How many monitors are enough?

I have enjoyed for years developing with more than one active monitor.  I like having lots of windows open simultaneously.  My current set-up takes this to a new extreme.

I recently purchased a Seiki Digital SE39UY04 39-inch 4K ultra HD monitor. 4K. Four times the fun of 1080p.  The kicker:  I got it for $450 from (today it is listed at $499.99).


Now, you can spend more on a 4K monitor.  Lots more.  And the Seiki is limited to 30 FPS so you gamers out there might not be as happy as I am.  But I use it for development and I find it is crisp, reasonably color accurate (enough for me), and just the right size. 

I do need to dial the brightness back a bit and set sharpness to 0.  Beyond that, it worked out of the box and I am convinced it improves my productivity.

So back to our topic:  How many monitors is enough?  I’m not sure but this is the current setup for my main development rig:

I have a very nice laptop: Asus G750J with an Intel Quad Core i7-4700HQ at 2.4 GHz, 12 Gb memory and a NVIDIA GEFORCE GTX 770M.  The laptop simultaneously drives its own 1080p display, an Acer T232HL multi-touch display at 1080p, a LG E2241 display at 1080p, a Pluggable UGA-2K-A USB graphics adapter connected to an Insignia 22" monitor at 1080p, and the Seiki 4k monitor, all at full color depth.  Occasionally, there is a slight glitch coming out of sleep, but I can play videos (DVD or YouTube) on any monitor other than the Pluggable in a window or full screen easily while working.

The Asus G750J has a VGA connection which goes to the Acer display, an HDMI which goes to the Seiki display, and a Thunderbolt port which I convert to VGA for the LG display. The Pluggable UGA-2K-A USB graphics adapter is excellent for general work up to 1080p, but not usable for video.

I usually have the Seiki display directly in front of me with the other monitors angled and at my left displaying documentation and other information. The layout is configured as below:

But wait—there’s more!  I have two additional 1080p monitors that I attach to Raspberry Pis or to my UDOO.  And I have two 10 year-old Samsung SyncMaster 213T LCD monitors which I use for two additional systems that I use as Web servers and as application servers for large computational linguistic runs.