I just purchased a Dell Vostro 200 desktop. Since I have been used to have dual monitor (laptop + extended monitor) I decided to have the same setting. But it didn’t turn out to be easy. Since I had to spend a lot of hours learning and researching, I want to write this post so you can save some time if you are in the same boat.
First of all, getting dual monitors for your desktop is easy in most cases. There are several ways that you can do it, and the most common ways are:
1. Get ONE video card with multiple ports (VGA, DVI). For those of you who don’t know the term, VGA is blue and DVI is white. You can connect an analog monitor to a VGA port, and digital monitor to DVI port. An adaptor is needed if you decide to connect an analog monitor to DVI.
2. Install 2 video cards.
However, in some cases (like mine), it is harder.Â Since I ordered a slim tower desktop, it is not easy to find a video card to fit my computer case. As a matter of fact, the video cards sold in the computer stores are not likely to fit. I tried both MicroCenter and Fry’s store and they don’t even carry this type of video cards. And I had a hard time to even explain my case.
Let’s ask my friend Google. One thing about searching these days is that you really need to know your keyword to search Google. For example, I tried searching “small video card”, or “video card for slim tower case”, and only got endless pages or generic online store results. After some research, I finally found their official name: “half height video card”.
However the search on “half height video card” didn’t yield much result. Apparently they are just rare.
Because the size restriction (half height, go figure), a half height card can only have one DVI/VGA port, and one s-video port at most, so the previous option No. 1 is out of the picture. But there is an alternative: use a video card that has DMS-59 port. With the DMS-59 port, you can use a Y-cable to split the signal with dual monitors. Here is an example of the Y-cable: http://www.amazon.com/Molex-DVI-cable-DMS-59-DVI-I/dp/B000BFGXOQ
Besides the option above you can always add a new video card to the system. But just make sure it is”half height” and “low profile” so it can fit the case.
One additional point is that choosing the correct card for your PCI slot. There may be different kind of PCI slots on your motherboard, for example mine has 2 regular PCIs, 1 PCI x1, 1 PIC x16. So getting the right card to fit the right unoccupied slot is another thing to watch for.
A couple of pictures.
I really should get an Apple some day.