Sounds expensive, right? Today, most computers have graphics cards capable of supporting multiple monitors. You may be wondering how much a dual monitor system can increase your productivity and/or how much would it cost. I will address some common concerns that potential users have when researching dual monitor systems. Hopefully, this article will help answer your most pressing questions and help you decide if this setup upgrade is right for you.
When speaking with some friends about multiple monitor computers, I recall being asked, “What applications support these monitors?” The short answer to this is very few. However, this is irrelevant because most applications do not need to be aware of the monitors because that is the job of the operating system. Additionally, applications such as UltraMon (www.realtimesoft.com/ultramon) are available that “trick” your system into thinking that different monitors are actually one large monitor. These applications can also be used to differentiate monitors. For example, they can give you the ability to activate a screensaver on the inactive monitors while you continue to use a different monitor.
Multitasking today is a great incentive to increase surface area or “real estate” onto multiple monitors. These monitors allow users to have several applications accessible at once, which can be beneficial to both work and play. By using multiple monitors, you reduce the wasted time and hassle involved in minimizing, maximizing, closing, and reopening windows as you decide which task deserves more of your attention. With a dual monitor setup, you can carelessly switch from task to task without any wasted time or hesitation.
A commonly overlooked concern is whether the user has enough desk space to begin with. This is a special concern. However, there are custom stands available to assist you in planning your space. Ideally, both monitors in a dual monitor setup have identical specifications. This is important because monitors placed side-by-side can emphasize differences in quality. I recommend purchasing the same models at the same time, to guarantee that comparable components are shared between the monitors. As mentioned before, applications (often free) are available to help you customize your display settings such as desktop wallpaper, screensavers, etc. You may even want to calibrate the monitors to assure that their color profiles are as similar as possible.
Of course, most people do not care to spend too much money on new monitors, and you should not have to. Monitors vary by size and price just as anything else you would buy. Prices of monitors are also influenced by features available on the monitors, quality of picture, etc. For example, 20” monitor selections can vary from $130 to $150 depending on the monitor’s aspect ratio, resolution, mount, input, adjustments, speakers, response time, and availability of USB. This is also true for 22”, 24”, and 26” monitors.
In conclusion, users now exhibit increased productivity and comfort with multi-tasking. Operating systems have advanced to a point in which they instantly recognize multiple monitors, allowing for easy setup and configuration for even a novice user. A great 26” dual monitor system can be established for under $800. It is easy to see the increased capability of productivity when experimenting with these systems. Hopefully, this information gives you enough information to consider the process of buying, configuring, and working with a dual monitor setup. If you have not already, I highly recommend a “test drive” of one of these systems. You will wonder how you ever got anything accomplished before without it!