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Dual monitors, Why do you use them?

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#1 medhunter

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 13:59

I have HP Laptop (In my signature) with 15.6'' LED HD display which I bought as a desktop replacement.It has one VGA and one HDMI ports.

*I have a 24'' TV (LED Full HD) connected via VGA port.I bought it originally as expansion for the small 15.6 display when I was abroad.I sometimes Hook it to my XBox360
*I also have another 20'' LCD Display (supports VGA only).

I see alot of Multi-Monitor setup and have two questions

A) How can I maximize the benefit of the two moitors? i.e, Why Exactly do you use dual monitor setup?
Is there really more fun and productivity?or it is just mythical?

B) Is it as easy as just just plugging them (one for HDMI, the other for VGA)?

N.B: I use Ubuntu and Windows 7.


#2 bdsams

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 14:04

Productivity is improved considerably. I use a 27in and a 22in SBS, 27in has email, skype, etc open and the 22in has excel open where I do most of my work.

#3 ILikeTobacco

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 14:04

I have HP Laptop (In my signature) with 15.6'' LED HD display which I bought as a desktop replacement.It has one VGA and one HDMI ports.

*I have a 24'' TV (LED Full HD) connected via VGA port.I bought it originally as expansion for the small 15.6 display when I was abroad.I sometimes Hook it to my XBox360
*I also have another 20'' LCD Display (supports VGA only).

I see alot of Multi-Monitor setup and have two questions

A) How can I maximize the benefit of the two moitors? i.e, Why Exactly do you use dual monitor setup?
Is there really more fun and productivity?or it is just mythical?

B) Is it as easy as just just plugging them (one for HDMI, the other for VGA)?

N.B: I use Ubuntu and Windows 7.

The benefits depend on what you do with your time. For instance, students benefit while writing papers. The student can have Word open on one monitor with sources on the other. I actually use 3 monitors myself. While working on websites, I have Dreamweaver open on one monitor, a browser for testing on another, and my chat clients and music player on another.

#4 capr

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 14:15

as described, it all depends on whether you will use the extra space. generally, most people find a way to use their extra monitors and it's fun at first and eventually they learn how to be more productive.

I had a terrible time with linux and multiple monitors. the virtual desktops just didn't work the way i wanted them to.

Windows 7 does an ok job with multiple monitors. I purchased "actual multiple monitors" and it allows me to fully extend my taskbar to my second and third monitor. This is very valuable to me and makes a world of difference.

I personally always have work (outlook, excel, word...) open on one monitor and any files and icons i need are on that desktop. I have my personal monitor that has games and chats and stuff. and then I have an extra monitor for VMs and general utility stuff. I use the three desktops almost like 3 different computers but i have the option to move windows between the computers which is great.

Warning! Once you get used to multiple monitors, there is no way you can go back.

#5 Grayski

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 14:15

I also have 3 monitors and I couldn't live without them at work.

Left - Service Desk Software - so I can see all of the tickets assigned to me
Right - Emails / Document / Sheet I'm working from / Remote Desktop Connection
Center - I class this as my "working" screen and do numerous tasks here while keeping an eye on everything else.

#6 Max Norris

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 14:16

Three monitors here; if I'm working on development, it'll be Visual Studio 2012, Anjunta or VIM on center depending on what I'm doing, web browser and documentation on left, various tools on right. If I'm not, it's usually whatever I'm doing center, browser left, mail and maybe live TV right. Even just having two monitors does help quite a bit.. it's really hard to go back to a single monitor after you've used multiples for a while.. once you get used to it, you're spoiled.

As far as easy, yea it's pretty simple for the most part. Windows 7 is dead easy to configure, may or may not want a third party addon to make it even better like extending the taskbar, etc, optional (8 has some of this built in), Linux depends on the hardware and drivers.. sometimes it's a no-brainer, sometimes it'll take a bit of fiddling.

#7 McKay

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 14:20

I sometimes use 2 monitors, but only for a specific purpose. I stream video games for a Twitch channel, I like to have the game on one monitor and the website on the other, so I can see it's working OK.

#8 Mr.XXIV

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 14:22

2 of the same LG E2742 monitors. I can use my xbox on one of them, or split on the Mac Mini as i really need the space for developing websites, designing, and organizing my music at the same time.

#9 Shaun N.

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 14:26

At work: I use 3 22in TFT's - i have a lot of info that I need at a glance.
At home: I use 2 22in TFT's - I usually have a webpage or a movie on while I game on the other screen.

#10 sagum

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 14:29

I have HP Laptop (In my signature) with 15.6'' LED HD display which I bought as a desktop replacement.It has one VGA and one HDMI ports.

*I have a 24'' TV (LED Full HD) connected via VGA port.I bought it originally as expansion for the small 15.6 display when I was abroad.I sometimes Hook it to my XBox360
*I also have another 20'' LCD Display (supports VGA only).

I see alot of Multi-Monitor setup and have two questions

A) How can I maximize the benefit of the two moitors? i.e, Why Exactly do you use dual monitor setup?
Is there really more fun and productivity?or it is just mythical?

B) Is it as easy as just just plugging them (one for HDMI, the other for VGA)?

N.B: I use Ubuntu and Windows 7.


a; They can lead to more productive use. However, there is usually a lot you can do with a single monitor setup to increase production levels. For example, learning some basic keyboard shortcuts can be much faster then clicking several buttons and moving windows around. While a multi-monitor might help in some cases, keyboard shortcuts can still be far faster and more productive. Also, since you're using a laptop, a multi-monitor setup is really only useful at home, or at least where the monitors are setup. You'd find it more productive if you bought a proper keyboard and mouse to plug in and use, if you've not already.
however, in saying that there are uses for a dual monitor setup that are simply very good but often over looked. For example, you say you use Ubuntu and Windows 7. If for example, you ran Ubuntu in a virtual machine, full screen on your 2nd monitor, you could have an additional keyboard and mouse attached and hooked to that virtual machine giving you a 2nd machine fully working machine without the need to ctrl+alt, alt+tab out.. or indeed dual boot.
For others, such as coders, it's not to have your code and development view on it's own monitor.. again you could use the 2nd as a virtual machine to run the development system and deploy directly on to the 'machine' in its own right .. or simply keep it clean on its own monitor. For coders its nice to have the little extra space.
If you work with photographs in the likes of photoshop you may find it easier to have your art on one side so you can simply drag across and place rather then importing manually or taskbar dragging all the time. This can save 10-30 second on each import.
Loads of different ways to use multi monitor setups, but don't get one thinking it'll automatically make you productive you really need a task that you'll use them for.
One last note, windows 8 is a bit annoying if you try to use apps and desktop programs as it switches monitors depending where you are using them. Still, once you get used to it's annoyance you can predict it and somewhat overcome that problem.

b; depends on the laptop to be honest. a lot of the chipsets only let you use one or the other, but plug them in and see. Windows should detect them on a reboot.

#11 threetonesun

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 14:38

They make sense if you're running one app fullscreen and need input from another app at the same time. I think if you're running three separate work flows at once... you're probably just distracted.

#12 f0rk_b0mb

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 14:38

I don't have dual monitors, but I want to get 3 monitors and game on them. It would also be pretty cool if I could use a program like synergy to have my Mac, Windows, and Linux up at the same time. http://synergy-foss.org/

#13 +Chicane-UK

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 16:01

I have dual monitors at work - and couldn't live without them (quite often need to have multiple documents open, copying data between the two, multiple management sessions on servers, etc). Yet at home I only have monitor and couldn't imagine having multiple screens there - I find one more than sufficient!

#14 tim_s

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 16:04

In Short - Productivity.

As a developer - I can have an editor open and test the changes on a separate screen
As an administrator - I can work while have monitoring applications open on the second screen.

At the moment I have 4 screens right now but I will admit the 4th is overkill and usually just shows outlook.

#15 ZakO

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 16:08

I have my second screen in portrait mode, while programming being able to glance at documentation, books or automated unit test feedback saves a lot of time.