If Star Trek was about music software, a typical conversation might go like this:
“Scotty, I need more power!”
“But I can’t give ya any more power, Captain!”
(Pause) “Well then, can you at least give me a much bigger monitor?”
I use a Matrox Millennium G450 DualHead graphics card, but sometimes a third monitor would be nice . . . especially when a bunch of soft synths are open. The Matrox Millennium P750 ($235, for Win2000/XP/NT4 or Linux) with cooling fan can drive three monitors, but studios will likely prefer the DualHead Millennium P650 with TripleHead upgrade ($259 total), as it uses a large heatsink instead of a fan. 3D game performance for either is uninspiring, but they deliver the goods for 2D DAW apps.
There are two DVI (digital) outs with independent refresh, color depth, and up to 1600x1200 resolution. Cable adapters allow using up to three analog CRTs/LCDs. However, max resolution with three monitors is 1280x1024 per monitor, which also must run at the same refresh rate and color depth. The only time this might be an issue is if you’re mixing LCD flat panels (which often run at 60Hz) with a CRT, as the CRT must then run at 60Hz as well.
You can also run one DVI as the center monitor with two analogs, but the same three-monitor limits still hold. Or, run two standard RGB monitors up to 1920x1440, one display up to 2048x1536, or two analog monitors (or one digital/one analog) along with S-video or composite TV — excellent for checking audio-for-video edits over a real-world delivery medium.
When you’re looking for the “Desktop of the Gods,” a triple-monitor setup based on the Millennium P650+upgrade is relatively inexpensive, and has enough performance prowess to handle anything your DAW can throw at it. Good stuff.