Help me setup a dual-monitor XP desktop at work with minimum fuss/cost.
We are buying a new Wintel/XP Professional with two monitors at my office (yay for my boss-convincing skills!). It will be assembled (so I can get any specific h/w if required). The two monitors are solely for office use (no heavy graphics/gaming), so VGA inputs are sufficient for me. Mostly I'll have my mail/browser/IM/housekeeping on one monitor and second one for all main work apps.
Obviously, the lesser the cost/freeware the better.
My question is two-part:
On the hardware side:
- can I just use a VGA splitter, like this one
, for XP to recognize as two monitors? Or will I need a graphics card with dual monitor support? And even then do I need to make sure that both o/p of that card are VGA or DVI? What is the least costly setup that will work? Because if a graphics card is required I need to know it upfront before our purchase. I will not get budget later to upgrade.
On the software side:
- Since I've previosly never used this kind of setup, I always thought ControlPanel-->Display settings-->"extend my windows onto this monitor" chkbox is the only thing required to support this. But having googled and read some prevs threads, I'm a bit confused with all these ultramon/MMT taskbar/maxivista/citrix and whatnots. Do I need to purchase any of these s/w. I won't mind buying if they are really required. But if they are just fancypants features which I'm never going to use then I'd like not to. Is it ok if I start with XP's barebones support, and use for sometime and see if it matches my expectations and then upgrade to any of these 3rd party desktop managers if reqd later, or is this simply not going to cut it?
Or having a h/w solution like nVidia graphics card (which one?) with nVidia desktop manager, simply eliminates the s/w options?