Two Monitors

  Border View 23:09 24 May 2011

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.

  woody 23:54 24 May 2011

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).

  Ian in Northampton 09:07 25 May 2011

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.

  ventanas 10:28 25 May 2011

Depending on what you want the second monitor for it may be cheaper to go for the USB option,or.rgc.r_pw.&fp=1965919d2a148062&biw=1664&bih=857

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

  ventanas 10:29 25 May 2011

Sorry, forgot links have changeslink text

  Border View 14:47 25 May 2011

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.

  Border View 14:52 25 May 2011

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

  Ian in Northampton 15:49 25 May 2011

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...? :-)

  Border View 17:47 25 May 2011

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

  Ian in Northampton 20:53 25 May 2011

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... :-)

This thread is now locked and can not be replied to.

Elsewhere on IDG sites

iMac Pro review

25 book design and illustration tips

iMac Pro review

Idées cadeaux pour geeks et tech addicts