How Many is Too Many?

I have been working on a few projects on my computer lately and noticed that I don’t have enough monitor space. I currently have two 23′ monitors and could get another four. I am trying not to get another one simply because at some point I will have to upgrade my video card and not many new cards support two or more monitors. Additionally I don’t know that I would like to spend more money on monitors when it could go to a new video card. When I first started gaming I thought that a small 15′ monitor would be enough and I couldn’t have been more wrong.

As soon as I upgraded to a 19′ monitor my world changed. I had more space than I knew what to do with and I didn’t have to squint to see the screen. Soon after that I upgraded to a 23′ monitor and ran my first multi-monitor setup. Ever since then I have always used one monitor for gaming and the other for web browsing. I had a third small monitor that I used for watching TV but it has since died. I now see a need for a third monitor because I have three browser windows open each one containing more than ten tabs and this has been going on for the last month. I know I could just close the browser or adjust what I am viewing but that won’t solve the problem. The problem is efficiency, I know that I could be more efficient if I had another monitor to place another browser on and it would mean less back and forth for me.

I should mention that while it is possible for me to run six monitors now I wouldn’t do it while gaming. Just because a video card can support multiple monitors does not mean that it should. If I was running a game across all six monitors or even three the game would get some graphical lag because the card would be pushed to its max. Browser windows don’t demand as much from a video card so you can add those without fear of losing your FPS. It is easy enough to turn off monitors that you don’t use but if you don’t use them then why would you bother getting them in the first place?

A few years ago I thought about getting a TripleHead2Go setup so that I could have a surround gaming experience. This doesn’t help me with my new problem of not enough space, but it’s still fun to entertain. The card doesn’t stretch your vision like a normal triple monitor setup, instead it gives you a peripheral view without distorting your main view. The additional view  adds realism to the game and might be able to give you a slight boost in your gaming skills because you can see more than the average monitor would. The cost of the unit was the biggest deterrent to me as I could get another video card for that price tag. Additionally it has a limited game database which is a downside, each game requires an adaption to this system and if it does not have one then it will not give the player a peripheral view. Basically if the game you play isn’t supported there is little benefit for the price tag.

How many monitors is too many? I think it depends on what you are doing. I know I won’t go more than six because it requires another video card or another PC both of which cost more money then I would care to spend. The average user might read this and think its nuts that I have two monitors let alone the fact that I want another one. Gamers nowadays are usually running with two for the same reason I do, convenience. I know that I want a new monitor because I am lazy and don’t want to have to search through the tabs to see which website I want to access, but I am not sure that it would be worth the benefit. To my readers out there, how many monitors do you have? and what do you use them for?

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