How to get Laptop to Duplicate a Desktop PCs Screen

#1 Posted by VACkillers (1226 posts) -

Been doing some research on this and im completely stuck... Everyone who records games or gameplay in a novice form will know just how video capture works, and how to use programs like FRAPS, but unless you have a pretty damn good PC, FRAPS will eat half of the performance sometimes because its taking away FPS it needs for the video recording. One way i thought of getting around this, was to have a single monitor with a desktop connected to the DVI port, and the laptop connected to the VGA ports, of the monitor, but this does not work, not for dublicating my desktops screen, because the monitor can only use 1 signal input at a time, it cannot use both at the same time, so its good if you had 2 computers but only had 1 monitor working or something, but thats all, or to use a bigger screen for the laptop.

So im wondering if anyone out there knows how to do this? I kinda think the only way to do this was to basically have the laptop connected to my graphics card directly, using the other DVI port, with a VGA/DVI adapter, but if that worked, i would still be sacrificing a performance hit to record games because the graphics card is still having to push through 2 displays basically, so if anyone knows a way around this i'd would really like some help how i could do that. I didn't find anything on the laptop that i could duplicate the LED monitor in any of the catalist options, it does find the VGA screen, but its blacked out when i switch to it untill i manually switch which signal to use on the actual monitor itself.


Windows 7 Ultimate x64 / 4GB RAM / 1TB 7200 RPM Seagate HDD / EVGA GTX 260 216 core / Asus Mobo / LG 21" 1920X1080 Flatron LED LCD Monitor


Alienware M17x / Windows 7 Home / 6GB RAM / 500GB 5200 RPM HDD / 2x ATI AMD 5870s Xfire Mode / 17" screen

Just thought I would give some specs for both so ya'll know what im working with.....

#2 Edited by SexyToad (2939 posts) -

Okay let me get this straight just to clarify some things. You're trying to push to image from the computer to the led screen of the laptop. But you don't want the laptop to sort of process it. You just want to use the laptop as a screen?

EDIT: oh wait I read wrong.

#3 Posted by SexyToad (2939 posts) -

Do you want your laptop to be recording the image while the main computer runs the game?

#4 Posted by MikkaQ (10296 posts) -

Why not just buy a capture card, plug it into the laptop and record your desktop PC with that? That's kinda the only way to do it.

I don't see how else you can actually push video onto your laptop. How can you connect a laptop to a video card on another computer? Unless your laptop doubles as a monitor, which wouldn't really do anything to help you record.

#5 Edited by CosmicBatman (322 posts) -

If i'm reading this right, you're saying you want your laptop screen to act as a monitor which isn't possible (without a capture card at least).

EDIT: Wait, what? I have no idea what you are trying to do.

#6 Edited by VACkillers (1226 posts) -

I Apologize if this wasn't written very clearly, i was just trying to explain the situation i was in....

Im wanting to connect the DESKTOP computer and LAPTOP to a SINGLE Monitor, using the dual ports it has at the back, the monitor has 1 VGA port, and 1 DVI port, PC is using the DVI while the laptop is using the VGA port... but i cannot get the PC desktop to show up on the laptop screen because the LED monitor cannot handle both input devices at the same time...

MAIN GOAL : to record whats playing on the PC, from my laptop so the recording resources are using the laptops hardware instead of the PC, so the games i run on the PC, DONT take a performance from video recording software like FRAPS.

Would also be curious to know if anyone knows how giantbomb does their broadcasting of TNT, if they use some of the more expensive video capture cards and video capture boxes to do it... Reason i DONT want to go via the video capture process is mostly money, and Im wanting a bit more simple way of doing it seems as i have 3 PCs in my house, surely i have the right amount of power there with todays video cards to not even need a video capture device installed into a PC these days...

#7 Edited by believer258 (13046 posts) -

I believe he's trying to play games with his computer and record what he's playing on his laptop so that his graphics card doesn't take such a performance hit. He wants to know how to make such a weird setup work.

So, the game is played on the computer, which goes to the monitor, the footage of which goes to be recorded on his laptop. That's what he wants.

Unless I'm gravely mistaken.

#8 Edited by VACkillers (1226 posts) -

SPOT ON believer!!!.... EXACTLY what im wanting... so i DONT take the performance hit on the machine im running the games on....

Just so you guys know, I AM open to other suggestions on how to do this, I already know about video capture cards, but with other machines i have in my house, I figured there has to be a way i can just use a whole different machine as my external video capture device rather then going out and buying one!

#9 Edited by CosmicBatman (322 posts) -

Thanks for making it clearer. Monitors have input ports only, there is no throughput, so you can't have the PC signal connect to your laptop through your monitor. You could however split the signal from the back of your PC and have one end of the split connect to your monitor and the other to your laptop. However, your laptop (or PC) won't have any means to input this video signal without a capture device. Also, Giantbomb uses ridiculously expensive tricasters for their video capture.

#10 Posted by VACkillers (1226 posts) -

Thanks for the reply there, yeah I found out about splitters and as you pointed out, the reason I didnt really want to do that because there was no way of recording or doing video capture, as its just switching the main screens, that's all a splitter does rather then a sharing situation.... I'm wondering if i connected the laptop directly to one of the video cards on my desktop, and doing a video capture that way, but I have absolutely no idea if this is going to affect the performance while playing games, or if it will just simply enable me to record directly whats going on with the gaming machine to the laptop?

#11 Edited by MikkaQ (10296 posts) -

@VACkillers said:

SPOT ON believer!!!.... EXACTLY what im wanting... so i DONT take the performance hit on the machine im running the games on....

Just so you guys know, I AM open to other suggestions on how to do this, I already know about video capture cards, but with other machines i have in my house, I figured there has to be a way i can just use a whole different machine as my external video capture device rather then going out and buying one!

What you're proposing with those computers is simply not possible. You'll need a capture card. You may have the hardware power but you don't have the right hardware, period.

Giantbomb uses a Tricaster which I believe is in the 5 digit range. You can find inexpensive capture cards for 100$. The quality is acceptable. I have a nice low-budget one from Matrox that's only about 500$ but it pushes out professional looking video and live monitoring, which is perfect for capturing game footage and such.

#12 Posted by VACkillers (1226 posts) -

ok, so going by your comments there Mikka, you simply cannot use a laptop or second desktop computer as an external video capturing device without a video capture card? $500 is just something i am simply just not willing to do for something I dont do on a regular basis. Yeah you can get capture cards for under 100$ but dont really think they are that great. What about video cards with a svideo port? will that work? Or somehow recording it via using a gigabyte network with remote desktop? would that work at all??

#13 Posted by Th3irdEye (277 posts) -

Best bet is to just use Fraps. If you feel like you are taking a considerable performance hit recording with that then bump your resolution down to 720p. That will make it look good for youtube and such and should also be a lot easier to handle for your rig. There is no other way to do this with the hardware that you currently have. Yes, you can use another desktop PC to record but companies make PCIe capture cards that go in those desktops to enable that functionality. You can't just do it with a stock PC or laptop. My brother uses a Hauppauge HD-PVR to record his Xbox and he seems to like it. It's probably the best price/performance capture device out there. Anything cheaper usually only captures in standard definition.

#14 Posted by EXTomar (5042 posts) -

Keep in mind to use a dedicated PVR you need to do component which requires another convert from DVI to component. Basically to do video capture and processing requires a bit more hardware than I think you have. For such a project I would build a second machine with a serious processor, RAID 0, and and a PCI-E capture capture card just to do capture and post processing.

#15 Edited by VACkillers (1226 posts) -

Alright, thanks a lot to absolutely everyone who posted in my thread here... its been quite a task, quite an experiment, and quite obviously dont have what i need to make this work haha!!! I did some test streams on justinTV and I can do fraps on my rig, but some of the newer games coming out, there is just simply no way i can fraps properly at 1080 haha... Yeah i've looked around and quite a few ppl use that particular capture card Th3irdEye, its one of the better ones, I feel like a complete idiot as well by not posting my CPUs lol... what a complete idiot !!! well the laptop is an older i7, turbos upto 3.2Ghz tho, and my main comp is an AMD Phenom II X3 710 @3.0Ghz, as you can see why i wanted to move fraps off my main machine, very old.... The wifes using dual GTX 560 Tis in Sli mode with Phemon II X6 @3.2ghz with 8GB RAM, but using a much smaller monitor then i am, so 1080 FRAPS on her machine is out of the question anyway....

If you want to browse my videos, i'll give you the link hereif your ever board, just thanks so much for your input guys.

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