Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Dual Monitor system

I have a new toy.  I have been putting together a new system and now I have two monitors.  You might call this an "economy" system.  A local business was upgrading their workstations and sold off their old computers and monitors.  Thirty-five bucks got me a Dimension 2400 (no operating system) and a 15" LCD monitor.  I couldn't pass it up.

The Dell has a Pentium 4 cpu and came with 500mb of RAM.  The first thing I did was upgrade the RAM to 2 GB from my old box.  Then I dropped in my wifi card.  No OS is not a problem for me because I prefer Linux anyway.  This time I went with Ubuntu 10.10.  I fired it up and everything worked right the first time.

But the D2400 has on-board video and only one video outlet.  That meant I couldn't plug in the second monitor.  Newegg to the rescue.  I found a Radeon PCI video card with both VGA and DVI outputs for only $40.  Add on a $12 DVI cable and I just upgraded my video from a 33mhz clock to 333mhz and digital output to boot.  The DVI cable is going to my 20" LG monitor and the VGA to the 15" Gateway.  The last add-on was to pop in my CD burner from my old system as the Dell just had a player.

I fired everything up and Ubuntu found everything the first time.  All it took was some minor tweaking of the displays and I am off and running with my new toy.  I know this isn't cutting edge technology.  Actually it is several years old but that's what is fun for me.  I'm not a gamer so I don't need cutting edge speed and power.  I use my computer to feed my internet news addiction, email my friends, track my sales, and write the occasional blog post.  I figure I should be good for a couple more years at least.  All for less than $90.  What I really enjoyed was playing with the hardware and setting everything up.

Now I get to learn how to use a computer with dual monitors - multi-tasking is my dream (yea, right).

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