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Weird question about splitting 1 computer to 2 rooms

Last response: in Systems
August 19, 2010 2:33:28 AM

Sorry, I'm figuring it's a weird question. (Unless I'm wrong and other people have done this). I've got a nice new build in my office for gaming with a XFX 5870 1GB. I've also got an aging XPS 1710 that I occasionally use for gaming and graphics work in my living room while I'm in there with the wife watching TV (I listen more than watch!).
I never travel with the laptop, and wouldn't get another. But, it's nice having the extra computer in the living room. BUT, I don't want to build a new desktop.
I just build a SageTV htpc and was running all the wires through my basement when I got an idea. Couldn't I just set me up a monitor in the living room, run it as a second monitor off of the 5870 and run a second keyboard off the desktop in the office? It's about 15-20 feet.

Couple specifics that popped in mind:
- I've got a wireless keyboard on the desktop in the office. Can you run 2 keyboards and mice off of 1 machine? 2 wireless, or would it have to be 1 wired, 1 wireless? As far as the distance goes, I should be okay. The SageTV rig I have in a closet about the same distance away. I just hooked up a Logitec RF keyboard, ran a 15 ft USB extender, and put the pickup/sensor in the living room.
- Would there be any signal degradation running the video cable that far?
- Sad as it sounds, I've never ran dual monitors before (never had the need). What do you do, activate the second monitor and have it shut down the primary? (I figured running them both at the same time would slow down performance)

Thanks for any info!
a b B Homebuilt system
August 19, 2010 6:03:32 PM

Yes. You can do everything.

I've got an i7 machine in my office, and have my main LCD in there, but also have it hooked up to my HDTV in the living room. Rather than run the two screens as side by side, I run them as duplicates. I have a normal desktop keyboard / mouse, and a Microsoft Wireless entertainment set in my living room. I actually ran a powered USB extension + USB hub under the floor to my living room as well, so I have USB ports under my TV if I need them. It works great!

And for your questions: There won't be any real signal degradation - buy a long HDMI or DVI - HDMI cable and you'll be fine. Also, there won't be any decrease in performance.
August 19, 2010 6:09:59 PM

Umm, that is a wierd question.... If i understand you correctly you said that you want to run a monitor in another room that is connected to the computer. This is very possible. There are switch that you can get that when pressed switches the monitor.
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a b B Homebuilt system
August 19, 2010 6:35:07 PM

You don't need a KVM switch to do this. That's when you use one monitor and keyboard to control 2 or more computers... You just need some cables.
a b B Homebuilt system
August 19, 2010 7:34:44 PM

To do duplicates though, you'd need the same resolution on both wouldn't you?
a b B Homebuilt system
August 19, 2010 7:43:14 PM

That's true. Mine are both 1080p which is convenient...
August 19, 2010 9:44:39 PM

Thanks for the info! Some other questions though:
1 - So if it's running duplicate, it won't put any more drag on the graphics card? (just turn on the one I need?)
2 - If running duplicate, couldn't I just change the resolution on the monitor I'm currently using, as needed?
3 - Think I'll run into any problems running dual wireless keyboards/mice?
a b B Homebuilt system
August 19, 2010 9:57:12 PM

Nope, it won't slow anything down at all. Well it doesn't seem to on mine at least. You can always just switch one on or one off in the display settings if you feel like it...

For duplication - it sends a duplicate signal, including resolution, to both screens. If one monitor will do 1080p and one will only do 1440x900 or something, you'll probably need to set it to the lower resolution one if you do the duplicate thing.

The only problem I've had is my wife thinking it's funny to move the other mouse around while I'm playing a game or something...
a b B Homebuilt system
August 20, 2010 12:52:28 AM

Yeah, I was about to say that the only problem would be the fact that both inputs would work at the same time, like a laptops' touch pad and a normal external mouse.

So yeah, people could play with it.
August 20, 2010 1:57:37 AM

But, if you were only using one monitor at a time, you could just set the resolution for whichever one you were using. The monitor in the other room would be off anyway. Right? (Checking my thinking)
a b B Homebuilt system
August 20, 2010 5:17:40 AM

Yep, I've done that too when I had a 1366x768 screen hooked up. When I set it to Duplicate, or to use just that screen, it would go to the lower resolution, and then when I wanted to game in 1080p or something I would just set it to only use the 1080p monitor...
a b B Homebuilt system
August 20, 2010 5:35:05 PM

That sounds like it'd be annoying.
a b B Homebuilt system
August 20, 2010 7:57:41 PM

Not really. It was a TV as well, which I occasionally wanted to use instead of the monitor, to watch movies or whatever. On the computer I'd just enable it, then when I was done and I was back in my office again I'd disable it. About 3 seconds each time. And once again, if the resolutions on both screens are the same, you don't have to do that.
August 20, 2010 10:22:55 PM

Thanks for the info!