Kick-ass 4 screen set-up

Around three months into being a freelance web developer again and I'm already fed-up with working from home. This is mainly because of the interuptions but also due to the fact that I never seem to leave work. I also have much more work than I can handle so in the next few days I'll be moving into an office in 'town' that is only 10 mins (walk) from home and big enough to take staff too; I'm currently advertising for a full-time HTML resource to help with my rapidly increasing workload plus Cathie, when not looking after the munchkins and getting things together for her Downshifting Book, will be doubling up as a PA/Office manger from there too.

Anyway, moving into an office means I've got to go though the pain of paying set-up costs all over again including getting a new workstation for myself (I'll still need the one at home of course). I then got to thinking that as I'd just bought a brand new IBM Thinkpad could I use that as a desktop replacement instead?

Turns out that the answer is a resounding YES. By buying the pricey IBM Advanced Dock I can:

  • Take the DVD burner out of the laptop and place it in the ultrabay on the dock, this frees me up to have a second battery
  • Plug speakers and USB devices in without having to unplug each night
  • The clincher: it's got a PCIe port on it; my mind immediately though MORE SCREENS

A bit of Googling and some price comparisons later and it worked out only a bit more expensive to go for the advanced dock, a second battery, a video card and two Dell 24″ LCDs rather than a decent Dell PC and two OK flat screens (the default is of couse two screens on any machine).

So here we are:

2x Dell 2407WPF, 1x Dell 2005FPW driven by an IBM Z60m Thinkpad.

They'll move to the new office with me next week and be on a bigger desk so I'll be able to use the laptop screen too then. Amazing to think that's all running from a laptop.

If you're interested then the exact spec is:

  • IBM Z60m laptop (UH3FKUK), with 2GB RAM and noteably a Radeon x600 onboard video card
  • IBM Advanced Dock with the Ultra bay dual layer DVD burner fitted leaving space for a second battery in the laptop where it used to sit
  • nVidia XFX 7600GS Video card it fits perfectly into the PCIe bay and has dual DVI outputs
  • 2x Dell 2407WFP Widescreen 24″ LCDs
  • 1x Dell 2005FPW Widescreen 21″ LCD (I already had that)

If you've got a Z60 or similar and are looking to emulate this set-up then the configuration steps are detailed here:

  • Anonymous Coward

    Would be sweet if you ran Linux on those machines, (possibly with a virtual desktop running across the screens?). Nice step man.