In the past employing multiple monitors had limitations in terms of technology, software support and usage. However, the last decade has seen an astronomical rise in such setups. So, is this just a fad or necessity? More often than not it is the latter; to enhance working experience. But, before you actually go out to buy monitor/s you should be aware of several aspects of your existing computing system. Once you know these crucial properties setting up an array of display devices won’t be a tedious task.
1. A New Paradigm
Computer users evolve as technology evolves. This also means newer and better applications and working environment. All over the world, everyday, even to this minute computer users are experimenting with better tools, devices and enhanced setups. Employing multiple monitors for better experience and usability is one such enhancement. Mentioned bellow is some areas which are seeing increasing number of users opting for more than one display device.
- Power Users – Today, most people have turned power users; multitasking regularly. It simply means working with several applications at any given point in time. In such a scenario having a dedicated display device for each application is a boon. No wonder then these users opt for at least two monitors.
- Financial Business – Folks working for financial companies or self employed in this field typically install a dedicated financial application which offers them live quotes, crucial data, charts and a window to buy and sell stocks. Manipulating various screens within a single monitor can at times be really harrowing. Having multiple monitors means each piece of data can now be viewed independently preventing financial errors while analysing numbers and charts.
- Media World – For Video and audio editors having multiple monitors is not a luxury. These entities need to multitask within single editing software; such as previewing videos, editing, rendering and stacking various elements on timeline. Most of them have a three monitor setup for enhanced working space and hassle free editing.
- Science and Technology – Scientists, weathermen, aeronautics and space experts, geologists and medical researchers are some of the other entities who are accustomed to large and multiple displays. It offers them a broad perspective of various projects and issues.
- Gaming – Gaming has become a serious arena, and majority of computer manufacturers look at it as a serious revenue source. As games turn complex this area is becoming one of the fastest growing landscape for multiple monitors.
2. Why Do You Need Multiple Monitors?
Do you fall under any of the above mentioned category? Yes, then it is time to evolve. However, before you do that, you need to look into your existing hardware configuration and ramifications. Some of the parts which can prevent setting up multiple monitors include; motherboard, graphic card, power supply unit and cooling system. Have the system appraised before ordering new monitor/s.
3. Hardware Enhancement
Of all the above mentioned parts a video card plays a vital role. Latest video cards can handle a couple of monitors. Some of the high ones support even more; sometimes up to four. However, you also need to look into the monitor requirements. It simply means what kind of input does your existing monitor demand. If your video card is not able to satisfy this requirement then you need to change it.
Resolution is yet another factor which requires attention. If you are looking for a resolution which your video card/monitor doesn’t support then it makes sense to replace the same. There are tools to overcome this handicap but it will only increase the complexity.
In case you need to install more than two monitors and your card doesn’t support the third one then it goes without saying that you have to buy a new one. Installing two video cards is not considered a sin provided your motherboard supports it.
Some of the modern motherboards carry onboard graphics facility, and allows installation of multiple monitors. However, it your requirement is more than two then adding a dedicated video card becomes a must. A word of caution here; onboard graphics will not prove to be an effective solution for gaming and video editing due to poor resolution parameter.
4. Laying out Monitors
Now if you are installing just a couple of monitors or maybe three then the built-in mounts/stands will allow you to arrange them physically without trouble. However, when the numbers increase to four and above, mounts won’t work. For this you need to buy a frame work. These are prebuilt structures of various sizes. Choose one which best fits your needs; typically the number of monitors.
5. Software for Monitor Installation
Once you have upgraded your system the time is come to actually setup the monitors physically; labelling them 1, 2, 3 etc. and their relative positioning. This simply means your mouse cursor should move across from one monitor to another and your windows should seamlessly shuffle along x-axis. Apart from this all your monitors should sport uniform resolution and orientation (portrait versus landscape). This is typically done via software. You can either use native Windows application or proprietary software which comes along with video card or motherboard.
Mentioned below are typical steps to install multiple monitors via Windows 7 display settings.
- Identify – Through Windows management you first need to set up the monitors in relation to one another.
- Display – Rearrange the monitors accordingly so that your mouse cursor moves freely across the monitors seamlessly.
- Resolution – Very Important! Match the resolution of all the monitors.
- Orientation – Set up the orientation; whether landscape or portrait.
- Multiple – If you want to duplicate display use this setting. You can also use this setting to form one big cohesive unit.