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Tech Helproom


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Two Monitors


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Sorry if this sounds too simple to believe, but I am looking to purchase a new desktop computer. I like to use two monitors (currently use a 15" laptop with a 21" monitor attached.

When looking at the specification of a new desktop pc what should I be looking for to ensure it will take two monitors.

Thank you.

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woody

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Graphic card with at least two outlets of the sort you want to use (DVI)and at least 1gb of mem on the card. Lots of main mem (8GB).

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Ian in Northampton

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Woody's pretty much right. Typically, for a desktop PC to support two monitors, it will need to have a separate/discrete graphics card (so - not 'on board' graphics) with two graphics ports. These will typically be one VGA and one DVI, or two DVI ports. A very few desktop PC motherboards feature two graphics ports, but they're in the minority.

I'm not sure where Woody's coming from on the memory thing, though. I have regularly and successfully driven two monitors from a low end graphics card (64MB/128MB onboard memory) in a 256MB/512MB machine. However, if you want to do more than office applications/web surfing - gaming, for example, or photo/video editing - then more memory on the graphics card and in the PC itself is definitely a good idea.

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ventanas

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Depending on what you want the second monitor for it may be cheaper to go for the USB option

http://www.google.co.uk/search?sourceid=navclient&aq=1&oq=usb+mon&hl=en-GB&ie=UTF-8&rlz=1T4GGHPen-GBGB418GB418&q=usb+monitor+adapter#q=usb+monitor+adapter&hl=en&rlz=1T4GGHPen-GBGB418GB418&prmd=ivns&source=univ&tbm=shop&tbo=u&sa=X&ei=8MrcTZOXGcGFhQfR7CmDw&ved=0CFQQrQQ&bav=on.2,or.rgc.r_pw.&fp=1965919d2a148062&biw=1664&bih=857

Obviously not suitable for gaming, but fine for still images.

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ventanas

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Sorry, forgot links have changeslink text

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Border View

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Thanks for responding fellas.

So if I don't go down the USB route - when reading the specification its got to be dedicated graphics card and VGA and DVI ports or two DVI ports.

When I think I have found what I am looking for I shall return to put past you the specification.

Thanks again.

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Border View

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Back again - should have asked. Do both monitors have to be the same size? This was suggested in my local computer shop.

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Ian in Northampton

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No, they absolutely don't. I run a 1,280 x 1,024 monitor and a 1,440 x 900 monitor of very different sizes. With your graphics card, you should get software/drivers that will allow you to set up the monitors how you want and set their resolutions etc. individually. (That's certainly true with NVIDIA cards - I imagine it's equally true for ATI/AMD cards).

Why on earth would your PC shop say that, though? Unless they only have one size of monitor in stock...? :-)

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Border View

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Many thanks - thought he was pulling my strings. I don't know an awful lot about computers but I think I know more than this chap thought I did.

Kind regards

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Ian in Northampton

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That said: aesthetically, two monitors the same size probably look prettier - especially if they're the same model. Never underestimate the importance of a pretty computer setup... :-)

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