If you've never used multiple monitors before, try it. It's like going from a Honda Civic to a, well.. a Honda Accord. :) Within fifteen minutes (if it even takes that long) you'll wonder how you ever got along without it for so long. I have a single monitor at home, it's an Acer 22" widescreen, but at work I recently switched to a pair of 17" LCDs and the productivity increase is staggering.
Then there are crazy setups that take it to the nth degree. Rich
has a setup with an Apple 30" Cinema
widescreen flanked by a pair of Samsung 21"
widescreens in portrait mode for something ridiculously crazy like 3600x1200 resolution. More and more people (developers mostly I guess but also flight sim enthusiasts) are setting up monitor rigs like this now that the prices of LCDs are coming down down down. Dell
makes a 30" widescreen
that actually beats the Apple Cinema in the specs department, yet is marginally cheaper (and if you throw something like techbargains.com
into the mix for Dell discount coupons it gets even better).
Yesterday I was scanning through some of my rss feeds
in Newsgator Online
and there was a post by Scott Hanselman
on his site about multiple monitor setups
for developers. Usually most of the stuff on his website goes straight over my head, and I cherry-pick the little tidbits relating to HTPC, Xbox 360, PSP, Torrents and things like that but the one absolute GEM that I took away from his post yesterday about multiple monitors was for a little app called Ultramon
. it "fixes" Windows (ie does something that Windows should do built-in) to let it better deal with multiple monitors. If only for allowing one wallpaper to stretch across both (or x-) many screens it would be a neat utility. The dealmaker though is the taskbar. It stretches the taskbar across all your screens, and whichever windows are open on THAT screen show up on THAT taskbar. There are some other cool tricks it does, but within seconds of installing the trial version and seeing the new taskbar on the other screen, that's worth the $30 price of admission right there.