Dual Monitors Help

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Dual Monitors - Using and Setting Up



This page attempts to answer the questions people usually have about dual monitors. 

Why on earth do I want two monitors for?

People who have a lot of applications running find it indispensable to have the extra desktop real estate. You could have a TV window, stock market feeds, or real-time news running on the second monitor. You won't have to disrupt working on whatever document, image or email you're on to glance at the latest footy scores, share prices or news. 

But it's not just for running a secondary program. Some users - like video editors - spread their work out over both screens giving them a less cluttered workspace. The amount of time you save in switching between open applications - and in mouse clicks - can be enormous.

What do I need to have to setup dual monitors?

Very little really. A PC running Windows 98 or above and a dual monitor video card is all that you need. In some machines you can even use two separate video cards.

Do I need to have LCD monitors or CRT monitors?

It doesn't matter. You could have two LCDs, two CRTs, or one of each.

What video cards support dual monitor displays?

Most modern cards support dual monitor displays and some of them even support three or more monitors. Some professional graphics cards support up to eight monitors.

Does the second monitor have exactly the same image as the first one?

You can set the second monitor to be a "clone" of the first one, which is useful in some training-type situations where the student is seeing the same information on her screen as the teacher is seeing on his. You could also use it as an "extended desktop" allowing you to run a different Window/application on the second monitor.

Do both the monitors need to have the same settings?

No, you can have different resolutions, colour settings and refresh rates for each.

What's with the connectors? Do I need D-Subs, DVI or something else?

Video card outputs are of two types, the older "D" shaped analogue output called a D-Sub and the newer, larger digital output called a DVI. Your card has one or the other or both. CRT monitors usually support D-Sub only and LCD monitor sometimes support D-Sub and sometimes DVI. Some LCD monitors come with both a D-Sub and a DVI cable.

Don't have the right combinations? Not a problem, you can get adapters. If both your video card outputs are DVI but both your monitors are D-Sub simply get a couple of DVI to D-sub adapters.

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Last updated: Jan, 2010 
How to setup dual monitors