Tag Archives: Radeon HD 5870

Why Everyone Should Use Two or More Screens

Guest writer Joe Coburn, makes a convincing argument for multiple monitors – see what you think.

image I often get asked, “Why bother with two screens, one is enough!” And this got me thinking.  “Why do I use two screens?” Well, the main answer is – because I can.

I am a lover of technology, and having two massive widescreen monitors on my desk – just seems like the next logical step up from one.  As it so happens, I also have two desks, talk about nerdy!

Although, when I first started using dual monitors, I actually did not have a use for them.  I did not develop websites at the time, nor did I do any programming.  The second screen was just wasted with a media player or email program.  How things have changed.

I like multiple monitors so much that I have now bought a third screen, which is just sitting there, begging me to buy a new graphics card to run it.

So, after a short period of time using dual monitors for absolutely nothing, I switched from two enormous CRTs to one widescreen LCD.  It was ok for a short period, all good in the hood.

I soon got into web design, and programming, and felt that two screens were needed again.  I bought myself a 22inch 1920 x 1080px HD monitor.  It is great, and using it in conjunction with my 20inch, 1680 x 1050px Dell widescreen, means that I effectively have a 42inch widescreen (not exactly the same!).  I now have enough space to run mostly everything I use, without switching.

When used in conjunction with cool software, such as UltraMon, you can even have an extended taskbar on your second screen.

To illustrate, just some of the things I can have open at any one time during web development:

Dreamweaver

Word

FileZilla

Thunderbird

Firefox

Chrome

*Shudders* Internet Explorer

Photoshop

Spotify

Multiple file explorers

WAMP

Windows Snipping Tool

Notepad

Now that is a lot of software, especially when I need to see most of them simultaneously.  Now tell me I can do that on a single monitor, without wearing out my alt + tab keys.

Now that you have turned to the dark side, here are some examples of what you can do with multiple monitors:

  • Play games (best on 3)
  • Coding
  • CAD/CAM
  • Stock Trading
  • Graphics Design

Hardware:

It does not take much to run more than one screen.  I currently use a single dual output graphics PCIE graphics card, and am in the process of adding a second PCI card with four outputs!  You could use two PCIE cards, a USB VGA port, or many other ingenious solutions.

ATI’s latest graphics cards have their eyefinity technology.  This allows you to connect three (or 6 if you use crossfire), or own a Radeon HD 5870 eyefinity 6 graphics card.  This technology will get even better as bezel-less monitors are mass produced.

Real Life examples:

I spoke with Rob Ray, the Development Director of Wise Recycling Ltd , and he was kind enough to allow me to conduct a sort of mini interview with his in-house IT manager, Chris.

Chris runs more than just dual screens, he uses four!  As a quick rundown, he uses 64 bit Ubuntu Linux 8.04 (not the latest, however, he cannot achieve the setup he has in any later versions), an Intel dual core and 8GB ram.  He uses two graphics cards, one standard PCIE and another, PCI, with one LFH 60 pin port that adapts to 2 DVI outputs.  All that gives him this:

image

Those screens are all 17inch Dells.  Sweet!

Whilst I was there, and as it was a working environment, I saw firsthand that he actually had that much stuff open, he really does need those screens. I would struggle to fit all those applications onto my two widescreens!

So, who is guest writer Joe Coburn – “I am a 17 year old student, based in Lincolnshire, England.  I have a passion for IT, and am a web developer.  I aim to inform and have fun on my Blog, and I’m about to start offering a web-design service on my website.”

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