Dual monitors, and getting the most out of them

exisexis Registered User regular
So I just bought a 24" 1920x1080 monitor to go along with my 22" 1650x1080 monitor. Working on a paper lastnight, this was awesome. Working on something on one screen and having another entire screen for relevant material and references is fantastic. I can definitely see this being hugely beneficial for work purposes. I've been using Ultramon to split the Win7 taskbar across monitors, and everything is sweet.

Today I booted up The Witcher 2, which maximized to a single monitor without issue. But while I can see stuff on my secondary screen, I still need to alt tab out to move my mouse over.

I'm not too concerned about this in particular, but it made me think... how do you use multiple monitors? Do you have any tips/tricks/apps that make life easier? Any workarounds for common issues? Would be interested to hear suggestions for how to get more out of this.

exis on

Posts

  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    I keep my temperature monitor OSD (Everest) on the second monitor while gaming, as well as my FPS meter, NetMeter, and a Ventrilo window. Usually. I love it.

    Otherwise, now that I'm no longer in schools (it was fantastic for both writing papers and coding) it just winds up being my "scratch pad" area, where I throw windows that I don't want in my way at them moment (Handbrake, uTorrent, whatever).

    mcdermott on
  • Brian4120Brian4120 Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    Usually I keep IRC and some temp monitoring things up on my 1440x900 19" LG monitor that I've had forever.
    Protip: If you have steam games and want to avoid alt+tabbing issues, add this run command
    -windowed -noborder
    Works for most modern source games.

    Brian4120 on
    I'M HALPING!
  • DhalphirDhalphir don't you open that trapdoor you're a fool if you dareRegistered User regular
    edited May 2011
    Running a game in windowed mode, or "windowed (Fullscreen)" will often allow you to move the mouse over to the second screen.

    Dhalphir on
  • SirToastySirToasty Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    I keep any chat programs or media players open on one monitor and games or browsers on the main one. It's nice to have full screen stuff on one and other things I only need to glance at on the other.

    SirToasty on
  • SpoitSpoit *twitch twitch* Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    I actually have my PS3 hooked up to my primary monitor, so I can still be using my computer to have guides and stuff open, or do stuff during long load times. And having a secondary monitor that can go vertical is really helpful for papers or the like too

    Spoit on
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  • EgoEgo Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    I love multiple monitors. Used to have a triple display setup but I lent one of them out. At the height of my multiple-display craziness, I had a 24"@1920x1200, beside a 42" HDTV (1080p), flanked by another 24"@1920x1200, followed by my laptop and a netbook with ubuntu which were connected to my main systems mouse and keyboard with Synergy* (which I highly recommend trying, if you like multiple displays and have a laptop or other secondary systems --very slick stuff.)

    It was pretty awesome, just being able to swing a cursor over that many displays/systems.

    I have a couple futureshop gift cards, I should really go pick up a cheap 24" and go back to the triple-display system where the HDTV is my primary.

    edit: although there's one thing I don't like about using three displays; I run my third from the motherboard, which doesn't have dedicated video memory :|. It slows the entire computer down by a good 5%-10% or so, which bothers me even if stuff is still completely playable. I really need to upgrade to an SLI rig and do it right.

    *edit2: Synergy is also good for when you want to be able to access other stuff while gaming, because you can set keyboard shortcuts to pull you to a secondary system without alt-tabbing from the game itself. Though to do this, you have to enable a setting in synergy to stop it from coming to the foreground as an application (otherwise the game will act as if you'd alt-tabbed to another program.)

    Ego on
    Erik
  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    Dhalphir wrote: »
    Running a game in windowed mode, or "windowed (Fullscreen)" will often allow you to move the mouse over to the second screen.

    But it's a pain in the dick, because then turning right and firing (which is a left click) can lead to you clicking on another window, taking you out of your game.

    mcdermott on
  • PirusuPirusu Pierce Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    I have my primary screen for full screen windows (games, mostly). My secondary monitor has sized windows. Chrome takes up the majority of it, set on the left (probably about 2/3rds) and then on the far right side is my Pidgin buddy list. Sandwiched between the two is Pidgin Conversation window on top, and ventrilo below it.

    Pirusu on
  • DasUberEdwardDasUberEdward Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    Well glad to see this thread.

    Does anyone know a way to choose which monitor a program full screens in by default? At the moment I switch my main monitor to my secondary monitor, then full screen the program I want and use the program. Then when i'm done I have to switch the monitor settings again.

    It's kind of tedious. I'd really like a way to be able to set certain programs to go full screen in one monitor or the other without having to fiddle with display properties.

    I have all of my nvidia drivers up to date and the Nvidia control panel doesn't seem to have any useful options.

    DasUberEdward on
  • TNTrooperTNTrooper Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    Open the Nividia Control Panel and go to the "Set up multiple displays" the bottom half of the their is an area to adjust the position of the displays. Right click and make sure your primary monitor is set as the main display. Or you can try giving UltraMon or Display Fusion a try. I use UltraMon and stuff like folders and programs just open on the monitor I used them on last.

    TNTrooper on
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  • MrDelishMrDelish Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    my monitor setup (linked because huge):

    http://imgur.com/kOFJA

    far left is for Foobar (music program) and assignment information. Middle is for videogame/where I'm doing an assignment and is aligned slightly lower than Left so I can open the start menu easily. Right is for internet and ventrilo.

    folder windows are typically scattered about the monitors if applicable

    MrDelish on
  • DasUberEdwardDasUberEdward Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    TNTrooper wrote: »
    Open the Nividia Control Panel and go to the "Set up multiple displays" the bottom half of the their is an area to adjust the position of the displays. Right click and make sure your primary monitor is set as the main display.

    I've been doing it this way and generally the program will open on whatever monitor it was on last.

    But I was trying to figure out if there was a way I could have specific things open full screen on one monitor or the other. As it stands I have to make my secondary monitor (it's larger I use it for gaming and stuff) my primary monitor if I want something full screen on it. I'd like to find a method where a secondary monitor can full screen.

    I'll look into this Ultramon.

    DasUberEdward on
  • DhalphirDhalphir don't you open that trapdoor you're a fool if you dareRegistered User regular
    edited May 2011
    Does anyone have any experience with using dual monitors that are not the same size? I have the opportunity to grab a 21" monitor quite cheaply, and I'm thinking of plugging it in to my setup, but my current monitor is a 24" and I'm wondering if it will be a little jarring having two different size monitors on my desk.

    Dhalphir on
  • DasUberEdwardDasUberEdward Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    I have a 19 inch and a 28 inch.

    Not jarring at all. Although I keep the 19 inch right in my face and the larger monitor is off to the side. You'll probably end up keeping them at an angle that respects their size.

    DasUberEdward on
  • TNTrooperTNTrooper Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    I got a 23" and a 21" the bottom of each monitor lines up pretty well one so it never bothered me that much. One is just a bit shorter then the other.

    TNTrooper on
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  • PirusuPirusu Pierce Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    I used to run a 23" and a 19". Now I run a 23" and a 22.5" (which really doesn't matter a whole lot, but the screen bezels are different).

    Pirusu on
  • tsmvengytsmvengy Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    MrDelish wrote: »
    my monitor setup (linked because huge):

    http://imgur.com/kOFJA

    far left is for Foobar (music program) and assignment information. Middle is for videogame/where I'm doing an assignment and is aligned slightly lower than Left so I can open the start menu easily. Right is for internet and ventrilo.

    folder windows are typically scattered about the monitors if applicable

    How'd you get the taskbar across all monitors?

    tsmvengy on
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  • SteevLSteevL What can I do for you? Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    mcdermott wrote: »
    Dhalphir wrote: »
    Running a game in windowed mode, or "windowed (Fullscreen)" will often allow you to move the mouse over to the second screen.

    But it's a pain in the dick, because then turning right and firing (which is a left click) can lead to you clicking on another window, taking you out of your game.

    What I did was set it so that my second window was "located" on a diagonal, so the only way to get to my secondary monitor was by moving the mouse through the upper-left corner of the screen.

    SteevL on
  • zanetheinsanezanetheinsane Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    I currently run into the "alt tab" program with my three-monitor setup and have looked at quite a few solutions. I still run Ultramon but I've looked into Actual Multiple Monitors recently: http://www.actualtools.com/multiplemonitors/

    Supposedly the software has a feature that let's you alt-tab out of a game without minimizing. The feature was developed for use with Starcraft II so I don't know if it works with all games, but I imagine it does. Here is the relevant page: http://www.actualtools.com/articles/detail.php?ID=1250&sphrase_id=12322

    In case you're wondering what you do with a three-monitor setup, the right monitor has all my chat and communications (Buddy List + Chat, Steam Friends + Chat, Ventrilo, torrents, etc), the left monitor usually has Chrome open to Google Wave, Sports, etc, and the main monitor usually has my main web browser (Opera) or a game on it.

    There are tons of applications for that many monitors in other areas too. For example, when I'm programming I'll have a web browser on one monitor, code on one, output and file directory on the third, etc. If you're doing 3D work you can have reference artwork on one, Blender in the middle, web browser on the third, etc.

    It's scary, but sometimes I still find myself running out of space to the point where I've considered adding a fourth monitor o_O

    zanetheinsane on
  • zanetheinsanezanetheinsane Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    Ego wrote: »
    I really need to upgrade to an SLI rig and do it right.

    And just as an added, Eyefinity or the nVidia equivalent makes it much easier to do with just one video card, which could save you a bundle. Unless you needed SLI for performance reasons.

    zanetheinsane on
  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    SteevL wrote: »
    mcdermott wrote: »
    Dhalphir wrote: »
    Running a game in windowed mode, or "windowed (Fullscreen)" will often allow you to move the mouse over to the second screen.

    But it's a pain in the dick, because then turning right and firing (which is a left click) can lead to you clicking on another window, taking you out of your game.

    What I did was set it so that my second window was "located" on a diagonal, so the only way to get to my secondary monitor was by moving the mouse through the upper-left corner of the screen.

    Ah!

    I like this.

    mcdermott on
  • DjeetDjeet Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    Ego wrote: »
    I really need to upgrade to an SLI rig and do it right.

    And just as an added, Eyefinity or the nVidia equivalent makes it much easier to do with just one video card, which could save you a bundle. Unless you needed SLI for performance reasons.


    Is there some equivalent of Eyefinity for Nvidia? I have 3 monitors and a gtx 260 w/2 DVI out. I'd love to be able to use the 3rd monitor without having to spend monies on a dualhead2go or similar piece of hardware.

    Djeet on
  • PirusuPirusu Pierce Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    The only nVidia cards that can do something like Eyefinity (Called nVidia 3D Vision Surround) are the dual GPU cards (for a single card) or for SLI setups from the 400 series onwards.

    A GTX 260 cannot display on 3 monitors simultaneously.

    Pirusu on
  • acidlacedpenguinacidlacedpenguin Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    protip: windows key + arrow keys = ability to move windows around from screen to screen without having to power on the other display to find the windows.

    this works well for my setup where I have a 22" 1080p monitor on my desk for computing and a 47" 1080p display on the adjacent wall for watching tv/movies which is only ever on when I need it to be. Though I was thinking of going back to a dual monitor for desktop computing set-up then having some sort of media connection device (streaming to ps3/xbox360, slingbox, cheap nettop/HTPC, whatever) for the TV, but whenever I think about that I find it easier to drag MPC to the second display.

    acidlacedpenguin on
    GT: Acidboogie PSNid: AcidLacedPenguiN
  • TNTrooperTNTrooper Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    Gonna install and give Actual Multiple Monitors a try.

    Edit: Taskbar get's a Window button, clock, icons, and can pin shortcuts to it very nice. It looks a bit different and when you expand the icons rather then getting a window with all of your icons it just shits them onto your Taskbar XP style but better then nothing I suppose.

    Edit 2: After spending a hour trying to find out why the deactivation stuff wasn't working on games I found out that it doesn't work on Steam windows.

    Edit3: Works on some Steam games but not all. I think it won't work on games that make the mouse cursor invisible like FPS games.

    TNTrooper on
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  • MrDelishMrDelish Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    tsmvengy wrote: »
    MrDelish wrote: »
    my monitor setup (linked because huge):

    http://imgur.com/kOFJA

    far left is for Foobar (music program) and assignment information. Middle is for videogame/where I'm doing an assignment and is aligned slightly lower than Left so I can open the start menu easily. Right is for internet and ventrilo.

    folder windows are typically scattered about the monitors if applicable

    How'd you get the taskbar across all monitors?

    http://www.realtimesoft.com/ultramon/

    MrDelish on
  • zanetheinsanezanetheinsane Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    Pirusu wrote: »
    The only nVidia cards that can do something like Eyefinity (Called nVidia 3D Vision Surround) are the dual GPU cards (for a single card) or for SLI setups from the 400 series onwards.

    A GTX 260 cannot display on 3 monitors simultaneously.

    Here is nVidia's list of video cards that currently support 3D Surround: http://www.nvidia.com/object/3dv-system-requirements-surround-technology.html

    There is also the Triplehead2Go from Matrox: http://www.matrox.com/graphics/en/products/gxm/th2go/ which is a little pricey but was previously the only solution before Eyefinity. You could possibly find one used for cheap.

    zanetheinsane on
  • PirusuPirusu Pierce Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    Pirusu wrote: »
    The only nVidia cards that can do something like Eyefinity (Called nVidia 3D Vision Surround) are the dual GPU cards (for a single card) or for SLI setups from the 400 series onwards.

    A GTX 260 cannot display on 3 monitors simultaneously.

    Here is nVidia's list of video cards that currently support 3D Surround: http://www.nvidia.com/object/3dv-system-requirements-surround-technology.html

    There is also the Triplehead2Go from Matrox: http://www.matrox.com/graphics/en/products/gxm/th2go/ which is a little pricey but was previously the only solution before Eyefinity. You could possibly find one used for cheap.

    I'm not sure why my eyes glazed over the older cards on that list. Point still stands that a single 260 won't do 3 monitors.

    Pirusu on
  • tsmvengytsmvengy Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    MrDelish wrote: »
    tsmvengy wrote: »
    MrDelish wrote: »
    my monitor setup (linked because huge):

    http://imgur.com/kOFJA

    far left is for Foobar (music program) and assignment information. Middle is for videogame/where I'm doing an assignment and is aligned slightly lower than Left so I can open the start menu easily. Right is for internet and ventrilo.

    folder windows are typically scattered about the monitors if applicable

    How'd you get the taskbar across all monitors?

    http://www.realtimesoft.com/ultramon/

    $40?! Jeeee-zus.

    tsmvengy on
    steam_sig.png
  • ultimakayultimakay Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    tsmvengy wrote: »
    MrDelish wrote: »
    tsmvengy wrote: »
    MrDelish wrote: »
    my monitor setup (linked because huge):

    http://imgur.com/kOFJA

    far left is for Foobar (music program) and assignment information. Middle is for videogame/where I'm doing an assignment and is aligned slightly lower than Left so I can open the start menu easily. Right is for internet and ventrilo.

    folder windows are typically scattered about the monitors if applicable

    How'd you get the taskbar across all monitors?

    http://www.realtimesoft.com/ultramon/

    $40?! Jeeee-zus.

    After searching I found a free alternative that actually looks good. Its called Zbar and can be found here: http://www.zhornsoftware.co.uk/zbar/index.html

    I havent used it much but it looks like the best free alternative to using displayfusion or ultramon.

    ultimakay on
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  • SirToastySirToasty Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    I have mine set up so the larger (19" or so) is the main monitor and my laptop's 15.6" is secondary. It always remembers that the external is the primary monitor when hooked up so that's nice. I just have to drag the taskbar over to my laptop's monitor when I plug the external in. I like having my browser full screen on the bigger monitor so I move the taskbar. I also run games on the larger monitor so that's why it's set to be the primary display.

    Woo!

    SirToasty on
  • VariableVariable Mouth Congress Stroke Me Lady FameRegistered User regular
    edited May 2011
    I have two 24" monitors. second is mostly for video/streams/music programs. main monitor is everything else.

    wish I could think of more uses for it, although it's awesome for what it does.

    Variable on
    BNet-Vari#1998 | Switch-SW 6960 6688 8388 | Steam | Twitch
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