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dev.marzdog Mike Roberts Development (+) Blog

At my workplace .Net developers get pretty much the same equipment.

  • A decent Dell workstation / Desktop, mine is a Dell Precision 390. One dual core 2.40 GHz.
  • Eight GB RAM.
  • Windows 7 Enterprise 64-bit.
  • Two Dell 20.1 Monitors.

I'm happy with this.  The machine is about 3 years old but still runs with some decent speed. New developers are getting a Dell workstation with dual quad processors.


I just put in a request for myself and three other developers for an upgraded video card and two additional monitors, for a total of four monitors per person.  We suggested this card, BTW, mainly for the cost. 

The move from one monitor to two was fantastic (one might even say life (or work) changing) and truly did increase productivity. Now what about going from 2 monitors to 4?  I'm sure the change is not as dramatic as one to two, but I can't help but to think four monitors is better than two.  But if four is better than two, should we have asked for six?!?

Also what about mixing monitor types?  Right now my monitors are the older square type vs. wide-screen.  It's been rumored that we will be getting monitors out of current stock and they will be 22 inch wide-screens.  I understand this, recession and all.  2-20 inch square monitors with 2-22 inch wide-screen monitors...hmmmmm.  I'm thinking I'd rather get 2 additional 17 inch square monitors to put on each side of my 20's.

Also, a question was raised about the layout of four monitors. By default, my thought was I'll just put them all on my desk, kinda in a line. I've heard others say they want to stack them in a 2 x 2 square.

BTW, loving multi monitor support in Visual studio 2010!

I’d love some comments on your experience with one, two, four, or however many monitors from a developers perspective.

Posted on Tuesday, March 30, 2010 12:16 PM | Back to top

Comments on this post: Multiple Monitors

# re: Multiple Monitors
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I would go with 3 monitors instead of 4. I got one 22" and 2 19" and that I think is pretty optimal. 4 seems like one screen to much. Got an USB->DVI adapter for the third screen.

Left by andy on Mar 30, 2010 2:23 PM

# re: Multiple Monitors
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re my previous post. I think it is important from a ergonomical point of view to have one main screen in front of you and then have the rest on each side as support-screens.

Left by andy on Mar 30, 2010 3:25 PM

# re: Multiple Monitors
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I read somewhere that productivity boosts end after 3 monitors...or at least, are minimal.

I tried to find the study..but I cant :)

Left by sanjay on Mar 30, 2010 3:43 PM

# re: Multiple Monitors
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andy and sanjay,

Seems like 3 is the magic number. Good advice, thanks.

Seems like if I get s 22 inch widescreen, I'll put it in the middle then the 2 20 inchers on each side.
Left by mroberts on Mar 30, 2010 4:22 PM

# re: Multiple Monitors
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At work I started out with 1 monitor, then 2 (which was a huge change as everyone knows) then 4 (actually two machines with 2 monitors each, connected with Synergy). I mostly used only 3 actually, and very occasionally the 4th (to RDP into some server or something). Then my secondary machine broke so I'm back to 2 screens and it's annoying as hell. More recently I'm working mostly from home where I have only 1 monitor and I feel like I'm wearing a straitjacket, gotta get at least one extra screen... I know financial traders use 6 or even more, but for us developers it seems that the sweet spot is 3 screens.
Left by Mauricio on Apr 07, 2010 6:06 PM

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