How Many Monitors Is Too Many?

At Gizmodo, many of us are fans of the multi-monitor set-up. It's not surprising: it lets us simultaneously keep an eye on breaking news, email, our writing and graphics, too. But is there a limit to how useful multiple monitors can be?

The New York Times reports that use of more than one monitor is spreading. No longer is it the domain of the engineer, the programmer and the online gamer. No, bankers, journalists, and anybody else who multi-tasks at a computer is getting on board, too. I use two at home, with one being used for writing and email, the other for Gimp, Twitter, and news feeds. It works well.

And there's proof it works, too. Kind of. Speaking to the New York Times, Professor James A. Anderson discussed some research he conducted into how productivity increases with number of monitors. Admittedly, the project was funded by NEC, but he claims that didn't influence work. Let's believe him, just this once. The results? Using more monitors cuts down on toggling time among windows on a single screen, uh, as you'd expect. Anderson has calculated that it can save about 10 seconds for every five minutes of work if you have a dual-monitor set-up. Over the course of an eight hour day, that's a saving of, oooh, 15 minutes.


1 comment for 'How Many Monitors Is Too Many?'

The source of the article is telling, and the surprise is expected...

We are talking the old gray bimbo of the news media (I hope I kept the 'r' in gray....)

Reporting news (factually) is beyond them. Coming to conclusions on their own, was forgotten once they entered their Journalism 101...

The need for monitors, and the number is fully based on situation and application, and funds.

If you can afford a Horrendously Big, ultra-fast, 7' Display, you can dice it up into 1-6 'monitors, or more, and be a true lost in space geek, unless you have reasons besides bathing in the fact you can afford it.

2- 3 monitors, even somewhat large are nice, with need, even it for visual aid.

Security applications have long felt, fully live camera/monitors are often better than short displays for 10 cameras on one (Ask the Vegas security people watching tables, etc.)

Some games play better with 2, 3, 4 or more monitors, and also with multiple video cards, stacks of memory, a couple of servers... etc...

Of course, the NY Times reporters, are lost in space, themselves, until their handlers say what they can write.