Navitron Renewable Energy and Sustainability Forum

Energy/Electricity Storage and Use/Grid Connection => Low Energy Computing => Topic started by: MR GUS on May 02, 2009, 09:27:53 PM

Title: PC dilemma, need 2 screens currently...
Post by: MR GUS on May 02, 2009, 09:27:53 PM
For reasons of website creation-ing & due to the fact that I'm very easily distracted & forgetful due to the head injuries sustained over the years, I got to thinking (whether correct or not) that I'd be better off utilising both the lcd monitors we have, (1 large...19 inch sony blackscreen 1 small 14-15 inch regular) in order to speed the process to completion.

Ok, probably not popular due to extra power useage, but this would be temporary, a few months I guess, but how?
 I understand splitters which would obviously give the same screen image, but how do I run 2 sets of programs over 2 monitors without incorporating 2 pc's? ...flicking between programs is not reliable as I just get caught up then forget the other! ..would like to eventually stream some tv for when i really cannot stand wimmins grumblin hour (seems longer) on radio 4 ..I do have a laugh when the wright stuff is on actually, sets me up for the day more often than not, seems sensible to try to utilise existing monitor rather than buy yet another tv for the new office space I moved into today, ..well ok sharing the dogs room!
(lots of natural light  ..yay first time in several years)  8)

I do have a laptop also, but don't wish to hog 2 machines overall, & using the netbook is not a solution due to screen size (ie not full page view, etc)

Anyone got the obvious answer to hand?

Title: Re: PC dilemma, need 2 screens currently...
Post by: EccentricAnomaly on May 02, 2009, 09:45:14 PM
Dunno, multi-monitor systems are a bit of a mystery to me.

Here's what I'd try first, though; it does at least have the advantage of needing no extra hardware: use the netbook [1] to drive the second monitor.  Typically netbooks are set up to be able to drive external monitors (and particularly projectors) with many more pixels than their own screens.  I know the EEE PCs can and assume that's true of most of the others.

Then you'd need to connect from the netbook to the main machine.  With Linux I'd just use ssh -X; with Windows I don't know - VNC perhaps which I used to use a bit and seem to recall can be set up to connect to a separate "desktop" from the main one.  If it's for web development then if you're editing on one machine you can just use the other as a preview machine.

I'd be interested to see what advice others can come up with.

[1] Not quite clear if you have both an extra laptop and netbook available or if the netbook is the laptop you mention.

Title: Re: PC dilemma, need 2 screens currently...
Post by: Justme on May 02, 2009, 09:52:52 PM
XP & Vista both support multipul screens. You can either add a second video card Or add a dual output card.


Title: Re: PC dilemma, need 2 screens currently...
Post by: MR GUS on May 02, 2009, 10:05:08 PM
quick answers, cheers.

Running vista on main pc. good size screen

Netbook is an EeePc with memory upgrade so it streams bbc Iplayer pretty efficiently, so perhaps I ought to use that as a small tv? (XP SYSTEM)

Then theres the vaio Laptop, just upgraded the memory, but the wife likes to use that more often than probably only use if it's a crunch scenario (though admittedly the endgame is to have all the pc's on a long bench, maybe sooner than I think if it makes sense. (XP SYSTEM)

As I know now't about computers, but do have plenty of spare bays on the main PC, what's the downside to an extra graphics card / dual output card (& what sort needed)?

Also have some spare older tower pc's that could be cleaned up & re-utilised if needed but I'd prefer to stay energy concious as much as possible.
Using the Eepc netbook sounds good (& simple) in that format, ..the downside there is that mes enfant see's it as the "Cbeebies" computer ..result no work done, so it go's in another room OR I just gag the child!

Title: Re: PC dilemma, need 2 screens currently...
Post by: Rooster on May 03, 2009, 01:06:23 PM
Plenty of 'standard' graphics cards support dual screens. If your PC already has a separate graphics card then check its spec, you may simply be able to plug the second monitor in.

Failing that there are plenty of inexpensive cards that will run two screens, the important thing is to consider what resolutions you want to use and ensure the cards you use supports those resolutions.

The graphics card software allows you to set up the monitors in a number of ways, ie both monitors showing the same desktop, each monitor showing a different desktop, second monitor as an extension etc etc.

In practice you can just consider the second monitor as a second window and run any software on your PC in that window whilst running any other software in screen 1. You could be running Dreamweaver on screen 1 and a browser showing the page on screen 2 for instance.

Also check your Laptop, many have a graphics output you can just plug a monitor into and then dual screen using the laptop screen as screen 1 and the monitor as screen 2. Resolutions may be a little limited though.

Title: Re: PC dilemma, need 2 screens currently...
Post by: MN on May 03, 2009, 10:42:19 PM
You can also use a USB VGA adaptor to add as many extra screens as you like (although bit expensive and resolution is not great) (

I have a main screen, a separate one off  the graphics card for email and a third using USB VGAto monitor the solar panels!

As soon as you add the screen XP/Vista deals with it and you can visually place them in the correct positions


Title: Re: PC dilemma, need 2 screens currently...
Post by: spiderbug on June 16, 2009, 01:50:37 PM
Most laptops we have at work have a VGA output on them, this can be used to display the same image as the laptop (for presentations etc) or make the desktop 'span' across both screens (mouse gets to the end of one screen then moves onto the other. google it for your particular laptop see if it can do it.

Cheers Al..