dpi bang for buck

Studies have repeatedly shown that multiple monitors lead to increased productivity. Enthusiasts out there will tell you that three monitors is ideal [Scott Hanselman]. 

For our needs right now, I needed a monitor solution that gives us the absolute most pixels we can afford on our pre-funded startup budget. There are lots of monitor configurations to choose from at different price points, but which was *best*?

I’ve done the analysis. (All prices and models are Dell)

model resolution pixels price
20″ standard 1600×1200 1,920,000 $449
20″ widescreen 1680×1050 1,764,000 $339
24″ widescreen 1920×1200 2,304,000 $669
27″ widescreen 1920×1200 2,304,000 $995
30″ widescreen 2560×1600 4,096,000 $1,189

higher res**

If you allow that adding additional monitors horizontally is an option*, then you find that the 20″ standard aspect 1600×1200 gives you the highest density DPI at the lowest price with the most flexibility to expand. However, if you are looking for something to play movies or games which don’t scale across monitors well, then the calculus changes and the 24,27 and even the 30″ all start to look more attractive. 

And so, I’ve ordered dual Dell FP2007 LCDs for Tim and I. At some point down the road, we’ll add the third head.


* dual monitor video cards are very common today. Quad capable cards exist, but it usually easier and cheaper to add a second card. Don’t mix brands. Make sure that you have enough available PCI-X(1x,2x,16x,etc) slots available. The Gigabyte motherboards I’m ordering have two full bandwidth slots available and I made sure of that first.

**There are higher density displays out there. My laptop for instance is 1920×1200 in only a 15.4″ widescreen, which is gorgeous btw. It is probably just economics and market research that keeps these screens out of full size desktop configurations. And there are some really high DPI displays out there that are used for medical imaging and such, but you can’t even buy them from mainstream retailers and the prices are not even close to competitive.

del.icio.us Tags: , ,

1 comment

  1. I was recently comparing 2 24inch screens to one 30 inch screen. Here is why I will be buying one 30 inch screen.

    2 24’s = 3840×1200 = 4,608k pixels or 4.6MP
    1 30 = 2560*1600 = 4096K pixels or 4.096MP

    4.6/4.096 = 1.12

    two 24inch screens have only 10% more screen realestate. And they have a huge gap in the middle. I also can hook up a 30 inch to my MBP but I can’t easily hook up two 24inchers.

    Now, to actually buy a 30 inch …

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *