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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am thinking about getting a new computer. I have two laptops I use. My main one is from 2003 and is on its last legs, the second is a small Toshiba note book I really only use for travel because its so small and its a bit tough to use because of the keyboard.

I was thinking of getting a desktop with two monitors. I have these dreams about being able to research stocks and watching the market at the same time. I will also be doing some downloading. watching some youtube videos and playing music. I will not be doing any gaming or video editing or anything like that.
I am just starting to research now but wanted to know opinions from the good people on this forum.

Are you able to just hook two monitors up to one computer and set it so the mouse works on both and can display different things at the same time?

Any hardware I should get for hardware?

When does windows 8 come out? Is it worth waiting for?

I have never had a new computer, always hand me downs or bought used. I am keen to get something nice and am not sure my budget. But considering I spend hours and hours in front of the comp a day I dont mind paying for something nice.
 

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Yes, it is possible to have two displays work that way. You need a computer with two video outputs. If you buy from Futureshop or Bestbuy the sales person can help you with that. You can also put in an aftermarket video card (doesn't need to be a high end one). You might consider getting a solid state drive to run your OS on. Makes boot times and application load times faster. You can have a large magnetic disk for storing media as well.

Just about any computer out there will meet your needs--as long as it can handle the OS. Windows 8 is basically Windows 7 with a phone operating system on top of it. Windows 7 is still a pretty good bet.
 

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I have two separate systems on my desk ,one for work stuff and the other is just for emails and surfing.I went with the all in one to save desk space.I have laptops but really not crazy about them , just me I am old school so like to sit at a desk and work in proper environment lol
 

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No expert, but I'm pretty sure if you buy new equipment, you can just plug 2 monitors in and away you go.
Not so fast. It took me all of 3 minutes to find a desktop with one video output on FutureShop web site:

http://www.futureshop.ca/en-CA/prod...puter-ps-vamp3-010-ps-vamp3-010/10212703.aspx

It's not particularly cheap and it's not refurbished. And - GASP! - the single video output is analog VGA.

If you want to have two monitors, you need a computer with two video outputs. Most desktops sold at FutureShop or BestBuy come with integrated video cards. They typically have one digital (DVI) and one analog (VGA) outputs. The first monitor will be running in digital mode; the second one in analog mode. You might notice a difference in picture quality. Ideally, you want to run both monitors in digital mode. That requires a video card with two DVI outputs.
 

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I would avoid big box stores like Futureshop for computers. They are in the business of watering down computers (and other big ticket electronics) as much as possible without the average consumer noticing. Their computers have weak power supplies and cheap cases, low quality components like fans/wires etc (while the specs look fine on paper for the price). Lots of horror stories of them not supporting their warranty that is pushed aggressively by commissioned salesmen. Their TVs/receivers have unique model numbers for a reason (they have been "modified")

If you're in Ontario, try Canada Computers or a small independent store that specializes in computers. You will get far better bang for your buck and service/support at a store like that. I haven't been to Canada Computers in years but they used to give a discount for non-credit sales, the kind of store that doesn't play all the marketing games and looks more like a baren warehouse than a Disney Land. Their salespeople have knowledge of computers, instead of knowledge of how to screw you over for commission. They usually have better quality parts for the same price or less than the big box stores.

You could just buy the computer from a store like that and order a couple Samsung screens from a site like Nextag, Tigerdirect, Newegg etc (pretty much any website in Canada will have better deals than a B&M store) The most economical way is to build the computer yourself. It's really not that complicated and a google search will explain any hiccups. That way you can easily swap/upgrade parts in the future yourself (you will probably want solid state drives in a few years) or even rebuild the computer without buying a new case etc. You can also easily return parts to web sites if they don't work or fail under warranty. You will end up with higher quality parts this way.

For the hassle factor, a small computer store will provide good service for a decent price. You may get a better components hand picking yourself, and save a bit but you have to read some reviews/instructions and use a screwdriver.
 

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Where are you? I am trying to get rid of my trading comouter.

Also Budget. Without knowing this any discussion is moot.

Stay away from future shop and BB.

Almost any stand alone video card can do two monitors nowadays.

Integrated video cannot do dual monitor. Go with AMD for extra cheapness. It'll do for trading.
 

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I would go for Windows 7, not 8; I think Windows 8 would be too much of a shock in terms of the changes to the user interface, plus it's new and there are certain to be bugs. Windows 7 is closer to previous versions of Windows in terms of its look and feel. Windows 7 doesn't seem as stable as XP was, at least in my experience so far with two computers running Windows 7 that crash a few times per week compared with my XP machine that crashes about three times a year, but otherwise I'm pretty happy with Windows 7. Note that if you use Outlook or Outlook Express and want to migrate your email to the Windows 7 built-in mail client, you're out of luck -- there's no way to do an export/import without using third-party software. Nice thinking, Microsoft.

As for brands, I've had good luck with Lenovo, which also has the least amount of bloatware of any of the leading manufacturers I've tried. Dell is the worst for that, although the company I work for uses Dell and I've been running a Dell laptop for four years now with no problems; I'm very impressed. In general it's a good idea to immediately erase the hard drive of any new computer from Dell and reload the operating system without any of the add-on bloatware. Your computer will run faster and you won't get fifty annoying pop-ups every three minutes.
 

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Stay away from Future Shop or Best Buy? Why? They don't make computers themselves. They sell brand name computers made by HP, Lenovo, Acer, etc.

I bought my current desktop online at BestBuy. Refurbished HP for $230 + taxes. Free delivery to the door. Nice case, very quiet, very good specs. It's been glitch free for a year.

Is power supply weak? Maybe, I don't know. This computer doesn't have a monster video card, so average power supply is perfectly adequate. The power supply is quiet - that's all I care about.

You will pay twice the price - at the very least - for the same components at a place like Canada Computers or any other small place.

For the record, I'm a senior software engineer. I can easily assemble my own computer with much better specs. But, I can't possibly beat $230.
 

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GoldStone has good advice - you don't have to avoid FutureShop or BestBuy as long as you know what to look for. $230 for a decent PC is pretty rare though!

Dopple, from your post it looks like these are your key questions/requirements:

  • Two monitors
  • Light browsing / Youtube - No gaming / Video editing
  • What hardware should I look for
  • Windows 8 vs Windows 7
  • Budget

Two monitors:
To use two monitors, you need two outputs for monitors on your computer. These can come from either the motherboard, or the video card. You have to be careful, however, as not all motherboards or video cards have two outputs. Since I'm going to recommend you not get a video card, they will have to come from your motherboard.

Light browsing / Youtube - No gaming / Video editing
For light browsing you don't need a discrete video card. This will save you some money. The integrated graphics on your CPU will do fine.

What hardware should I look for?
This is a more complicated question, but here are some things to look out for: Two video outputs for your monitors, at least 4 GB ram, a decent CPU (see this article for a sense of what is good) and enough storage space.

Windows 8 vs Windows 7
There will also be a lot of user interface changes coming with Win8. I would recommend Windows 7 as a better choice for now, until we get a real look at windows 8.

Budget:
$400 will get you a decent desktop that will do what you are looking for. A recent PC that I recommended to my friend was from dell here. This desktop is under $400, has two outputs for monitors (HDMI and VGA) and a good CPU for the price range. Note that each monitor will cost between $90-$150. If you do want a discrete video card, that will cost you at least $100 more for anything remotely good.


Here are some useful links that I used when I built my computer:
http://www.reddit.com/r/buildapc/ - Very helpful forum for building PC and learning about all the components that make up a PC
http://pcpartpicker.com/ca/ - A useful website to help you plan your build and shop for the best prices among merchants in Canada.
 

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[/B]To use two monitors, you need two outputs for monitors on your computer.
Unless of course you get a Mac ($600 for a Mac mini that effectively runs at 3.4 GiHz for processor-intensive applications) with Thunderbolt, in which case you can run up to six monitors from one monitor output. ;-)

You can run Windows natively (not in emulation) on a Mac, although I don't think Windows provides Thunderbolt support yet.
 

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what, all this hullaballoo just to see live quotes/news/data while looking at research websites ?

not necessary imho. What counts is what's in the head. I don't even use the detachable quote streamers the brokers give me, although they'd do the job DG says he wants to do.

i do a few trades a day, a few hundred a year, mostly option trades, everything on a plain laptop w windows 7, which i happen to dislike.

ask toronto.gal. I bet she doesn't have 2 screens ...
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
O humble, I just new there was going to be a comment like this from you :) I know I dont need two monitors and it is a treat but that is exactly why I want it. Please let me have my fun. I dont spend much money on my self and I am just frugal to the bone but after using a 9 year old laptop with missing keys and a cracked screen I want something nice I can really enjoy. Chock it up to boys and there toys :)
 

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O humble, I just new there was going to be a comment like this from you :) I know I dont need two monitors and it is a treat but that is exactly why I want it. Please let me have my fun. I dont spend much money on my self and I am just frugal to the bone but after using a 9 year old laptop with missing keys and a cracked screen I want something nice I can really enjoy. Chock it up to boys and there toys :)

ok boyz & toyz are different.

if i could send you my streamers i would. One is very pretty, the other from tdw is ugly as sin. Both useless imho ...
 

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Stay away from Future Shop or Best Buy? Why? They don't make computers themselves. They sell brand name computers made by HP, Lenovo, Acer, etc.

For the record, I'm a senior software engineer. I can easily assemble my own computer with much better specs. But, I can't possibly beat $230.
That's good! I hope as a senior software engineer you can remove some of the bloatware off that HP! I'm a programmer as well but that's mostly irrelevant to the thread or using OS such as Windows?... Anyone can build a computer nowadays it just depends if you want that hassle as I said. You can get a refurbished computer anywhere for a steal, but I agree open box deals and refurbished computers can be good deals. Let's not compare refurbished computers to custom made ones though

$230 computer is disposable so it just depends if you want to buy bloatware every few years or a good quality case with components that can easily be swapped/replaced as time goes on. HP computers can have cheap motherboard, integrated video, cheap bearings in fans and various other inconvenient ways to keep the price so low. It's true if the motherboard or PSU goes you can just go buy another $230 PC, but I would find that fairly inconvenient.

As far as FS/BB selling brand names... they often sell modified versions as I said. I know for fact some of their "brand name" receiver are modified with cheaper components and that many people complain about failing computers from there (and often don't get any help from the warranty they paid extra for) They don't kill off the small stores because they are less profitable. I never said they don't have good deals, I said prefer to stay away.
 

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I don't even have two monitors, these days I'm entering things from my phone. You could run ToS for visuals, it's completely free - news, charts, time & sales all fit on one screen. I've never had luck with sell side research they are usually late to the game so I pay no attention to that.
 

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Going back to the original post.. I also suggest going to a local shop rather that FS/BB. Tell them you want to run 2 monitoris, ideally digitally and it will happen. I'm not a fan of running one screen off vga though, at least not 1920x1200 screens. Perhaps a smaller res. would be OK.

Something else to consider is one large 27" or 30" screen. I've been running 3x24" screens here for 4 years now and am thinking of revamping my setup to a single 27" or 30" - based on some software developers I know who've done the same and are happy with the change a year later..
 
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