How to set up dual monitors

Gone are the days of single monitor setups. They’re limiting, unstylish and even look outdated. Sure, it’s cheaper to stick to just one monitor, but why would you?

The possibilities that are opened up when you introduce another monitor in the mix are massively increased. Whether you’re gaming, working or just relaxing watching movies, a dual monitor setup greatly improves the experience.

dual monitors

Now, you may think that adding an additional monitor is and pretty straightforward task. And it is, for the most part. But there are other things you’ve got to consider.

Such as…

The first steps to getting a dual monitor setup

Incorporating another monitor into your PC rig isn’t something you should storm into like a man on a mission. There are steps that must be taken before to ensure that you can make it happen.

The first thing to consider is desk space. Can you even fit another monitor on your desk? You can’t cram two monitors into each other and leave no space for your other peripherals. Make sure you’ve got enough space to comfortable accommodate two monitors. If not, you may want to consider your desk setup.

Another is the quality level of your monitors. You may have just thought that a monitor is a monitor and it will show what you need it to, but actually this is a rather key part of the setup and if you get it wrong you could be left wishing you’d never bothered.

So, why is this important when you’re thinking about how to set up dual monitors? Well, if one monitor is a top of the range Ultra HD curved monitor and the other is a clunky old screen with no modern capabilities then not only will your setup look silly, your dual monitor experience will be completely ruined.

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Trying to game, watch movies or just do anything on one monitor that provides an incredible picture and another that provides a picture which looks like a glorified recreation of Minecraft would be… frustrating, to say the least. Which is why it’s important to make sure monitors match in both picture quality and design.

Once you’ve got your monitors picked out and the desk space to accommodate them, you need to know which cables you’re going to use to attach them and how exactly to do that. Luckily, we’ve put together a quick tutorial that walks you through the process.

You can find out exactly how to do it by watching our video on how to set up dual monitors:

Gaming

Gaming is one of the main reasons to get a dual monitor setup as it provides a much more satisfying experience. Not only does it increase your field of view and allow you to spot enemies approaching from much further away, it immerses you in a much more complete way.

Settling in for an intense gaming session using a single, lonely monitor is a thing of the past. With such advanced monitor technology available on the market, a dual monitor setup can provide a seamless gaming experience that is more comparable with that pro-gamers will be familiar with.

Budding esports competitors looking to be the ultimate gaming champion would settle for nothing less than an exceptional dual monitor setup. So, why should you? If you’ve got your sights set high and the ambition to take you there, make sure you’ve got the kit to make your journey a little easier.

Depending on the type of game you’re playing you can utilise your dual monitor setup in various ways. Playing a racing game or first-person shooter will allow you to expand your view across multiple monitors, giving you the edge over your opponents.

But let’s say you need to do more than just game. If you’re a streamer you can take advantage of having another monitor to multitask. This allows you to manage your live stream and recording whilst also continuing to play your game.

Streaming

When streaming, using a single monitor can prove to be quite a task. You’ve got no additional space to take advantage of and the whole thing can because a juggle act between the multiple tabs you need to navigate between.

A simple solution? Get an extra monitor. This allows you to move everything you need for streaming over to your second monitor, freeing up your primary monitor for the all-important gaming session.

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Workloads

Whether you’re a gamer or not, incorporating another monitor into your work setup is a game changer. If you’ve already got a dual monitor setup, you’ll know how much easier it makes working, but for those of you who haven’t, you’re missing out on some fantastic possibilities.

Much like the way you would use dual monitors for your streaming endeavours, using dual monitors for work allows you to spread you tasks out across a much larger workspace for easy management. Files and emails open on one side, web browser open on the other. An easy way to keep an eye on everything you need.

It’s easy to get jumbled up between various different browsers, tabs, documents and other programmes. With a dual monitor setup, you can designate each monitor to a different set of tasks. This allows you to distribute your workload much more evenly and make sure nothing gets missed.

Depending on your work style, you can choose from a variety of different options for how you want your monitor to operate. You can duplicate the display, if you need to mirror what’s on your primary screen. This option also works well if your secondary monitor is much bigger and you’d like to use that instead of your primary monitor.

You can extend your display, if you need to maximise you workspace. This allows you operate with much more freedom and use each monitor completely differently. This works best when you have two monitors both of similar quality and size so they line up with one another.

Another alternative is if you need to swap them around. Most prevalent in the case of using a laptop for work, the screen is often small and very limiting. This is why attaching another monitor and changing your display settings so that the external monitor is your primary workspace is a much better idea.

Movies

What’s better than watching a movie on one monitor? Yes, it’s two. Adding a second monitor to your movie setup makes for a much more satisfying experience. Even if you’ve got one of the best monitors which provides the most high quality imagery, that potential can always be doubled.

By watching movies on a dual monitor setup you bring yourself closer to what you’d experience in a cinema, which is something everyone is after. Your favourite blockbuster movies can be evenly spread out across two stunning displays, each playing their part in providing a more immersive experience than you ever could have imagined.

dual monitors desktop
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And that’s just if you want to relax in cinematic style, the possibilities of using one monitor for a movie and the other for working are endless. Okay, that might be a little difficult watch a film and work at the same time but the idea isn’t limited to just the scenario.

If you’re a videographer or work regularly with video, you can set up one monitor act solely as a video display, allowing you to work on the other monitor whilst still watching. This allows you to avoid the constant stop start as you flick between video files and your work.

Technical issues if one isn’t working

Not only does your second monitor act as an extension of your primary monitor and another way of working, it also acts as a backup should any issues occur with your primary monitor.

Tackling intensive and important workloads and then suffering an issue with your monitor is enough to make anybody double over with stress. That’s why it’s important to have a failsafe. A backup monitor that doubles as a spare should any original issues happen.

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The same applies if you’re using two monitors with slightly different specs’, there may be a task which requires a higher quality display, one that maybe your primary monitor doesn’t have. Which is where your secondary monitor comes in. This allows you to enlist the help of a much better monitor should you need it.

Look the part

Not only do dual monitor setups walk the walk, they also incredibly stunning when you opt fair a pair of cutting-edge monitors. There’s nothing that looks better than a modernised setup with two swanky monitors rather that one monitor that you’re just making do with.

This is another reason why you should never skimp out on cheap monitors, as they will cramp your style just as they’ll damped your gaming and movies experiences. That being said, you need to ensure the monitors match. As mentioned above, you can’t go charging in like a bull in a china shop and just pick the first shiny new monitors you see. There’s a lot of consideration that should go into your choices.

dual monitor set-up

If you want your rig to look the part, you certainly need to make sure that your monitors match. That means don’t get one that’s super click and curved while the other is chunky and flat. The same goes for the styling on each monitor. Don’t get one with a thick silver edging while the other has a black and near bevel-less design.

Once you’ve got a pair of monitors that match up beautifully, this sets the stage for introducing all of your stylish peripherals and making other design choices. One of the features that makes gaming rigs look so good is the additional LED lighting that is used on top of the light-up peripherals. For example, you could incorporate some LED lighting strips to give your monitors a colour backlighting and add some extra atmosphere to your immersive gaming experiences.

Versatility

The beauty of having 2 different monitors is that they’re extremely versatile. Assuming you’ve picked at least one with a rotating and adjustable stand, you can position one screen in the ‘portrait’ position whilst the other is in the traditional ‘landscape’ position.

Although this may not seem like much help for your average worker, the ability to position a screen portrait can actually be a massive help for designers and videographers alike. Positioning the screen like this allows designers a whole new perspective on their work and gives them the option to diversify their workspace.

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