When I bought my PC, I wanted a no-compromise Developer and Gaming workstation. In the past, I worked with 2 Monitors (best optimization ever!), but I found even two monitors too limiting at times, especially if I need Visual Studio, my application, a Web Browser, e-Mail and Twitter clients, some command windows, explorer windows and notepad instances running, not to mention some non-development related apps like iTunes.
So this time, I wanted three monitors. As I wanted to avoid two graphics cards (always gets crowded inside the PC, also as my graphics card needs to be good enough for high-end-gaming I didn’t want to run 2 different cards, but also not buy 2 $400+ cards…), I ended up buying a ATI Radeon 5870 which has 2 DVI, 1 HDMI and 1 DisplayPort connector and can drive 3 screens at a time. Well, in theory. I’m going to make another posting, but basically one of the three monitors has to be DisplayPort, 2x DVI and 1xHDMI will not work, and neither will the cheap Adapters – I’m currently waiting for my $100 DP->DVI Adapter to be delivered as I already have 3 Monitors.
But anyway, the problem with 3 big monitors is that they take up an insane amount of space on the desk. I bought a big desk, but still it’s too much. I remembered a posting from Jeff Atwood about monitor arms and thought I’d give them a try. I bought an Ergotron LX Dual Side-by-Side Arm (45-218-194) which holds two monitors, as long as they are max. 20 lbs/9.1 kg each (basically everything up to and including 24″ – if you weigh, remember to remove the foot before). The two monitors I’ve connected currently are Acer B233HUbmidhz – 23″, 16:9, 2048×1152.
The Ergotron arms are solid metal and certainly make a very sturdy impression. The users manual on the other side is IKEA-quality, that is barely understandable pictures instead of good explanations. Definitely take some time when you install them, it took me a bit more than an hour. The nice thing about the Ergotron arms is that you can either drill through your table or mount it using a clamp – no drilling! But make sure you have some space under your desk – I thought I had enough, but I underestimated the size of the clamp…
Luckily it still fit well enough to hold the screens, phew! It takes a little time adjusting them properly, because of the two parts of the arm (one can be removed) – prepare to move the clamp. As said, take your time. Oh, and another hint: There are two plastic caps that you put on the holder after installation to make it look nice. These caps are hard to remove, so installing them should be the very last thing you do, after mounting the monitors and adjusting them completely. Also, another important hint: You can (and need) adjust the strength of the spring that holds the monitor. Do not wonder if you just mounted your monitor and it’s weight drags the arm down – do not write an angry review on Amazon that makes you look bad, but look at the (as said, horrible) manual again (Step 7a) and tighten the screw. Last hint: Make sure your cables are long enough.
I’m definitely happy with it, removing the feet of the monitors makes the desk much more tidy in my opinion. For my third Monitor, I’m looking at the normal LX Arm.