I need advice on dual monitors

Jonathan

Well-Known Member
Normally, when I decide to buy a monitor, I suck it up and try to get the best one I can afford at the time. However, my situation and needs are different this time. I am looking a set of quality but affordable monitors that will "get the job done, and well" for my ham shack. These monitors will not be used in any primary way for either watching movies, gaming, photo/video work, etc. Instead, they are for my radio desk where, side by side, one of them will be running ham radio software and the the other will most likely be used to surf the web simultanously.. But, I still don't want to buy junk. The size I am going for is is probably about 35'' each and simply 1080p. Any more resolution will be wasted.

So that is my first question. My second is this:

For those of you who have experience using dual monitors, I hope to be able to run both screens off my laptop as well as use the laptop screen itself as a third monitor. I only have 1 HDMI but two 3.1 Thunderbolt ports. Again, running three programs will not be an issue - they are not demanding on the cpu. Will this be possible based on my setup. I am using Windows 10 Pro, by the way.

Appreciate the help and if you need any more info, please don't hesitate to ask.
 

mattfivefour

Well-Known Member
EachThunderbolt 3.1 port has wider bandwidth than the HDMI port, so use those to run your two monitors. A decent 34"-35" 1440p monitor (for text I highly recommend using a 1440p rather than a 1080p due to the higher resolution giving sharper text) will run you at least $300 and change. If that's a little too rich for your pocketbook considering you have to buy two, think about going to 29-inch or 32-inch monitors. The cost difference is significant.

I have a dual 35-inch monitor set up and until recently used 1440 AOC monitors. But one of them died and thanks to a gift of some cash I recently purchased a 35-inch 1440 curved Dell 1440. I love it! A gentle curve on a monitor that size really does add to ease of reading. And my Dell has a Samsung screen. Can't ask for better, especially at the sub-$400 price I paid.

Samsung, LG, Dell, Acer all offer good ultra-wide monitors ... but various models can differ widely in subjective appearance because each of us is different. Go into any big tech store and eyeball the working displays there before purchasing. But make sure the ones you choose do have a Display Port or mini-DP input to connect to your laptop Thunderbolt ports.

I am using a desktop that I built, not a laptop, so I cannot tell you if the laptop screen itself will function with dual external monitors. Sorry. But I hope the rest of this helps.
 

Jonathan

Well-Known Member
EachThunderbolt 3.1 port has wider bandwidth than the HDMI port, so use those to run your two monitors. A decent 34"-35" 1440p monitor (for text I highly recommend using a 1440p rather than a 1080p due to the higher resolution giving sharper text) will run you at least $300 and change. If that's a little too rich for your pocketbook considering you have to buy two, think about going to 29-inch or 32-inch monitors. The cost difference is significant.

I have a dual 35-inch monitor set up and until recently used 1440 AOC monitors. But one of them died and thanks to a gift of some cash I recently purchased a 35-inch 1440 curved Dell 1440. I love it! A gentle curve on a monitor that size really does add to ease of reading. And my Dell has a Samsung screen. Can't ask for better, especially at the sub-$400 price I paid.

Samsung, LG, Dell, Acer all offer good ultra-wide monitors ... but various models can differ widely in subjective appearance because each of us is different. Go into any big tech store and eyeball the working displays there before purchasing. But make sure the ones you choose do have a Display Port or mini-DP input to connect to your laptop Thunderbolt ports.

I am using a desktop that I built, not a laptop, so I cannot tell you if the laptop screen itself will function with dual external monitors. Sorry. But I hope the rest of this helps.
Excellent information, Matt. YES.... this helps. It if it worth it, I can probably spring for two $300 monitors and I see your point that at that size of a monitor, a little extra resolution would go a long way towards sharpness where as it wouldn't be needed on a smaller monitor. (I'm a big fan on Samsung Monitors as well).

So, basically, just to make sure (and don't feel like you are on the spot), with thunderbolt ports not only will I probably getter performance, but I can, through such a situation, have on thunderbolt going to one monitor, another to the other, and also be running my laptops display... all three at one time. Again, not putting you on the spot, because I plan to call the makers of my computer tomorrow and make sure this is workable.

Oh, last question: If using this configuration, will it still work if I use a 3.1 "Hub" because several of my radio items and other devices need a USB port to work.

Thanks again for the help.

Jonathan
 

mattfivefour

Well-Known Member
I answered your 3 monitor question in the edit of my original post: I just don't know.

As to the hub question-- I am not a Thunderbolt expert. It would seem to me that it should work, but I have no experience with it. Sorry.

Good luck with your upgrade, brother.
 

GEOINTAnalyst

Well-Known Member
So, basically, just to make sure (and don't feel like you are on the spot), with thunderbolt ports not only will I probably getter performance, but I can, through such a situation, have on thunderbolt going to one monitor, another to the other, and also be running my laptops display... all three at one time. Again, not putting you on the spot, because I plan to call the makers of my computer tomorrow and make sure this is workable.
Have a look here - https://www.owcdigital.com/products/thunderbolt-3-dock-14-port
 

Tall Timbers

Imperfect but forgiven
Oh, last question: If using this configuration, will it still work if I use a 3.1 "Hub" because several of my radio items and other devices need a USB port to work.

When my daughter connected her monitor to her laptop via a docking station which was connected to a Thunderbolt port, it didn't work. I mention this just so you'll test whatever hub/docking station you get in time to send it back if it doesn't meet your working requirements when you try it. Some laptops have docking stations designed for them... maybe your's does.
 

Jonathan

Well-Known Member
When my daughter connected her monitor to her laptop via a docking station which was connected to a Thunderbolt port, it didn't work. I mention this just so you'll test whatever hub/docking station you get in time to send it back if it doesn't meet your working requirements when you try it. Some laptops have docking stations designed for them... maybe your's does.
Thank you very much for the advice. While a docking port would be cool, I am actually, it this point, I can still see whether or not my thunderbolts can do the trick. (A lot of it has to do in drivers). But even if it doesn't perhaps an HDMI hub would work., If I can split the HDMI signal into two channels, the same way you stick a usb hub into your computer and connect multiple devices to that one socket, then I think that would suffice. Again, I don't need incredible bandwidth for my situation.

Ideally, I would be all three screen on, (my laptop and two extra monitors) and then I can simply float the mouse back and forth between all three monitors.

Again, my laptop, while slowly starting to feel a bit long in tooth, can still easily handle all three programs I intend to use it as well as many more. I just want to make sure that in terms of configuration, one laptop can support it's own monitor as well as be connected to two additional monitors. Three screens being worked by one laptop.

Docking stations are great, but I think if a 3.1 hub splitter will do the job mentioned above, the docking station would be unneeded. And, I actually want my laptop open and functioning as one out of three screens.

Sorry is a lot of the above was redundant, btw. Just trying to explain my question as best as possible.

Thanks for your feedback.
 
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Jonathan

Well-Known Member
When my daughter connected her monitor to her laptop via a docking station which was connected to a Thunderbolt port, it didn't work. I mention this just so you'll test whatever hub/docking station you get in time to send it back if it doesn't meet your working requirements when you try it. Some laptops have docking stations designed for them... maybe your's does.
Thank you very much for the advice. While a docking port would be cool, I am actually, it this point, the get a 3.1 hub that will connect my laptop two two monitors, 1 to connect to a wireless keyboard and mouse, and finally, 1 to interface with my SDR radio.

Ideally, I would be all three screen on, (my laptop and two extra monitors) and then I can simply float the mouse back and forth between all three monitors.

Again, my laptop, while slowly starting to feel a bit long in tooth, can still easily handle all three programs I intend to use it as well as many more. I just want to make sure that in terms of configuration, one laptop can support it's own monitor as well as be connected to two additional monitors. Three screens being worked by one laptop.

Docking stations are great, but I think if a 3.1 hub splitter will do the job mentioned above, the docking station would be unneeded. And, I actually want my laptop open and functioning as one out of three screens.

Sorry is a lot of the above was redundant, btw. Just trying to explain my question as best as possible.

Thanks for your feedback.
I answered your 3 monitor question in the edit of my original post: I just don't know.

As to the hub question-- I am not a Thunderbolt expert. It would seem to me that it should work, but I have no experience with it. Sorry.

Good luck with your upgrade, brother.
Thanks man, I appreciate the feeback as it is a starting point. I'll call the company who created my laptop and ask them straight up if I goal is achievable with the right hardware.

I'll be sure to let everyone here, including you, know what I find out. Thanks again.
 

Tall Timbers

Imperfect but forgiven
I do believe it shouldn't be a problem using all three monitors, at least if you're using Windows. I have no knowledge about Apple and its capabilities. Your laptop will just need to have a graphics card and drivers that can manage the three monitors... At the house, I have one computer connected to a 55" screen and I use the computer monitor and the large screen. I don't have any configurations where I'm using 3 screens, but I think all of the computers/laptops in the house could work with that configuration.
 

Jonathan

Well-Known Member
I do believe it shouldn't be a problem using all three monitors, at least if you're using Windows. I have no knowledge about Apple and its capabilities. Your laptop will just need to have a graphics card and drivers that can manage the three monitors... At the house, I have one computer connected to a 55" screen and I use the computer monitor and the large screen. I don't have any configurations where I'm using 3 screens, but I think all of the computers/laptops in the house could work with that configuration.
Thanks again TT. I am optimistic. I got off the phone with the company I bought it from (It is an upgrade business. They take a standard laptop in good standing (in my case an HP Spectre) and then pimp the heck out of it to deliver superior performance (New GPU, Upgraded Memory, ETC).
They thought it was most likely doable but I just make sure to contact the maker of the thunderbolt 3.1 hub. In essence, he admitted, I can' give you a garuntee, but most likely it will work.
 

Tall Timbers

Imperfect but forgiven
They thought it was most likely doable but I just make sure to contact the maker of the thunderbolt 3.1 hub

From my experience, you won't know until you pair a hub/dock with your laptop and try it. Even if they say it'll work... you'll still need to try it and see. If you don't want to buy the monitors until you'll know it'll work... do you have two monitors (tvs included) in the house that you can test the idea with?
 

heisable2

Well-Known Member
Normally, when I decide to buy a monitor, I suck it up and try to get the best one I can afford at the time. However, my situation and needs are different this time. I am looking a set of quality but affordable monitors that will "get the job done, and well" for my ham shack. These monitors will not be used in any primary way for either watching movies, gaming, photo/video work, etc. Instead, they are for my radio desk where, side by side, one of them will be running ham radio software and the the other will most likely be used to surf the web simultanously.. But, I still don't want to buy junk. The size I am going for is is probably about 35'' each and simply 1080p. Any more resolution will be wasted.

So that is my first question. My second is this:

For those of you who have experience using dual monitors, I hope to be able to run both screens off my laptop as well as use the laptop screen itself as a third monitor. I only have 1 HDMI but two 3.1 Thunderbolt ports. Again, running three programs will not be an issue - they are not demanding on the cpu. Will this be possible based on my setup. I am using Windows 10 Pro, by the way.

Appreciate the help and if you need any more info, please don't hesitate to ask.
I use a large TV monitor for my second monitor. My laptop is too small for me to read documents.
 

Jonathan

Well-Known Member
From my experience, you won't know until you pair a hub/dock with your laptop and try it. Even if they say it'll work... you'll still need to try it and see. If you don't want to buy the monitors until you'll know it'll work... do you have two monitors (tvs included) in the house that you can test the idea with?
Good idea TT, but I was finally able to talk to HP directly and the guy on the other end, looked up my exact model number, and said my particular graphics card and processor are rated for up to six external monitors. However, he noted, if I am only going to use two external monitors, it would probably be most efficient to feed one with an HDMI and the other with one of the 3.1 Thunderbolt, both from the laptop, and not use any hub splitters.

So I am fairly sure it will work.

The real question is finding the "sweet spot" for two quality 1080p monitors the are quality monitors but not top of the line. I have a few ideas in mind. Wish me luck.
 

Jonathan

Well-Known Member
I answered your 3 monitor question in the edit of my original post: I just don't know.

As to the hub question-- I am not a Thunderbolt expert. It would seem to me that it should work, but I have no experience with it. Sorry.

Good luck with your upgrade, brother.
I may have mentioned this either on this thread or elsewhere on the board, but in talking with my mom, she reminded me that we have a 35'' Samsung Flat Screen that was in my dad's room at memory care for a couple of years until he died. I made sure it fit the bill, and "installed" it a few days ago. Is it as good as having two monitor? No. But it comes pretty close. Essentially, I have two displays now. My laptop screen (it's an HP 360x Specter that you can fold it so it becomes a tablet, essentially. In terms of input, I use a wireless keyboard and mouse.

It is actually working quite well, and I saved a ton of money by not having to buy two monitors.

Thanks for the best wishes. I am not quite clear on the current policy regarding posting images, but if it is allowed, I would love to post a photo of what I created.
 

lamonte

Well-Known Member
What year, model # and serial # is your HP 360x Specter? Does it have a INTEL or AMD cpu? Also what Video card does it have and how much memory? This is all very inportant
.
 

DanLMP

Well-Known Member
My laptop screen (it's an HP 360x Specter that you can fold it so it becomes a tablet, essentially. In terms of input, I use a wireless keyboard and mouse.

I have the same HP. Got mine about 4-5 years ago. I have already replaced the battery twice.

I am running 2 side monitors and the laptop monitor makes it 3. No problems.

I am running one side monitor through the laptop HDMI port. The other monitor runs via HDMI through a hub attached to what I think is a USB-C port.
 

Jonathan

Well-Known Member
I have the same HP. Got mine about 4-5 years ago. I have already replaced the battery twice.

I am running 2 side monitors and the laptop monitor makes it 3. No problems.

I am running one side monitor through the laptop HDMI port. The other monitor runs via HDMI through a hub attached to what I think is a USB-C port.
Thanks for the great Reply Dan. I actually called HP and, to my surprise, the tech there said the bandwidth/data rate of a usb-c port is actually greater than an HDMI port. This left me scratching my head, but he would know better than I would.

In any case, I came up with a good solution that, while it didn't meet my ultimate goal, also didn't cost me anything. Essentially, we had a 35'' Samsung left over from my late dad's memory care home that was just sitting in storage. So, I mounted that directly above my HP (which is in tablet configuration) and I use both monitors as separate monitors (but you simply drag your mouse up or down to get the the other monitor). I control the whole thing with a wireless keyboard and mouse.

It gets the job done, and best yet, didn't cost me anything. :D
(I wish I could post a photo).
 
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