Which monitor configuration is more productive: 2x24" screens or 1x30"?

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Old 11 November 2012   #1
Which monitor configuration is more productive: 2x24" screens or 1x30"?

Hello all!

I have an awesome opportunity this year. My LCD panels are over 7 years old. This is a magic number, because it means it's time to replace them.

I currently use an Ergotron Workfit dual, http://www.ergotron.com/ProductsDet...US/Default.aspx which is a workstation that can be brought up into a standing position just about any time I'd like. It supports up to 2x24 inch monitors. I'm considering getting a decent IPS panel (I'd love recommendations!) alongside a fast TN panel (also would like recommendations).

However, it's likely I'll use whatever I get for the next 7 or 8 years, which means I'll have it with me when I get my doctoral degree. I'm planning on going for a computer science degree - specifically AI or robotics. Screen real estate will be important to me. Whatever I get is going to be a work horse. My question is on what will be more productive - 2 24 inch screens, or a single 30 inch screen? If it's the latter case, what would you all recommend for a college student with a limited budget that wants a work horse that'll last the better part of a decade?

Old 11 November 2012   #2
Please read the rules thread in General Discussions before posting there again; we specifically ask that hardware threads be posted in the hardware forum. When people ignore the rules, it creates a lot of unnecessary work every day for the moderators who have to move the threads to the correct forums.
Old 11 November 2012   #3
Oops. Sorry about that.

I'm very glad that there are moderators willing to move threads into the right sub-forums here. Thank you for your time - I highly appreciate it. This won't happen again.
Old 11 November 2012   #4
Do you do art stuff, or just maths and programming?
Old 11 November 2012   #5
I do all of the above - with a type A mindset. However, I'm in college for computer science. Artwise, I'm a self taught artist who's having to go back into 'drawing 101' to advance further as a 3D modeler.

Lately I've been yanked in to doing some graphic design work, so I've been horribly abusing my 3D modeling applications to design business cards and assisting with fliers in between gaming and reading ebooks.
Old 11 November 2012   #6
I've found the 2560x1440 monitors are great for reading. It seems 27" is about as small as they come.

Maybe you can wedge a 20" and a 27" on your stand.

I don't have any links, but I've heard that studies have shown that dual monitors slightly increase your productivity.

Sounds like you need to get CS6.

Old 11 November 2012   #7
I can fit 2x24 inch monitors on this stand, or if I go for the other stand, I can fit up to a 30 inch screen but there is no turning back and it could mean an additional $400 expense on my part (unless I find someone to sell my current stand, used, or to trade with). There's a 30 inch NEC monitor that doesn't have a scaler that I remember sits around $1200. However, if I spend that kind of money, I'm very, very married to the monitor.

I feel that dual monitors do increase my productivity, but they also let me get more distracted. However, having had to write an essay that used 4 outside sources - heavily - in its arguments, I can say that multiple monitors have an advantage. I've noticed the Acer B243PWL, Asus PA248Q, Asus PA246Q, and I believe it was the Dell U2410 as possible models here. I'm not blown away by any of them, the reviews make me hesitant because I absolutely hate backlight bleed and some of the Newegg reviews for the Dell model talk about insects getting into the monitor - yikes!

I already have Photoshop CS5. Though that's a good point. I need to load up on student software ASAP. Any other things you can think of off the top of your head barring the Autodesk stuff which I'm already after? (Though I want this thread's primary topic to be on productive art monitors - not software!)

Old 11 November 2012   #8
I don't think you'll need the NEC monitor if your just doing the graphics as a hobby. If you hate back light bleed and you need colour accuracy on the cheap, just hook up an old CRT .

Would that stand be able to hold 2 different sized monitors? From those pictures, It looks like it might.

You can check with your school to see if they offer any software for free or at a crazy discount. Normally you can get the new Windows and Adobe CS. Autodesk offers their wares for free through their own student portal. I don't think you can get a free version of Zbrush.

Not sure if you been here before, but there's lots of nice free CS resources on coursera that launch soon.
Not really related to the discussion at hand, but I just thought I would share.

Old 11 November 2012   #9
Having all of that space on a 30" monitor is nice but they are very expensive, way more than I could afford when I was a student. I've worked with a 30" and dual 24" monitors and there's not really much difference in terms of "productivity" unless you plan to do compositing with 1920x1080 renders most of the time (so you can have the full image and application panels up at the same time). If your primary tasks will be programming and other general tasks the dual 24" monitors would probably be better (and cheaper, and have more total pixels than a 30").
Old 11 November 2012   #10
(Thanks for the info on the software!)

I went to look for it and could no longer find it - there used to be an NEC 30 inch S-IPS panel with no scaler that sat around $1200, all I could find at Newegg were these: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produ...Id=1&name=30%22

The stand theoretically could hold two separately sized monitors, but their weight needs to be about equivalent or it'll have problems. For the dual-monitor configuration I'm wanting to look here . I'm sort of willing to do 1920x1200 on the IPS and 1920x1080 on the TN but I like my 16:10.

Elaborating a bit on my tasks: One university I'm looking at getting into in particular has a robotics research program going on. My task as an undergraduate would be to model a few of the robots and do a few lower end math/programming tasks in C++. It's very likely I'll be doing art as a hobby, but moving into CAD.

When I say hobby, I really mean that I can't get the funding to take college classes for it, but otherwise it's a part of my daily life. My artwork will be something that rapidly gets better as my chronic back injury heals, probably ~20-30 hours/week starting this December.
Old 11 November 2012   #11
Whats your total budget?

Looks like the cheapest monitor that runs at 2560 x 1440 is about $700.

I used to have a pair of these at my old job, and they're nice if you can afford them. They would be great for CAD work.

Old 11 November 2012   #12
My budget is $500 for a single 24" screen, or ~$1400 (max) for a 30 inch IPS screen. This includes having additional warranty years tacked on so that I have a 5 year warranty coverage.

My monitor stand can currently accommodate 2x24" screens. I can't fit 2 27 inch screens on it. Switching to a 30 inch screen will involve finding someone who is interested in trading the large-screen version of this monitor stand, for the dual-screen version. However, I'm fully willing to do this for the right monitor!
Old 11 November 2012   #13
This might not be a bad set-up for your needs. It looks like the backs have screw mounts that should fit your stand. The 22" and 27" would be the same width as 2x24" screens, but you would have more pixels. There's only a 6 pound difference between the two. I guess you could also tilt the small one 90 degrees, or get a non wide-screen secondary monitor.



Lots of people use two different sized screens. Normally the big one is your primary monitor, and you use the little one for tools and menus.

Old 11 November 2012   #14
I got a 23" LG-IPS screen and I love it, it's light weight and has excellent colour rendition. Won a few awards. The price is hard to beat. (Around $250 in USD probably)

The closest model I could find (Euro models have different ser. names)

*EDIT* new model that looks pretty sweet:
Old 11 November 2012   #15
It was either in the manual or while talking with support - I know that there needs to be less than a 2 pound difference between the monitors.

I got REALLY excited when I saw that LG's bezel, but I looked it up and got really disappointed!

The LG monitor's bezel is a bit of a lie: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y4fg9liWguo regarding its bezel, a more in depth review is available here: http://www.digitalversus.com/lcd-mo...14102/test.html though digitalversus is a bit diplomatic it shows a response time issue as well. If the bezel was as thin as it looked I'd jump on it, but it's a 16:9 aspect ratio monitor, otherwise. That was really close to perfect on paper, though!
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