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Laptop hardware requirements for using extra monitor
Thread poster: Oliver Dirs
Oliver Dirs  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:22
Swedish to English
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Apr 19, 2008

I'm planning to buy a new laptop as my main computer, and am considering getting one with a 13" screen as I want it to be genuinely portable. I plan to connect a 19" widescreen monitor at home so I can work from two screens (well, 1 and a half...) simultaneously. Does anyone know if this setup will work with any of the latest laptops, or do I need one with a particular graphics card? Will any recent laptop with a VGA-out port do?

Also, is using an extra monitor with a laptop as simple as connecting it, or would I need a special cable/adapter?

Thanks in advance,
Oliver


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Stanislaw Czech, MCIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:22
Member (2006)
English to Polish
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If you don't have this monitor yet buy something bigger Apr 19, 2008

19" is really not enough, I have recently switched to 24" the diference is really significant and the prices are falling fast. And when it comes to using 2 monitors, as far as I know, you can use external monitor instead of your laptop's monitor. Or you can have them both and see the same picture on both. But maybe I am wrong?

Best
Stanislaw

[Edited at 2008-04-19 22:12]


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Madeleine MacRae Klintebo  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:22
Swedish to English
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VGA-in or preferrably DVI-in Apr 19, 2008

I've got a 15"4 laptop to which I've connected my "old" 19" monitor via DVI. You need no extra cables or software to do this (though I really like Asus Multiframe which allows me to instantly move windows from one screen to another).

To Stanislaw - you can extent your desktop to the 2nd display and easily move windows from one to the other. No need to see the same thing twice.


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Stanislaw Czech, MCIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:22
Member (2006)
English to Polish
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That's great information Apr 20, 2008

Thank you Madeleine, I guess that laptops made a big step forward since I last tried to do it (a few years ago). I will have to try again!

Cheers
S


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 08:22
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
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Most new laptops... Apr 20, 2008

Oliver Dirs wrote:
Does anyone know if this setup will work with any of the latest laptops, or do I need one with a particular graphics card? Will any recent laptop with a VGA-out port do?


In my opinion, if a laptop has a VGA-out port, and if there is a button it that would be used for connecting the laptop to an overhead projector, then it is very likely that the laptop can handle two monitors.

Or, on the demo in the shop, right-click the Desktop (if you're using MS Windows), select "Properties", and see if there is an option in one of those tabs to select a dual screen mode.

Or, in the computer store, tell the clerk to connect one of the loose monitors to the laptop and show you how dual screen mode works. You should be able to move your mouse from the laptop screen onto the other screen in one long sweeping motion. What you see on the laptop screen should not be the same as what you see on the other screen.

I must add that it is sometimes preferable to see the same thing on both screens (eg if you're doing a presentation, sitting at a table with the audience in front of you), but that is an additional function that is often triggered by a separate button on the laptop.


[Edited at 2008-04-20 10:03]


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Oliver Dirs  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:22
Swedish to English
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TOPIC STARTER
How do you get the best use out of a 24" screen? Apr 20, 2008

Thanks for the helpful replies. I'm considering getting a Dell laptop (so won't be able to see it demonstrated in a shop), but am putting off the inevitably frustrating attempt to speak to a human being on their support team.

Stanislaw, I'm interested to know why you think a 24" screen is so good and how exactly you use it.

Oliver


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AniseK  Identity Verified
Malaysia
Local time: 15:22
Japanese to English
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Large monitor - Many uses Apr 22, 2008

Hi Oliver,

I'm using Dell myself, and very happy with it. I don't think you have to worry about the connection to another monitor, because most laptops come with the port, and you just have to press a few buttons, usually Fn+F4, or something to switch between the monitors. And the cable usually comes together with the monitor, so when you buy the monitor, bring along your laptop so that you can test them.

Large monitors, love them myself. For me, the best thing about large screens is that you can open many documents, resize them to fit your screen and still able to see their contents at the same time, satisfactorily. Fits my working style.


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FarkasAndras
Local time: 08:22
English to Hungarian
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in practice Jun 4, 2008

You could hit a few snags.
Basically you have to check your comp's ports. It porbably has VGA, probably doesn't have DVI. Get a monitor that has a port that matches your comp.
Setting up is done (probably) through the icon of your video card on the system tray. Extended desktop is what you want.
If you want a giant (20 and up, 1600+ resolution width) you may not be able to run it at native resolution (in which case there's no point inbuying it). The VGA cable you'll probably use may not allow you to set max resolution (depends on vidcard driver) and your video card may not be powerful enough to push out 2 images, esp if one has an absurdly high res like 1900*1200. The very widely used older GMA 950 would probably stgruggle in that situation.

Bigger is always better with screens... the bigger it is the more windows (dictionaries, browsers, text windows) fit. But you may not be able to use a 24".
I'm about to buy a 1680*1050 20 incher myself but my laptop may not be able to handle it.


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