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Dual Monitor Video Card - Choosing a Dual Monitor Video Card - Deciding Whether You Need a New Card, Picking the Right Card

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Dual monitors have become an indispensable productivity aid for thousands of office workers around the world, and an irreplaceable pwning aid to computer gamers everywhere. If you have decided to bring the fun and productivity of dual monitors to your own home, then you’re in for a complex ride as you explore new video cards and monitors. This guide will help you make sense of it all, so you can find the best card to support your new toy.

Deciding Whether You Need a New Card

Many modern video cards have the ability to support multiple monitors, and some older ones can even be modified with a dual-head adapter to support this. But be careful of using the adapter approach – even if your card is able to run it, it can cause undue strain on the card and your CPU to run something that they weren’t meant for. The best option is to just start with a card that was built for the job.

To tell whether or not your card supports dual monitors, simply look at the output connections on the rear of the case. (Where your monitor is currently connected to.) If there is only one place to plug in a monitor, then it clearly wasn’t built for two! But do realize that you could have two different monitor connections, the standard SVGA connection and the more advanced DVI connection. DVI outputs are wider than SVGA and have a different pattern of holes.

If there is for sure only one connection, than it’s time to start looking for dual monitor video cards.

Picking the Right Card

When looking for a video card, dual monitor support is pretty easy to determine. Does it have two monitor outputs on the back? Then it’s a dual-monitor card. Before you go to buy yours, however, it’s best if you know what you’re planning to connect it to. Do you already have your new monitor? If so, great. Look at the type of connection it has – if it’s pretty small and has three rows of five holes, then you have a standard SVGA. If it’s wide and has an odd-looking cross on one side, then it’s DVI. Look for a card that has outputs for your specific connections – you can find dual SVGA, dual DVI, or one of each.

If you’re not sure what monitor you’re getting, don’t worry too much about it. Even if you get the wrong one, they make adapters that can change the connection type very easily.

Popular Models with Dual-monitor Support

All of the following cards offer dual-monitor support. (This is just a quick reference list – a comprehensive list would be much longer!)

Radeon 9800 Pro
NVidia’s GeForce 6600GT
MATROX Millenium G550
Pny Technologies nVIDIA Quadro
ATI 100-505141 FireMV 2200 Video

Other Considerations

If you have an HD flat-screen television, chances are that it will have DVI or SVGA inputs on it. What this means is you may have had your second monitor sitting in your house for all this time and not even realized it! Provided you have a card and system that can handle the load, big TV’s hooked up to your computer are a great way to watch internet movies or even play video games. Think of the possibilities!

We hope you’ve enjoyed this guide to dual monitor video cards. Happy computing!

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