Multi Head Computers 4U

This, I’ve gotta try:

Build a three-screen workstation for $230 or less.
… This involves taking the video output of a laptop and running through a widget that gives you two (or four, for a bit more money) additonal screen, which, in turn, you’ve bought really cheap somewhere.

There are open questions as to how windows would be managed on this extra real estate; This method may not be as smooth as the multi-head systems when you have an internal video card. Worth a look, though.

Or, just buy one of these: Lenovo to release ThinkPad laptop with 2 LCD screens



  1. #1 Gray Gaffer
    December 21, 2008

    With something like the Matrox DualHead2Go, you set the video output to the full width; like W2K, the inboard video does not see the splitter. So for two 1280×1024 monitors, select 2560×1024 and place them side-by-side. These little adapters do a pretty good job really. The big DVI version needs Leopard and a Pro machine to do a dual 1080p display. OS X 10.5+ on a Mac, of course. YMMV on other OS’s, but the principle remains. If you have enough video RAM to set the extra width, you’re golden.

    The biggest ugly with this scheme, and Coherence under Parallels with twin monitors shows the same problem (because it presents to XP as a single wide screen), is that many applications and OSs open alert and wizard dialog boxes nicely centered on the current screen. Which in this case will just happen to be split by the bezel joints. Some also open windows full or nearly full width, again not really what one wants. The only screen layout management available is are you going to stack them horizontally? ‘not’ is not an option.

    Not sure I really want to go back to bricks for notebooks. I have external monitors at both home and work for my Mac Book Pro 17″. Yes, I’m a pixaholic, but I can live with the one screen on the ferry.

  2. #2 Greg Laden
    December 21, 2008

    Of course, in Linux, you just fiddle a little and should be able to create two separate areas on the same virtual screen that the X-window system will treat as ‘virtual’ and this in this case actual monitors. At least, I think that would work.

    My plan: Get a couple of these el-cheapo monitors and turn them sideways.

  3. #3 Ray Ingles
    December 23, 2008

    I’m more interested in taking a single box and hooking up multiple monitors and keyboards so that multiple people can be using the same computer. It should be simple enough, but I’ve not found a good guide on it. Can anyone suggest a solution?

  4. #4 Greg Laden
    December 23, 2008

    Ray: You need to be using Linux to start with . Are you?