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Computers 101: Dual Monitors


A popular trend in both home & office computing lately is the use of dual monitors.  What it consists of is two separate monitors that are connected to a single video card, that can be used to display different images and/or extend the desktop.

The biggest attraction to this type of setup is to enable more visual multitasking.  For example you could have a spreadsheet open on one monitor, and on the other monitor be streaming some video full screen.  Of course, your computer hardware specifications still need to be robust enough to handle the load.  Many businesses use this setup to monitor multiple processes simultaneously.


What Do You Need

You need 2 monitors.  They don’t have to be identical.  As a matter of fact, many users pick the 2nd monitor based on a specific need or application.  So your choices there are wide open.  The core component necessary in this arrangement is the video card.  Most video cards have more than one video output method.  For example, many have a standard VGA output and a HDMI port.  Others could have 2 VGA ports, or DVI.  The higher end video cards are moving away from VGA, focusing on HDMI and/or DVI.  On the Mac side there is Thunderbolt, HDMI, Mini DisplayPort, and DVI.

When you are choosing your video card, make sure that it supports the outputs that your chosen monitors have.  That would be frustrating to go through all the research and time of picking out that high end video card with 2 HDMI ports only to realize your monitors only do VGA or DVI.  There are adapters that we stock and other workarounds if you were to find yourself in that situation, but the most efficient course would be to match them up correctly.

As far as the video card itself, a good rule of thumb is to overcompensate.  Not saying that you have to buy the most expensive out there, but if you get a little more than you think you will need, then you will always be covered in case you run into something that demands more video/graphics processing muscle.  Better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it.

That being said, just about any video card with multiple outputs can run two monitors in 1080p resolution these days. One thing to look for is higher resolutions that HDMI won’t support. Dual-link DVI and DisplayPort can push these higher resolutions but are a premium connector on monitors unless you’re buying professional grade monitors, especially with larger screen sizes.


Need Assistance?

That’s what we, Geek Easy Computers, are here for.  If you are thinking about a dual monitor setup for your home or office, talk to one of our knowledgeable experts about your needs.  We can match you up to a video card and monitors that will fit your specific applications.  Feel free to stop in or call us at 269-548-8324.  We want to make your technology easy!


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