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Multiple Monitors Increase Productivity 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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Multiple Monitors Increase Productivity

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  • Gamers? (Score:4, Informative)

    by aliens ( 90441 ) on Thursday October 09, 2003 @10:03AM (#7171556) Homepage Journal
    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.
  • I'd have to agree (Score:3, Informative)

    by Bush_man10 ( 461952 ) on Thursday October 09, 2003 @10:05AM (#7171582) Homepage
    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 :)
  • Interesting (Score:5, Informative)

    by JediTrainer ( 314273 ) on Thursday October 09, 2003 @10:08AM (#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.
  • by linuxkrn ( 635044 ) <[moc.nigolxunil] [ta] [nostawg]> on Thursday October 09, 2003 @10:10AM (#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:Gamers? (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 09, 2003 @10:11AM (#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.
  • Well, duh. (Score:4, Informative)

    by Pope ( 17780 ) on Thursday October 09, 2003 @10:12AM (#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.
  • by gaj ( 1933 ) on Thursday October 09, 2003 @10:15AM (#7171712) Homepage Journal
    ... 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.
  • by TopherC ( 412335 ) on Thursday October 09, 2003 @10:17AM (#7171734)
    I thought you could do that...

    for example:
    Option "TwinViewOrientation" "LeftOf"
  • by franoculator ( 714656 ) on Thursday October 09, 2003 @10:24AM (#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:Neck strain? (Score:5, Informative)

    by ChrisDolan ( 24101 ) <chris+slashdot.chrisdolan@net> on Thursday October 09, 2003 @10:51AM (#7172126) Homepage
    It's not an issue for me. I find I just do an occasional eye flicker to the secondary monitor and work mostly on the primary monitor.

    I use two identical 17" Sony E200 monitors at 1280x1024, side by side with about a 10 degree angle between them. Left is Mail, Mozilla, iTunes, and Dock. Right is Menubar, Terminal, and iChat and any other apps. I spend almost all my time looking at Right, with an occasional glance at Mail on Left. Left is AGP Radeon, Right is PCI Radeon.

    A few ideas that helped me:

    • Use identical monitors
      Any difference between the two (size, resolution, color) is grating
    • Speed up your mouse settings (MouseZoom prefpanel on Mac)
      Moving horizontally across 2560 pixels takes times
    • Choose one to be your primary and do all focused work there
    • Put low-attention apps (mail, browser) on the other
    • Choose a dark colored desktop unless you want a tan
    • Sit back in your chair when reading mail and surfing Lean in when coding
    • Turn off animated GIFs!!!!!! Otherwise the corner-of-the-eye flicker will kill concentration

    A few problems (likely all Mac specific):

    • VNC server can only see Right (the primary monitor)
    • Booting with one monitor off may forget window placement
    • Windows are only allowed to be as wide as the width of one monitor.
  • by Richardsonke1 ( 612224 ) on Thursday October 09, 2003 @12:49PM (#7173780)
    Linkage! [] And it works quite well too.
  • Re:what's the use? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Digital11 ( 152445 ) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .11latigid.> on Thursday October 09, 2003 @02:30PM (#7174862) Homepage
    Ya know, I really can't believe no one has mentioned this yet. But for those of us who love multiple monitors in Windows, UltraMon [] is the icing on the cake.

    It gives you two extra buttons in each window that allow you to either move the window to the other monitor proportionally, or maximize the window across all monitors. It also allows you to have different backgrounds on each monitor. However, THIS is the killer app: A taskbar for each monitor. Once you've tried this, you can't go back. The windows on your 2nd monitor show up in the taskbar on the 2nd monitor instead of the first. It sounds simple, but it is AMAZINGLY effective. Using a system that has multi-mon without using UltraMon is almost as bad as going from a multi-mon system to single monitor. Check it out, they have a free trial and I guarantee you'll be hooked.

Who goeth a-borrowing goeth a-sorrowing. -- Thomas Tusser