Quick question on dual monitors

First of all, hello to everyone - - this is my first post, though I've been reading threads on this forum anonymously for some time. Anyway, try to be gentle; I don't pretend to be a computer expert, though I'm doing my best to learn all I can.

Here's my question: I'm having a custom PC built for me (call it a birthday present to myself). As I plan to use it both for gaming and photo-editing (I'm a professional photographer), I went heavy on the graphics cards - - i.e. triple EVGA GTX580s. My question is not whether this setup will be able to handle two monitors, each doing its own thing: I'm pretty sure that won't be a problem. My question is: is there specific software available for DL or purchase that will enable me to get the most out of a dual monitor setup under windows 7? My goal is to be able to run two or more programs simultaneously, each on its own monitor. (I'm assuming that that's possible...) For example, I'd like to be able to be mid-game, running everquest 2 on monitor 1, while checking my mail and looking up game-related info on the web on monitor 2. Do the two monitors have to be mirror-images of each other, or can I "separate" them and run each independently?

I apologize in advance if this is too simplistic for you guys... I just don't have anyone to ask.

18 answers Last reply
More about quick question dual monitors
  1. First you dont need seperate software
    I use <screen resolution> which is found by right clicking on your desktop

    Second you can definitely run seperate programs on seperate monitors
    I use a dual setup with a C2D 3ghz/HD 5670 and easily can have have
    outlook,video encoder,system monitor,multiple IE9s etc running

    You want to use the option <extend these display> found in the <screen resolution>
    menu box

    and remember not only can you have them side by side you can have them on top
    of each other

    as far as the triple 580s (I am so jealous LOL) running two monitors each I believe that is possible but would want to double check to make sure

    I will go to Nvidia site to check and source it out

    Years ago Microsoft stated that using a second monitor increase work productivity
    by roughly %30

    almost all workstation and serious users will have more than one monitor setup
  2. this is link to Nvidia surround
    which isnt exactly what you are doing but good to know

    here is also a good FAQ to answer your questions
    just click on the question

  3. this is a good graphic about multi monitors


    looks like triple sli of same card can only handle two monitors

    while double sli and a different GPU for physics can do 4 monitors

    for 6 monitors you would need double sli plus different physics gpu plus using
    compatilbe mobo onboard for six

    so to answer the question
    triple 580s will only handle two monitors

    I like Nvidia but right now for multimonitor support ATI has the edge
    with its Eyefinity support for multimonitors

    for example my lowly HD 5670 can handle three displays by itself

    Dont get me wrong I like Nvidia as much as AMD/ATI

    and Nvidia has alot going for them but multi monitors is really an AMD/ATI thing
    right now

    though it is supposed to change I believe with the future GTX 6xx series
  4. What the OP wants to do is mostly doable. He can play a game on one while watching for that important email on the other. If he uses an email program that checks every X time frame then he'll see the email come in. Web based emails don't do this to my knowledge so he'll have the problem I describe below.

    When the email comes in he won't be able to go over to it. The game takes the mouse, and that's it. He'll have to alt tab out of the game to return the mouse to windows, where it can then click on that window. Games are the only thing I know of where you'll have this issue, your photo programs should be fine.
  5. Very true
    Good point
    Alt-Tab does work to some extent but kind of tricky in some games
    sometimes running the game in windowed mode helps

    and for some reason I thought the OP was asking about more than two
    monitors which why I linked the Nvidia site
    Tired :) (too many trips to hospital)

    two monitors will definitley work
    running more than two can be tricky with Nvidia but doable
  6. Triple GTX580 is way too much.

    I use two 30" 2560 x 1600 monitors with a single GTX580. I game on one, and keep e-mail and other stuff open on the other. Gaming will be directed to the primary monitor.
    If I see an e-mail come in, I can stop the game, and go to e-mail. How this is done will depend on the game. Sometimes the game is just in a window, and others need the start key to break out.

    Possibly, you might use dual cards if you were into triple monitor surround gaming, or if you are using 2560 x 1600 monitors.

    A dual monitor will usually be set up as an extended desktop. You can drag windows across from one to the other with no problem. It is best if the monitors are identical so you don't get color changes or different sizes. No big deal really.

    For photo editing, get all the ram you can. It is cheap. That way, there will be minimal contention for ram when you are multi tasking work and games.
  7. Triple GTX580 is way too much.

    I won't argue with that except to say that my intention was not so much to create some kind of monster speed machine, but to experiment with what a given piece of hardware will do in an abnormal configuration. Call it expensive curiousity...

    As for the rest of the behemoth's (someone started calling it this and, somewhat unfortunately, it stuck) specs, we're putting in 16 GB of RAM (expandable to 24 GB), an i7 2600 3.4 Ghz CPU, and a gigabyte GA-Z68X-UD7-B3 LGA 1155 mobo. We're still looking for a sound card that will fit in the case (it's a bit crowded in there) - - any suggestions would be welcome on that front, btw... For storage we are using 2 120 GB SSDs and 2 2TB caviar black HDs. It gets less exciting from there: corsair 1200AX watt power supply, an optical drive or two, a bunch of liquid-cooling-related parts, and finally, a NZXT sentry 2 fan controller (yawn, I know). Apparently, the case is also very nicely painted and is extremely appealing aesthetically (I have no idea if that's true, but honestly, I don't care all that much what the case looks like as long as it isn't covered in purple LEDs or something).

    Supposedly, it's shipping out next week, so in 7-10 days I'll find out whether my admittedly incredibly expensive "experiment" is either the future of computing incarnate or a gigantic cash toilet.

    As for the original question, thank you to everyone who took the time to answer an admittedly stupid question without resorting to ridicule or sarcasm. Everything I know about computers and techie stuff I learned through either trial and error (mostly error) or scouring the internet for solutions to whatever computer-related crisis was the cause of whatever the current catastrophe was at the time. As a result, my overall computer knowledge bank is rife with gaping holes of complete ignorance interspersed with mostly completely random accumulations of information, the quality of which vacillates between nonsensical and entirely accurate. IOW, most of the time I have no clue, but every so often something clicks and - very briefly - I sound like I know what I'm talking about. So, I appreciate it when I ask a question and actually receive real answers minus commentary pertaining to my less-than-stellar computer knowledge.

    And, yeah, I know I suffer from a serious grammatical disability resulting in a kinda weird issue resulting in a gross over-use of run on sentences in everything I write. I'm working on it; I'm aware it drives people crazy, but I just can't stop...aaargh

    thanks again,
    Al (btw, to all the replies that used the male pronoun when referring to me, not quite, guys. I am completely devoid of a Y chromosome. I guess that's on the unusual side around here...)
  8. Thats okay LOL
    Ask any regular here
    I am famous for long winded rambling posts :)
    I just had one of my posts described as a short novella
    Good luck with your system
    It obviously has awesome specs
    Also I have found Wikipedia when it comes to computer info
    very handy
    You do have to be careful the Wiki article is sourced well
    but it is a good place to learn computer vocabulary and concepts
    also Toms has a good series of articles on the Basic 101 of computers
    Please dont be a stranger :)
  9. What monitors will you be using?

    The normal monitors will be 24" and 1080P or 1920 x 1080 resolution. 1080P can come in any dimension from 20" to70".

    If you will be doing fine work, and cost is not a real obstacle, 2560 x 1600 is about as good as it gets. They will be 30" monitors, and cost about $1000 each.

    There are also 2560 x 1440 monitors that are slightly less, and give you a different aspect ratio.

    On the ram, 16gb is good. No doubt all 4 ram slots are populated with 4gb sticks. The 16gb kit will cost about $75.

    If you want to upgrade to 24gb or 32gb, some of those sticks will have to be removed, and replaced with 8gb sticks. They are expensive; a 16gb kit of 2 x 8gb will cost $200.
    Also, to use more than 16gb, you will need windows 7 64 bit, either professional or ultimate.
  10. upgrading the RAM is not at the top of my list right now... 16 GB is more than adequate for the stuff i do (serious photo editing - usually running photoshop, lightroom, any number of nikware plugins, genuine fractals, etc. all at the same time and light weight gaming - - I enjoy the graphics and having random conversations at 3 AM with complete strangers aspect of online gaming, but the truth is simply that i really suck at any kind of video/computer game and never really get anywhere in whichever game I'm attempting).

    Right now I think I'm set for monitors. I have a 27" HP (I don't care what anyone says, this is my 3rd HP monitor and I think they rock) for my main display and a 23" Asus for secondary/back up. I generally use a Spyder to calibrate my monitors, and I've always been lucky where it comes to correct color transfer between what I see on the monitor and what I get when I get a print made of the same image. (One of the things I've always liked about the HPs especially: they are basically correctly calibrated right out of the box and there's no need for extensive messing around to get things right.)

    I actually tried a larger (than the 27") monitor once - don't quite remember the size, but it looked huge - and, to be honest, it almost made me car sick. Everything was way WAY too big. Besides, it looked deeply stupid on my desk - - this huge ass monitor taking up all available space; it looked as strange as a 6 foot toddler. 27" is definitely my limit (which is good, cuz after that new PC, I don't have the cash for the world's biggest monitor).

    I did a little research on the internet and discovered that there are a few programs out there designed for organizing/optimizing the dual monitor thing. The one that seemed to be the most popular was called...damn. ultramon? multimon? something like that. anybody ever heard of that? it was fairly cheap and i thought i'd bookmark it just in case I run into problems when I actually set all this equipment up. Dunno. You never know - - sometimes those little, basically unknown, cheap-as-hell downloadable programs turn out to be surprisingly useful and well-made. It's happened at least once or twice, probably. Uh-huh.

    Hey, while I'm here I might as well put forth another quasi-question that's been sitting in the back of my brain for a few days now... Assuming that I'm going to use an external HD for one of the 3 or 4 catastrophic failure/data-loss prevention tools that I'll be using (as a pro photog, I literally cannot lose my photos and I will totally overkill the whole back-up/recovery thing without shame), I was wondering a) what brand the people in the know are using for this kind of thing, and b) should i connect via network, USB 3.0, firewire, eSATA, an old piece of fishing line... the list goes on and on. Lastly, c) if I get an external box (one of the buy-your-own-HD things) with, say, 3 HD bays which I fill with 3X 1 TB drives, what - if any - RAID configuration should I go for? would the answer change if there were either 4 bays with 4X1TBs or 3 bays w/ 3x2TB drives? Also, besides uploading data to one of those internet services that backs up data for a price and an external network drive(s) combined with an old fashioned USB external HD, is there any other valuable/reasonable method of backing up vital data? I considered buying a standard 2 TB HD, installing it in my PC, copying all relevant files to it, removing it and re-packing it in such a way that it wouldn't easily be damaged, and getting a safe deposit box at the bank and putting the drive in there. Is that insane? I can't even tell anymore...

    Seeing as I'm well on my way to short story length territory, I'll cease and desist. for now. heheheheh.
  11. First off-site storage (using safety deposit box) is a very sane and acceptable way of keeping data safe

    I would do a 3 bay external eSATA HD setup with RAID 1 or a 4 bay eSATA HD with RAID 5
    depending on budget

    this is a simple beginners guide to raid

    also using a BluRay burner to burn data disks for especially vital data
    and storing disks in safety deposit box is another alternative
    really depends on the amount of data being backed up

    In Win 7 the dual monitor setup is handled well with no need of third party program
    just right click desktop and select screen resolution
    to have one large display use extend displays option
  12. Quote:
    I would do a 3 bay external eSATA HD setup with RAID 1 or a 4 bay eSATA HD with RAID 5
    depending on budget

    sounds like a solid plan. any brand recommendations?
  13. I saw this one on newegg that looks good

    just need to get the 3.5 inch sata drives

    I would post a new thread on storage section of toms
    and ask for advice

    While I know a little about it
    I am not an expert at RAID arrays or external enclosures
    the veteran members in the storage section could give much better advice
  14. I just have to say that you guys rock; this is the only internet forum pertaining to tech stuff I've ever seen/read where members actually try to answer questions, even stupid questions, with respect, zero condescension (sp?), and intellect. Now that I've had a chance to actually cruise around and check the site out more thoroughly, I'm, if anything, more impressed. This is a fantastic resource and it's going to the front of my bookmarks list!
    thank you to all who responded,
  15. LOL, you haven't been here long enough then.

    The most respectful forum I've been on was the extremetech forum who doesn't allow half the stuff that happens here. But that was years ago and all the "brainy" people left. I got so bored answering all the "rate my build" questions that I finally called it quits as well. This forum isn't bad but it does have its problem members.
  16. yeah, I just encountered my first "problem". it's endlessly bizarre that so many people get a thrill from slinging idiotic insults at complete strangers on the internet (whose most horrific crime is using too many words while asking for help with a big, confusing, and disturbing problem with her PC).

    Don't like it, don't comment, and move on. (I'm going to get that tattooed on my forehead)...
  17. I am sorry to hear that
    I hope you dont think badly of Toms because of a few ignorant members
    There is a report button to let Moderators know if somebody is being rude and insulting
    The Mods here are pretty good about taking care of members behaving badly
  18. Quote:
    And, yeah, I know I suffer from a serious grammatical disability resulting in a kinda weird issue resulting in a gross over-use of run on sentences in everything I write. I'm working on it; I'm aware it drives people crazy, but I just can't stop...

    Interesting. Reading your stuff felt like reading something I'd written myself. Now you've got me worried about the effect my writing has been having on people for the last 5+ decades.
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