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Starting in April 2011, I documented my wishes to expand my current desktop setup in my Designing my Dream Desktop thread. Among the improvements I discuss are a new motherboard and CPU for my computer, a new graphics card, and more (or different) monitors. At that point, I had a Core 2 Quad Extreme with 8GB of RAM, plus an Nvidia 9800 GTX paired with an older 8800, driving my four 22" LCDs. It looked something like this:



Thanks to the advice of my colleagues here, in the intervening time I upgraded to a six-head ATI/AMD 6950 2GB video card (firmware-upgraded to be a 6970 2GB), then got a Core i5, a new motherboard, and new DDR3 RAM. As far as internal hardware upgrades go, I'm only waiting for a 256GB internal SSD for under $150 before I re-install my OS and programs, something I haven't done for close to four years.

Thanks to a Black Friday sale on Newegg, I got a beautiful 27" Acer LCD for less than $200, which works wonderfully arranged vertically for coding, my setup now looks like this (plus two more 22" LCDs not shown).



Since I have my wonderful six-head graphics card, and since my home desktop sees as much action as a work machine as it does as an entertainment machine, I want to arrange my five monitors in a way more conducive to using more of them at once. I tend not to use the farthest-right monitor in my setup for anything, thanks to its distance and my poor eyesight. My planned setup will be liked this:



I have ordered brackets, and I'm working on some woodworking to be able to mount my 22"s in two vertical pairs of two. I also discovered that to get them closer together, I can remove the cases (and the buttons, which I'll have to make a breakout board for). Here's the back of one of my monitors with the case removed:



Notice how the VESA mounting is still anchored in the inner metal case, which as far as I can tell will be structurally sound. Here's two 1x4s cut down to 20" long, and in the second image, tapped with screw holes for the 100mmx100mm VESA mounts. I will be adding the screws to attach them this evening.



More updates coming soon!
*bump* Last night, I went to Home Depot (unfortunately) and bought sixteen VESA-compatible (M4-.7 x 20mm) screws to mount my four 22" monitors to their supports, which will then be attached to single VESA mounts and mounted onto my bed. I screwed together one of the two pairs last night, and discovered that my hand-measured holes were not precisely correct. Good enough, though:



Here's the same thing from the front:



My three VESA mounts arrived from Monoprice this evening, so I'm going to be putting the whole thing together now.
KermMartian wrote:
*bump* Last night, I went to Home Depot (unfortunately)...


why unfortunately?
flyingfisch wrote:
KermMartian wrote:
*bump* Last night, I went to Home Depot (unfortunately)...


why unfortunately?


I assume it's because Home Depot is a big chain store, not a local business. That's the reason I avoid Home Depot at least.
Kaslai wrote:
flyingfisch wrote:
KermMartian wrote:
*bump* Last night, I went to Home Depot (unfortunately)...


why unfortunately?


I assume it's because Home Depot is a big chain store, not a local business. That's the reason I avoid Home Depot at least.

Oh, ok. hmm... may be a thread should be started on that topic.
Kerm, that looks realllly sweet. I would love to have even a second monitor...
Aes_Sedia5 wrote:
Kerm, that looks realllly sweet. I would love to have even a second monitor...


lol my thoughts exactly Very Happy
http://brandonw.net/sixMonitors.jpg

Sorry, I win. Neutral
BrandonW wrote:
Are those 20"? I like that idea too, but I'm psyched about the vertical center monitor on my setup, which I've already found is amazing for writing code. Also, last night I got three of my five monitors mounted, and this morning I'll mount the last two in between projects. Pictures coming soon.
After using a 30" at work I want to replace my center monitor with a 30", but I'm not sure how to arrange the other 3x 24" monitors to get something nice. Not entirely sure I want to give up eyefinity either...
I just don't think a 30" is worth it for me, given that they're about four times the price of a 27" for only 3 more diagonal inches. Good luck, though; that should be an interesting dilemma.

Anyway, I have completed at least the major work in my project! I have lots of pictures to show you guys. First, here's my desk under my loft bed after I took down my four existing 22" monitors; my little lumber shelf is still there.



I mounted the first Monoprice VESA mount on a 1"x3" piece of dimensioned lumber, bolted it to my bed, then attached my 27" monitor to it. I was careful to center the vertical piece of lumber directly between the two legs of my bed so that the whole array would be centered. Also, because the M4 screws that came with the VESA mount were far too long for the depth of my 27" monitor's holes, I had to add standoffs between the mount and the monitor, the gray cylinders you can see in the second photo. They're actually just pieces of unneeded wall anchors cut down.



Next, I started on the first ganged pair of 22" monitors. The first screenshot shows half of the second VESA mount bolted on, with a pair of nuts and bolts at the top (the left outer holes in the photo) and the rest woof screws. The second photo shows the vertical lumber with the other half of the second VESA mount attached to my bed, to the left of the 27" monitor:



The next step was strenuous: carefully attaching the two halves of the second VESA mount with about 30lb of 22" monitor attached. I got it aligned, though, adjusted the monitors a bit, and fired up my multi-monitor screensaver:



I took a break to go to the movies and get some sleep; this morning, I got to work mounting the final two monitors. As with the previous two VESA mounts, I attached it to a piece of lumber, then used nine wood screws (six at the top, three at the bottom) to secure it to the horizontal supports on my bed. I had to create the entire second pair of 22" monitors: take them out of their cases, detach the control PCBs, align the two pieces of lumber joining the two monitors, try adding the eight M4 screws, re-drill the holes as needed, and attached the M4 screws for real. I added the black plate for the VESA mount, and put it all together. Here it is before I aligned and adjusted the mount.



My first real-world test, albeit with a repeated wallpaper. In person, this setup is imposingly ginormous:



Two more "screenshots": playing Minecraft and my new forest-themed desktop. There actually is no difference in color or brightness between all the monitors (thanks to careful adjustment), but my camera shows otherwise.

Haha, it's amazing how tiny the poor little 83+SE is compared to all of that. This is a pretty great set up, I think I would've had the vertical one on the end, though that'd kill the symmetry.
merthsoft wrote:
Haha, it's amazing how tiny the poor little 83+SE is compared to all of that. This is a pretty great set up, I think I would've had the vertical one on the end, though that'd kill the symmetry.
It would also make playing games much harder.

That said, I doubt the color difference is as unnoticeable as you claim, I can clearly tell the difference between my monitors no mater how much I try and adjust them to match.
TheStorm wrote:
merthsoft wrote:
Haha, it's amazing how tiny the poor little 83+SE is compared to all of that. This is a pretty great set up, I think I would've had the vertical one on the end, though that'd kill the symmetry.
It would also make playing games much harder.
I don't see what that's the case...
Why not just get one really big one, I cool but come on a little bit of a waste of money, just saying.
merthsoft wrote:
TheStorm wrote:
merthsoft wrote:
Haha, it's amazing how tiny the poor little 83+SE is compared to all of that. This is a pretty great set up, I think I would've had the vertical one on the end, though that'd kill the symmetry.
It would also make playing games much harder.
I don't see what that's the case...
You'd end up with a reticule in the middle of a border, rather than in the middle of a monitor. That was one of the prime reasons I chose to arrange these the way I did. I also tried spreading VLC player across them all, and was very pleased by the results.

Jonimus: I tweaked brightness, contrast, and color temperature to get it to an acceptable approximation of the same.
Ahh, yes, that makes sense, good call. I think the edges would bug me anyway, so I'd probably only game on on monitor.
Looks nice! Although a bit cramped, being under your bed and all.

KermMartian wrote:
I just don't think a 30" is worth it for me, given that they're about four times the price of a 27" for only 3 more diagonal inches. Good luck, though; that should be an interesting dilemma.


Come on, you should know better than that. First is the big quality difference (TN vs. IPS, yada yada), but it's also 1920x1080 vs. 2560x1600 - that's 2x more pixels. And the 11% larger diagonal translates into 30% more screen area

Quote:
Two more "screenshots": playing Minecraft and my new forest-themed desktop. There actually is no difference in color or brightness between all the monitors (thanks to careful adjustment), but my camera shows otherwise.


The brightness difference your camera is showing is the color shifting problems that TN panels suffer - IPS doesn't have that problem :p

Quote:
Why not just get one really big one, I cool but come on a little bit of a waste of money, just saying.


Find me a monitor that big with a resolution greater than 1920x1080 please.
Impressive. From your illustrations it looked like the 27" would not be as tall as two 22" but I assume those measurements were with the plastic shells on.

I'm incredibly jealous. If I happen to make a power rig at some point I must do this same thing, but my 37" TV is suiting me just fine - I have no real world need for more than two monitors.
KermMartian wrote:
BrandonW wrote:
Are those 20"? I like that idea too, but I'm psyched about the vertical center monitor on my setup, which I've already found is amazing for writing code. Also, last night I got three of my five monitors mounted, and this morning I'll mount the last two in between projects. Pictures coming soon.


They're 22"...I didn't want to invest a whole lot of money and time into it so I just bought more of the same monitor I'd already had (broken on eBay, fixed bulging capacitors). I thought about mounting them to the wall so they'd be flush, but instead I just went with a really cheap hex monitor stand online. Things have changed since that picture, but it's all I had at the time.
  
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