It's like losing an arm
My monitor died yesterday. One of two, so I can still use my PC, but I've still got my dead monitor sitting there. It's become instinct to try and drag windows onto it. It's one of those funny feelings when you hit the edge of the screen and it takes a couple of seconds to realise that you can't move it any further. This is made worse by the fact that my default background is black, so you can't immediately tell that it's not working.
What's worse is my screen resolution. It's a measly 1024x768, which was great, back in the day, but it's seriously short on viewing area now. It's physical size too, but physical size needs to come with increased pixel count. I have a 16x12 screen at work, which is only just bearable, because there's only one. If you do the math, a 16x12 monitor is actually better than two 1024x768 monitors, because it's a shade under 2 megapixels as opposed to about 1.5. 1280x960x2 (I like square pixels) is better still at about 2.5 megapixels. The hope is to get 16x12x2, which is nearly 4 megapixels.
However, this poses a problem. 16x12x2 at true colour is 11 megs. 4 virtual desktops plus one double buffered is 55 megs. My card is 64 megs. If you consider the fact that a fair bit of memory needs to be reserved for things like textures and widgets, we're easily talking about 128 MB. Double that to get the system memory required to manage all this and we need 256 MB for video alone. A computer with less than 1.5 GB ram is going to struggle, methinks. That's not even considering the extra processing and transportation that memory is going to take.
So if I wanted to get a pair of decent monitors, I'd need to get more RAM and a heftier video card, which would set me back about $400 - $500, plus the monitors. I guess I'll have to settle for barely enough.