Making use of my Christmas Present… dual Monitors!

January 4, 2010

When my wife asked me what I wanted for Christmas, I really couldn’t come up with an answer. I have all the gadgets that I want, and my computer/laptop are less than 1-year old, so I really couldn’t think of anything that would really excite me on Christmas day. So, I told her that I could use a 2nd monitor for my Desktop PC which would give me double the screen space. I didn’t really need it, but I thought it might be nice to have dual monitors (it seems a lot of people are doing it). As such, guess what I found under the Christmas tree on Christmas day?

After discovering that my wife indeed ordered a 2nd LCD monitor for me, I went to and ordered a new video card that could drive two LCD displays. My requirements, were that the video card have a PCI-express slot, have dual DVI ports, and was fanless. My old video card was a fanless Gigabyte card and I didn’t want to add more noise in my office by getting a card with a fan. Those requirements really limited my selection, but I decided to order a Zotac GeForce 9500 GT card.

Today the video card finally arrives via UPS delivery, so I unboxed it for my initial inspection. I knew from the reviews on that this video card had a huge heat sink, and I might have some difficulty getting it installed in my existing Desktop PC. Below are a few images of this new video card:

As you can see, it does indeed have a giant heat sink to dissipate the heat from video card chips. Luckily, this card did fit inside my Desktop PC case without intruding very much with the other inserted cards. Below is a quick snapshot of the inside of my Desktop PC. Can you spot the new video card? 🙂

Kind of a tight fit, but the heat sink missed all the surrounding cards (whew!). I then buttoned up my PC and reconnected all the various cables and wires, along with the two DVI video cables which were tethered to my two LCD monitors. After a little configuring with the Windows 7 display settings, I got both monitors working flawlessly… no muss or fuss! The Zotac video card seemed to be of high quality construction, and it seems to do the job just fine with not too much heat build-up inside my computer case.

The only thing that surprised me, was that the new LCD monitor (a Sceptre 20.1 “) had a brighter and whiter screen than my old monitor. Both monitors were from the same manufacturer and had the same model number, but one was about 2 years older than the other. Either my old LCD monitor was wearing out, or the new one was using a different LCD screen or newer electronic hardware. In any case, I’ve got both up and running and they look good to me.

So I’ve got my MS-Outlook email up and running in one monitor, while the other has the Firefox web browser and my software development IDE app running. It’s really nice to have the extra screen space, but I sort of feel like I have two computers staring down at me! Would it have been better to get one giant monitor? I don’t know. It seems to take me a while to accept such a big environment change, so I’ll report back in a few weeks on how I’m doing with these two 20” displays.