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  Dual monitors: stacked or side by side 
 Date Written 
Reason Oct 01, 2010, 12:26pm EDT Report Abuse
So I'm finally moving from CRT to LCD, got a good deal on a pair of 24" Acers yesterday. They came with wall mounts but no stands, and I'm not going to mount them to the wall so I need to build a stand, because I'm too cheap to buy one.

Looking around the web found me these two other DIY projects.

I've always used a side by side config since it's not real practical to stack CRTs, but that vertical config got me thinking.

Has anyone done the stacked thing? Any ideas, suggestions, reasons for preference etc? Here's what I came up with:

Stacked pros:
Small footprint, saves space

Stacked cons:
Might have to crane neck to look at top monitor
High center of gravity
Cord length could be an issue

Side by side pros:
Feels more natural

Side by side cons:
Takes up more space

The wall mounts are similar to this design:

Ultima Ratio Regum
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Dr. Peaceful Oct 01, 2010, 12:40pm EDT Report Abuse
>> Re: Dual monitors: stacked or side by side?
Side by side of course. Who the heck look up and down on screens, LOL ;) Unless you're a stock broker. But for 24", it is a quite a distance looking from one side to another.

Or, another configuration: rotate (pivot) each screen vertically, then put them side by side. Something like this:

Or this, if you have 2 more screens... LOL ;)

G. G. Oct 01, 2010, 01:34pm EDT Report Abuse
>> Re: Dual monitors: stacked or side by side?

put the monitor in a side by side fashion... unless you have a specific need for the monitor to be stacked vertically. As Peace already mention, the monitor that is stacked, basically becomes a monitor for monitoring applications... Also, when in extended desktop mode...... what happens when you move the mouse from the primary screen to the extended monitor ????? Right..................... you move the mouse to the right to get to the secondary display... Then to move back you move the mouse to the left side of the screen on the secondary to get to the primary coming in from the right of the primary....

Now, think about it... if your secondary display was on top of your primary.... what is the natural motion that you would want to do to get the mouse from one display to the other???? yup..... you would have the tendicies to move it up and down..... well.... you cant do that.... So, in the vertical mode, you will always have to be conscious about the motion of the mouse to move from one display to the other.

As for the DIY monitor stand... I like the first one where it is mounted to the pole that is attached to the backside of the desk... nicely done.

By the way.... by going to the side by side arrangement...... there is another benefit... Down the road, if so inclinded..... you can get a third monitor and make them one big monitor for some gaming nervana... i.e. ATI infinity or nVidia's version of it... The second monitor will become the middle monitor with two flanking monitors.

Peace..... that picture of the 4 HP monitors in a rotated and vertical setup.... that is too funny.. I tell ya.... betcha there is some heat being thrown into the room ....


Juan Pena Oct 01, 2010, 02:13pm EDT Report Abuse
>> Re: Dual monitors: stacked or side by side?
I also support the sidebyside option. Never used or seen the one-on-top-of-the-other-one display, but I find it hard to image it would be any more useful.

john albrich Oct 01, 2010, 02:17pm EDT Report Abuse
>> Re: Dual monitors: stacked or side by side?

I think if you go for the vertical stacking, you're going to have to compensate with the stand for the generally more limited vertical viewing angle of LCD displays. The "pipe" stand didn't seem to be very flexible in that regard, and I think most commercial display mounts won't provide enough vertical adjustment for the vertical stack'll have to mount them at an off-vertical angle to begin with.

I waited until Newegg had Rosewill RMS-MT2790 on sale for $15 ea. and bought 2. Each one mounted independently gave me some decent flexibility on each display, and made mounting the displays to a cross-member very easy (I mounted them side-by-side).

I used an old "Torchiere" lamp stand (like these ) on which I mounted a cross-member to form a "crucifix" kind of looking thing). I had about 4 of them in storage. I unscrewed and removed the top 1/3 of the lamp pole (it was then virtually the perfect height for behind my desk). I suppose one could keep the entire lamp intact, use the dimmer, and have a nice background low-light illumination reflecting off the ceiling to help prevent eye-strain. But if you do that, you have to be more careful with fitting the cross-member because of the AC wiring through the light pole. The weighted base is OK for stability since mine is between the back of my desk and the wall, but otherwise I'd probably put some bolts through the base into a larger rectangular base (or even bolt/screw the pole into my desk) for better stability (like in the one pic Reason referenced at the "lifehacker" website).

Reason Oct 01, 2010, 02:58pm EDT Report Abuse
>> Re: Dual monitors: stacked or side by side?
Cool, thanks for the quick replies. Yeah, that's pretty much what I was thinking too, just wanted to get some other opinions.

GG, that's an excellent point about adding a third monitor down the road. I've been doodling some ideas here and I think I have an easy, effective plan, and I think it'll be pretty easy to add a spot for a third monitor. Although I'm not sure how likely that is, but if it's easy to plan for I'll add that in there.

I'd only do three so I could get "peripheral vision" in games, but I don't see the need arising for 4. That guy's setup is pretty crazy. I got a kick out of his desktop image too. Not a fan of portrait mode either...

The vertical setup gave me the basis for my idea.

- I'll start with a flat base, maybe make some fancy cuts or maybe just a rectangle, probably about 30" wide and 12" deep. (All measurements are pulled out of thin air as long as I'm not at home and able to measure.)
- Then I'll put two vertical supports, like fins, up in the back, both sides of center, 6" or 8" apart, probably 8" tall. The reason for two fins vs one support is so I can mount the brackets on the outside at the same level and not have their screws/bolts interfere with each other.
- I'll have a top piece to hold the two fins together, and possibly some corner braces on the outsides.
- Seems like I can add a back between the two fins to allow for a possible third monitor without undue additional expense/labor, and could mount that monitor with a third arm, the hood ornament to the rearview mirrors of the other two mounts.

Not sure if that's a clear picture, maybe I'll spend the rest of my lunch hour in MSPaint.

Edit: hastily scribbled, completely not to scale, top-down view.

The blue/inverted section indicates the piece that will go between the supports to tie them together and maybe hold up a lamp. I think I could also get some decent cable management going by cutting holes in the supports, to run them into the sides and then out the back.

Edit: John, I hadn't even considered the viewing angle; that clinches it even if the general utility of the sided by side didn't. The torchiere idea is not a bad idea at all, but I don't have one, so I figure if I'm going to be buying anything, I'll buy to the design. Might still go with some sort of metal pole though. I'm thinking a base-on-desk design would be easier than base-on-floor, but maybe not?

Ultima Ratio Regum
TamTheBam Oct 01, 2010, 04:32pm EDT Report Abuse
>> Re: Dual monitors: stacked or side by side?

I miss the CRT's. Why? Because with LCD, the bigger the Res, the bigger the Pixel
becomes. With CRT's the bigger the Res, the smaller the pixel became. CRT's looked
so much clarified and sharper. Just was too fookin bulky and heavy. The only real advantage
an LCD has over the CRT was and is what I mentioned above:- The Weight and size.
When I first got my LCD back in 2006, I was not impressed, and was so tempted to go
back to my CRT. It took a long time to adjust. RiP CRT! :O :/

....I'm back, but only as a part-timer... :)
Oct 06, 2010, 07:54pm EDT Report Abuse
>> Re: Dual monitors: stacked or side by side?
Here you go, Tam ...

Stacked and side-by-side!

laplan talcon Oct 14, 2010, 04:08am EDT Report Abuse
>> Re: Dual monitors: stacked or side by side?
You shouldn't need special software. Look in your display properties where you have the two monitors display side by side and try dragging one with the mouse above the other..


Reason Oct 29, 2010, 01:45am EDT Report Abuse
>> Re: Dual monitors: stacked or side by side?
After much planning, scheming, plotting, attempts at cool sketchup models, etc, I decided to just bolt some f**kin 2x4s on the desk and screw the monitors on to them.

Got some free wood off craigslist, had some leftover screws from another project around the house. Borrowed my uncle's saw and file, to scrape off the crud and round the edges. I'm pretty happy with it. The hinges are a bit loose so they don't line up perfectly but it's good enough for govt work, and good enough for free. From my usual perspective I can't see any of the 2x4 so it looks like my monitors are just kind of floating there.

Ultima Ratio Regum
john albrich Oct 29, 2010, 02:07pm EDT Report Abuse
>> Re: Dual monitors: stacked or side by side

From the photo it looks like instead of using a cross-piece on a single vertical 2x4, you have a separate vertical 2x4 for each monitor? (and then use an articulated mounting arm as well)

Looks fine, and of course (paraphrasing Gordon Gekko) " good".

Reason Oct 29, 2010, 02:46pm EDT Report Abuse
>> Re: Dual monitors: stacked or side by side
Right. Adding any sort of cross piece means I would have had to join the wood somehow. I think just a straight right angle looks bad, so I would have wanted to cut some dadoes (?) to make them flush, which I would never get around to doing, etc etc. The arms were what came with the monitors when I bought them; I guess the PO got rid of the stands.

Ultima Ratio Regum
Wagner Lip Aug 21, 2011, 11:06am EDT Report Abuse
>> Re: Dual monitors: stacked or side by side
You can still use stacked monitors, in a way, they still the best space saving on a desk. I went there, did that. It works and it is just a matter of minutes to figure out your hands with the new mouse movement. You push something to the right of the lower monitor, it pops on the top left... what is the big deal? none.

But later, I found out a much better setup.

Side by Side, both in portrait mode.
Ahaaaaaa much better than any other setup.

Everything you see on your web browser is portrait. If someone is producing landscape orientation webpages, the person is on the wrong job. You can grow and grow the webpage vertically, but never horizontally. See?

So, two monitors, side by side, portrait mode, is fantastic and the best you can make.

In real, its like to have four monitors, you can arrange all your icons (try the program "FENCES") on the top of the left monitor, have the bottom for a web browser, at the right monitor you will have (your 24" monitor) all the way down for your Word, Excel, another browser, etc. Can you imagine write a document without the left and right empty lost space from a traditional landscape monitor, and have 50% more space downwards?

Try it, you will love it.


Wagner Lip Aug 21, 2011, 11:12am EDT Report Abuse
>> Re: Dual monitors: stacked or side by side
Oh, I forgot to say... when installing SIDE by SIDE in PORTRAIT, the cursor movement stays correct, what is perfect, and you have a more "squared" setup of both monitors images, than the wiiiiide landscape when using side by side in landscape (completely odd for our vision).




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