The journey to five screens took some time, and was filled with frustration and anguish at not quite being able to find the right balance between screen realestate and practicality. In the end I gave up on practicality.
The final result: 4 x Dell 27", 1x Dell 30" (portrait).
The journey starts with triples
A long time ago, I was happy using a pair of Dell 27" screens, but that didnt last all that long. Triple screens with a 30" center and 27" on either side meant too much head turning side to side, with a lot of wasted vertical space.
The solution? Put the 30" on top of the 27" screens.
That didn't last long
You might be able to see here that the top screen is actually a little further back than the other screens, and has no vertical tilt. This means that the top screen is actually quite a distance from eye level, making it difficult to read the top screen.
Solution: Quad portrait!
Portrait orientation is all the rage I hear, so I figured I would try it out. Its kind of cool, but all the bezel really sucks. I am also used to being able to fit 4 documents on a 27" screen, one in each corner. With a 27" screen in portrait you are really limited to 2 documents, one on top of the other which makes comparing documents side by side annoying.
The wall of screens
27" monitors are also quite tall, so the top of the monitors was kind of a strain to see. It also felt somewhat uncomfortable staring at so much vertical space. To cope with this I tilted the screens back a little. As you can see here, it doesnt work as the tilt introduces massive gaps between the screens.
How about quad landscape?
With some new mounts for my screen mounts, quad portrait was finally attainable. An excellent setup, with bottom and top monitors tilted vertically, the setup felt quite comfortable provided you aren't trying to read anything on the far corners of the screens.
This also saw the all important upgrade to a mechanical keyboard.
The mounts - super expensive bits from Dell
Finally I get sick of staring at the middle quad bezel
Its time to bring the 30" bad boy back into the fray, adding a bit of portrait action. The center monitor, and bottom left and right screens are pretty close to perfectly vertical, but tilted in. The top screens have the same angle in, but are tilted down heavily so that viewing the far corners doesn't strain the eyes too much.
And a quick little shot from behind, look at the cable management!
Thanks for reading!