Recommend an affordable multi-monitor setup


Oct 22, 2016

An engineering student, currently using a 24" 1920x1200 as my main monitor, with one 20" 1680x1050 and one 19" 1440x900.

My intention is to have one main and one or two auxiliary displays. But I have no idea what size and resolution I should aim for. I use both Windows and linux.

I've been thinking about a 24" 1440p, a 27" 1440p, a 27" UHD or a 28" UHD or maybe 32" UHD for the main display. I disklike the idea of having a "left" and a "right" display and I prefer a main + aux setup. Does this make sense to you?

I assume nobody uses three 16:9 widescreens horizontally side by side. But would a large horizontal main display make sense with two smaller vertical aux displays?

I am writing this in order to not buy something and then immediately think that I should have bought something larger or smaller.

I do not game. Or if I very rarely do, I am totally happy with 60 Hz. I appreciate moderately good color reproduction. I have a limited budget though.
I use 3 x 40's side by side by side for one of my stations. It worked out pretty well for sitting in front of for long periods of time. (also have a 34" up top) If moving to 4k screens you may or may not need the extra real estate but you could fit 4x1080p screens on one 4k desktop. That would be up to your use case. my screens were under $300 at chinamart. When I upgrade to oleds eventually.. I'll scatter them throughout the house.
Limited budget will most likely be the bigger problem here.

I use a Samsung CRG9 super ultrawide for productivity which is effectively 2x 27" 1440p without bezels. It's not perfect but for me it works well and has both enough desktop space (with MacOS dock hidden) and can be configured to work as two 16:9 displays or a 21:9 + 11:9 split. I use the latter as this gives me a very good "ultrawide + side monitor" setup, with virtual desktops on each. Wouldn't recommend it for graphics design due to the VA panel. Since this is already an older model, it should be fairly reasonably priced and probably cheap used.

I would like something higher res but the options available at the moment are just not great.
I would like something higher res but the options available at the moment are just not great.

A poor man's version of your display would then be two 27" 1440p side by side. This would require going to a primary and secondary type of setup but maybe I could handle that.

I've been addicted to tiling window managers for some years now. I use mostly linux, though I virtualize Apple's operating systems in an aging Mac Mini running ESXi and also Windows. I think this is bad practice because human brain is better at managing things spatially than logically. You automagically and by feel remember where you put some window based on its physical location, but a tiling window manager forces you to remember your windows, tabs and everything as lists. Or simply go through everything once in a while to get a handle on things. But it lets you do more with less screen real estate. I think this is my chance to break that addiction.

The big question now is if I should prefer a 1440p or try to get an affordable but good enough 2160p. A 28" would not be physically bigger but would have 50 % more resolution in both directions.

I checked the prices on 32:9 1440p ultrawides, but they all seemed equally expensive.

If you had to go with two 16:9 2160p displays, would those be 27", 28" or 32"?
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If you had to go with two 16:9 2160p displays, would those be 27", 28" or 32"?
I'd personally prefer 32" 4K+ and something smaller as a side monitor but the options for those are just not particularly great as usually it means e.g 1080p resolution and so on.

My current plan for replacing my CRG9 (mainly to get higher res main monitor and better placement for studio monitor speakers) is to get a single 42" 4K screen and use my 16" Macbook Pro and my 12.9" iPad Pro as side monitors. If that doesn't work out, I might get another 32" or try to find something suitable.
One 32" QHD + 2 24" FHD works really well too.
Two vertical FHDs I assume. The width of the setup would otherwise be 71 cm + 53 cm + 53 cm = 177 cm plus bezels, but with FHDs vertical it's only 131 cm (plus bezels).

An added bonus I noticed now is that those are both 92 DPI.
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