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Forums -> Multiple monitors -> Multi-Mon setup for two laptops?
Frank Longino   2001-03-22 12:34
I'm a Multimedia Artist/Graphics Designer interested in setting up a truly mobile dual monitor laptop-based PC system that supports desktop sharing (not just mirrored setups). I am familiar with the actual physical connection details for this (WIN98 or above, dual-monitor supporting video cards, secondary cards installed in docking stations, etc.).

My specific question deals with finding a portable/low cost alternative for the secondary monitor itself. I really wouldn't be into lugging around even a 14" CRT and a Flat Panel is little expensive right now. Besides, these options run on regular AC power which obviously cuts down some of the mobility.

Is it possible to set up a Multi-Mon configuration using a second laptop's monitor? The second laptop could be an smaller/older/less powerful (i.e., cheaper) system. Also, is there any way of using the second laptop's panel display independent of the laptop CPU (like desktop systems)?

Any enlightenment offered in this area would be greately appreciated.

Frank Longino
Christian Studer   2001-03-25 00:15
I don't think this is possible, you would need a VGA-in port on the laptop, but I've never heard of something like this...

If you do find a good solution, please post it here, I'm looking for the exact same thing myself.

Christian Studer
Dually   2001-03-25 15:11
Hmmm ... might be possible to "gut" an older laptop (so that powering it on only powers the display), and rewire the external vga connector as an input in lieu of an output. Will have to give this some thought.
Christian Studer   2001-04-07 02:23
Found an interesting LCD flat panel monitor from SONY, the SDM-N50PS: weight only 5.2 pounds (this includes the display and the power unit), detachable stand, only 1" thick. DVI unfortunately isn't supported. Complete specs are available in PDF format: SDM-N50/N50PS.pdf.

If you have used this monitor, please share your experiences.

Christian Studer
Ben Edelman   2001-04-11 10:17
My office owns one of these, as well as a Sony N-50. (The 50PS is the "photostand" model -- with detachable stand, as against the 50's permanently-attached circular base with thin double-pivot support.)

It's fine. Good 1024x768 quality from two DB-15M (standard VGA cable) inputs. (Switch between the inputs via an "Input" button on the screen's bezel.) Very slim screen, nice for placement on a podium, for example. Requires an external converter box -- with the two VGA inputs, power input (100-240V), and output for proprietary cable connection to screen. Proprietary cable is 6 feet long, and while in principle it seems like a longer straight-through cable with the same style of connectors should be usable, I couldn't readily find a longer one when I looked.

Doesn't suport battery power, that's definitely true, and since it runs on AC (rather than receiving DC from a lump-in-the-line external transformer [like at least some Viewsonics, as I recall???]), it'd be somewhat harder to rig to run on batteries if needed. Also keep in mind that the two-piece screen-plus-converter-box means there is an extra piece to be carried around -- lets the screen be smaller, but doesn't so greatly reduce carrying weight.

On the upside, it is clearly possible to pack a number of fragile screens in a relatively small box -- front-front-back-back and so forth, I would suggest -- and pack the external signal processors elsewhere. Important for transport of many such screens, I'd imagine -- bring the LCD panels in carry-on luggage, while checking the seemingly-less-fragile signal processors.

I'm happy to answer any specific questions folks may have about this unit.

Ben Edelman
Harvard Law School
Richard Huxford   2002-11-30 13:30
I am looking for the same thing, but I really dont think it should cost $1000 for just the LCD. A whole laptop with a good LCD monitor costs less than that. It should cost no more that $300.

Check out this dual monitor laptop. Im not that impressed but its a start(Dual Monitor built in)
Michael Kean   2002-12-14 22:22
Just a sidenote: You could purchase a small inverter and use that to run your display, making use of a 12V battery (probably a 7Ah would do for a flatscreen) - more stuff to carry... Inverters are handy to have - replaces car chargers for laptops, mobiles etc with one box that gives you a powerpoint in your car.
TallPaul   2003-12-01 13:30
As good as it is, RealTimeSoft software solutions may not be what you need. I suggest you check out, a software solution where one PC/laptop (the server) (even if it has dual monitors, I believe) can control the screen of a second PC/laptop (the client). From their website: "MaxiVista turns any PC into a second monitor of your primary PC! Connect two PCs via network and enjoy the double viewing space. " I am a beta tester and other than a glitch they had last week (which they jumped through hoops to fix) it has been a pretty good product. Price? $49. No, I don't work for their company... I just love the concept. Excellent for making your old laptops more useful. Perhaps will buy them out? :-)
Bill   2005-02-08 08:59
For dual monitors with two laptops, try MaxiVista or Desktop One software. It is really easy to use.
Tashi   2005-02-15 01:17
yea, i would think that MaxVista would work with a crossover cable. but i havnt tried it, so no promises
David Harding   2005-05-03 04:26
I am in process of getting proposal together for dual monitors as work. IBM ThinkPad's are the laptop, a little old (Penium III, Windows 2000), but there is docking station and extra monitors lying around. Wondering how to get laptop to be able to utilize dual monitor; the laptop monitor, and a stand alone monitor. Is it a video card that goes into docking station, or laptop? Also, cheaper priced models better, not hightech, just looking to utilize two monitors (excel, word, etc)

Benjamin   2005-07-20 04:30
I am looking for how to do the same thing. Have a laptop plugged into a docking station, and a monitor plugged into the docking station. I want to use both the external monitor, and the laptop screen as a dual monitor set up. Any ideas?

Christian Studer   2005-07-20 08:02
If your docking station has a PCI slot, you could install a PCI video card, should work fine.

Christian Studer -
Matt   2006-01-04 08:50
Almost all modern laptops are dual-monitor capable. Simply keep your laptop open, and plug the vga connection to a monitor. Go to display properties and extend your desktop... no PCI card neccesary
Forums -> Multiple monitors -> Multi-Mon setup for two laptops?

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