A single monitor setup might not do you well in the grand scheme of things. They may feel redundant; plus, in most cases – you might not be able to view everything you want to at a moment’s notice. With that out of the way, this brings up the question, what’s better? A two-monitor setup or a three-monitor setup?
A multiple monitor setup has more advantages than using a single monitor setup. Depending on your need, you can connect the additional monitors to a single PC or your laptop, split the screen into multiple monitors, or look at the same thing on a different resolution, scale, or orientation. You can set them to use according to your convenience and preference.
What are multiple monitors used for?
Multiple monitors are widely used by professionals and users across different professional fields, and each one of them uses a 2 or 3 monitor setup to address their own specific issues.
- Trading: Traders need to look at multiple sets of data that too in large quantities in real-time to make decisions about buying, selling, or holding particular stocks. Also, they need to look at different companies’ data simultaneously during the trading window. Hence, multiple monitors are widely used by traders.
- Gaming: Gamers often combine 2 screens to view the gaming arena in larger displays in more detail. They can also use the extra monitor for a dedicated map or for voice or video chatting purposes with their playing counterparts.
- Data Analysis: Data analysts have to source, refer and compare large amounts of different types of data to draw conclusions. In some cases, they need to present data in real-time. For example, you must have seen a lot of data coming in on your screens during sports events.
- Preparing Reports: While preparing reports, you have to refer to and copy data and figures from various sources and prepare reports for company management. A multi-monitor setup makes the job easier and more convenient.
- Translation and Transcription: In translations and transcriptions, you have to repeatedly refer to the original source, which can be in form of text, audio, or video. And switching the windows can be painful and time taking. Hence busy translators and transcriptionists often use a dual monitor setup.
- Development of Software, Websites, Applications, etc.: While developing a website, a developer and designer have to make sure that they keep testing their work to make sure that they are reaching the desired outcome. Developing and testing on separate screens is convenient. Hence, you’ll often find developers using vertical monitors in their workflow.
2 Monitors Setup
It is the most popular multi-monitor setup due to its numerous advantages over a 3 monitor setup. It is easier to set up, costs less than a 3 monitor setup, and is easier to use and manage. It is easier to connect using HDMI, VGI, or DVI ports. You can use the extra monitor as a secondary or duplicate display. You can extend the display to split your view among the two monitors for a more tremendous viewing experience.
You can set one screen in horizontal view while another one in vertical view mode. So, there are many ways you can set up and use a 2 monitor setup. It is highly convenient for gamers, students, content creators, and programmers. You can do more in less time; hence you will experience an extreme boost in your productivity. More than 2 monitor setups can sometimes distract the user. Hence a dual monitor setup is considered an optimal multi-monitor setup.
Pros of 2 Monitor Setup
- Convenient to use
- Easy to setup
- Cost a reasonable amount
- Helps increase productivity
Cons of 2 Monitor Setup
- Not sufficient for some users, especially traders and data analysts.
3 Monitor SetUp
A 3 monitor setup is a better option for multi-tasking for busy professionals and for users who need to very frequently switch between multiple windows for reference.
Pros of 3 Monitor SetUp
- More screen real estate
- Less jumping around on different apps by minimizing and switching windows
- Dedicated screen for other uses
- Ideal for data analysts and traders
Cons of 3 Monitor SetUp
- Need more desk space
- Costly setup
- More power consumption
Screen Placement for 3 Monitor Setup
The ideal position for a 3 monitor setup is using the middle one as the primary display, while the two monitors on each side can be used as the secondary monitor. You can also place 3 monitors on a wall mount or a mounting arm with one monitor at the top and the other 2 at the bottom or in reverse order as per your preference.
Some Key Aspects of using Dual Monitor Setups
- Resolution Adjustment: While you add an extra monitor, you must remember that the sizes of the 2 monitors might defer. Hence you should adjust the individual resolution from the display settings of your computer.
- Display Orientation: You can use the 2 monitors in different orientations. You can configure them from your display settings.
- Using Multi-Monitor management tools: There are tools and software available that you can download to manage the multiple monitors in your setup. Some monitor manufacturers also provide display management tools. Using these, you can enhance your overall viewing experience.
- Find and learn about keyboard shortcuts: To gain the maximum performance, you should learn to use various keyboard shortcuts to use multiple monitors. Some popular shortcuts are as follows:
- Win+Left and Win+Right: Move the current window to left or right while the other half displays the other apps.
- Shift+Win+Left and Shift+Win+Right: They move an active window between the multiple displays.
- Win+Home: The window you are working on will only be displayed, while all other windows opened will be minimized.
- Display Settings: You can adjust individual monitor settings from your control panel. You can go to display settings, select the display you want to make changes to, and do things like adjusting brightness, orientation, scale, layout, resolution, etc. This is very useful, especially when you are using monitors of different sizes.
- Taskbar: When using multiple monitor setups, you can choose to display the taskbar on all displays or only on the primary display. You can also combine the buttons with other taskbars and show or hide labels.
- Hardware: Besides having an extra monitor, you will also require a video card installed in your CPU, compatible with a multi-monitor setup. Also, you will require a good-quality graphic card for maximum performance out of your setup. And for connections, you will need cables with suitable ports.
Which screen size is most convenient to use for a multiple monitors setup?
Ideally, medium-sized screens are best suited for any multiple monitor setup. If you are using too big screens, you will face difficulty fitting them well in your limited space, and also, it will be challenging to look at the extreme corners when using large displays.
Any screen size between 22 inches to 27 inches is good as it can easily fit in and provide a decent view of all the screens. Moreover, you can also go for a widescreen display that practically acts as two 24 inch monitors.
Can I use an ultra-widescreen instead of multiple monitors setup?
Many ultra-widescreen comes with a setting to split them into multiple layouts and view multiple applications simultaneously, quite similar to a multi-monitor setup. But certainly, there are some constraints like limited space per application.
But it can be a better choice for some, for example, people with limited desk space. For a multiple monitor setup, you will need monitor arms. A user can choose an ultra-widescreen setup as an alternate to avoid this.
Does having multiple monitors slow down the computer?
No, there will be no slowdowns in your computer when you connect multiple displays. The only difference you’ll notice is if you were to start using those displays for gaming or more graphics-intensive case. If that’s the case, you might run into some bottlenecks. Other than that, you should be good to go!
What to look for in monitors for a 2 or 3 monitor setup?
Besides the other usual features to look for in a monitor, there are a few things that you should specifically look for, as mentioned below:
- Frameless Design: You should see that the frame has smaller bezels to give you a frameless feel. This is beneficial when you set up an expanded monitor setup.
- Adjustability: The monitor stand should be highly adjustable so that when using multiple monitors, you can place them easily according to your requirement, and it should necessarily be VESA compatible.
- Connectivity: Make sure that the connection ports are compatible with the CPU you intend to use with this setup.
- Size: An important consideration when you have limited space, the size should be reasonable enough to manage.
All our experience, research, and studies boil down to one point: it depends on your individual needs. For some professionals, a 2 monitor setup is better, and a 3 monitor setup can become overwhelming for them to manage. While for some others, a 3 monitor setup is more convenient and proves to be great for boosting the performance. The choice can also depend on the individual budget and the space available to set up your workspace. But certainly, a multiple-monitor setup can be beneficial in most cases for better efficiency and convenience, as per our observation in this article.
In my personal experience – I like dual monitor setup. I tried a wide-screen monitor, a lot of people say it’s just two monitors in one, and I understand where that comes from, but I like two separate monitors side by side. It’s easier to manage your work. Three monitors, for me, feel like overkill. I don’t have any use case for the third one, I tried it, and it had always opened Spotify, and some chats(skype, discord, messenger, telegram, etc.), which I found out is not that productive if you’re doing work. I still have my laptop on my desk closed, and if I ever have the need for a third screen, I can open it up – but to this day, I haven’t had the need to do so.
I work from home. To do the best possible job I need the right accessories - the right desk, the right chair, the right keyboard, the right monitor, etc. When I work I want to feel comfortable. I review everything that's related to home desk setup - focusing on Monitors & Keyboards.