Trying Out The Modern Linux Desktops With 4 Monitors + AMD/NVIDIA Graphics

Written by Michael Larabel in Monitors on 30 March 2015. Page 3 of 3. 29 Comments

Ubuntu Unity's display configuration panel is fairly simple, but allows for the easy management of displays and does get the job done. Unity's display settings aren't as informative as the AMD/NVIDIA programs for their binary drivers, but is at least very streamlined. The Unity panel also allows adjusting the scaling of menu/title bars from this UI for HiDPI displays.

With these monitor configuration utilities for each of the Linux desktop environments, they should basically look and act the same for any Linux graphics drivers supporting RandR 1.2+.

The GNOME Shell's monitor configuration options do work, but personally I dislike the UI workflow of it.

I was able to configure the four displays to my liking in the GNOME Shell, but it was a less than optimal experience.

The most basic display configuration options were presented by the Xfce display settings on Ubuntu 15.04. It's very basic and reminds me of most Linux desktop environment display settings... from years ago.

I did attempt to get the display configuration working on KDE Plasma 5, but the packages used at the time from the Ubuntu Vivid archive were rather unstable and the shell ended up running into problems when attempting to navigate the menus, etc. Not sure if this was due to the KDE packages or some driver issue, but I wasn't able to get it running smoothly in my limited time available so it was skipped over. However, in general, KDE and KScreen offer nice multi-monitor management on this desktop.

That's the quick story of trying out the different drivers/desktop options for running a quad-monitor Linux desktop. It's certainly a much better experience than those trying to configure multiple displays on Linux several years ago. If you appreciate the testing done at Phoronix please consider subscribing to Phoronix Premium to allow other interesting Linux hardware tests in the future.

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Michael Larabel

Michael Larabel is the principal author of and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via