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This is a question in two parts; I'm familiar with the software side of things, having used it with laptops and the like, but on the hardware side of things:

  1. Do I need a special video card, or can I use my current card?
  2. Can I use one DVI monitor and one VGA monitor, or do they have to be the same type of connection?
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up vote 9 down vote accepted
  1. You will need a video card with two ports. Most modern ones now days come with two DVI. Your current card is sufficient.
  2. Yes. But if you don't have the right connectors though you can always grab some DVI/VGA converters. If your lucky your duel port videocard would have come with one/two of them.
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As a note to the uninitiated, I had to reboot before the nvidia drivers kicked in and setup the second monitor. Don't know if this is the same for all cards/setups, but something to be aware of as a posibility. – Matthew Scharley Aug 27 '09 at 23:20
  1. You can use your GIGABYTE GV-NX85T512HP GeForce 8500 GT for a dual monitor setup

  2. You can use one DVI monitor and one VGA monitor (no adapters required)

alt text

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All of the above depends on the card that you have (purchase). I recently upgraded my system to dual monitors for the first time. I replaced the video card that I had originally built with my PC with a card that had two DVI outlets. If you go with a card in the range of 75.00 t0 100.00 will get the job done. I currently run Windows XP Professional. I'm new at this and did it all myself...but it works great. You also need to do some serious research on your and mother board and the current video card you have and the new one you buy. (Just make sure it is all "plays well together" those spec. sheets! DVI is for newer monitors and VGA is the older monitor. A good video card will come with adapters for VGA. I hope this helps and good luck!

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I realised that it did, which is why I linked my current card! But thanks for expanding. – Matthew Scharley Aug 27 '09 at 22:46

Also I would suggest that after you get your hardware sorted out (see excellent answers above!!) I would download UltraMon

Get the most out of multiple monitors with UltraMon™

UltraMon is a utility for multi-monitor systems, designed to increase productivity and unlock the full potential of multiple monitors.

* efficiently move windows and maximize windows across the desktop
* manage more applications with the Smart Taskbar
* control application positioning with UltraMon Shortcuts
* multi-monitor support for desktop wallpapers and screen savers
* mirror your main monitor to secondary monitors for a presentation
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UltraMon is possibly one of the best purchases I ever made. – Kev Aug 28 '09 at 0:54

To be a bit more specific:

  1. Yes, your card will work since it has two outputs.
  2. You can have one monitor connected via DVI and another via VGA. It will be fine.
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I didn't know if simply having two ports on it was enough, or if it was simply to give the option of using one or the other. – Matthew Scharley Aug 27 '09 at 22:47

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