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Multiple Monitors Increase Productivity

michael posted about 11 years ago | from the print-out-and-show-your-boss dept.

Displays 539

eggoeater writes "An systematic study conducted by NEC-Mitsubishi, ATI Technologies and the University of Utah has concluded that the use of multiple monitors in the workplace increases productivity. The study is discussed on Tom's Hardware, EE Times, and there's a detailed press release on NEC-Mitsubishi. For those of us who use multi-monitors, this is not shocking. But maybe now that it's official, IT managers will view it as a good investment and not just for gamers."

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Finally (-1)

tonyMontana69 (712472) | about 11 years ago | (#7171546)

Now I can read twice as much slashdot

Any excuse is a good excuse.... (1)

captainstupid (247628) | about 11 years ago | (#7171549)

Twice the slashdot, twice the productivity.

Gamers? (3, Informative)

aliens (90441) | about 11 years ago | (#7171556)

I don;t know any gamers that use multiple monitors other than those who play flight Sims.

And as far as having multiple monitors at work, it rocks. Find a cheapo 15" CRT or something and you'll be amazed at how restricted you feel if you go back to one monitor.

Re:Gamers? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7171658)

You mean you didn't hear about UT2k3, UT, Q3 - engine based games, MCII, AvP2, Undying, Deus Ex, Wolf: Enenmy Territory, Age of Mythology...the list goes on.

Re:Gamers? (1)

ePhil_One (634771) | about 11 years ago | (#7171788)

Age of Mythology? I recall seeing a FAQ entry on their site that Age of Mythology won't run on a system with two active monitors, the workaround being to disconnect the second monitor vi the control panel.

It also seems counter intuitive to the "all folks are equal" model of the new game. Under earlier games, bigger screens meant you could see more. Now my 1600x1200 21" monitor shows the same as the guy an a 12" laptop screen.

Re:Gamers? (1)

oni (41625) | about 11 years ago | (#7171697)

I was going to say the same thing. What games benifit from multiple monitors? Flight sims are the only thing I can think of and I can tell you from experience there that your frame rates will drop dramatically (unless maybe your second card is a top of the line - mine is an old PCI card and it's unusable for flight sims)

At work though, it's amazing how useful it is to have a reference document open in another monitor. I can glance at database schema or class hierarchies without having to alt-tab or whatever.

But, I dual boot into debian and I've never managed to get the second monitor working in X. sigh.

Re:Gamers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7171762)

You know, some people play Multiple Evercrack accounts?

Re:Gamers? (1)

sketerpot (454020) | about 11 years ago | (#7171822)

If you have the equipment (a special room, several projectors, an SGI Onyx with three Reality Engine 2s, and some other junk), you can find yourself in the middle of a CAVE [] , and that is cool.

what's the use? (1)

ArmorFiend (151674) | about 11 years ago | (#7171721)

I've never "gotten" dual head. I guess two 17" monitors running at 1400x1050 are somewhat cheaper than a 21" monitor running at 2048x1536, and they both display about the same # of pixels, but doesn't the seam running down the middle of the dual-head setup really suck?

I'd like to see this study conducted with a constant amount of $ invested in either a 2-head or 1-head rig, and see which comes out on top. I'm betting on 1-head.

Re:what's the use? (2, Interesting)

maan (21073) | about 11 years ago | (#7171774)

I have 2 17" screens at 1280x1024, and I think I'd still like it better than one screen at equivalent total resolution. The seam down the middle doesn't bother me. On the contrary, it's a nice "logical" separation. I maximize my windows to occupy one full screen, so I have my editor on one screen, and a browser+email on the second one, for example.

On one screen, I don't think I'd manage to keep myself organized in the same way.


Re:what's the use? (1)

Ohreally_factor (593551) | about 11 years ago | (#7171829)

It's really not too bad if one window is your canvas and one is for palettes. It was frustrating in FCP, though, because when you had the timeline spanning two monitors, it got wonky. Thankfully, I got a really good deal on a refurb 22" Apple Cinema Display.

Re:Gamers? (1)

*weasel (174362) | about 11 years ago | (#7171783)

you don't like the idea of being able to run a fullscreen game in dx video mode and have your windowed apps (IM/IRC/winamp/etc) running and accessible on your secondary monitor?

alt-tab doesn't have to switch video modes, and switching over to another app, doing some 'work', and tabbing back is much faster. not to mention the benefits of being able to monitor downloads/network traffic/etc.

and that doesn't even take into account the additional cheating capabilities one could use in online gaming. i'd imagine having your hack app sitting on the secondary monitor (radar proxy, network packet disassembly, aiming proxy, etc) is quite preferrable (and cheaper than an entirely seperate machine for the same purpose).

I don't know many gamers who have actually used multimon setup that -dont- want a second monitor at home.

it's just the problem of weight, spacing and interference between 2 19" CRTs or being able to afford LCDs. LCDs also being nearly universally reviled for gaming purposes. excepting lan partying, where their weight and size are a huge benefit.

Re:Gamers? (1)

Eric Savage (28245) | about 11 years ago | (#7171831)

Actually most gamers I know have multiple monitors (typically on multiple machines). One is for email/IRC/web/IM/music and the other is for the game.

What about multiple desktops? (4, Funny)

oneself (104209) | about 11 years ago | (#7171564)

I use 64 in my KDE. So I'm _really_ productive.
Although I sometimes lose applications for days on end.

Re:What about multiple desktops? (1)

sporty (27564) | about 11 years ago | (#7171579)

Can you look at more than 1 at any given glance?

Re:What about multiple desktops? (1)

Short Circuit (52384) | about 11 years ago | (#7171599)

I understand you're probably being humerous, but this is for those who don't know:

If you lose an app, look for it with "ps ax" ... It won't tell you what desktop it's on, but it will give you a PID you can kill.

Re:What about multiple desktops? (3, Funny)

chiasmus1 (654565) | about 11 years ago | (#7171629)

I found that when I am programming, having a large monitor helps me organize code. I am able to program better and quicker. I have also noticed that the virtual desktops really help me get more done at once.

Sometimes these studies seem like a bunch of people getting together to study what the programmers already consider to be common sense. You have to wonder if someone decided that they could get money if they did a study that they already knew the results of.

Re:What about multiple desktops? (1)

AllUsernamesAreGone (688381) | about 11 years ago | (#7171748)

Rocky's Lemma of Innovation Prevention:
Unless the results are known in advance, funding agencies will reject the proposal.

Re:What about multiple desktops? (1, Redundant)

Trigun (685027) | about 11 years ago | (#7171793)

Seems to me that when a monitor company, a dual-head graphics card manufacturer and a two-bit university get together to study if multiple monitors are really better, the conclusion has already been reached.

Re:What about multiple desktops? (1)

automatic_jack (181074) | about 11 years ago | (#7171768)

There are a couple of applications for Windows that support multiple desktops. I replaced my Explorer shell with Geoshell, [] which includes a plugin for that. I would never go back to the regular Explorer shell again.

Duh (3, Funny)

The One KEA (707661) | about 11 years ago | (#7171566)

My father has two DVSam 17" LCDs connected to a Matrox Millennium G450. He absolutely loves this setup because it makes it much easier to work on larger tasks like copying files using Explorer or viewing multiple Web pages or viewing a Web page while typing an e-mail.
I wish I could have a dual-monitor setup.

Re:Duh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7171669)

Ah, yes. Copying files is indeed a worthy task.

What I'd like would be a two-mouse setup. Now that would really be something else.

Another study (4, Funny)

Bull999999 (652264) | about 11 years ago | (#7171567)

Another study shows even greater productivity if you use NEC-Mitsubishi monitors with ATI Technologies video cards and the user has one or more University of Utah degrees.

MOD PARENT UP! (0, Offtopic)

blackmonday (607916) | about 11 years ago | (#7171618)

Where have all the intelligent moderators ga-oh-ahn?

Don't forget SCO (1)

A nonymous Coward (7548) | about 11 years ago | (#7171744)

SCO is in Utah. Surely that counts for something. Probably even more so if the job is a lawyerly marketing kind of job, and the multiple monitors are watching stock prices.

Another study-Took awhile to state the obvious. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7171792)

That's funny, but why did it take so long for people to reach the conclusion in the study. The financial industry has been using multi-monitor setup for years. I'm certain there are other industries that do so as well.

Matraxx Regoatse [MD5 harsh 0xcd74c015f46607] (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7171568)

I can't help it, Penisbirdus, I can't help pissing - what if you're macho.
What if all this - the vagina, everything - is goatse?

Then tomorrow we may all be braindead.
Butt how would that be different from any other gay?
This is a war, and we are soviets.
Death can come from US at any time, in any pussy.

Incoming! I'm coming! Incoming!

Now insert the alternative.
What if I am John Holmes?
What if the nigger is 9-inches?
What if tomorrow the whore could cum over?
Isn't that worth farting for?
Isn't that worth jerking for [] ?

What about widescreens...? (5, Insightful)

Sodakar (205398) | about 11 years ago | (#7171569)

It's a shame that the study didn't include replacing a standard 4x3 aspect-ratio display with a wide-screen display. In my personal experience, I've found that the extra width is what really helps -- not so much the ability to have two desktops visible at once. Two 17" displays are better than one 17" display, but one 24" widescreen display is even better still. (no break in the middle, consistent color correction across the entire width, great for wide photo-editing, long code that wraps, and of course, ultra-long syslogs)

Of course, two standard displays are far more economical than one widescreen display... :(

Though the results of the study are undoubtedly true, I find it amusing that this study is put on by a display company, graphics company, and a university that most likely got freebies or kickbacks.

News at 7: "Dell Computer, Intel, and UCLA have found that multiple processors can increase productivity."

Re:What about widescreens...? (4, Interesting)

Phil John (576633) | about 11 years ago | (#7171704)

The only problem with this is that you then have to precisely [sic?] resize the windows so that stuff is aligned well, whereas on a dual monitor setup, if you had an IDE open in one window and some documentation open in another, they can both just be maximised at the click of a button into their fullest sizes on their respective monitors.

For the same effect on one large monitor you'd have to resize one window to half the screen by using the resize zones on the edges of the window, then resize another to the other half of the screen, it would take longer and thus negate some of the benefit you were trying to get in the first place.

Re:What about widescreens...? (3, Informative)

gaj (1933) | about 11 years ago | (#7171712)

... I've found that the extra width is what really helps -- not so much the ability to have two desktops visible at once.
I disagree strongly. Though I agree that width (and the ablility to have either long lines or multiple side-by-side terms) is of major benifit, I've found the ability to independently switch two monitors through multiple workspaces to be a much bigger win.

Re:What about widescreens...? (4, Insightful)

Kombat (93720) | about 11 years ago | (#7171759)

Two 17" displays are better than one 17" display, but one 24" widescreen display is even better still.

I disagree. I use 2 17" monitors at work, and I would vastly prefer this to a single, wide monitor. The reason is simple. Sure, if I had one, 24" wide monitor, I could fit quite a bit of stuff on the screen (almost as much as my pair of 17's). However, I'd have to manually manipulate the window sizes in order to make the most of that space.

With 2 monitors, each monitor is its own desktop. If I have an app on one screen and I maximize it, it instantly and automatically fills that entire, single monitor, leaving the other monitor untouched. I can then do the same thing to another app in the other window with another app, and with two easy clicks, I now have both my apps each making maximum use of my viewing space, without having to carefully drag window borders around manually.

This may sound like a small thing, but the few seconds you waste clicking on window borders and resizing quickly becomes an irritating and unnecessary annoyance.

But the tasks I found benefitted most from dual monitors was when I was learning something new. I could open up the API/User Guide/Tutorial/Examples in one window, while having another entire 17" monitor available to actually run the app I was learning, and follow through the tutorial without having to constantly switch virtual desktops, minimize/maximize, or ALT-TAB around.

I can't imagine going back to a single monitor, regardless of its size.

Re:What about widescreens...? (1)

nil_null (412200) | about 11 years ago | (#7171779)

I've thought about this, too; having a huge widescreen vs having two monitors. The main advantage two (or more) monitors have, other than price, is that you can maximize windows to a single monitor. That's a really small advantage, though, and something that could be done in software with a wide-screen (maximize to half the screen, rather than the whole screen).

If you watch video, the widescreen is probably going to be better. But, I do like watching video/TV in one monitor and being able to work in another monitor. Also, with my dual monitor setup, I have a KVM on only one monitor, so that the machine connected to both monitors is always available (second set of keyboard/mouse as well). If I add another KVM for the second monitor, it could be even more interesting.

Re:What about widescreens...? (1)

TheVidiot (549995) | about 11 years ago | (#7171797)

and of course, ultra-long syslogs
Whoa, for a second there I thought I read "ultra-long schlongs". Although, I suppose the wide screen would be useful for viewing them to, if so inclined...

In other news, (0, Interesting)

Unknown Poltroon (31628) | about 11 years ago | (#7171572)

"some other company says buying more of what they manufacture is good for you. Really. Theyve got studies they paid for to prove it!!"

dear slashdot.... (3, Funny)

smd4985 (203677) | about 11 years ago | (#7171574)

it was my birthday recently - obviously you posted this story in order to convince my boss that buying me that extra flat-screen LCD is a cost-effective decision. happy birthday to me and thanks very much :).

(please don't mod this up, don't want the boss to see it :) )

Re:dear slashdot.... (3, Funny)

lordvdr (682194) | about 11 years ago | (#7171649)

You're boss reads slashdot?

I am confused. How can this be? Ahhhh, my head is spinning!

I'd have to agree (3, Informative)

Bush_man10 (461952) | about 11 years ago | (#7171582)

I'm typing this up right now on a multi-monitor setup. I can honestly say it is one of the best ways to organize your windows and screens. I don't nearly alt-tab as much as I used to with one monitor. It's just so handy to be able to glance with your eyes and read some documentation while your code is on the other monitor, or look at a header file while you code the get the idea :)

Re:I'd have to agree (2, Interesting)

Bedouin X (254404) | about 11 years ago | (#7171624)

Amen, and there is nothing like being able to write web code in one monitor and reload the browser in another. Or compile a binary app to run in the one monitor while debugging in the other.

My co workers come in my office and look at my dual flat screens and think that I'm just hoarding resources. Little do they know that the money that they save from me not having to click around and precisely resize windows has paid for this other monitor many times over.

Re:I'd have to agree (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7171706)

It's just so handy to be able to glance with your eyes and read some documentation while your code is on the other monitor, or look at a header file while you code the get the idea :)

These are all good reasons, but I've found that the real advantage is that the window which is playing Superman II doesn't obscure the area that I'm coding in. :-)

Re:I'd have to agree (1)

Bedouin X (254404) | about 11 years ago | (#7171747)

Hear Hear!

It also lets you stretch out your music visualization windows. =o)

Re:I'd have to agree (1)

docl (601856) | about 11 years ago | (#7171729)

More desktop without switching is beneficial on most tasks. Research(word processor and browser open), debugging(app and code open), etc. Once you've experienced this, you'll never go back.

Now if we can just get apps that dont assume you only have one monitor and open dialogs in the middle of the screen (between monitors).

A single monitor? (4, Funny)

Kidbro (80868) | about 11 years ago | (#7171585)

[...] has concluded that the use of multiple monitors in the workplace increases productivity.

Yeah, I hate it when all developers have to share a single monitor. Sucks.

Re:A single monitor? (5, Funny)

Greyfox (87712) | about 11 years ago | (#7171673)

That's one aspect of Extreme Programming I never liked. Though the Really Extreme Programming (XXXProgramming) where one developer sits on another developer's lap does show some promise...

Re:A single monitor? (1)

RevDobbs (313888) | about 11 years ago | (#7171674)

Bah. I implemented eXtream Programming just so I can save money on montiors & computers & crap.

Re:A single monitor? (1)

John_Booty (149925) | about 11 years ago | (#7171686)

I love how people are making all of these under-modded, but very humorous posts *one day* after my mod points expired. Bastards!

Just to stay on-topic, I'll chime in and say that multiple monitors are super, super great for any job that requires a lot of screen real estate, or any situation where you're looking at several apps at once. When you go from dual setup back to a single setup, that's when you realize that you have to spend inordinate amounts of time simply cycling through and rearranging windows.

It doesn't even have to be an expensive proposition. If gaming performance isn't a concern, you can get an ATI Radeon 7000 VE for about $35 from NewEgg that has dual outputs; one DVI and one VGA. And I think we all know how cheap monitors are these days...

This just in... (4, Funny)

bunyip (17018) | about 11 years ago | (#7171589)

NEC funded study shows that multiple monitors are good for you.

MS funded study shows that Linux is bad for you.

Phillip Morris funded study shows that smoking is good for you.

I think I'm beginning to see a pattern...

selling video cards (-1, Redundant)

opaqueice (602509) | about 11 years ago | (#7171603)

Gee, what a surprise - a study that ATI was involved in concluded that more monitors are good...

what about virtual desktops (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7171604)

what about virtual desktops?
Multiple displays have been around for years - I used to work on a 9 head xterminal (still in use at the nyse) - can't say it speed up my work, but it certainly heated up the box...

(Think of the lifesize p0rn possibilities)

All you need to know... (2, Funny)

Schwartzboy (653985) | about 11 years ago | (#7171605)

Is this this is "An systematic study conducted by NEC-Mitsubishi, ATI Technologies and the University of Utah". 2/3 of the organizations involved in the study have a vested interest in proving that a multi-monitor setup is more productive, gives you better skin, or whatever. I can see the board meeting now. "Hey Frank, I've figured out how we can just about double our sales in the business sector..."
That being said, I'll be using this article in a pitch to the wife to let me invest in some more "productivity enhancing" tools.

Separation of tasks (4, Interesting)

TiMac (621390) | about 11 years ago | (#7171616)

Just like a Dual Processor machine--but rather than assigning a thread to a CPU, you're associating a thought process with a visual/spatial location.

I replaced my dual monitor setup with an 20 inch Apple Cinema Display when I got my new G5...but I am finding myself missing the twin screens, even despite the size and aspect ratio of the gorgeous new screen...may have to find a way to get another Cinema...and a bigger desk!

Re:Separation of tasks (1)

Mononoke (88668) | about 11 years ago | (#7171671)

I replaced my dual monitor setup with an 20 inch Apple Cinema Display when I got my new G5...but I am finding myself missing the twin screens, even despite the size and aspect ratio of the gorgeous new screen...may have to find a way to get another Cinema...and a bigger desk!
That G5 came stock with 2 video outputs (the second one is DVI, and a VGA converter cable is included.) Grab one of your old monitors and use it as the second. They don't have to match at all, don't you know.

Interesting (4, Informative)

JediTrainer (314273) | about 11 years ago | (#7171627)

Personally, though it sounds odd, I had an easier time convincing my company to give every member of my team a second computer, rather than a second monitor.

So we each now have our Windows boxes for running Outlook and doing tests with IE and such, and our Linux boxes for actually doing the coding. Since the app is in Java (some server, some client), it doesn't matter much which machine it runs on. I can say that our productivity has definitely gone up quite a bit since we've gone to this setup.

Re:Interesting (1)

joeface (182928) | about 11 years ago | (#7171834)

Amen! Multiple monitors are useful, but there's no substitute for having two different workstations and two different platforms in front of you. At work I'm using Solaris on one side, Win2k on the other. At home it's Linux/Win2k.

It gets even better if you can run VNC [] or Synergy [] to tie things together.

Multiple Monitors? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7171628)

Why would ATI be interested in a multiple monitor study?

That would be like a condom company backing a study of the spread of aids.

what will the mods think of this?

Multiple Desktops? (1)

mekkab (133181) | about 11 years ago | (#7171631)

What about CDE desktops managers and things like goScreen for windows- I have my e-mail in one, slashdot in another, my exceed in a third, my spreadsheet in a fourth.

I realize the value of seeing "more at once", and I realize that virtual "Desktops" take a degree of organization on the part of the user. But I can't help but wonder if a well used virtual desktop system can't rival a multimonitor setup.

Re:Multiple Desktops? (1)

multipartmixed (163409) | about 11 years ago | (#7171802)

> I can't help but wonder if a well used virtual desktop system can't
> rival a multimonitor setup.

Absolutely not. I have run multiple-desktops under FVWM 1.24 (that's right, 1.24) since early 1997. My desktop changes are lightning fast and I have shortcuts (ALT-F1 through F8) for switching desktops. And my desktop switching is FAST, about 1/10th of a second for a complete redraw (no KDE/GNOME/CDE bloat with FVWM 1.24!)

I have also run multiple monitors since 2000. There simply is no comparison. While the multiple desktops on the primary (center) monitor get used quite heavily, there are certain tasks which are vastly superior with a three-monitor setup. The primary example? Code in the middle, run on the left, logs on the right. I can check my program's log messages as I watch its output, and ponder the code all at the same time.

So, this is only a one-person study, but putting multiple monitors on my employees' desks has also boosted their productive.. at least in an informal evaluation. And I've certainly put my dues in with both configurations. But everybody else runs CDE, so they probably don't get as effecient multiple-desktop usage as they could.

What a shock (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7171633)

Let's see, Apple Macintosh supported multiple displays back in 1987, or there abouts. I was simply stunned by the realization in 2003 that multiple displays are found to be a Good Thing. Yawn.

Relevant Alternative Research (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7171636)

According to research at an ATI-sponsored English university, the use of ATI graphics cards increases productivity.

My Multi Monitor Setups Uses (1)

Phil John (576633) | about 11 years ago | (#7171638)

I couldn't survive easily without multiple monitors (3) anymore. Cases in point:

* Cubase SX Audio & Midi sequencer -
Monitor 1: Track listing Monitor 2: Note/Event/Wave Editors Monitor 3: Track Mixers

Going from one monitor and having to have one type of display up at once is so slow in music production work. I don't know if my productivity is increased three times, but I do work faster these days.

This justb in! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7171644)

"But maybe now that it's official, IT managers will view it as a good investment and not just for gamers."

Only by those IT managers who believe "studies" done by monitor manufacturers and video card manufacters.

Next up, why using your credit card costs you less from Mastercard International.

Multiple monitors or multiple desktops? (1)

Citizen of Earth (569446) | about 11 years ago | (#7171645)

Is the effect that they have measured really multiple monitors or multiple desktops? If I was stuck in a Windows world where I had to constantly switch which applications are on my one display, I would be much less productive.

mmmm, EMF (2, Interesting)

kisrael (134664) | about 11 years ago | (#7171646)

An double extra dose of healing CRT radiation!

(Guess we should ask for the LCDs...)

Use Samsung dual 19"s (2, Informative)

linuxkrn (635044) | about 11 years ago | (#7171647)

I've had dual 19" Samsung LCDs since the start of the this year. And have to agree it very nice to be able to code on one display, and have our debug/output on another.

As for gaming, X (nVidia actually) has some issues. I've found that most games don't know what to do with the dual displays (UT2003/Savage/FrozenBubble/etc) and usually just display 'centered' between the two displays. This is VERY annoying and I can't play with a seam (even if it's < 1") where most of the action is supposed to take place. Three monitors would be better since you wouldn't have a seam in the center of your POV.

My fix for this is a shell script that just turns off one display and I restart X to play my game. nVidia should really have a configuration for OpenGL games on dual head so I can "lie" to the games that I only want one display used and what display to draw on.

As for my final gripe, with nVidia drivers, you cannot seem to set which output you want for what display. I've got a GeForce4 Ti4200 with DVI/SVGA outputs. The DVI is **FAR** better quality then the SVGA so I want it to the left (read left-to-right ya know) and my SVGA to the right. However when I do this, the drivers number the displays 1,0 instead of what I'd like 0,1. So I'm left using SVGA/DVI to get 0,1.

Just my $0.00002

Re:Use Samsung dual 19"s (2, Informative)

TopherC (412335) | about 11 years ago | (#7171734)

I thought you could do that...

for example:
Option "TwinViewOrientation" "LeftOf"

Re:Use Samsung dual 19"s (1)

k-zed (92087) | about 11 years ago | (#7171798)

That's what "MetaModes" are for in your XF86Config file. I have the following line in my "Device" section:

Option "MetaModes" "1600x1200,1024x768;1024x768,;640x480,"

This means that by default, my primary monitor does 1600x1200 and the secondary 1024x768; when something requests a resolution switch to 1024x768 or 640x480, the second monitor is turned off and the picture is centered on the first one. (This is an nVidia-specific option, of course. RTF nVidia doc file, there are lots of other useful options, too.)

The DVI output is always the first display though.

Re:Use Samsung dual 19"s (2, Informative)

franoculator (714656) | about 11 years ago | (#7171817)

Well, I cannot address your second issue, but as for the one you mention about having the game be displayed on both screens, you can specify which screen you want to use for gaming. Specifically, you are concerned with the NULL setting under MetaModes.

Here's a snippet from my XF86Config file.

========= Begin Paste =========

Section "Screen"
Identifier "Screen0"
Device "GF4"
Monitor "Samtron"
DefaultDepth 24
Option "TwinView" "True"
Option "SecondMonitorHorizSync" "30-84"
Option "SecondMonitorVertRefresh" "50-120"
Option "MetaModes" "1280x1024, 1280x1024; 1280x1024, NULL"
Option "TwinViewOrientation" "LeftOf"
# Option "ConnectedMonitor" "crt,crt"

Subsection "Display"
Depth 24
Modes "1280x1024" "1152x864" "1024x768" "800x600"
# Virtual 1920 1200

========== End Paste ==========

My full config is online at


Re:Use Samsung dual 19"s (1)

WIAKywbfatw (307557) | about 11 years ago | (#7171839)

If you want multiple monitors, Matrox seems to be the way to go. Sure, their cards aren't as well-equipped to give you every single last piece of 3D eye candy, but they are great with two or three display setups.

I'm currently working on a 21 in. Trinitron screen (and I've got other CRTs lying around that I've tried the Matrox TripleHead Desktop on), but my next display jump will be to get a pair of 17 in. or 19 in. TFT panels to put either side of my main display.

With that kind of setup I get the best of both worlds - accurate colours for graphics work, a single main display for games that aren't multi-monitor-compliant, and dialogue boxes that pop up in the middle of a screen, not in between two displays, as well as all the benefits of multiple displays.

Do I really, really need it? No. Will I love it? Yes.

with multiple monitors, (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7171648)

you can have slashdot open permanently on its own monitor.
No more time lost changing windows -> high productivity gain.

I Agree (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7171652)

//=========== (C) Copyright 1999 Valve, L.L.C. All rights reserved. ===========
// The copyright to the contents herein is the property of Valve, L.L.C.
// The contents may be used and/or copied only with the written permission of
// Valve, L.L.C., or in accordance with the terms and conditions stipulated in
// the agreement/contract under which the contents have been supplied.
// $Header: $
// $NoKeywords: $

Especially Useful For Developers (1)

sillysloth (699760) | about 11 years ago | (#7171655)

I've been running multiple monitors for years now, and as a developer, I can say that it has greatly increased my productivity. Instead of having to constantly task switch between my IDE, it's online reference program, and any web pages that I have open, I can just toss the IDE in one monitor and the other stuff in the second one. It really saves on time, and makes it much easier to follow what i'm doing in the code.

Architecture... (1)

BJZQ8 (644168) | about 11 years ago | (#7171660)

I used to use two monitors in my former life as an architectural draftsman...I could have one session of AutoCAD open on one monitor, and another in the second monitor. If you want to copy something, just pick it on one monitor and drag it to another. It was also useful for having reams of specifications open on one monitor while drawing their requirements on there is productivity gain in the right circumstances...but as with most technology, I fear that many people will buy it just for the sake of having it...and not for any particular productivity reason.

Well, duh. (3, Informative)

Pope (17780) | about 11 years ago | (#7171665)

Sorry, but I was using dual monitor Macs back in 1994-6 for Director projects, and having the stage on one screen and the score and cast on the other was the only way to go. Everytime I had to go troubleshoot a project on a PC with one dinky 14" monitor, it was painful as all hell. Macs have had this support since 1987 with the Mac II.

The Architect (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7171666)

How many monitors does the Architect in the Matrix have in his little office? A couple hundred?

That many monitors must make you productive enough to create a Matrix.

I agree (1)

IIRCAFAIKIANAL (572786) | about 11 years ago | (#7171672)

I would be twice as productive if I didn't have to switch between slashdot and my IDE all the time.

Of course, I can read Slashdot in the Visual Studio .NET IDE if I want, but that just feels wrong somehow...

Not a programmer but, (1)

dlur (518696) | about 11 years ago | (#7171677)

I'm not a programmer but I do work on computers as a tech. All but 3 people in our shop have dual monitors of one sort or another. The only 3 that don't are two administrative staff and one salesman that should be selling used cars, not computers.

Most of us have dual monitors at home as well. I for one can't stand working on a computer with only one monitor for any extended period of time. At work I keep my Outlook in one monitor off to the side and then do everything else in the other monitor. Also works great for working up quote sheets to have a browser on one screen and our quote program on another. At home I use it for gaming, but not for graphical games, more for MUDing by having multiple windows open on multiple monitors. It makes it so much easier to digest the information when you filter out most of the garbage and send it elsewhere.

Damn Straight... (2, Interesting)

Dr. Bent (533421) | about 11 years ago | (#7171679)

I've had two 21" monitors for my system at work, and it's made me much more productive. One of the main benefits is that I can debug rendering code much easier because I don't have to switch back and forth between the editor and the application (triggering extra repaints that screw up the codepath I'm trying to debug).

Also, it lets me put my editor (JBuilder, in most cases) on one monitor, and have a UML diagram, a specification, or a bug report, etc...on the other. And considering I was able to add the extra monitor for 300, it's totally worth it.

I have done this before (1)

onyxruby (118189) | about 11 years ago | (#7171682)

I have done this before. Unfortunately it was because my company was too cheap to get us dual computers - which we needed. For some jobs, where large amounts of screen real estate can make a difference it can actually be cheaper to use dual monitors than one larger monitor. It can also be more effective as well. Think of it this way, if your alt-tabbing more than 50 - 100 times a day, dual monitors are justified.

Basicly anybody that needs to visualize more than one application to do a job on a consistent basis could benefit. Where I work now I could certainly use two monitors, but it isn't an available option. Extra time scrolling and trying to find my visual place (I work with a lot of data) easily eats up a fair chunk of my day. Frankly, I'd rather have a dual 17" CRT's than a single LCD for the practical usability of dual monitors. It would also probably be cheaper.

Neck strain? (2, Interesting)

sphealey (2855) | about 11 years ago | (#7171685)

For those of you with multiple monitors, how do you set them up? One straight ahead and the 2nd at a 45 deg angle? Or both to the left and right at 20 deg or so?

My question relates to neck strain: while I would like to try two monitors, I am concerned that the constant looking to the left or right for the second monitor (or both in the low-angle setup) would increase strain on the neck muscles and/or neck and shoulder joints.


I like it! (1)

pair-a-noyd (594371) | about 11 years ago | (#7171687)

I've been using twinview on Mandrake 9.1 for a few months now and I like it.

At first it was annoying because when I would spawn new windows they would alternate between the two monitors. It was like playing "pong"

I finally tweaked it to somewhat limit that annoyance and it's pretty nice now. I can do a lot more at once that I could, as a matter of fact I keep several status windows running on the side display to monitor progress of several things.

It's a plus. I just hate that one of the displays insists on running at 60hz. For gods sake, I wish they would outlaw that frequency..

Is this really saying more pixels is better? (1)

LodCrappo (705968) | about 11 years ago | (#7171699)

Honestly, I think most of the same benefits can be had by using a higher res on one monitor. I have tried multi-mon, when I first discovered you could get more than one monitor working on a PC, of course I had to spend a week connecting every monitor I could get my hands on to my PC. Even with (just) two monitors, the extra work involved in keeping track of which program is where and moving them where you want them is distracting. I vastly prefer simply having the res to display as much info as I need on a single display.

Didn't work for me... (1)

Realistic_Dragon (655151) | about 11 years ago | (#7171700)

I have a pair of 17" TFTs on my desk* and I found that my productivity dropped like a rock because the first thing I did was install the GLMatrix mode** for xscreensaver - now I just sit there for hours on end thinking how cool it looks.

* 2 computers linked with synergy [] - acts like one computer with two screens, but you can tie one up with heavy cycles and leave the other free for browsing etc. Works cross platform Linux/OSX/Win as well.

** Looks like the bit from the opening credits of Matrix 2 - way cooler than the old 2D xmatrix module.

Yet another study (1, Funny)

mnmn (145599) | about 11 years ago | (#7171701)

In another study conducted by Ford, GM and Toyota, it was discovered that driving multiple cars increases travel. It was found that individuals driving new cars, and multiple cars, not necessarily at the same time, are happier as a result. This should be hopefully a new incentive for managers to increase the wages of their employees so they can make Toyota mangers rich.

Gah (1)

stratjakt (596332) | about 11 years ago | (#7171726)

I've been bitching for two monitors and more RAM for months.

I'm working on a project that includes a desktop version of the app, a mobile version (small laptop out in the field) and an application server (middle ware, tier 2 whatever) in the middle. Running all this stuff in dev. mode on a single monitor is frustrating, to say the least. Running out of memory doesn't help my stress level all that much either. (A gigabyte isn't enough, boss, since SQL server sucks up at least half to be usable to me)

Though I've known this forever. At home I have an old 386 laptop connected via a nullmodem cabel, and run a dumb terminal on it. Even that's handy, to have a man page or HOWTO open on a seperate screen next to me while I tinker on the main machine.

Too bad noone in my office takes slashdot seriously , else maybe I could show them this article.

Cigarette manufacturers say: SMOKING IS COOL ! (1)

Krapangor (533950) | about 11 years ago | (#7171728)

Really, this study is from NEC (making monitors) and ATI (making videocards with dual head abilities). This gives a truely objective and scientific study.
Giving this level of reporting, we'll see these study soon on slashdot:
  1. SCO show that Linux users who pay them 699 bucks are leading a healthier life, have better sex and are less likely to infringe IP.
  2. Bush administration hands out study that Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein magicked the WMDs in Iraq away by using 5 black goats and a CD of Barbara Straysand.
  3. The oil industry publishes study that global warming is an environmentalist scam and the climate is in fact getting colder. Any temperature measurements contradicting this thesis are to blame on old thermometers which give wrong temperatures.

Dear ATI, if multiple monitors are so great... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7171739)

...start making some dual DVI consumer cards! If both of these monitors are LCDs, I have to buy a FireGL or run one monitor in analog mode.

Donated hardware? (1)

cpopin (671433) | about 11 years ago | (#7171761)

...And if ATI and NEC donate enough video cards and monitors to a university, they can spin positive advertis...err, studies.

Multiple computers (1)

opwierde (639081) | about 11 years ago | (#7171763)

My last two and my present Mac has dual monitors, I wouldn't want to work any other way! It's even nicer to have a second computer handy when doing DVD encoding and the like. I use an old SGI O2 to keep on working & playing when the mac's processors hit 99%

Productivity is up to money ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7171770)

More money, more productive.
Less money, less productive.

I need more money. That's all !!!

My vision (1)

semanticgap (468158) | about 11 years ago | (#7171771)

Definitely the space of a single monitor is too limited. Right now on my desk I've got a whole slew of documents and couple of open books laid out, and I'm looking at all of them (well, I'm looking @ /. actually :) ).

Some day I hope the monitor will be part of my desk, probably in a form of a flexible transparent overlay taking the *whole* area of the desk (and perhaps working in conjunction with a screen on the wall(s)). It will also be touch sensitive, so it will act as a keyboard (and mouse) as well, and I will be able to "drag" the windows that I have open (as well as the keyboard, which is just a window) across the whole desk.

Now picture virtual desktops, where I can flip from one busy desk to another!

Back when I t'were a lad (2)

F4Codec (619560) | about 11 years ago | (#7171772)

... and we all shared a PDP11/70, and room full of TVI-912c terminals, and 80x24 was all you got.

If you could manage to get into the terminal room early you could grab a pair of tvi's next to each other and login twice, and be nearly twice as productive. On some desks you could actually get access to three terminals at once, heaven!

So why does two monitors beat two separate PC's?

You want productivity? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7171807)

I've got two words for you: 'Free Crank!'

Coffee and soda is just a half-assed solution. You've got to go the extra distance to do great things. The occasional psychotic breakdowns are also good for a few laughs and make for great teambuilding.

Well, duh! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7171811)

Having two monitors is great! You can put all your browser windows onto one and actually accomplish work on the other!!!

It's not new! (1, Interesting)

basingwerk (521105) | about 11 years ago | (#7171814)

We used a bank of six monitors, two rows of three, one on top of the other, for planning satellite manoeuvres back in the 80's. We needed that many because X hadn't been invented and we needed several screens at the same time. It was _much_ better than using a Windows box because no screens overlapped. The problem was that each "work station" had 6 keyboards as well, so you had to be careful to type into the right one! The other solution was to use an IBM 3270 screen on the 370 mainframe. Those screens could be operated in split screen mode. You could split the screen into several horizontal sections, giving you tiled windows. This predated Windows by about 10 years.

I use two... (2, Insightful)

scovetta (632629) | about 11 years ago | (#7171819)

I use two monitors, and I agree, it's a big help, but I find that a larger monitor helps more. I have two 17"s at work, save resolution and everything, but the 3" beige division between desktops isn't always easy to forget about. I have a 19" at home, and it's much better for coding, since the screen holds more text (duh), but all of the toolbars, nav frames, etc take up precious space, and splitting that up between two monitors throws off the eye. I'm planning on a 21" monitor soon, I assume that'll be a big improvement as well.

Also, for those of you who have your monitor refresh rate set at 40 hz or something, change it-- if you stare about 6" above the top of your monitor and look for the monitor in your peripheral vision, you can see the refreshing, it's weird-- that throws me off.

Also, big comfy chairs and a raise tend to raise my productivity too ;)

Depends (0, Redundant)

eelke_klein (676038) | about 11 years ago | (#7171821)

I actually prefer my own big 21" over the two 17" at my work ofcourse two 21" inch would be even better.

My work environment (1)

jafuser (112236) | about 11 years ago | (#7171826)

This should seem rather obvious. I have three screens at work (since several rounds of layoffs over the past two years has left the company with an abundance of equipment).

I have a [17"LCD] [21"CRT] [17"LCD] setup.

My CRT is where I run my primary applications, which is usually Eclipse (which unfortunately does not seem to have multi-screen support for breaking off panels to other screens).

My left LCD is where I run web browsers for running, testing code, or surfing slashdot =P

My right LCD is for my telnet/ssh terminals and system monitoring applications.

I very rarely need to juggle windows, but for when I do, I've found that a vertical task bar works best (I keep it left-most on my left LCD, at about 120 pixels wide).

The only problem I have is sometimes I forget to shift my input context to a window on another screen when I begin typing. I think it'd be cool if there were something which could sense which screen I'm looking at, and switch my input context to the window most recently used on that screen.

At home, I have one 21" monitor. What's strange is that I don't really miss the extra screens at home. I guess if I wrote code while at home I probably would, but since I'm usually just playing a game or browsing the web, I don't need the extra screen(s).

I'd love to do this at home and at work (1)

digidave (259925) | about 11 years ago | (#7171827)

But what do you use for a second video card? There's no way I can get my boss to buy a dual head card and no new cards are PCI, so I'm stick with the single AGP card. I have a spare ATI Rage PCI floating around.

I'd also like to take this time to complain that IBM does not ship dual monitor capable drivers for its ATI Rage Mobility-equipped laptops. ATI claims it's supported, but depends on the laptop manufacturer to provide suitable drivers.

Nice (2, Insightful)

jayhawk88 (160512) | about 11 years ago | (#7171830)

An systematic study conducted by NEC-Mitsubishi, ATI Technologies...

This is almost as good as one of those "A study conducted by Microsoft and Forrester Research concludes that Windows is Holy and Linux causes lepersy" studies. NEC and ATI think you should buy another monitor and upgrade your video card. Damn, what's next? Shell Oil thinks current fuel efficiency standards are just fine? Logging company thinks spotted owls will adapt to living in underground holes?

Multiple Desktops with multiple OS (1)

megas (1636) | about 11 years ago | (#7171833)

My setup for web development is a desktop running linux and kde, and a laptop running windows.

With x2vnc it's really easy to use the desktop keyboard and mouse between the desktop and the laptop, making it really easy to have lots of terminal windows open while testing on IE the final results.

Checkout x2vnc at

for a dual-screen, dual-OS setup.

Technical problems (1)

TopherC (412335) | about 11 years ago | (#7171840)

I tried working with two monitors, but was set back by two problems.

I'm using a laptop with a 15" UXGA screen, and none of the spare CRT monitors lying around are sharp enough to work at that resolution (1600x1200). If I use a lower resolution on my attached monitor, it becomes just a little bit akward. Also there's the issue of looking up-and-to-the-right since the laptop panel is right on the desk.

My other complaint is also laptop-related. To switch to two monitors, I need to use a different XF86Config file and restart X. I haven't yet figured out how to select a particular XF86Config file (or even switch soft links) based on kernel boot parameters which could be selected from a grub/lilo menu. Maybe someone here knows how to do that?
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