World of Warcraft (and other stuff) - one large monitor or two medium ones?

I play a fair bit of WoW, but also other games and general computing stuff but games would be the most demanding app I use. I’m going to get a new machine and I’m going for a high-end Mac Pro (dual 3ghz CPUs and ATI 1900 XT, since you ask). My choice is to buy two 23" LCD monitors or one 30" one - it comes to almost the same price. The dual setup is significantly more screen area overall, but of course split into two.

I can see dual monitors could be an advantage, having WoW running on one and things like Ventrillo and Thottbot open on the other without having to alt-tab out, which is a real pain in WoW. On the other hand having that one huge screen would be completely awesome for the immersive experience - as I understand it WoW will adjust and run across the very wide screen ratio (like 2048x768 or so).

So I’m after experiences; who has played WoW on two monitors rather than one, and is it so much better I should forgo the single large screen?

And second, does being on a Mac make any difference to this? I’ve set up dual monitors under Windows and Linux but not Macs, so far; are they completely integrated so you get one desktop across two screens? Toolbar go across the bottom of both screens or just the main one? When you maximise an app does it fill one screen or both? If you play WoW in full screen mode (preferable due to higher FPS) does it fill one monitor or both? Thanks for any advice and experiences.

BTW for those interested in multi screen WoW setups, check this out - 7 monitors and 47 PCs. For 2 players.

Well if you set WoW to “full screen” mode it will only cover one monitor but you will still have to Alt Tab to get it out of focus. I would go with just one monitor personally, i mean no reason to have things like Vent to be shown it can run in the background just fine. And the benefit of thottbot? Just read it carefully the first time and go into the game. If you need to alt tab just stealth…rouge wtf!

My main character IS a rogue as it happens :slight_smile: But still alt-tabbing out takes an age, and you have to do it when you pick up a new quest ingame.

Was this under Windows or Mac? I do see people, like on that link I provided, running WoW itself over multiple monitors.

My fiance just got dual 19" widescreen LCD monitors and he loves it. LCD monitors are pretty cheap nowadays - I think he paid a bit over $500 for the pair. The main reason he got dual monitors was for working from home, but he really likes not having to alt-tab out of WoW.

He’s played WoW on our 37" LCD television and found everything kind of blurry - so blurry that it gave me a headache watching him, but I don’t know if we didn’t have the right cables or something, or if there is just a limit to how large the screen can be.

Do you know if he can play across both monitors but chooses to play on one, or it can only run on one of the two?

Sounds like he’s on a PC, not a Mac?

I’ve got that exact setup (except that my Mac Pro doesn’t have the 3.0 processors). Let me tell you, the 30" Cinema monitor is sweet. I love it–the graphics are beautiful, and yes, it does stretch nicely to cover the full screen, and nothing is blurry at all, especially with the 1900XT card. It makes for a very immersive experience. I highly recommend it. The way I get around alt-tabbing (or the Apple equivalent) is that I run the WoW window just slightly smaller than full screen, and keep the top of my web browser poking up at the top of the window, so I can select it when I need it.

I’ve played WOW for the past two years and I have found having two monitors to be essential to my enjoyment of the game. Set the monitor playing WOW to “windowed” and then “full screen windowed” enables you to simply slide the mouse out of WOW to your other monitor like it was just part of the desktop, without needing to Alt-Tab.

Along with enabling sound played in the background and this enables you to easily surf the web when drinking, when raiding, when flying, or whenever you like. This one feature practically killed my ability to play any other computer game, as I frequently have IM conversations during play, and having to pause and then alt tab is vastly irritating. What’s more irritating is when games don’t even support alt-tab at all though…

Wonderful input, thank you so much! I know that on Windows playing in a window rather than full screen drops the frame rate mightily, I read one guy who had it drop from 30 fullscreen to like 5 windowed - unplayable. I would expect the Mac to not suffer from that - for a start you can switch with the ctl-M key whereas with Windows you need to exit the game, select Windowed, and start it again. So do you find playing with it not fullscreen drops the frame rate significantly? It’s ctl-R to turn on the FPS (frames per second) display. Thank you!

So this is Windows, obviously. Is it *possible *to stretch WoW across both screens?

I take it the settings you refer to are in the Windows display settings? Thanks!

Yep he is on a PC and yes he can play across both monitors. He tried it out just then and said it’s very immersive but you can’t really see your character properly because half your character is on one screen and half is on the other.

I had a big monitor for the gaming machine, and kept TS and Allakhazam running on the laptop next to the gaming box, back when I played. If you have a separate laptop you may want to consider that option.

I’ve got a friend who plays WoW across a 3 screen set up. He uses a Triplehead2go on a PC. It’s not a stretched picture, there is actually a video setting that will support that ratio. I would NOT suggest spanning 2 monitors for the reason Kayeby mentioned. Do you really want to have the edges of 2 monitors running right down the center of your picture?

I just tested it out, and it didn’t change at all switching from fullscreen to windowed. Now, mind you, this is an unscientific test–might want to ask the folks at the Apple Store Genius Bar or maybe the Apple support boards to be sure, but according to the spouse (who works at Apple and is making a semi-informed guess) it shouldn’t be a problem on a Mac.

I’m pretty sure there is a windows equivalent, I seem to remember a combo with the enter key, though I can’t seem to do it. Perhaps it was from a earlier version of windows then XP.

It depends a bit on your machine. I play windowed all the time, and unless I’m in a high traffic area or I’m overloading my CPU, I get a smooth FPS most of the time. This is with all graphics settings maxed and using a decently high resolution (and a two year old computer, so not high end hardware here). A weaker machine can have issues with it fullscreen and the settings lowered.

I guess i never thoguht alt tab was a problem, i play at 1920x1200 and it minimizes in less then a 2nd. i could not play with 2 monitors though because my eyes would get irrated at the contrasting of the 2nd monitor.

I gotta agree. I’d recommend spending some money that was ear-marked for new monitors on upgrading your computer so it can better handle alt-tabbing.

Well, all the serious answers are out of the way, so now a humorous anecdote!

I run WoW on a dual-monitor setup, with Firefox and whatnot running on my non-WoW monitor.

My main is a rogue, and when I was doing a quest around level 50, I needed to look up some quest info on Thott or Alla, because the item I needed was not dropping. The zone was pretty emtpy, so I stealthed and parked myself on the side of a cliff.

For some reason, I needed to go through a bunch of posts to find what I needed. Well, by the time I turned back to my WoW monitor, I found myself at half health facing an orc warrior about my level. Looking at the chat log, he’d emoted a bunch of stuff at me, shot me with his gnomish death ray, then emoted some more.

Just as he started to attack me (presumably) in earnest, I blinded him, bandaged up, then proceeded to beat him into the ground. :smiley:

Moral of the story, even if you have stealth, keep your eye on your main monitor. Also, it helps if you set the game to play its sounds even when it’s not the application with focus.

Ah, good times.

As per my OP I *am *getting an entire new machine, the only question is whether one large monitor or two medium ones would be better. Also the new one will be a Mac rather than my current PC so the whole alt-tabbing thing is moot.

My current PC has a 3.2ghz CPU and 1gb of memory, so it’s not as if it’s short of resources. Nevertheless when alt-tabbing out of WoW it takes a few minutes of furious disk activity before I get decent access to my desktop. It’s only with WoW; Rome:Total War is perfectly fine and quick.

It would have to be a WoW command, not a Windows one. On the Mac version of WoW ctl-M is right there in the WoW menus, there is no equivalent on the PC version I’m quite sure.