I just can't say enough about multiple monitors. I've had two monitors since 2003 and three since later that same year and have been hooked ever since.
If you're working on a computer I'm convinced you need to fill your field of vision with the work at hand. Working on something important on a 15" monitor is like viewing an eclipse through a pinhole projector. I prefer to stare directly at the sun*!
I was over at Brad Wilson's house yesterday and he mentioned he was going to buy a new 27" computer and needed to get rid of his Dell 30" (3007WFP-HC). Since I freaking LOVE Dell Monitors, I jumped at the chance (after calling my wife and asking her permission) to give myself a Christmas Gift and promptly drove away with a new 30" monitor for $700.
That's insane, you say! That's too much for a monitor! I say, nay nay. Even if it lasts only a year - and it will likely last much longer - that's $2 a day for pure joy and a nice tax deduction.
This brings my collection of Dell Monitors to 4 and my collection of screens to 5. Here's the lay of the land today. I even threw the 7" iMo Mimo Pivot in there for fun.
So that's 7130 wide, and roughly 1600 tall in most places. The machine is still running the same two (now obsolete) $75 video cards as when we built the "Coding Horror Ultimate Developer Rig" a few years back.
I'm running just TWO NVidia GeForce 8600 GTS with 256megs each. They are VERY modest cards, in my opinion, but the work nicely and I still have a WEI of 6.4 for Graphics even on this two year old machine.
All you need to run multiple monitors is, ahem, multiple monitors, and a video card (or two) that has more than one connector. I have two cards that each have two DVI connectors. You can use two cards that each have one connector but you'll soon run out of slots on your PC.
If you don't have an extra monitor, maybe you have an extra laptop? You can use your laptop as an extra monitor with MaxiVista.
Get those pixels working for you! Go get another monitor!
* I'm kidding. Seriously, what's wrong with you? ;)
Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. I am a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.