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Building a 4-6 monitor setup and need help on parts!!!

I'm wondering what the best (and cost effective) way to build a 4 monitor (with the ability to later add 2 more screens for a total of 6) setup is?

I would like the best resolution I can get (while being very cost effective, i.e. don't need to spend a ton to get retina display). I'm hoping for at least 1080.

All I have right now is this case and power supply:
CFI Prime 211 ATX Mid Tower Computer Case (CFI-A4896)
Power supply: 480W Logisys PS480D Power Supply

So I am in search of mobo, cpu, and video cards -- if I need them (I don't know if there are any mobos that can support 4-6 monitors).

If i do need a video card - is it possible to run 2 screens of the mobo and 2-4 others off the video card? Or would it be best to plan to run all screens off of a video card(s)?

I'm open to all parts to be used in this build. I plan on day trading and using all screens for this process so I need it to run smooth.

This is my first build so I am pretty ignorant (i hate computer acronyms at this point and don't understand the obvious yet, so feel free to keep replys as basic as possible and act like you're talking to a second grader in reply posts lol!)

Thanks everyone!!
16 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about building monitor setup parts
  1. What would you be doing on the 4 monitors? gaming or office stuff?
  2. Hmm. The computer, any of us can help you with.

    My question is... how exactly do you intend to MOUNT these monitors?
  3. You need a new PSU as well.

    I'm running four screens off my 7950 right now. 1 DVI, 1 HDMI, and 2 mDP to DVI adapters. Most/many of the 7 series cards from AMD can do this. Get two of them, don't enable CF and you should be ok.
  4. yeah, the psu you bought is terrible. You need something much better, to run a couple graphics cards to support the monitors you are after. like 4745454b said the 7series can support 4 monitors. but if you want to add 2 more monitors you will need another.
  5. tenaciousk said:
    What would you be doing on the 4 monitors? gaming or office stuff?


    no gaming...but running a ton of stuff...video on 1 screen, multiple realt time charts that autoupdate, trading software..etc...
  6. DarkSable said:
    Hmm. The computer, any of us can help you with.

    My question is... how exactly do you intend to MOUNT these monitors?


    like #6 on this website...we always get stuff figured out eventually, sometimes slower than others but whadahey:

    http://twistedsifter.com/2012/06/amazing-computer-station-multi-monitor-setups/

    It wouldn't let me link a pic because i still have to confirm my email which i cannot find a link to do
  7. 4745454b said:
    You need a new PSU as well.

    I'm running four screens off my 7950 right now. 1 DVI, 1 HDMI, and 2 mDP to DVI adapters. Most/many of the 7 series cards from AMD can do this. Get two of them, don't enable CF and you should be ok.


    Is this the beast you got?: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814150590&nm_mc=KNC-GoogleAdwords&cm_mmc=KNC-GoogleAdwords-_-pla-_-Desktop+Graphics+Cards-_-N82E16814150590&gclid=CLuFk6-mmLYCFaZFMgodq3YA9w

    What is CF?...and one of these cards can support 4 screens? thx.
  8. tenaciousk said:
    yeah, the psu you bought is terrible. You need something much better, to run a couple graphics cards to support the monitors you are after. like 4745454b said the 7series can support 4 monitors. but if you want to add 2 more monitors you will need another.



    ok cool, thanks for the clarification. Any suggestions on a power supply? Will the case suffice? THx.

    Also, is there anything I need to look out for when getting a motherboard?
  9. You can get two graphics card of any kind that supports 3 monitors each. Since you are not a gamer you do not want to crossfire (CF) to create one large screen, you want them all separate because your 3D apps will not run across monitors.

    Two 6670 cards is a cheap way to do this: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814121442
    Or one card with 6 outputs like this: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814129262

    Only two monitors per graphics card can be run with passive adapters, for the rest you need active adapters. Also, your power supply is fine. At most you will draw 350W so you do not need any larger.

    Since you are running many apps with lots activity, you will need a good multi threaded, fast cpu with many cores. I would suggest one of the following:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115233
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819116503
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819113284

    The i5 and i7 have integrated GPU so you can also run another monitor from the motherboard/CPU. My i5 has a VGA out and DVI out so I can run two extra monitors off the integrated GPU. So you might be able to do that and get a cheap AMD card that has 4 outputs (much easier to find) with the onboard GPU makes 6 monitors. You will need at least Windows 7 because Windows XP/Vista do not support having multiple graphics drivers at the same time.

    Here's a cheap card that supports 4 monitors:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814125453

    This also may be of interest: http://blogs.amd.com/play/2012/04/26/displayport-1-2-%E2%80%93-the-future-of-displays-and-what-you-might-be-missing-out-on/
    There aren't any MST hubs available yet for a decent price I think.
  10. I actually have this one, though it doesn't matter.

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814125414&IsVirtualParent=1

    CF = Cross Fire. Its a way to hook two cards up together to make them increase frame rates. But you don't want that. If you CF then the second card loses its output ability so you'd still have only the four outputs found on the main card.

    The cheap easy way is to buy a board that has two PCIe 16x slots. 16x/4x or 8x/8x, doesn't matter for you. (16x and 8x means how many PCIe lanes are attached to the slot.) Turns out 2DVI and 2mDP cards aren't as common as I thought. You have to step up to the 7850 to get it. Something like these should work.

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814150641
    2GB 7850 $180 shipped.

    You'll still need to get the mDP adapters so perhaps there is a cheaper way. If you buy two cards that support 3 monitors each you'll be "capped" at 6, but will be a lot cheaper.

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814102950
    Sapphire 6670 $90 shipped.

    You'll still need to get the two adapters to get the DP to DVI. Unless you have DP monitors. But this will be a lot less then the 7850s. There are also in theory MST hubs out there they let you use a single DP and hook up three DP monitors. But I still have yet to see one in the wild/for sale. The 6670 are probably your best/cheapest bet. Plenty of power for the 2D work you'll be doing.
  11. Louis B said:

    The i5 and i7 have integrated GPU so you can also run another monitor from the motherboard/CPU. My i5 has a VGA out and DVI out so I can run two extra monitors off the integrated GPU. So you might be able to do that and get a cheap AMD card that has 4 outputs (much easier to find) with the onboard GPU makes 6 monitors. You will need at least Windows 7 because Windows XP/Vista do not support having multiple graphics drivers at the same time.

    Here's a cheap card that supports 4 monitors:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814125453



    I think this would be ideal as I would be getting a nice CPU for computing performance and then a basic video card that would fulfill my needs. Although, you used the word "might" which scares me a bit, ha. But if I could get 6 screens up with good resolution i'd be all for it..

    Again, the "might" part scares me.
  12. 4745454b, what do you think of Louis B's proposal for using the mobo/cpu and getting a video card with four screens? Thx. for youre ideas too, awesome.
  13. Best answer
    Mike McGill said:

    I think this would be ideal as I would be getting a nice CPU for computing performance and then a basic video card that would fulfill my needs. Although, you used the word "might" which scares me a bit, ha. But if I could get 6 screens up with good resolution i'd be all for it..

    Again, the "might" part scares me.


    It just so happens I have the hardware to test it out

    P8-Z68 LX motherboard
    i5-2500k CPU
    AMD Radeon HD 7970
    3 monitors and a spare

    I plugged in two monitors into the motherboard (one VGA and one DVI) and the other two to the graphics card (active mini displayport to DVI and hdmi to DVI). I enabled "iGPU Multi-Monitor support in my BIOS and installed the Intel graphics drivers on top of the AMD ones I already had. Reboot, and viola, 4 monitors split between two GPUs:

    http://i.imgur.com/pyt8NU6.jpg
    http://i.imgur.com/zy1Ke6m.jpg

    To make sure you have the same results you might want to get a similar motherboard from ASUS with LucidLogix features (name of the technology that lets you use both the integrated and discrete at the same time). So rest assured, it will work.

    EDIT: Also, I forgot, the card I said earlier that supports 4 monitors doesn't support 4 monitors. You need at least 2 mini/display ports on the graphics card so you can put active adapters on them, because graphics cards only support two monitors with passive adapters.

    This one will not work: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814125453
    This one will work with 4 monitors: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814161402

    The HIS one is the cheapest one on newegg with 2 mini display ports and hey, it comes with a free Far Cry 3 coupon so maybe you can play a game on a single monitor. You will need two active adapters also:
    http://www.amazon.com/Accell-B087B-006B-DisplayPort-Single-Link-Certified/dp/B004071ZXA

    It is good to get the ATI certified ones because I have heard stories of the non ATI certified ones stop working with a driver update.
  14. Louis B said:
    Mike McGill said:

    I think this would be ideal as I would be getting a nice CPU for computing performance and then a basic video card that would fulfill my needs. Although, you used the word "might" which scares me a bit, ha. But if I could get 6 screens up with good resolution i'd be all for it..

    Again, the "might" part scares me.


    It just so happens I have the hardware to test it out

    P8-Z68 LX motherboard
    i5-2500k CPU
    AMD Radeon HD 7970
    3 monitors and a spare

    I plugged in two monitors into the motherboard (one VGA and one DVI) and the other two to the graphics card (active mini displayport to DVI and hdmi to DVI). I enabled "iGPU Multi-Monitor support in my BIOS and installed the Intel graphics drivers on top of the AMD ones I already had. Reboot, and viola, 4 monitors split between two GPUs:

    http://i.imgur.com/pyt8NU6.jpg
    http://i.imgur.com/zy1Ke6m.jpg

    To make sure you have the same results you might want to get a similar motherboard from ASUS with LucidLogix features (name of the technology that lets you use both the integrated and discrete at the same time). So rest assured, it will work.

    EDIT: Also, I forgot, the card I said earlier that supports 4 monitors doesn't support 4 monitors. You need at least 2 mini/display ports on the graphics card so you can put active adapters on them, because graphics cards only support two monitors with passive adapters.

    This one will not work: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814125453
    This one will work with 4 monitors: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814161402

    The HIS one is the cheapest one on newegg with 2 mini display ports and hey, it comes with a free Far Cry 3 coupon so maybe you can play a game on a single monitor. You will need two active adapters also:
    http://www.amazon.com/Accell-B087B-006B-DisplayPort-Single-Link-Certified/dp/B004071ZXA

    It is good to get the ATI certified ones because I have heard stories of the non ATI certified ones stop working with a driver update.


    You're a Boss Louie.

    So that setup with that video card would be able to handle 6 screens eventually?
    Will I still be able to get good resolution, you think?

    Thanks for the advice on the mobo...i'll look to go with that because I was unsure what to get.
    I'll have to debate on i5 or i7 cpu, but it makes sense in order to buy only one video card.

    I wonder when new cpus are gona be out from intel?...then maybe i can get those on the cheap.

    Thanks for the help, boss man!
  15. Mike McGill said:

    You're a Boss Louie.

    So that setup with that video card would be able to handle 6 screens eventually?
    Will I still be able to get good resolution, you think?

    Thanks for the advice on the mobo...i'll look to go with that because I was unsure what to get.
    I'll have to debate on i5 or i7 cpu, but it makes sense in order to buy only one video card.

    I wonder when new cpus are gona be out from intel?...then maybe i can get those on the cheap.

    Thanks for the help, boss man!


    My monitors are 1080p so I'm sure you can get at least 1080p. I missed a point on that graphics card though... on newegg it says supports up to 3 monitors on eyefinity. You're not using eyefinity but that scares me a little; get this one instead:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814161414

    It says specifically that it supports up to 4 monitors.

    I'm not sure whether you will need an i5 or i7 either, but you can overclock the i5 to maybe 4.4 GHz. Haswell i5s and i7s will be around June or July and they won't offer any performance increases by what I've heard of the rumors. They're focusing on cutting power consumption so there will only be around a 10% increase that can be gained by overclock. The integrated GPU will be twice as fast though. If you live near a microcenter they have an i5 3570k for $190 and if you get that you get $40 off a motherboard. They have an ASUS with LucidLogix for $120-$40=$80, the P8Z77-V LK.

    So,
    • $520 4 1080p monitors around $130 each
    • $123 HIS IceQ Radeon HD 7770
    • $190 i5-3570k
    • $80 Asus P8Z77-V LK
    • $100 16GB Ram kit (2x8GB)


    $1013 Total
  16. My thoughts.

    Not all boards support IGP used with a GPU installed as well. I've seen people in this forum say they can and can't. If possibly, make sure your board does support it. It is a way to do it. 4 on the card and 2 on the IGP. (XP does support loading two graphics drivers, its only vista that doesn't. But you'd need to have win7 to enable eyefinity.)

    Speaking of which you can't have eyefinity with this setup. The two screens on the IGP will always be separate from the others. This might not bother you. If you want to have eyefinity enabled on all screens you'll want to get two of the cards that I linked.
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