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Upgrading my system for dual-monitor support.

I have two ancient matching 21" CRTs (Panasync/Pro P110) -- no DVI. Future upgrade (spring 2010?) to two LCDs in the 19-20" range is likely.

Either PCIe or PCI is ok -- I have free slots.

I don't need high performance, I'm primarily writing code -- no gaming, etc. Any modern card should be ok.

Price is a consideration. The cheapest card that will work reliably is good enough.

System is running Debian 5 (Lenny), stock kernel version 2.6.26-2-amd64. While I'm capable of applying patches, rebuilding the kernel, installing custom x drivers, etc, I really have little interest in going through the hassle. Hoping for something that I can more or less plug in and have working after a bit of fiddling with the configs.

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closed as off-topic by Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007, Dave M, teylyn, Breakthrough, Shekhar Aug 2 '13 at 20:29

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Carefully consider the size of your replacement LCD's, particularly the height. Modern wide-screen LCD's may have as little as 900 pixels in height versus the 1200 or 1440 you are used to. This makes looking at code an exercise continually in paging up and down. – kmarsh Nov 13 '09 at 17:46
@kmarsh: Thanks for the confirmation of my thinking. I've been looking at the widescreens at the big box and wondering how awful the screen height will be. I'll have to hunt around for non-wide-screen. – bstpierre Nov 13 '09 at 18:36
Currently WUXGA (1920x1200) LCD's are either in closeout or available as refurbs. This gives you both wide-screen (16:10) and some decent pixel height (unlike the newer 16:9 ratio 1920x1080). – kmarsh Nov 13 '09 at 19:30
up vote 2 down vote accepted

Any modern- and I do mean modern- video card with two DVI outputs will work for you. By modern I do not mean the ubiquitous overpriced GeForce 5200 and 6200 cards that litter the big box store shelves. Any nVidia 8xxx or later or Radeon 4xxx or later with two DVI's will do.

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My ati x1300PRO handles dual monitors just fine, on both linux or windows, so I think pretty much anything capable should do it these days. – Phoshi Nov 13 '09 at 18:17
I made these choices based on price and lifetime-of-product driver availability. Tracking whats been going on lately with driver support announcements from AMD, I could hardly recommend the x1300Pro. – kmarsh Nov 13 '09 at 19:27

Just buy the cheapest NVidia-based card you can find with two monitor inputs. Dual monitor setup under linux with a nvidia card is pretty simple, you can just use the nvidia GUI, no need to touch any config files. Shouldn't cost you more than $30.

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