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  1. #1
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    Dual Monitor Setup Advice Needed

    I know there are some smart folks on this board who have dual monitor pc setups and I'd really appreciate some good advice from those who are willing. I've put this off for a long time, but am ready to make this jump so I can be more productive for work and play b/c time is much more limited now that I have a 2 y/o boy running around.

    After doing some research, I still have quite a few questions.....

    Video Card Questions:
    I know I need an upgraded video card (w/ 2 video inputs) that need to match the outputs on the monitors.
    Q1. Is there an easy way I can make sure my motherboard is compatible with certain video cards? I have a descent motherboard, but it's by no means top of the line and is probably about 7-10 years old by now.

    Q2. Does it matter if 1 input on the video card is VGA and the other is DVI? Should I get both DVI or both VGA?

    Q3. Any specific recommendations on video cards and where to buy from to get the best deal?

    Monitor Questions:
    Q1. What is the best size for the best deal? I'm not going to be doing any gaming, just mainly want to be more productive managing home office, music, files, etc....

    Q2. Any specific recommendations on monitors and where to buy from to get the best deal? As of right now, I'm leaning towards getting 2 of the following.....
    Acer-S201HL-20-Inch-Widescreen-Ultra-Slim

    Dual Monitor Stand Questions:
    Q1. Any specific recommendations on monitors and where to buy from to get the best deal? As of right now, I'm leaning towards getting the following....are there better stands for cheaper out there?
    Planar-997-5253-00-Monitor-Stand-Black

    Dual Monitor Switch Questions:
    Q1. Are there any switches out there that would allow me to switch b/n my home pc and my office laptop easily - w/o having to unplug the monitor cables each time? I work from home and it would be awesome to be able to do this easily.

    BIG thanks to anyone willing to offer up some knowledge on the subject!! I can't wait to get this set up!!

    Jonecy


    Last edited by Jonecy; 12-13-2011 at 02:07 PM.
    - Im not a spin my wheels type of guy." - Coach Paul Rhoads

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    FarminCy's Avatar
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    Re: Dual Monitor Setup Advice Needed

    I don't know all the specifics but I have dual 23 inch monitors with one running through DMI and the other VGA and it works perfectly fine.

    I love this set up as it lets me use mapping systems on one screen and still use the others for email, spreadsheets, videos, etc. Dual screen is also a life saver when I am using multiple pricing and purchasing scenario spreadsheets at the same time. I also use it to do some video calls while having info up on the other screen that i need to talk about on the video call. Having dual screens I can never go back to one now.

    I have used switches before on dual computers but I'm not sure it would work for dual screen, most I have seen are just for single screen setups. You may be able to set up a switch that allow one screen to flip back and forth. Some others will probably have better answers on that.



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    Re: Dual Monitor Setup Advice Needed

    Quote Originally Posted by FarminCy View Post
    I don't know all the specifics but I have dual 23 inch monitors with one running through DMI and the other VGA and it works perfectly fine.

    I love this set up as it lets me use mapping systems on one screen and still use the others for email, spreadsheets, videos, etc. Dual screen is also a life saver when I am using multiple pricing and purchasing scenario spreadsheets at the same time. I also use it to do some video calls while having info up on the other screen that i need to talk about on the video call. Having dual screens I can never go back to one now.

    I have used switches before on dual computers but I'm not sure it would work for dual screen, most I have seen are just for single screen setups. You may be able to set up a switch that allow one screen to flip back and forth. Some others will probably have better answers on that.
    Thanks, where did you purchase your setup?


    - Im not a spin my wheels type of guy." - Coach Paul Rhoads

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    Re: Dual Monitor Setup Advice Needed

    If you're going to spend the money on this type of set-up, I wouldn't be doing it on a 7-10 year old mobo. I would go with dual link DVI. You should be able to find a decent video card for $100. One thing to consider is your current power supply. Is it also 7-10 years old? The power connections have probably changed since then.

    At work I have a belkin KVM switch. It works slick and the output is DVI. Although this is only used on a single monitor.

    Just a few things to think about.


    Last edited by dmclone; 12-13-2011 at 01:34 PM.

  5. #5
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    Re: Dual Monitor Setup Advice Needed

    In terms of the video card, it is all based on your current PC setup.

    First thing you'll want to do is find out what open card slots you have on your PC. You can do this by opening your case (when the comp is off, of course) and looking for these:


    Based on which ones you have, that tells you the type of card you can buy. Nearly all video cards nowadays run off of PCIe x16 ports. They haven't made many AGP/PCIe x1/PCI cards of any real significance or power recently.

    Next would be to check the power supply of your computer; most video cards pull more juice from the power supply, some via more direct connections to it. Your power supply (box on the top-back corner) has to have the appropriate connectors to a PCIe x16 card, as well as enough Wattage to power it.

    In terms of what card you need to run a dual-display, I'm pretty sure any lower end cards will do the trick; you won't need to spend more than $100. The main chipsets are GeForce (made by Nvidia) and Radeon (made by ATI/AMD), though these are typically sold to smaller manufactures to make their own branded cards as well (MSI, XFX, EVGA, ASUS).

    What you want to look at is:
    - price ($50 - $100 should be fine for you)
    - port type (any PCIe x16 version works with PCIe x16 slots)
    - power requirements (read above)
    - noise (more powerful ones run hotter, meaning a faster and noisier fan to cool it)
    - clock speed
    - and memory size.

    The standard ranges of memory size span from 256MB (not much power) up to 2GB (tons of power). If all you are looking to do is do dual screens, all you need is 256MB, maybe up to 512MB if you want to do anything significant. They also have the option of hooking up multiple

    For connecting your monitors, just make sure that the card matches the monitors you want to use. You can pretty much connect the two any way you want.

    That's my rant on video cards. Hope it helps. :)




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    Re: Dual Monitor Setup Advice Needed

    Quote Originally Posted by dmclone View Post
    If you're going to spend the money on this type of set-up, I wouldn't be doing it on a 7-10 year old mobo. I would go with dual link DVI. You should be able to find a decent video card for $100. One thing to consider is your current power supply. Is it also 7-10 years old? The power connections have probably changed since then.

    At work I have a belkin KVM switch. It works slick and the output is DVI. Although this is only used on a single monitor.

    Just a few things to think about.
    This if you system is that old it may not be worthwhile to put any money into it.

    That said I have a older machine with dual displays it uses this card Newegg.com - JATON VIDEO-118PCI-32DDR GeForce2 MX400 32MB 64-bit DDR PCI Low Profile Ready Video Card

    It is cheap and gets the job done. And will work with whatever existing power supply you have is.

    I also use this for a KVM switch
    Newegg.com - TRENDnet TK-207K 2-Port USB KVM Switch

    As for the stand I don't use that I just use the stands that came with the monitors. No need to put them both on one stand.

    For the type of monitor to get that will depend on what you are using it for and what your budget is.



  7. #7
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    Re: Dual Monitor Setup Advice Needed

    Quote Originally Posted by ZachsterPoke View Post
    In terms of the video card, it is all based on your current PC setup.

    First thing you'll want to do is find out what open card slots you have on your PC. You can do this by opening your case (when the comp is off, of course) and looking for these:


    Based on which ones you have, that tells you the type of card you can buy. Nearly all video cards nowadays run off of PCIe x16 ports. They haven't made many AGP/PCIe x1/PCI cards of any real significance or power recently.

    Next would be to check the power supply of your computer; most video cards pull more juice from the power supply, some via more direct connections to it. Your power supply (box on the top-back corner) has to have the appropriate connectors to a PCIe x16 card, as well as enough Wattage to power it.

    In terms of what card you need to run a dual-display, I'm pretty sure any lower end cards will do the trick; you won't need to spend more than $100. The main chipsets are GeForce (made by Nvidia) and Radeon (made by ATI/AMD), though these are typically sold to smaller manufactures to make their own branded cards as well (MSI, XFX, EVGA, ASUS).

    What you want to look at is:
    - price ($50 - $100 should be fine for you)
    - port type (any PCIe x16 version works with PCIe x16 slots)
    - power requirements (read above)
    - noise (more powerful ones run hotter, meaning a faster and noisier fan to cool it)
    - clock speed
    - and memory size.

    The standard ranges of memory size span from 256MB (not much power) up to 2GB (tons of power). If all you are looking to do is do dual screens, all you need is 256MB, maybe up to 512MB if you want to do anything significant. They also have the option of hooking up multiple

    For connecting your monitors, just make sure that the card matches the monitors you want to use. You can pretty much connect the two any way you want.

    That's my rant on video cards. Hope it helps. :)
    Good post. Basically just want to make sure you get a card your motherboard can support. Most new monitors have both VGA and DVI ports and if you can the DVI is a little better quality display but to the naked eye you probably won't be able to tell much difference between the 2 if you are just doing office application type stuff.


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    Re: Dual Monitor Setup Advice Needed

    Quote Originally Posted by CYdTracked View Post
    Good post. Basically just want to make sure you get a card your motherboard can support. Most new monitors have both VGA and DVI ports and if you can the DVI is a little better quality display but to the naked eye you probably won't be able to tell much difference between the 2 if you are just doing office application type stuff.
    Thanks. Tried to type it real quick-like.

    In my opinion, if you are getting new monitors (flat screens), I'd say go for the DVI at all possible (pretty much all new monitors have DVI anyways), or possibly even HDMI. Older style monitors shouldn't really matter. Again, my preference. :P

    I also agree that if you're trying to do this with a 7-10 year old computer, it almost may not be worth it to put the time into the old one. There are plenty of other towers out there for cheap, newer (and more compatable) components, and would be most likely to handle a new video card.




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