Today, many people use multiple monitors for work or for PC gaming. Multiple monitors are useful but most importantly, they also look pretty cool.
But a lot of PC users look at multiple monitors and think, “That looks neat, but I don’t think my PC can handle that.” Or, they think, “I’m not enough of a tech geek to figure that out.”
Well, if you can plug a cord into an outlet, you can setup multiple monitors. This takes very little technical skill. Today, we’re going to answer any questions you might have about multiple monitors and show you exactly how to set up a dual monitor display in your home or office.
Step 1) Check the back of your PC (or the sides of your laptop) and look for two video output ports. Video output ports include VGA ports, HDMI ports, and DVI ports. It doesn’t matter if you have 1 HDMI port and 1 DVI port, or if you have 2 HDMI ports. As long as you see two video output ports, you’ll be able to hook up multiple monitors. Keep in mind that your current monitor is already likely plugged into one of those ports.
Step 2) Buy a new monitor. The size doesn’t necessarily matter, although most people choose to buy a monitor that’s the same size or brand as their current monitor in order to maintain its aesthetic appeal. Some may choose to buy 2 completely new monitors that are exactly the same. It’s up to you.
Step 3) If your computer has a VGA port, then you may have to buy an adapter. Most new monitors come with an HDMI cord and a DVI cord, but not a VGA cord. Adapters are inexpensive and can be found at any local electronics store.
Step 4) Turn off your computer and plug your monitors into the power outlet and the back of your PC or laptop.
Step 5) Turn on the monitors and turn on your PC, and Windows should automatically recognize that you have a second monitor
Dual monitor tools and software that make life easier
Now, Windows 7 and Windows 8 are pretty good about using multiple monitors to their full potential. But if you’re using an earlier version of Windows, like Vista or XP, then you can get some weird visual errors.
Here are some software programs that will help your multi monitors look their best:
-DisplayFusion: Makes setting up dual-screen wallpapers a piece of cake no matter which version of Windows you’re using. Allows users to create multi monitor taskbars and configure customizable dual monitor functions, screen savers, and more. The basic version is free and can be downloaded here.
-Synergy: See below for more information about Synergy, which allows you to control Macs and PCs across dual monitors with a single mouse and keyboard. Cool doesn’t even begin to describe it.
-Windows 7 or Windows 8: Yes, upgrading to Windows 7 or Windows 8 will help you instantly avoid most of the hassle of setting up multiple monitors. With Windows 8, your display is automatically split between the Metro screen on one monitor and the traditional desktop screen on the other. And with Windows 7, most dual monitor support is automatically activated as soon as you connect your second monitor.
Yes, you really can setup dual monitors across your PC, Mac, and Linux systems
As strange as it may seem, it’s possible to setup your Mac monitor and PC monitor to run as dual monitors – even if they’re using completely different operating systems and effectively are unconnected to one another.
The secret is a free program called Synergy, which allows users to use their keyboard and mouse to simultaneously control multiple computers. Simply install the program on different machines and then move your mouse to the edge of one screen to watch it magically pop up on another. If you need help setting Synergy up, read this fantastic guide by LifeHacker.
How to buy the right video card
Today, most video cards come with two ports. Usually, these ports include an HDMI port and a DVI port. If you have a fairly good video card, like my GTX 670, then you will see three ports – one HDMI port and two DVI ports.
But if your video card only has one port, it’s easy and affordable to upgrade. Upgrading a video card shouldn’t cost more than $100 or so – especially if you just want dual monitor support.
Of course, if you want triple monitors, then you may have to spend a little more than that. But there are so many budget, mid-range, and top-end video cards offered by Nvidia and AMD that you shouldn’t have a problem finding the video card you need at the right price.
Do the monitors have to be the same?
No, the monitors don’t have to be the same size, brand, or style. As long as the monitor has a DVI port or an HDMI port, you’ll be able to connect it to your rig.
For any other questions, drop us a line below!