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I have decided after long enough to get 2 decent sized monitors for programming on. I was really please to see that I can choose from endless really big, really cheap TFT LCD's - then I realised they are all wide screen! I dont want widescreen, I wanted a 4:3 running 1600x1200. I want as many lines of code on screen as possible.

So I was pretty dumbfounded after seeing all these widescreens, that there are NO 4:3 monitors around over 20" that dont cost a bomb :( This is really weird, but thats the way it is.

Should I just go for a 19/20 inch 4:3 or get a big 24/26 inch widescreen (for the same money) which can run at 1920x1200 and put it on its side? Would that work as good? Im getting two monitors anyway, so as long as I dont lose out on the width, the portrait mode height is a plus. A 24" 1920x1200 widescreen in portrait vs a 20" 4:3 at 1600x1200 is going to be down like 30% on resolution (horizontally) but be about the same physical width right?

My main concern is that I have read that often when you put them on there sides 'things look funny' and 'text goes squiggly'. I need good image quality. Are features / screen types I whould specifically look for and avoid here? Like IPS for example.. I dont know what that is.

Any help much appreciated, Im really surprised at the zero 4:3 >20" value for money options out there and Im confused what is best to do next. Ty

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As you suspected, you might run into problems with Clear Type font smoothing when in portrait mode since it assumes a vertical array of RGB (or BGR) pixel bands.

Try running the Clear Type Tuner (Control Panel on Windows 7 or download for Windows XP). If this doesn't give reasonable results, try using old-style anti-aliasing instead (an option in Windows XP) or switching off font-smoothing altogether.

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Well ... I had the same dilemma a few months ago. Finally I ended up with a single 27" wide Samsung monitor. Only full HD (1920x1080), but given the size of the display you can use small fonts and you gain lot of space. To be more specific, it's a Samsung H2770P.

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This puzzled me too, donkeeboy.

Then I realized something when I saw a coworker just tilt his 16:9 monitor 90 degrees (most OS's support monitor orientation shift)... he's in legal so it makes total sense (he likes seeing a legal-sized page in entirety).

So that got me to thinking: what kind of tilting support do you need? And I found this baby:
Dual LCD Monitor Stand desk clamp holds up to 22" lcd

(you'll note there are many similar items that support from 1-4 monitors and most are well received and inexpensive. Only requirement is the monitor support VESA)

Combine that with any DisplayLink capable USB-video card (I use this, but there's ones that support 1920x1080), and any relatively new laptop can swing a dual monitor setup for about $400.

So I decided to get 2 cheapo widescreen VESA-compliant 22" monitors and just join them together to make a bigass screen. Working nicely imho for both my Win and OSX laptops.

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