choose a Samsung 21" 213t for my primary display. I just wouldn’t go for three of them because the bang for the buck isn’t there.
Three 1600x1200 panels is nice, though What video card(s) and interfaces are you using?
The screen resolution of 3 1280x1024 displays would be 3840x1024 and not 3840x3072 as you’re only expanding the overall width and not both the width and the height. Just an FYI.
Er, yeah… heh. I’ll correct that.
I wasn’t saying my solution was cheaper But I’ve found it quite uncomfortable to have multiple screens (I’ve been using a dual-head setup for some years) with different resolutions, because it’s cumbersome to move windows from one head to the other in such a setup. The other thing is, I didn’t want to step down from the 1600x1200 resolution I’ve been using on CRT monitors for years.
I’m now using a Matrox G550 (AGP) for two heads and an additional Hercules 4000XT PCI card for the third. I’ve got 32bit colour on all three heads, which wasn’t possible with CRTs because the Hercules card can only do 60Hz at that resolution and colour depth. Works very nicely, but you can tell that my priority is not 3D gaming
But I’ve found it quite uncomfortable to have multiple screens (I’ve been using a dual-head setup for some years) with different resolutions, because it’s cumbersome to move windows from one head to the other in such a setup
True, resolution discrepancies are kind of annoying. I tend to move maximized windows, though-- UltraMon has a cool “drag maximized windows” feature which makes it easy to move maximized apps from monitor to monitor.
Good post Jeff.
I’ve been using dual monitors at work for as long as I can remember (and actually had 3 at my old J-O-B). Until recently I was on a 1280x1024 LCD and a CRT, and then I ‘came across’ a second 1280x1024 LCD. I’m loving my new setup, its so much easier on the eyes.
Anyhow, just wanted to say thanks for the pointers and link to Ultra-Mon… I’m going to give it shot.
Do you have any recomendations on software that will allow you to produce same color configs on multiple screens? I have three monitors, all Dell FP2005 20.1inch widescreens, I can get them for 225.00 bucks through work. And even though all three are identical, run on port 1a, 2a, and 1b on two SLI Evga 7900 GTX PCIe16 cards, each on looks diffrent. For testing I have 2 213t Samsungs that I also fired up, the samsungs (even though 3 times the cost, at least when I bought the samsungs 2 years ago they were around 1200 bucks) the samsungs really look “red” and I perfer the Cool of the Dell’s, however not one of these 5 monitors looks the same, both samsungs are significantly redder than the dells, but one samsung is redder than the other, etc, etc…
I was told there is some software that uses a light meter to driver level hack the display settings (a little much for me, I can tell you that already, just guessing on costs) and that there was software that can allow your eye to adjust the individual monitors to look. But my google searchs brought me nothing in the short time I had to look tonight.
Do you have any recomendations on software that will allow you to produce same color configs on multiple screens?
No, but I can recommend some (relatively) inexpensive hardware to do color matching:
spyder2pro ($279 MSRP)
spyder2express ($79 MSRP)
I researched this a while back for work (although we never bought anything), and the spyder got good reviews. It looks fairly easy to use, too.
I’ve got two dell 19 inch monitors and I’m about to inherit a third along with an x300. I’ve got a geforce6800 on a pci motherboard which supports sli (and therefore has two video card ports). Since the two cards are different I of course cant run them in parallel, I was just wondering if I could still run the x300 in my second video card port or if sli doesnt allow that for some reason. Just trying to avoid buying a pci 5200.
Yep, two PCI Express cards in your two video card slots should work fine; they don’t have to match. Let us know how it goes, Eric!
i should say, that the 1920x1200 Dell model, priced at $1,200 is kinda no match for the he effective 3840x1024 you’d get with three 19" Rosewill panels for $200
Nice posts guys. I’ve been looking for this info’ for a while, as I want to add a third monitor to my Geforce, fx5200, agp and was advised to buy a G6200. I’ve got it now, but I wasn’t sure if I had to install the drivers. From what you say Jeff, it sounds as if the 5200 drivers will work both cards and all I have to do is put the 6200 in. Is that right?
If you want to splurge and invest in 2 dual link video cards, then these are nice setups:
I have 3 19" monitors I can only span 2 through my NVIDEA GeForce 6200 256MB have the 3rd running through a Radeon 7000 64MB PCI Graphics card. It works good to drag a window to any of the 3 monitors (1 standalone and 2 span together) but when running a full screen application in a window like Flight Sim as soon as I drag even a part of this into my standalone the whole program slows down to the point it almost freezes up completely. Is there a way to span 3 wide? Or will a 256 PCI boost the 3rd monitor for high graphics games?
Unfortunately, LCDs still can’t match the picture quality of a good CRT though. I do photo and video work and I need WYSIWYG between my monitor, dye-sub printer, and video output. I can’t get that from an LCD.
Is there a way to span 3 wide?
To do that you need a splitter or an all-in-one solution. fs[ix] just came out with a really good one that takes a single VGA or DVI input and puts in on all three screens: http://www.fsix.com/monitorconsole
Hope this helps.