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Personally I don't like any setup with less than two monitors. I guess I spoiled that way. I have had 3 monitors in the past for work. But the 3rd one was normally just dedicated to keeping an eye on my email.
One of the fellows I worked with had 5 monitors. I think he was using them to simulate a complete environment, via virtual machines, for testing and development purposes.
Another guy setup complete systems of monitors to turn MS Flight simulator a 360 degree simulation in is basement. He ended up getting his pilots license in record time.
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I agree with those before me extra monitors are a significant improvement in efficiency, and after years of doing so I can hardly get any work done on a single monitor. Sometimes I travel and I will bring an extra long DisplayPort and HDMI cable with me so I can use the TV in the room as a second monitor.
I would suggest a laptop with a dock and at least two external monitors, and skip the 1920X1080 FHD versions and go directly to 2K monitors
Consider Dell XPS, or the Precision mobile workstations. The latter can be had inexpensively as companies near tech centers don't hold on to them long as they upgrade to get the latest and greatest every few years.
Just an odd thought to throw out into the mix, but working remotely when you have two displays in the shop is a real pain. Instead of two displays, I upped the size of the display at work to allow space for an output area, and working remotely became painless. I have a coworker who has a two-display setup at work and he is constantly complaining, reminding me of what I am not missing.
Yes. The problem with two at work and one at home is that anytime you move your mouse against the side the second monitor is, the screen on your local display scrolls in that direction. If the mouse move was just moving the mouse, this means you have to scroll back to where you were working, a delay and break of thought stream.
Let me clarify a bit more. I ONLY have a single large display at home. Having dual displays at work caused the problem. Replacing the two smallish displays with a larger display at work solved the scrolling problem. I have no room at home for a second display, which would have also solved the problem. A 27" display was < $200 USD, so it was a solution my owner approved of.
Right...I despise working on a laptop because I'm used to multiple displays so I find one display to be cramped, to the point of being unusable...but I don't feel like the solution then is to stick with one display everywhere for the sake of having one consistent experience no matter where I am. If that's what you're saying.
And are you saying 27" is "large"? What's the pair of "smallish" displays that you got replaced at work?
I offered this as an alternative, not as the end all. My dual displays were a 21" and an old 19", so 27" is large. The company I work for has 25 employees, so being the third developer means cast-offs.
I read the other responses and saw many bits of wisdom and offered this as an alternative that might be useful to you, not as an insult. What works for me might not work for you, but I thought you might consider it if it helped.
Well...size is not all that matters; resolution matters too.
I have a 40" 4K display as my primary monitor, and I'll make the claim that it's a better replacement than 4 1080p monitors (equivalent resolution) could provide. That being said, when I got it, I did not get rid of the other two 1080p monitors I already had.
Well that depends on how you are remote accessing.
For example, With MS's RDS your displays are driven by the remote machine.
With Google's your resolution and number of monitors is driven by the host machine.
Horses for courses.
Funny - it was only a couple weeks ago I found out that none of my remote team in India and Bangladesh were using dual displays, so I had them all go out and buy large monitors so they could have two monitors - their laptop screen and their external monitor.
Then, 2 days ago, I was on a remote session with one of my guys and it looked like he was using only his laptop screen. He assured me that he was using his beautiful large monitor (32 inches), but the resolution looked terrible. But it was clear that he was using only one monitor.
Turned out, he dutifully plugged in his monitor and then closed his laptop, using an external mouse and keyboard, forcing the external monitor to the same crummy resolution of the laptop. We went through the steps to show him how to use both simultaneously, which tripled his working desktop space - double resolution on the external monitor and then the original laptop. We put the debug window on the laptop, ran his program, and instantly found that his web system was making an extra extraneous SQL call for every action and a separate bug where a server call was being made when the data was already in memory.
I cannot overstate the benefit of being able to have a live console output/debug log for applications, especially web apps.
And for me, using double/triple monitors for years, don't care what the outputs are. VGA, DVI, HDMI, Display port - my primary tasks are writing and coding, so speed has very little concern for me. Once I needed a dual DVI cable to get a better resolution on my ultra-high res monitor, but that was it.
Agreed wholeheartedly, I've been using at least dual-displays for over a decade, and there's just no going back. A laptop is just something to get by when I'm away from my desk. There's just no way I could sit down and try to do something useful with one display.
Probably a benefit of having a CEO who started the company as the primary developer.
IMO, hardware expenditures, even extravagant ones, are so miniscule compared to the employee salary, I generally don't dicker when an employee needs better hardware, whatever it might be, computer, RAM, SSD, monitors, software, etc. It makes the employee happy and usually more productive, far outweighing the costs.
Even when some of your dev team is in relatively cheap places like India or Bangladesh!
I think you'll do well by adding a video card which has a DisplayPort (DP) video port. With DP you can daisy-chain 2 or more monitors with DisplayPort cables. You'll also need monitors which support DP. However, not all video cards support more than 2 monitors - you'll need to verify if they do first.
My PC has an I5 9600K cpu, and its integrated grapics support 3 monitors quite well. I'm using 3 Dell U2415's arranged in a semi-circle.
At the onset of pandemic the company sent everyone home to work, but didn't let us take any monitors home. The LG 29" in the bedroom was commandeered as my second monitor. HDMI port from laptop. Couldn't have been easier.
I did that with the Monochrome Monitor. Wow... Norton Guides... [I Created NG for the Windows.h files]
Anyways, USB-C is good enough. It all depends on where you want the monitor.
I went from 2, to 3, and recently transitioned to a 4K, 55" TV (Equivalent of 4 monitors on one screen).
It sits on my desk, my email is in the bottom right quarter. I use this and multiple desktops.
Its so much easier/cleaner than 4 monitors, and no gaps/seams.
BUT for you, in a desktop machine. Just add another monitor card. If you end up not using it, the cost was low. If you use 1920 type resolution, and travel (I use a laptop), I have 2 External/Portable USB type monitors. Nice and thin, all fit in the computer bag, so I can setup 2 or 3 monitors in my environment.
The ONE downside to the huge monitor. It's a postage stamp on someone elses screen if I share the whole thing... LOL.
Oh, and make sure you don't have to LOOK UPWARDS all day. It can throw your "bite" off, like TMJ...
I have an AOC and a Colzer, I prefer the latter. It comes with a Tablet type "casing" that unfolds as a stand. It also uses USB C for everything (power, and video). And it has easy adjustments for Brightness.
The AOC requires special software to adjust any of the internal things, I've never bothered.
So if you love to tinker with Contrast/Brightness, etc... Keep that in mind when looking.
For me, they are viewing devices "under duress", I am usually flying out somewhere and trying to solve some complicated problem. They are a fallback. I often get put in a conference room where I hijack the projectors, etc.
I have connected it up, to be able to constrain a presentation...
Buy a dedicated video card with its own RAM. Most integrated boards use the main RAM, which takes away from system use. You don't need to go high end, a mid-range board is sufficient for non-gaming needs.
A few years ago I purchased Skyrim and my old card (low end) couldn't handle it. I purchased a mid-range card, which fixed that problem. It also speeded up the system overall, which surprised me at the time, but it makes sense as the board provides dedicated hardware and reduces the load on the CPU.
While not necessarily two HDMI ports, I haven't seen a computer that did NOT support two monitors for a long time. The second one might be (mini) DisplayPort, for example.
For programming, I have used a dual screen (preferable a triple screen setup, one for the source code, one for the debugging output and one for the actual application screen) for more than 30 years now, starting with that VGA+monochrome combo mentioned.
Btw, typing this on a laptop that has a 17" 4:3 monitor attached via VGA, could also use HDMI instead) as a second monitor. Don't have the space right now for a 3 screen setup...
I'd go with the video card option. You can get one that supports multiple displays and is at least as fast as the on-board video for under $100 (GT710 or GT1030). To get dual DisplayPorts will probably cost $200 but will be much faster than the on-board video. One advantage is the video card will have its own display memory rather than using a chuck of main memory.
I do, however, have a 40 inch Television with a VGA input for use as a computer screen.
It is a SEIKI, does 1920x1080 resolution. If you set the font size, etc. to 90% or so for my laptop, I have more screen real estate than I could use.
The only fly in the ointment is that my new HP laptop only has an HDMI output port. My old Dell laptop had a VGA and worked just fine, until the USB ports quit working, hence the new HP. To make a long story just a little longer, $25.00 and a new HP HDMI to VGA adapter, and I have my large display in business again.
If you have an old TV laying around with a VGA input you should consider that. Even if you don't, the big flat screens are so cheap these days, I would think you could spend lesson a setup like mine, than on a docking device.
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