Gaming with Multiple Monitors – How to Get the Best Experience

Playing games using multiple monitors provides a way to organize specific elements of gameplay onto separate screens. You may wish to have your inventory, stats, maps or other useful information on one screen and the actual game play on the other. Before setting up your gaming for multiple monitors, its important to ensure that your computer’s hardware supports a second monitor. If it doesn’t, purchasing a new graphics card normally makes it possible to add a second or even third monitor. Of course, you also need to choose games that support the use of multiple monitors.

Installing a Second Monitor

Make sure that your graphics card supports dual monitors. You’ll know by looking at the back of the computer. If there are two or more ports for a monitor then you can simply plug the second monitor in, with the computer shut off, and then start the computer. If the card does not support multiple monitors then you’ll need to purchase a new graphics card that has a dual-link graphics card before playing. Installation of a new graphics card usually only takes a few minutes. Just turn off and unplug the computer, open the computer casing and remove the old graphics card. Usually, you’ll need to use a Philips screwdriver to release the graphics card from the computer. Then, just slide the new graphics card in place. Don’t force the card in; it should slide in easily. Secure the new card and then close the computer case. Once you’ve done that, simply plug in the monitors and start your system.

Once the computer has started up, go to the display options on your system. Some graphics cards split the computer over two screens, while others have a primary and secondary monitor setup. For computers that use primary and secondary monitors, choose your main monitor and set it as the primary one. The primary monitor will have your desktop, icons and anything else that would appear if you had just a single monitor. The secondary monitor provides space for you to drag items off the primary monitor.

Purchasing Monitors

Check the screen resolution of your current monitor and the overall size of the monitor. Monitor sizes are measured diagonally from one corner of the screen to the other. By choosing monitors of the same size and resolution, you’ll avoid problems with flickering and screen freezes while playing the game. If the computer has to work with multiple screen resolutions, the game play will suffer. If you have the money, it’s not a bad idea to purchase two of the same monitor. You can always try to trade the old monitor in, pawn it or sell it.

Games Without Dual Monitor Support

There are several reasons to use a second monitor even if the game you are playing doesn’t support multiple monitors. For instance, you could have a game walk-through on one monitor and the game play on the other. Multiple monitors are interesting to use; generally, you need to drag any items you want across the screen and on to the other monitor. You can test this by moving your mouse from the edge of the monitor on the right to the edge of the monitor on the left. You’ll notice that when the screen ends on the first monitor, the mouse keeps moving over to the second monitor. You can drag word documents, Internet pages, videos or whatever else you want over to the second monitor to view while playing. You could even let another member of your family watch a movie on the computer while you silence the noise in your game and keep playing.

Games With Dual Monitor Support

If the game does support dual monitors then you’ll have to go through the list of features to set up the monitor the way you want. You’ll need to know your current monitor resolution for this. If the monitor resolution is set at 1900 x 1200, then choose that option. If the game supports stretching the entire game over two images, you’ll see an option for a “wide” screen setup. Typically, thesesetups will have a low second number and a high first number. For instance, two monitors with a screen resolution of 1900 x 1200 would have a combined screen real estate of 3800 x 1200. For games that support this sort of resolution, use the combined totals from both your monitors. This is why having two monitors with the same resolution and same size provides the greater benefit.

Alternatives to New Graphics Cards

While not the preferred method of gaming with multiple monitors, you can purchase a port adapter to plug in more than one monitor. To do this, you’ll need to purchase the port adapter and attach it to the back of your computer’s monitor port. This divides the port into two or more outputs that you can plug more than one monitor into. If you are going this route, make sure that you have plenty of RAM and a fast CPU. Normally, a dual-link graphics card would provide a suitable amount of RAM and processing power to power multiple monitors. Single monitor graphics cards normally don’t have enough video memory to support two computer monitors. So, in this case, you’ll need additional memory.