Today I fixed my friend (and neighbour) Amy's computer and got her new one set up for her. Interestingly enough it had 2 Dell 19" Flat panels (NON-Widescreen) and also it was using a sort of DVI-signal splitter on a single DVI Port to run 2 monitors, which I thought was verrrrrry interesting...
So apparently you don't actually need 2 DVI ports to run 2 flat panels off one video card. But presumably splitting the signal also slows down the speed (or quality) at which the signals are transferred to the monitor? Hmm. I was surprised that you could split the signal without clear degredation in image quality... but anyhoo. I think I am set on the ATI 512Mb Video Card, and so that already has 2 DVI ports so problem solved.
The other issue is my brother "Jeev" Lausch is right, I reckon the idea of 2 20" non-widescreens is actually a lot smarter/better than 2 20" widescreens. The double-widescreen might be too much to handle, and you give up vertical real estate for more width, which actually you DON'T want since you already have ample screen width (due to the double monitors)... so that's a good point to try to get 2 20" regular screens. But... since EVERYONE wants a widescreen now, Dell's 20" non-widescreen is like $439 (to the 20" Widescreen's $289). And the response time on the non-widescreen is 16ms, compared to 2ms on the widescreen!! The contrast ratio was a bazillion times better on the widescreen too. This implies that Dell is phasing out the non-widescreen cause no one is buying it. Also they do not bundle it with the system so it's gonna be overpriced.
This again makes me question which monitor I should get. I was thinking about the Dell 24" UltraSharp too cause that would be sick and I'd be set up nicely should I ever get a Blu-Ray player on that beast. But it sure is niiiice to have dual monitors, and that's how I roll at work and it rocks. But it looks like dual widescreens is gonna have to be the way to roll... so that's not necessarily the best choice. I do, although, have a 17" widescreen on my laptop now so I am kinda used to the widescreen style.
If I end up getting a MacBook eventually or a Mac Mini, I am gonna want to hook it up directly to a single (or double) monitor, so it will be nicer and better to have 2 monitors rather than just 1 huge one. Plus I REALLY doubt that the integrated video card on a Mac Mini can successfully run a 24" UltraSharp Widescreen monitor, it might be too much for it. So a 20" is probably a better idea anyway.
Most likely I'll just wait 'till next Friday and see what the next deal of the week at Dell is, and then get it soon after that. This is gonna be a sweeeeeeeet machine, that's for sure.
The other issue is now the Dell machines come with Windows Vista 64-bit, rather than 32-bit. My assumption is with 4Gb RAM, it would be smarter to get a 64-bit OS. No matter how much I pretend I am gonna use Linux a bunch, I am a true-bred Windows guy, and I shouldn't kid myself - I expect to continue to use Windows a lot on my home machine. For Skype and Photoshop and other stuff, it seems to do a great job and I'll prob stick with it... so 64-bit is more future-looking than a 32-bit OS... though presumably in 2 years I am gonna replace it with Windows 7 anyway.
Oh, so many questions when I am about to get a new computer... :)