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News & Features Discussion  » [Column] General: How I Roll

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Associate Editor - News Manager

Joined: 6/28/10
Posts: 16259

OP  9/02/13 6:19:48 PM#1

It's a rare treat to get a peek inside the gaming world of some of the genre's best minds. In our latest Matt Miller column, he tells us about his rig and much more. Check out "How I Roll" and then leave your thoughts in the comments.

First off, and this is a huge one, get a second monitor. Having two monitors will change your life. You can play your game on one screen, and have a web browser up on another, quickly looking up quest hints or have maps for new areas, etc. When I played through Dragon Age: Origins again recently, I used a FAQ to make sure I didn’t miss anything important. This was up on my second monitor the entire time, so I could easily refer to it without alt-tabbing.

Read more Matt Miller: How I Roll.

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Follow me on Twitter: @MMORPGMom


Novice Member

Joined: 1/23/13
Posts: 45

9/03/13 2:46:15 PM#2

I've never tried a two-monitor setup, though friends have recommended it before.  I might be inclined to try it if it were fairly easy to do, as my graphics card has two GPUs on it.  Unfortunately, my computer desk is not in a spot where there's a convenient wall near it to hook a monitor up to (I have it in an open-ish area where it overlooks my living room).  With the printer/scanner, the subwoofer, the keyboard and mouse, and the 2 speakers on the desk already, a second monitor wouldn't fit.  I'd have to buy a new desk.  As for mice, I never knew you could add weights to them.  That's something I might look into.  I've also noticed lately that my keyboard is starting to have some wear issues, and by that I man several letters in the word "Enter" are no longer readable, not to mention some individual letter keys look bad now.  I've been looking into getting a backlit keyboard, but I don't want to pay more than like $25 for a keyboard.  On the subject of plugged-in versus wireless, I don't see why I would want a wireless mouse or keyboard.  They never have to go far from the computer desk area, and the last thing I want is for my mouse to run out of battery power in the middle of a raid or something.  So I stick with the "no batteries required" keyboard and mouse for now.  You didn't mention where you keep your printer (if you have one) or whether you are using a wirelss router or wired connection.  I have my desktop rig plugged into my router and I use the wireless for my laptop.  At one point I had the printer plugged into the router, I went back to just plugging it into the desktop computer because I didn't like the way my Cisco router's software tries to handle that. Apparently, in order to print something from a laptop over the router, they want you to download their app from their website and install it.  This means people other than me who are logged in can't really print stuff anyway, so why bother.

/em holdtorch


"Well sure, the FrinkiacVII looks impressive - DON'T TOUCH IT - but I predict that within 100 years computers will be TWICE as powerful, ten THOUSAND times larger, and so expensive that only the five richest kings of Europe will own them." -Prof. Frink

  User Deleted
9/03/13 3:02:27 PM#3
I roll with an Asus g75vx. It's quiet, ergonomic, portable, and is very well balanced spec wise. I have a desk and highback leather chair for raid nights, but most of the time I setup in the dining room near the french doors so I can let the dogs in and out and enjoy the various weather conditions Ohio delivers. Wireless headset and mouse. I would like to run a second monitor but I haven't found the pefect one yet. I just need a small monitor for web pages and teamspeak/skype/vent... I dont like clutter either, so it has to be slim and very portable. I guess what I am seeking is something I could attach to my laptop display and fold out next to it.

Apprentice Member

Joined: 12/14/03
Posts: 100

9/03/13 3:09:33 PM#4

The G-13 is indispensable once you get accustomed to it. Had mine for a better part of a year before I truly gave it a serious go. Now I'd be lost without it.

Haven't tried dual monitors yet but I am breaking in a G-600 in the other hand.....loads of possibilities. 


Hard Core Member

Joined: 11/29/10
Posts: 24

9/03/13 3:38:39 PM#5

Matt, it might be even easier if you just grab a stereo mini-plug Y splitter. I run this on the front speaker/green plug out of my X-Fi so I have headphones (w/ mic) ready to go as well as my 7.1 always plugged in. No plug swapping. If you get the solid type though, ti might get tricky having it fit depending on where the sound card is. This also means no jacks plugged into your tower front and usually better audio (I've found that the audio out can be good but audio in for the mic not as good off of front tower headers and the SC plug plus hate wires out of the front of my tower).

Also, it might not be ideal for all people, but if you have a tablet, that would also be a great thing to use in place of a second monitor especially since so many are writing faq/game related apps it seems. I don't have one, but I occasionally borrow my wife's work one. :D

I'll have to check out that mouse. It is one I have looked at a few times, but so far I have resisted any gaming mice over the years. I most like need one.


Novice Member

Joined: 8/30/09
Posts: 97

9/03/13 4:01:12 PM#6
I clicked this thinking the guy who wrote it, was Notch. Argh, stupid hat. 
  User Deleted
9/03/13 4:05:18 PM#7
I do not use 2 monitors so that "looking something up" is more difficult for me and used as a last resort.  ALT+TAB works fine for me :)

Hard Core Member

Joined: 8/26/04
Posts: 217

9/03/13 4:24:42 PM#8
I replaced my mouse mat with a Teflon baking sheet/baking tray liner stuck to the desktop. It is by the far and away the best mouse surface I have ever found. Even with a heavy mouse it glides across the surface with minimal effort.

Elite Member

Joined: 2/27/07
Posts: 7205

9/03/13 4:56:57 PM#9

I gave up on wireless keyboards and mice, nothing worse than being in a raid and having either die.   I like the Corsair M70 mouse, it has a metal frame under the plastic cover that gives it some weight and it has plenty of buttons when I need them.  I like a backlit keyboard myself and I found a Logitech G110 within my budget, it has lasted much longer than my  past keyboards and has a good feel to it.  

Two monitors are really nice, it spoils you quickly.  I also put in a solid state drive and keep current games on it, makes a world of difference when loading screens.


Novice Member

Joined: 10/27/07
Posts: 1

9/03/13 5:17:46 PM#10

I certainly couldn't live without my secondary monitor.

Actually, I've got a second computer entirely, so that I can dump all the FPS possible into whatever game I'm playing.

If you are looking for a Portable Secondary monitor, maybe something like an ASUS MB168. USB3 Powered and connected, and switchable between portrait and landscape, and low weight.

"You don't know the power..."


Advanced Member

Joined: 1/15/11
Posts: 1202

9/03/13 6:44:35 PM#11

I use the Logitech g110 and the G700s and dont need anything more. I would like to have 2 monitors but I have alt tab as m2 g5, alt tab tab as g11 and alt tab tab tab as g6, has worked flawless so far.

I play with the mouse plugged in and also wireless, I like the freedom of the wireless and the mouse has 0 lag I can detect while unplugged. The mouse pad I use is a Razor Vespula and love the wrist pad. I don't think I can ever use another mouse pad without the wrist pad.


Novice Member

Joined: 9/03/13
Posts: 8

9/03/13 6:50:40 PM#12

For me, I decided I wanted a setup in my living room so that I could game while watching TV with or without my family. So i turned the area around my recliner into a gaming setup.

First I bought a high-end gaming rig in the form of a laptop to save space. I set that up on an end table next to the recliner. Then I go a TV stand with 3 glass shelves, but in which the TV mounts to just a straight back on a tilt/swivel mount. so its very low profile. I put a 42" LED on that, as I agree you need a 2nd monitor :). That is at the front left corner of the recliner, and in addition to having the TV i get 3 nice glass shelves for my miniature paint sets, and other misc. stuff. 

The living room TV (70" LED with 3D), is directly in front of the recliner. The 7.1 surround sound system is set up so that the recliner is centered. I would have liked to center all of the room where people sit with the set-up but the room lay-out just makes it impossible.. well theres one way it could be done but don't like the layout set-up. So the recliner is the center.

This allows me to twitch my gaze between the TV and 42" recliner without needing to move my head.

On the end table next to the recliner i added a hanging shelf and an over the kitchen sink type shelf, to get more room. The area includes a mini refrigerator that holds 6 cans of soda. A small personal fan (for when the ceiling fan is to much or others don't want it). Charging stations for both my Xbox 360 battery packs and my ps3 controllers. Also 2 controllers of each type. I have a rotary round thing that holds 4 remote controls with some center storage space.

Under the TV I have a big tackle box container filled with misc things. Markers, orange peeler, knifes, sewing needles and threads, dog ear cleaner, you name it.. all kinds of things you may need but don't want to get up and get. medicines, etc.

I have a household intercom system in the house and a wireless unit stored in this area. So I can intercom throughout the house without getting up. I sewed (yes myself!) pockets for the recliner that hang off the side and hold things like remotes, scissors, and some other large items. 

3D glasses, some basic tools and a flash light, etc.. all at hand. In addition to serving as a gaming area it also serves as a home office area. 

Since im using a recliner a mouse does not work well. Although at one time i used  a hard mouse pad and gaming mouse, I long since switched to a Logitech M570 trackball. They are actually very awesome once you get used to them. For what my mouse lacks in terms of gaming is made up for by my Logitech G510 keyboard. Not wireless no, but not really a problem either and it sits on the shelf under TV with the movement of one hand, or back into lap.

Sound? Not the best when talking external... best choice there is the TVs built lt in speaker system which isn't shabby. But since im in the living room if i want sound I prefer my headset. Corsair Vengeance 2000. Wireless for a long period of time, but can use while plugged in to charge via USB. I have a spare cable for headset plugged into the laptop at all times anyway. If I desired to I could hook the laptop up to the home theater system, via HDMI. Its near the wall where a rear speaker is, and i ran wire track for the speaker wire. So I could easily run a HDMI from laptop to the 7.1 system using the same wire track. Put a HDMI switch box (I have a spare in the basement, with wireless remote to operate), and id have the ability to use the 70" TV for a monitor when desired, or just use the 7.1 for my sound output if i wanted. I don't because i really would never use either option - but important consideration for anyone thinking about a similar set-up.

Box of Kleenex, bottle opener, all at hand. Also there is a reacher!  Now this may sound very lazy but I have 3 miniature long-haired doxin's. I very often have all 3 in my lap at one time with my keyboard. I could get up and sit back down 10 times in a row, and they would get down and want right back up all 10 times. Having 3 of them on my lap and gaming at the same time requires very specific seating positions for each one, to allow for good placement of my keyboard. So that is why this whole area has been made to NOT have to get up as much as possible.

A large trash can also sits next to recliner. The wall opposite my recliner is soon to become a wall dedicated to the next game i am playing. Its going to have a large cork board with a cloth map on it. I can map pin locations using my multi colored map pins stored next to me in a pin cushion.  I can use the reacher to move pins if the dogs are in my lap. Ill also have a shelf to put some display items. a large enough cork board to pin up other things also.

My most recent addition was a Logitech web cam, USB. I put it on the 42" monitor as it gives a more straight on (not quite, but closer) head shot, then the laptop cam did which is a complete side view or painful contorting by me.

Not familiar with shroud of the Avatar? Come join up and look me up in game! Just Google it for their home site (not sure if posting a site is permitted) and if you do sign up, use my referral I.#: D.

I hope you find something out of my gaming area useful for your own! I've had every kind of set-up there is to have in my life, and nothing beats the recliner in the living room for comfort  or ability to relax while paying the bills.. whatever the need is.  I should note I have a server set-up in basement I remote into to do most work, so as not to install junk onto the gaming laptop. It also serves as my file storage server, etc.. Laptop is for games only and a terminal for the server.  The laptop IS hard wired, to the router in the basement.. This was done properly and wires where ran. 

I'm sure im forgetting some small things :)..  Oh the server in the basement has 4 monitors on it, but is not nearly as powerfull as my laptop is in any other way.


Novice Member

Joined: 8/23/12
Posts: 47

9/03/13 6:53:22 PM#13
I'm rocking 2 DELL U2312HM monitors for about a year now and can't even imagine how much convenience and joy it has brought me. Not only for gaming, but also for office tasks such as writing a paper with references on the second screen. I also enjoy watching livestreams while gaming myself, so many possibilities.

Another recent addition to my setup is a mechanical keyboard. This is another must-have for basically any intensive PC user. Mine has red switches which feel really light to press and I can't live without it anymore, the cheap keyboards at uni and work feel uncomfortable to type on ever since I got a mechanical one.

Advanced Member

Joined: 7/14/05
Posts: 1142

INTJ, fun is fun except when it's not

9/03/13 9:08:32 PM#14
I have  two monitors and will never go back to just one, is great.


Made History

Joined: 7/11/11
Posts: 6496

Pink, it's like red but not quite.

9/03/13 9:15:44 PM#15

Chair--the most important part of a mmo player's setup.

Also, really, the most boring discussion. Never mind.

Self-pity imprisons us in the walls of our own self-absorption. The whole world shrinks down to the size of our problem, and the more we dwell on it, the smaller we are and the larger the problem seems to grow.

  User Deleted
9/03/13 11:15:51 PM#16

+1 to multiple monitors.

I have two 27" Cinema displays and as soon as the new MacPro comes out, I'll have three.


Apprentice Member

Joined: 5/14/10
Posts: 164

9/04/13 4:33:26 AM#17
When the g/f is away I use 3 monitors . When she is home one monitor.

Corsair mechanical keyboard and never looked back.....
cyrician Xfire Miniprofile
  User Deleted
9/04/13 7:08:56 AM#18
Check out the pics of this setup

Novice Member

Joined: 7/13/13
Posts: 380

9/04/13 7:15:19 AM#19
Originally posted by Nibs
I replaced my mouse mat with a Teflon baking sheet/baking tray liner stuck to the desktop. It is by the far and away the best mouse surface I have ever found. Even with a heavy mouse it glides across the surface with minimal effort.

haha. I used a silpat mat that we use to make crackers and delicate crunchy things at work. 


Apprentice Member

Joined: 4/24/12
Posts: 14

9/04/13 8:32:25 AM#20
Laptop for Skype. I have yet to be satisfied with any in-game v-chat app, as it is, and I usually play socially with the same group of people, anyway. Also, we generally don't have the actual game settled on ahead of time, anyway, so having v-chat independent of the game allows much greater flexibility.
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