What is a Dual Monitor Setup? (with pictures)

Nicole Madison

A dual monitor setup is a type of arrangement in which two monitors are used with just one computer-processing unit. Such a setup is useful for increasing work or business productivity. However, many people prefer dual monitor setups for entertainment purposes as well.

A simple SVGA cable attaches the second monitor.
A simple SVGA cable attaches the second monitor.

Most people are familiar with the typical desktop computer scenario, in which one monitor is paired with one computer. This type of setup is common in both home and computer environments. More and more, however, computer users are seeing the benefit of having two monitors, instead of just one.

Dual monitor setups can increase productivity.
Dual monitor setups can increase productivity.

With a dual monitor setup, you have freedom from the annoyance caused by constantly clicking back and forth between browser windows. When you have two monitors on at the same time, you can keep both windows open simultaneously. You can work in several different applications at the same time and can even enjoy such pastimes as instant messaging on one monitor, while devoting the other to more productive work. Furthermore, a dual monitor setup can make viewing extra long documents easier, as you can view half of a lengthy document in one monitor and the other half in another.

A dual monitor setup is fairly easy to put together. Basically, you just need two monitors and a dual-head graphics card. Many new computers are sold with dual-head graphics cards included. If your computer does not have one, there is no need to fret. You can find an adequate card for less than 200 US dollars (USD). To ensure compatibility, make certain that the outputs on the card you choose match the inputs for the monitors you’ll be using.

Unbeknownst to many, Windows is capable of supporting up to ten different monitors on one personal computer (PC). This means you can bypass the dual monitor setup completely, if you wish, and set up a multi-monitor system. The potential for the easy setup of multiple monitors varies when using other platforms.

There are a few things to keep in mind when you are planning a dual monitor setup. First, make sure your PC has a video card. If it does not, you will not be able to add on another monitor.

Also, you’ll need to learn whether your motherboard has accelerated graphics port (AGP) or peripheral component interconnect (PCI) slots. The card you buy must fit the type of slots on your motherboard. Some motherboards have both kinds of slots.

It is also possible to put together a dual monitor setup using a monitor switch box, instead of a new video card. A monitor switch box allows for switching between monitors while using one computer. Many also allow for switching between computers, while using just one monitor.

Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison

Nicole’s thirst for knowledge inspired her to become a EasyTechJunkie writer, and she focuses primarily on topics such as homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. When not writing or spending time with her four children, Nicole enjoys reading, camping, and going to the beach.

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Discussion Comments


I hooked laptop to desktop monitor as my laptop monitor has a short in it. I wanted to switch back and disabled the desktop monitor. Now I don't have a picture on either screen. Help!


Query. I didn't find an "ask question" section so I am using this. I have a MAC G4 with dual OS (9 and 10). Just bought an ACER 22". Got it to work with 10 but not with 9. Still have my SONY Triniton which works with 9. What do I need to be able to switch between the 2 monitors. Right now I am switching plugs. wjms


I am curious how with my dual monitor set up. That I can then play games on one, and then I can multi-task onto my other monitor and when I do, the game does not close out. Is there anyway of preventing that? Thanks for any help and advice.


I am curious and if this can be answered. How can I set things up so that I could run a game on one monitor so that my other screen can be used for instant messaging/internet browsing with out the game closing out to the tool bar? Thanks for any help that can be given!

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