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Set-up Dual Monitors...XPS 8500 desktop, do you need two video cards?

  Hello All, 

 I have a XPS 8500 desktop I purchased it 2013 it works fine but I cannot establish how to run dual monitors with it. I have included a photo of the back as it does not match any thing that DELL show in their manuals. One the lowest point they have a VGA connection and two HDMI ports/ plug-ins. But only one HDMI has the receiving tab and the other one has nothing.

This leads me to believe I needed another video card? I am GUESTING because If I use the VGA to one monitor I get a desktop display. Then plugging in the HDMI lead to the other monitor has it duplicated, the same output on both.

From SETTING: System, Display, notifications, apps, power

 In settings the only way I get anything on both monitors. Is with / by selecting Duplicate on both. Any of the other three options I only get one monitor to show anything. I thought the purpose was to be able to have two different things going on, one on each monitor. It does offer another HDMI halfway up the consul with a tab for connection. When I plug a monitor into it, the screen shows "retrieving data" for a few seconds then outputs No Signal. It may be for an X-box of Play Station, not sure. Any advice...

Please see screen shots for back connections...the last photo is the lower area ports I have been using. The right HDMI port is different internally from the one that out puts a signal. This is what lead me to believe I need to have two video cards to run two different screen, with different output on each. I am be wrong and hope so..... The other photos are close-ups or the two that output nothing.

Do I need two video cards to do this or am I missing something here?? I am running Windows 10, and would like to have one monitor for tutorial videos and reference while working a program dedicated to the other monitor. Not have a bunch of tabs opened and minimizing or splitting screens.  Ant info of insight is greatly appreciated!!

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2 Iron

RE: Set-up Dual Monitors...XPS 8500 desktop, do you need two video cards?

The lower photo appears likely to be that of a graphics card that is capable of supporting multiple monitors.  The  port on the left appears to be that of a VGA adapter plugged into a DVI port.  The middle port is an HDMI port.  The port on the right appears to be a DisplayPort.

Dell apparently sold an AMD Radeon 7770 as an option of the XPS 8500 that has a close resemblance to the lower photo.  If so, that graphics card would support multiple monitors.  In any event, it is very likely that the graphics card does support multiple monitors, simply due to such a port configuration.  Device Manager, among other places, should show one which graphics adapter is installed and in use.

I suggest that you get someone locally who can assist you in configuring the multi-monitor setup.  Properly configured in the OS and/or adapter manufacturer's configuration program, the multi-monitor desktop certainly can be spanned across the monitors, not simply replicated.

Also, unless you absolutely need to use a VGA port (such as if one of your monitors is analog-only), you will likely benefit in the quality of the screen output from using one the digital outputs (DVI, HDMI and/or DisplayPort) rather than the (analog) VGA output.  

Depending on the available ports on your monitors, you may need to buy the necessary cables and/or passive adapters, which are relatively inexpensive.

Should you wish to do it yourself, you should first identify your graphics card.  Once you have done so, you can search for the specific directions for that manufacturer (AMD or NVIDIA) properly to configure the card for dual monitors, i.e., where the desktop is spanned (not replicated) across the monitors.

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2 Iron

RE: Set-up Dual Monitors...XPS 8500 desktop, do you need two video cards?

Perhaps I should also mention that the on-board Intel GPU of the XPS 8500 can also be enabled (via BIOS), so as to permit it to output to a monitor (i.e., in addition to the graphics card shown in the lower photo).

Therefore, if you have a graphics card that supports dual monitor output (such as the Radeon 7770), concurrent enablement of the Intel GPU would allow the desktop to be spanned across three monitors.

See, e.g.:


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