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How to configure two VGA ports on a PC?

Posted on 2014-09-20
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Last Modified: 2014-10-05
The customer has a Win7 Pro PC with a VGA and a DisplayPort connection.  We need a second VGA connection, with plans to run two monitors where they are a mirror image of each other, i.e. both showing the desktop.  For this application, I cannot use anything but VGA, because we are using video extenders that only support VGA.

I bought them a video card that supports VGA, DVI, and DisplayPort.  The problem is that when I install it, it seems to completely ignore the VGA output on the mainboard.  And, after looking at the brief documentation, I guess maybe that is the way they intended, because they talk about disabling any existing video connections.  I tried everything I could find to show the 'detect' and 'identify' video outputs, but all it would ever show is the one VGA monitor connected to the VGA port on the card I installed.

How can I get two VGA outputs?  Do I need to buy a second video card?  Do I need to buy a certain make and model that allows this?  If so, note that this is a small, low-profile cabinet, and all I need is basic VGA output, i.e. no need (and no room) for large-profile cards with high-tech gaming capabilities.  TIA
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Question by:sasllc
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10 Comments
 
LVL 35

Accepted Solution

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Kimputer earned 350 total points
ID: 40334417
You almost certainly already have 2 vga outputs! Just use a dvi to vga converter. You can check if it's possible by checking if the flat pin on the dvi output has four surrounding pins (which are used for analog signals, and hence the converter to vga will work). If not, this card wasn't supposed to be used with a converter, try to find another one specific for this.
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Author Comment

by:sasllc
ID: 40334422
The manufacturer of the VGA extenders was not sure that I could use a converter with their equipment, so my goal was to try and get two VGA ports to output data.  But if you think that is just not going to be possible, I'll try the converter.

Would this converter be one of those that I see with a label of DVI-D, or DVI-I, or is the real key to this looking for the four surrounding pins you mention?
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LVL 88

Assisted Solution

by:rindi
rindi earned 50 total points
ID: 40334436
Since you only want to have the same output on each display, it makes more sense just to buy a VGA splitter cable. Remove the new card, and just connect that splitter to the mainboard's VGA output. Something like this would be perfect:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16812729086&cm_re=vga_splitter-_-12-729-086-_-Product
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LVL 35

Expert Comment

by:Kimputer
ID: 40334505
The splitter is indeed an option. Just fall back to my suggestion if image quality isn't what you expected (Y cable signal loss).
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Expert Comment

by:rindi
ID: 40334521
I've never seen any problems in video quality with y splitter cables, and I've connected one of the displays using a 10 m cable.

Just use the video card for some other PC where it is a better option, for instance when you need extend the displays, and not just copy or clone them.
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Author Comment

by:sasllc
ID: 40334543
It is good to have two options, thank you.  In case I DO need to use a converter at some point, would this converter be one of those that I see at the store labeled DVI-D, or DVI-I, or is the real key to this looking for the four surrounding pins you mention?  In other words, how can I best tell for sure that I am buying the right converter?
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LVL 35

Expert Comment

by:Kimputer
ID: 40334577
Dvi-i would be the most compatible option (that's why I asked you to check for the 4 pins on your card)
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LVL 21

Assisted Solution

by:CompProbSolv
CompProbSolv earned 50 total points
ID: 40334595
Kimputer is pointing you in a very reasonable direction.  If the DVI connector on the new card does NOT have the four pins around the cross, then it is a DVI-D (digital-only) output and won't do VGA.  If it DOES have the four pins, then it is DVI-I (integrated) and there are inexpensive (<$5) adapters that will pull the VGA signals from that connector and turn it into a standard VGA connector.  If you have DVI-I, this will be your best choice.

As another option (the ones listed above are all good) is a Display Port to VGA adapter such as these:
http://www.monoprice.com/Product?c_id=102&cp_id=10246&cs_id=1024609&p_id=6018&seq=1&format=2
http://www.monoprice.com/Product?c_id=104&cp_id=10428&cs_id=1042801&p_id=5135&seq=1&format=2
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LVL 13

Assisted Solution

by:Rizzle
Rizzle earned 50 total points
ID: 40334673
Hi,

In our environment we use USB to VGA adapters to simplify administration as alot of our screens only have VGA outputs and not anything else which I know is a pain but the adapters are easy to use/install and maintain! Here is a link to them I appreciate it that it may not resolve your issue but it may help in the future.

http://uk.startech.com/AV/USB-Video-Adapters/USB-VGA-Multi-Monitor-Video-Adapter~USB2VGAE2
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LVL 3

Author Comment

by:sasllc
ID: 40362436
I tried a splitter, but when I would plug the 2nd monitor in, the 1st monitor would go blank, and nothing would show on monitor 2 either.  Why, I don't know.

I ended up installing a video card and putting a converter on the DVI connector, thus giving me two VGA outputs that worked--after some trial and error.
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