How well do most games work with dual video cards under XP?

I’m planning on putting together a new PC and I was thinking of dropping a second video card (an old ATI Mach64) into it, pretty much for 2-D stuff like web browsing, note taking or whatever. I’m pretty sure games that run in a window won’t be a problem but will the second screen be available under major games like NWN, BF1942, or PS?

If you asked me, you should simply get one of the video cards that have multiple monitor support.

Many of the Geforce 4’s do this and I believe that many of the ATI cards do as well.

I have two 19" CRT’s on my desk and it’s pretty cool.

You’re not going to get anything extra in terms of gaming though. A lot of games will have problems dealing with two monitors in fact. :-(

I use a two monitor setup on my computers here at work, and the times I’ve attempted to run a game it’s not worked out well for me (mouse moving off screen and then getting lost, graphics issues, etc).

That’s the main reason I haven’t setup a two monitor system at home yet - they’re great for surfing or productivity based stuff though.

I should add that the only game that I know of (I’m sure there are more out there though) that explicitly supports multi-monitor stuff is UT2003.

I tried it out and it just honestly looked like crap spanning those two monitors.

Maybe that crazy guy with 10 PC’s doing that flight sim thing has a reason for needing to see that many views of clouds, but I just don’t think it’s necessary or valuble for most games at the moment.

On the other hand, if games would start to explicitly support it we might be on to something. Take something like Morrowind or even BGI/II. Imagine if the left monitor had your normal display, and the right monitor had all of your character information and stats for constant reference.

That might be cool.

I have a geforce ti4600 with 2 monitors – most games just ignore the second monitor. The only problem I’ve run into is some games have problems when you move your mouse off screen in the direction of the other monitor.

Nvidia’s nview software has a pretty good solution for this, you just make a couple profiles – takes about 2 seconds to switch 'em.

I’ve yet to play a game that can actually take advantage of it, but even still I find it helps my gaming. If I’m waiting for an email before starting some work, I can keep my mail program up on my second monitor while I game, which is pretty handy.

So the second monitor is still available for like say a web browser or maybe IM client?

I’m considering this because I have an old spare video card lying around (and XP supports multiple video cards).

I run an ancient 21" CRT and a Dell 15" LCD on my GF4 Ti4600. I do my web browsing on the LCD and gaming and writing on the CRT. Works like a charm.

The only problem I’ve ever encountered is a few games that let you move the mouse pointer off the side of the screen to the second monitor. (I’d be interested to hear about the nView tweak that fixes this.) Easily avoidable.

Haven’t run into any games that really take advantage of the second monitor, though. Alas, just when everyone started releasing dual-headed video cards, they started dropping multiple monitor support from games like the Combat Flight Sim series. :-(

Hmm, turns out my little nview thing wasn’t working how I thought – I thought when I toggled off “Allow windows to extend across monitors” the mouse off problem was fixed. I was wrong. Haven’t played any games where that happened in a while.

Only reliable way to do it is to go into display properties and basically disabled the second monitor (uncheck “extend my desktop to this monitor”).

Anyway, you can have IM or a web browser in the second window, but you still, generally, have to alt-tab to actually type/click in them. Still, its helpful to see if someone is saying something.


Only sort of. You can display the browser or other app in the second display when running a game. But most games want full-screen, exclusive access – so that means you still have to alt-tab out to get to the other apps.

Any game that can actually run in a window, though, is well-behaved in multi monitor setups.