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By jammag
Published: May 17 2011 / 13:10

can’t believe my manager stole my second monitor!” My buddy Dave was beside himself. He simply could not fathom that his manager had taken away his precious second monitor. He was seething so much that I thought he looked a little like Gollum pining for “my precious” – except this was no fantastical ring, it was a piece of hardware.
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nikki9696 replied ago:

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Yes. Yes we do. I'm going to buy my own second monitor at home so that when I work from home I'm not deprived. It's made a big difference for me.

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eggbert replied ago:

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Absolutely. The productivity boost from a second monitor is real. Also, I feel much less fatigued after using dual monitors... Don't have to go minimizing/moving/resizing windows every 5 seconds...

I am waiting for the day when there are whiteboard sized monitors with an insanely high resolution! You can NEVER have too much screen real estate.

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dgary replied ago:

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Dave isn't looking a gift horse in the mouth in asking for a 3rd, even if its only a single % point of performance improvement, that single point against Dave's pay, for the entire year especially at silicon valley wages for developers, is easily 3-4 times the cost of a single LCD monitor these days.

We had this argument at a company I worked at in the early 2000's, and we found that after a certain sized monitor (19" at the time, probably 22" now) we saw no improvement in performance with single-larger monitors, but we did see an improvement with up to 3 monitors, depending on the developers ability to multitask, some excelled with the realestate and organization that 3 monitors provided, some stayed with 1 or 2 monitors, they didn't turn out less work than the multi-monitor people did, but the multi-monitor people turned out less work if they had fewer monitors, so our CTO was actually hindering some developers by initially forcing them to use 1 monitor. To be fair, some of the single-monitor guys grew into liking, though not using to their fullest, multiple monitors, a lot of them came from more traditional IT backgrounds of trudging away on green on black in some forgotten basement and grew to multitask on a single monitor, but the ability to stick their todo list up on something other than sticky notes turned out to be helpful, if for nothing more than not having a trashbin full of sticky notes.
My CTO ended up buying me lunch for 6 months from that bet, and ordered a small pallet worth of monitors.

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RawThinkTank replied ago:

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arjan_tijms replied ago:

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Yes, we need the second monitor, and the third as well. Although realistically, with a dual 24" setup you don't really need the third one, but with a 20" setup 3 monitors work like a charm :)

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AllureFX replied ago:

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Seriously, managers/finance folks: anything that makes your developers happy is good investment. :)

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SoCo replied ago:

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In the case that you can't use a second monitor, I'd suggest using multiple virtual desktops. Although this is a common feature in Linux, I've gone through several not-so-perfect virtual desktop applications for Windows over the years. Currently I'm liking Windows Pager 1.01 found at

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stimpy77 replied ago:

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Considering that a typical developer will charge as much as a decent monitor in salary or wages within about half a day, the real question is whether the productivity boost would be worth the company investment over the hardware+employee's tenure. The answer to this is "duh". Absolutely.

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