I am a huge proponent of multiple monitor setups for developing. The more real estate I have, the more productive I am, and the happier I feel. Sure, it’s hard to come up with metrics for this sort of thing, which is exactly why many companies (that aren’t software companies, most of whom understand that hardware is cheap and brains are not) won’t spring for extra monitors for their programmers. My current company is that kind of company. I even went so far as attempting to find ways to convince them to invest in things like multiple monitors and ReSharper, but have been so busy that I haven’t been able to put Mr. MacIntyre’s plan into action.
My boss, however, is quite reasonable about things like this, so much so that he went to an auction site and used his personal money to buy us each (there are only three of us right now, so he didn’t have to shell out too much) an extra monitor as long as we were willing to chip in for the hardware needed to run it. We have the standard Dell low-profile desktop workstations with on-board video that only support one VGA monitor, and I didn’t want to crack the case on something that my company owned, so I was presented with a bit of a conundrum.
Then I learned about one of the coolest little products I’ve seen in a while, the EVGA UV 12+. After a quick driver install, plug this little box (it measures about 3” x 3” x 1”) into a USB 2.0 port, then plug your extra monitor in (DVI is the default, but they provide a VGA adapter), and voilà, dual monitors! You can even stack more than one UV 12 to run even more monitors. Our little Dells only push 1440x900, which is the max widescreen resolution on the UV 12 (and is adequate on the twin 19" widescreens I have at work), but if you want higher resolutions you can upgrade to the more powerful UV 16.
So, with a generous boss and about 46 bucks with shipping, I now have dual monitors at work, and this pleases me.