Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Dual Head Video Card

This is for someone, who is looking for a video card that support dual monitors (spanning, not shadowing).
In my search for a dual head Video Card I ran across hundreds different types of cards to choose from. AGP this PCI that, 8x the other.... all meaningless to someone that does not deal with PC hardware on daily basis. My goal was to find a card that will support 2 monitors. Initially I thought that getting a card with two heads is all I need. That is only partially correct.

Some cards, surprisingly, do not support spanning your desktop onto two monitors. They do have two heads, but when you hook Two Monitors to the card you will see your mouse moving around on two screens at the same time. Why would anyone need that?

When you get a card, make sure it supports spanning two your desktop on two monitors, not just shadowing. D-sub is the old schools monitor connector. DVI is the new connector used for the latest monitors. Do not sweat if you purchased a card that gives your 2 DVI connectors and you have two old monitors with D-sub's. EBay has adapters for that purpose for .99 cents (shipping is more expensive than the precious adapter).

Two types. There are basically two different breeds of video cards: AGP and PCI. Those are only the generic families. What you want to look into are AGP 2x, 4x ,8x OR PCI-E. AGP 4x will fit in AGP 4x slot on your motherboard. It does not always work great the other way. AGP 4x will work in AGP 8x slot, only if the manufacturer states so. If you have an older motherboard, you most likely need AGP 2x card - just like I do.

I bought AGP 2x /4x - something that would work more efficiently in a AGP 4x slot, but it works just fine now, and that was one of few that I was able to find for my mother board configuration. When you get your card - investigate your motherboard's architecture FIRST. If you are no sure about the specs, pull out the plug, take off the cover and take a very close look at the current video card. You will need something very similar.

PCI-E is straight forward - there is only one type out there, there are a few main subgroups that require different RAM or Processor speed, but architecture wise, if you have a PCI-E motherboard then you almost can not go wrong when buying a video card. AGP adventure is a lot more challenging.

Nonetheless, I just thought my 2 cents may help someone out there, who catches this blog.
Think positive... post a comment if you need help or want to add... bash my post. All is welcome.


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