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6 Monitor Setup Tutorial

Over the years, I gradually moved from one monitor, to 2 and finally 3. Because of what I do, I always felt like I couldn’t have enough programs opened at the same time. And even with the gradual upgrades, I just wanted more (shocker). There are times when I have Photoshop, Illustrator, Dreamweaver and several browsers open and I hate having to minimize one program in order to see another to so that I can test something.

Another reason for this upgrade was that I wanted 2 vertical monitors. Although I’ll do design and both photo and video editing primarily on the horizontal monitors, when I write code, or if I’m reading something, the vertical orientation is great.

I tend to do a lot of research before making a purchasing decision so after spending weeks reading reviews and checking out prices I compiled this list:

My Gear

Here is a list of what I used for this setup. I’m really happy with it and I don’t think I would do anything different if I had to do it over again.

GRAPHICS CARD

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The graphics card I chose is the VisionTek Radeon 7750 2GB GDDR5 6M (6x MiniDP). It’s DirectX 11-capable graphics, has 2 GB of GDDR5 memory and 9th generation programmable hardware tesselation units, implemented accelerated multi-threading and image quality enhancement technology. Most importantly, it can drive up to six monitors simultaneously using 6 active mini DisplayPort outputs. Although this was not important in my case, it would allow for each monitor to use a different resolution, refresh rate, color control, etc.

DVI TO MINIPORT ADAPTERS

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I used 2 of mini-displayport to DVI adapters that came with the graphics card, plus 4 of these HIS HMDPSDVIEYE Mini-DisplayPort to DVI Adapter AMD Eyefinity-ready . These have been great and I would use them again. They seem to not be available at this time so if I was building the setup now, I would use the Cable Matters Active Mini DisplayPort to DVI Male to Female Adapter – Eyefinity Compatible. It’s important that you buy ACTIVE mini-displayport to DVI adapters if you plan on setting up a multi-monitor system.

MONITORS

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I’m using 6 Dell UltraSharp U2412M monitors. There is a more recent model available now which is the Dell Ultrasharp U2415.

MONITOR STANDS

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When researching monitor stands for my 6-monitor system the most important factor for me was sturdiness. This is a large setup and I just couldn’t afford to use flimsy monitor stands that I would constantly worry about. Please note that the names of the mounts are confusing. You use the horizontal mount for vertical monitors, and the vertical mount for horizontal vertical ones.
I used the Atdec VFS-DV Visidec Dual Vertical Freestanding Desk Mount for the 4 horizontally-mounted monitors.
I used the Atdec VFS-DV Visidec Dual Horizontal Freestanding Desk Mount for the 2 vertically-mounted monitors.

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COMPUTER

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i’VE USED Dells for years and continue to do so. At this time, I’m using a Dell XPS. Here is the latest model which was just released, its the Dell XPS8910-7020BLK Desktop

SETUP

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Setup was so easy. I literally set the monitors up with the orientation I wanted and then plugged them in. Windows immediately picked up and all I had to do was go to the Windows Display Settings screen, drag the monitors around until the layout on the screen was exactly like what I had on my desk. You may have to flip vertical monitors (in the orientation setting) if you didn’t mount that the same way. While you could duplicate the image of one monitor in another, I of course chose to extend the desktop so that I could have multiple programs maximized at the same time.
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FINAL THOUGHTS

This new 6 monitor setup has significantly improved my workflow and productivity. I’m so happy that I went ahead and put it together. If this is within your budget and you think you could benefit from additional displays I would strongly recommend doing it. The only down side is that now when I have to use a regular 1 or even 2-monitor setup I get frustrated.

Please let me know if you have any questions about this 6 monitor setup or if you have any suggestions as to how it could be made better.

multiple-monitor-setup-6-monitors

Comments

  1. Thanks for the great tutorial along with the buys guide. I’m looking at putting up a similar design. The foot-print you have is perfect for my work environment. The one drawback for me is, I’m working from a docked laptop hence installing that nifty video card is a no go for me… I’ll keep looking, but again thanks for sharing.

  2. Doesn’t the Dell onboard graphics support 2 monitors? So you’d really only need a video card that can drive 4 monitors?

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