I was over at a friend’s house the other day, and he was complaining about his computer. After a few standard questions, I gathered that it wasn’t the processor that was the problem, it was the small, outdated monitor. When you think about it, the monitor really is
the most important part of the computer to the user. This is where you view all your data and the only way you can input the correct information for any command. After I discussed the pros and cons of upgrading to a larger monitor, I got to discussing 4 monitor computers, or quads, with my friend. By upgrading to a multi-monitor system,
my friend was able to save money he would have unnecessarily spent on a new system and increase both usability and productivity.
When you think about it, the monitor is the primary way that you interface with your computer, and it’s valuable real estate in that since. Even though your processor and memory certainly contribute to the usability of your computer, the greatest influence on having a pleasant (or unpleasant) experience lies with your input and output devices such as your monitor, keyboard, and mouse. However, to many computer buyers, the monitor almost seems like a last detail. When I invest in a computer that is going
to help me make money and enjoy my hobbies, I want the visual experience to be a major factor that adds to every aspect of my use. When I first came across 4 monitor computers, I learned that I can multitask and enlarge data with such a setup that was never possible with a single screen, no matter what size.
However, you want to look at more than just size when shopping for monitors. Other important features to pay attention to include resolution, contrast ratio (the higher, the better), and response time (lower is better). It is also important, when shopping 4 monitor computers, to be sure that you have the video card to support it. Many require a dual DVI card. Unlike a larger screen, multiple monitor usage involves less weight and more flexibility space-wise.
Many shoppers may be tempted by the larger monitors, but it often makes more sense financially and logistically to buy several smaller monitors instead. With multiple monitors, you end up with more screen space (“real estate”) for a lower price. You also have more flexibility with weight and arrangement. 4 monitor computers can be set up either four across or two-by-two, thereby offering the user added flexibility regard space restraints.
Keep in mind that, too, you can turn on as many monitors as necessary at a given time. If you just want to check your email really quickly, you can just turn on one monitor and save electricity that would be wasted on a larger monitor. I, personally, love having the ability to reconfigure my monitor setup to my liking at any time, a benefit exclusive to owners of 4 monitor computers. Whether a want widescreen, traditional (box) screen, one monitor, or four, I have complete control of every visual aspect of my user experience. How many single-monitor users can say that?