I'm wanting to get set up with dual monitors. I don't do ANY gaming, and don't plan to. This is for work: programming, general office type stuff. RAM and screen real-estate intensive, but nothing graphics intensive.
Currently I have a single 19" (VGA) LCD and an ASUS k8s-mx mobo with onboard video (SiS760GX) that's been just fine for my needs so far, but doesn't have a second monitor output.
I'm probably going to get another similar LCD screen.
My priorities for the vid card are:
* relatively low price
* quiet & low power consumption! (I've got a pretty quiet system, don't want anything with a noisy fan - prefer no fan - or that generates too much heat or draws too much power.)
* supports VGA (would prefer not to have to get an adapter for my existing monitor)
My questions are:
* can I get an AGP card and use it alongside my onboard video? Or does plugging an AGP card disable the onboard vid?
* If I have that option, should I do that, or get a dual head card?
* What particular cards do you recommend?
I believe that using an AGP video card will disable the onboard video, but I am not certain. This concern is not really relevant, since some of the cheapest available AGP video cards have dual monitor out. At the very least, a dual head card will probably be easier to deal with. I've looked at newegg, and I'm a little disappointed in their offerings on the low end for AGP. Sadly, with AGP at the end of it's life, there isn't a glut of incredibly cheap budget cards driving down prices. I've used a Geforce 6200 in the past; it works great. There are a few variations on the 6200 series, just check that it is fanless and has DVI and VGA out. Also, I saw the 9250 for a few bucks less, and it is also passively cooled. I believe that it is an acceptable card, but I've never used it. There are a few older cards, such as the Geforce 5000 series, and the Radeon 7000, but I don't really see an advantage to going with such an old card to save very little money.
You might try looking at getting a used 6200 if you're really interested on saving money. I imagine that any of the Radeon cards in the numerical 9000-9250 range would also work for you, though I'm going to mention again that I don't have experience with that series of card personally. Nearly all of those cards have a DVI and a vga connector.