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Multi Monitor Display Questions

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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June 16, 2013 7:30:12 PM

Looking to buy new monitors and setup a multi monitor display. My end goal is three 1080p displays, mostly for ease of gaming on the main monitor while browsing and the like on the two side monitors. I tend to play non-high end games, mostly very old games, the newest being Diablo 3 and Starcraft 2. No FPS of any kind.

I keep running into some confusing information on Eyefinity setup, mostly regarding stuff like HDMI to DVI, DisplayPort to DVI stuff that at times seems conflicting. I did read the Eyefinity guide, but I just wanted clarification before I dropped money.

I'm running a Radeon 7770 HD, it has DisplayPort, HDMI and DVI outputs.

If I buy three monitor all of which have DVI and HDMI only (and D-Sub, whatever the heck that is), how would I make it work with the one GPU?

From what I gathered on the Eyefinity Setup Guide, I should have a DVI to DVI cable, an HDMI to DVI cable, and an active DisplayPort to DVI cable, and just hook all cables to the corresponding GPU outputs and DVI input on the monitors.

1. Is this really necessary though? Is this somehow inherently superior to using and HDMI to HDMI for the second monitor?

2. Are there any other configurations I could use? I've never dealt with DisplayPort, so I know next to nothing about it outside of basic wikipedia'ing of it. I'm told if I tried using DVI splitter cables (ie one DVI output split into two DVI inputs) would yield two monitor displays showing the exact same thing. Is this also the case for DisplayPort? I assume no as I'm told people can do up to 6 screens off one graphics card. I'm unsure if that means there's more hardware involved or if it means Display Port can daisy chain separate displays correctly.

3. Regarding Active DisplayPort to DVI, these are the only two I could find reasonably priced (and by that I mean under $30):
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I gathered from the reviews the VisionTek is more reliable, but I'm utterly unfamiliar with these types of products.

4. Regarding DVI Dual Link: From what I gathered, if I never intend for a single display to go beyond 1920x1080 60Hz, DVI Single link provides the same effect as DVI Dual Link. But if I go to beyond 1080p or 60Hz, I need DVI Dual Link. Is this correct?

5. I keep hearing the conventional wisdom that for triple monitor displays you want 2gb of vram. I assume that this is probably true when playing stuff like Call of Duty on 5760 x 1080 but will it really matter for playing older / less intensive games? I know there is no native support for Eyefinity on Diablo 3, for example, but people have used third party software to get it to run with hardware acceleration across three screens. Would I reasonably be able to maintain a game like that on 5760 x 1080 on a Radeon 7770 HD 1gb?

6. Any opinions on TN or IPS for a triple monitor setup? I know people are probably sick to death about hearing the comparisons, but my choices at the moment are e-IPS 5ms vs TN 2ms. I'm familiar with the general differences between the two panel types, but going to local stores today, I did notice better color quality on the IPS on average, but there were definitely some TNs that looked straight up better than some IPS. I am unsure if this is a reflection of poor settings/feed on the stores part to some of these monitors, or what. Is the color quality on e-IPS always better than average TNs displays? I've always heard IPS color > TN color, but harder to google answers to e-IPS vs TN which is what my budget allows.

I like to multi box some games on two different computers so I can have different keyboards controlling characters at the same time (as opposed to having to alt tab between screens to control different characters). I've heard of people using an HDMI switcher to easily and quickly switch inputs on a monitor. Is there anyway for me to do this easily with a triple monitor setup. That is, have my main computer using a triple monitor setup normally, and when required, my extra notebook computer take over the third monitor whenever it's on (reducing my original computer to a two screen setup)?

I'm unsure if the way I presented that made any real sense, so let me try and describe it this way:

Computer A on only, Computer B off
Computer A uses screens 1 - 2 - 3.

Computer A and Computer B both on
Computer A uses screens 1 - 2
Computer B uses screen 3.

Any help would be greatly appreciated, as some of the deals I'm looking at expire tonight.

For the record, I was looking at buying between:

Asus VS238H-P 23" TN 2ms
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$140 out of pocket, $120 after $20 rebate

LG IPS234V-PN Black 23" 5ms
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$140 out of pocket, no rebate

(The Newegg listing on the LG is apparently a mistake regarding 14ms from the manufacturer's US page that was never corrected; UK version lists 5ms)

Best solution

June 16, 2013 7:56:37 PM

Hi Scrooge, thanks for reading the guide.

1. you can use the first 2 monitors however you like, HDMI to HDMI is fine.
2. Yes, if any of your monitors has Display port on it use that, it means u DO NOT need an active DVI adapter and makes the whole setup a lot easier
3. Either of those adapters will work.
4. Correct you need dual link for resolutions above 1080p 60hz
5. Diablo 3 May work ok with the 7770 with 1gb of VRAM, but I have not tried it personally. I have always had 2gb or more vram when using eyefinity
6. Sorry I have not used IPS or e-IPS monitors to comment on.

yes you could get a HDMI switch to switch the source from one PC to another. but a better way would be to connect it as follows.
if you main PC connects to the monitor using HDMI, then connect the DVI of that screen to your laptop, then using the monitor's on screen setup you can switch between the inputs when ever you like. that way you do not need any extra hardware.
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June 23, 2013 2:35:35 PM

I bought three identical monitors.

Now, I assume stuff like input lag and response time will vary within a certain range even for the same model monitor correct? Like, if the stats list it as a 2ms monitor, that's simply the max recorded, it's entirely possible one monitor will run at 2ms response time, another at 3, and another at 4?

Regarding Active DisplayPort Adapters, how much lag would this introduce? I imagine it has to be some amount as it is converting a displayport signal to something else, it must take time to accomplish this, even if it is in the milliseconds. With a low priced one, the 30$ variety off Newegg, how much should I anticipate?
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June 23, 2013 4:07:42 PM

You’re now into some pretty specific details.
I am sure there is a maximum variance tolerance when these calculations are done and I would have thought it would have been to advertise a 2ms it must perform between 2.0 and 2.9 as otherwise it would have to be advertised as a 3ms.

As to adapters adding response time I am sure it may do but I have no idea how much or if it's considered negligible
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