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How To Setup Dual Monitors on Your PC?

Posted by Arch on July 9, 2018

Once upon a time, setting up two monitors on your precious machine was a highly complicated and costly task. It was a thing reserved only for professional graphic designers, music producers, and gamers loaded with cash.

Nowadays, you can easily hook up two monitors to one PC machine, mainly due to the fact that graphic cards and monitors are not that expensive anymore. Also, once before you had to deal with some third-party monitor software in order to tweak everything to your preferences, but Windows now has most of it covered.

Hardware and Software Requirements

Obviously, you will need two monitors. Ideally, they should be the same, because that way you will get the best results. But if that isn’t the case, you can survive with two different models, too. The main problem here is that you might end up with two monitors that run at different resolutions, but that’s something you can get used to, especially if you use the lesser one for auxiliary purposes.

Always keep in mind that all monitors run at their native resolutions, and that’s why you should opt for those that can support the same 1080p or 1440p resolution.

The next thing you need to pay attention to is the connections available on your PC and monitors. There are quite a few different ports and not all of them will be featured all the time.

In most cases you will have to rely on one of the following ports – HDMI, DVI, VGA or DisplayPort, just like the ones shown on the picture below.

The easiest way would be to have a graphics card with two HDMI ports and hook up your monitors to those two ports using two HDMI cables. Also, you could have two separate graphics cards and connect one monitor to each one of them, once again using two HDMI cables.

Unfortunately, only expensive graphics cards come equipped with multiple ports.

If not HDMI, you’re probably trying to connect monitors equipped with older ports such as DVI or VGA. In case you haven’t yet purchased the monitors, it is a very wise choice to opt for those that have multiple types of connections.

Today’s new monitors usually have HDMI, DVI, and DisplayPort inputs.

Either way, if there are no direct compatible options available, you can always use adapter cables such as the ones shown in the picture below.

Another good idea before purchasing the monitors is to check your graphics card’s video output connectors. This is so that you know exactly which cables and adapters you need to use. Here is an example of a graphics card with multiple connection options.

Even though HDMI connection is capable of HD video, you should be aware of the fact that when used with 4K monitors the HDMI refresh rate is only 30 Hz, so no 60 Hz or higher refresh rate can be used.

If this aspect of a monitor’s performance is important to you, you may opt for monitors with DisplayPort 1,2a video input, as they can support all sorts of 4K displays at a refresh rate of 60 Hz or higher.

Also, if you’re searching for the pinnacle of such performance, then you will definitely want DisplayPort 1.3 because it is the only one which can run 5K monitors at a refresh rate of 60 Hz or higher.

Setting Up Your New Rig

Once you’ve passed all the cable and connector obstacles standing in your way, you can actually sit down and set up your new rig so that you can actually be productive.

The moment you connect your second monitor, Windows should be able to detect it automatically, as it would with any number of connected monitors.

Either way, you need to decide which monitor to use as the primary. This is the first setup option that you will have to take care of, and you will do so by right-clicking on your desktop. The next step is to choose “Display Settings”, as shown in the picture below.

Once you click on it, you will greeted by a screen called “Customized your display”. There you will see both your monitors shown with numbers. Number 1 signifies the primary monitor.

The selected monitor will be shown in color, while the non-selected one will be greyed out. Over here, you can also determine the monitor that’s on the left and the one that’s on the right, depending on your preferences.

If you click on the “Identify” button, it will help you identify the monitor that’s selected, and which one is the primary display. Ideally, you want the monitor numbers to physically match the layout found in settings. If this isn’t the case, simply switch them by using the “Make this my main display” checkbox.

Last but not least, you can also fiddle with the “Multiple displays” drop-down menu, which will make it possible to use your second monitor as an additional display when you open programs. You can do this simply by choosing the “Extend these displays” option.

If this isn’t what you want, then you can choose “Duplicate these displays” so that the two monitors will display exactly the video.

Conclusion

Hooking your PC up to two displays definitely isn’t that hard anymore. With the right ports and adapters, it takes all but a few minutes to set the whole thing up for you to enjoy the wonderful panoramic image of two monitors.

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