I run CAD and have 2 22" 16:10 displays on my desk. This is almost too much width, it sacrifices open space on each side that I would use to lay large documents for reference.
If you already have one monitor and you want to buy a second one, first measure your space, second measure the height and width of your current monitor. It might look funny if you have a 4:3 monitor that is fairly tall and you buy a widescreen that ends up being wider but not quite as tall. But I think it would be OK if the new widescreen is taller. Also be prepared to have different colors between the 2 monitors. One might look a bit blue compared to the other one for instance, and it might be difficult to match the brightnesses between them. If possible buy 2 matching monitors and replace what you already have.
Of course always check that your computer has ports for connection of 2 monitors. Older PC's will have 15-pin VGA connectors, newer PC's will probably have the rectangular DVI connectors, or even HDMI. Monitors will come with different types of inputs, and possibly with a variety of cables and/or adapters. If you know what you have then when you buy your monitors you can be sure they will work right away without needing another trip to the store for new cables and/or adapters.
Dual monitors is also very inexpensive - dual 17" monitors can greatly increase your real estate and your productivity for very little money (17" monitors are CHEAP).
Personally, I use four, stacked 2x2, and it is amazing. One is dedicated to email, one to other email plus calendars and utilities, one is for terminal windows (to servers) as well as general work, and a wider monitor is there for general purpose. Amazing - and go back to even dual monitors is really limiting!
One little note - for more than two monitors, you're going to need a second video card (or a single ATI) - make sure your computer will handle it (likely need dual PCIx16 slots, at least physical slots) - but oh it's worth it!
My office at work uses dual screens. I remember when we first got them, we thought it might have been a waste of money. But going on 3 years now and we haven't looked back. Working with multiple Excel sheets or Access tables is a breeze now.
As a gamer I run a 24" 1920*1080 main screen and a 19" 1280*1080 secondary screen. Its particularly useful when playing a FPS competitively. You can have your GPU temp, CPU temp, ping to many references, bandwidth monitor, vent/mumble/TS always in sight, core usage, RAM usage and messenger while playing a full screen game. I dont even use my G15 screen anymore.
Thank you for a very informative article . Ever since I built my new pc 3 months ago I've been wanting to get mutiple monitors for both work and play. The article cleared up some questions I had about monitor and desk sizes. Turns out I was right in thinking my 23 inch deep desk would be too shallow for what I want.
Good introductory article, but lacks discussion of profiling multiple LCDs/monitors for accurate and matching colors. I am not sure if it is possible to have two color profiles for two LCDs with just one video card using Windows OS. Last I looked into it, you need two video cards for this, unless the new Windows 7 has addresses this issue.
DisplayFusion is thousand times better than Ultramon is.
I worked with Ultramon for years while standing with XP, but when upgrading to Vista and now to 7, the issues arise. Lack of compatibility, missing features that works well in XP, hangs...
I searched for an alternative and i found DisplayFussion. Its licence is much more cheap, has the same features as Ultramon plus others. Better compatibility with Vista and 7. They releases new versions more frequently, and they support service is much better.
Ah, and the DF licence is lifetime. Ultramon's team want you to purchase a new license if you upgrade from version 2.x to version 3.
added a 24 inch to my 19 (both samsungs so they match) primarily for gaming and i can't imagine going back... have my fav FPS open on the big guy and pandora,tems,clock speeds, friend's lists and other stuff on the other... since i also do a lot of CAD having the working model on one and schematic for it on the other is indispensable... this all comes to a very high increase in productivity... a must have for an often advanced computer user... and if your worried to have different sized monitors, its not an issue at all
Ultramon is a great program, totally recommend it. It supports shortcuts/hotkeys. My favorite is Alt - ~, bound to "move window to next monitor". Just as useful at Alt-Tab, imo. It will toss the window out of the way instead of dragging them all the time. Even cooler if you bind it to a mouse key(my wheel tilts to move a window to the next monitor).
I work with Q2 Dell 2408's and can attest to the productivity increases for photo/video editing and stock trading. Sony Vegas Pro is extremely customizable, allowing multiple adjustable screen set ups to be stored as presets depending what I am working on. Think or Swim and Options Express can be opened simultaneously on different screens, so I can use the features I like in each in tandem or trade both accounts at the same time. My preference would be to be able to spread tabs from each one individually, like having a chart on one screen and an option chain on another in the same program, but neither platform is very user friendly, and I have been in too impatient to get trades on in the heat of the market to figure it out, even though I should.
I have been a multimonitor user for years, previously using Q2 19" CRTs in tandem. My main monitor facing front and my second monitor is angled for peripheral view. Two monitors of the same size facing forward does not work for. I'd rather have one single large monitor, and do Windows 7 style snapping.
The only complaint with my current LCD set up, other than taking up lots of horizontal space, is that most of the programs automatically restore down on my second screen as soon as I work on a program on my main screen, and I am always having to expand again and again. Never had this problem when using CRTs under XP. The programs stayed put and did not minimize automatically.
What about full screening web video like hulu or netflix on one and working on the other? Flash will not stay full screend when you click off of it. Got any apps for that? I know of a flash hack that does it for firefox based browsers. It super easy to find on youtube btw. But are there any legit plugins for this yet?
I have a 23" monitor flanked by two 19" monitors (my desk is perfect for this). I love this setup but don't find myself using it often because I tend to be playing games that require full screen mode (Mass Effect II for example).
Is there anyway in Windows 7 or a separate application that I can treat this like a KVM where I can leave my game up on the main screen but then tab over to the other monitor to work on something else temporarily?