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I'd like to connect a second monitor to my computer.

But the problem is that I am using an old graphics card with only one output (NVIDIA driver version 96.43.13). (My computer runs Ubuntu Linux 9.10).

What is the cheapest solution for adding another monitor? Buy a USB graphics card for $60-$100? Is it okay to just buy the cheapest one, maybe a used one? Or buy a new internal graphics card? (Although I'm really not looking forward to connecting that to the mother board ...)

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3 Answers 3

If you're not looking forward to installing a PCI graphics card, your best bet is a USB graphics card.

However since you're using Nvidia's proprietary drivers, your only recourse may be to use a second Nvidia PCI card. The binary driver reportedly don't support xrandr very well (this information may be old, someone feel free to correct), which is somewhat necessary for dual monitors under X (it's the easiest way). Nvidia was supposed to be adding support late 2008 so this may have changed.

I don't use the binary-only driver so I really can't speak to it.

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I started using the proprietary binary-only driver because the ubuntu one didn't allow a high resolution (1680x1050). Instead of buying a second Nvidia PCI card I can just replace the current Nvidia with some other dual head graphics card, it seems. –  dehmann Feb 19 '10 at 22:55

A USB graphics card for $60-$100 will perform rather poor and the maximum resolution is capped 1600x1200, you'll have no 3D acceleartion and may experience lags when moving focus from one display to the other. If you get a cheap ATI (HD4350) or nVidea (Geforce 210) card for $30 you will not only save a lot of money but also get a much better performance.

A USB graphics cards would be my last choice.

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Installing a new dual head graphics card is going to be far easier than the headache you will have trying to get a second video card to work. They can be purchased for $50 or less.

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