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dual monitor support - integrated mobo or separate card?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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December 18, 2005 1:24:29 AM

Hi

First post here, total newb. Putting this in the graphics cards section, hope that's okay. Trying my first ever build, and I need dual monitor capability (to be clear, I want desktop that spans 2 monitors so that I can drag and drop between desktops. I believe that for nvidia cards I will need the nview Desktop Manager, right?).

I am not a gamer. I do like to multi-task, i.e. burn a CD and listen to another and surf the net at the same time. 2D graphics only. At first I thought that I would need a separate video card for sure. Then I started to realize that I don't need the high end imaging of these cards. So I started to look at mobos with integrated cards that have two video outs, i.e.

MSI K8NGM2-FID

ASUS A8N-VM CSM

My problem is this. Right now I have two big CRTs, which I want to be able to run on my new rig. Then next year I want to be able to buy two LCDs and switch seamlessly without having compatibility issues. Recently someone suggested to me that on both the mobos I listed, one of the two video outs is DVI-D (digital signal only) and you cannot connect a CRT to it with DVI-to-AGP adapter. Is this correct?

So my questions are -

1) Is there a Socket 939 mobo with dual video outs that I can be sure will run either 2 CRTs with dongles or 2 LCDs when the time comes?

2) If not, can someone recommend a mobo/vid card setup that will meet my needs, the most important one being ease of setup, since I am a total newb and to be honest, I have never even started a computer in setup mide, never seen a bios screen, etc. I am doing this to learn and I realize that something is going to come up at some point and I will have to deal with it - that's no problem, I look forward to it; I just want to get as smooth a process as I can for this first build.

Any comments or help is appreciated - thanks.

Nik
December 19, 2005 2:37:02 AM

Wow! Not at all??

Will anyone weigh in and try to help a newb out with his first ever build?
December 19, 2005 4:12:37 AM

Integrated video for years has been sub-standard, get a cheap Nvidia or ATi card - your gaurenteed dual display with more options and more simple aswell as frequent driver updates (and nview comes as a part of the drivers and updates) - aslong as you get a card with two outputs (usually standard).

As for multi tasking what you want to do, any cpu should be able to handle that - i got a P4 3ghz (C class with HT) with 1gb ram, and dual monitor like your wanting and i encode video, surf the web, burn cds and chat and more at once without issue - dont worry too much bout it unless your doing heavy frequent video encoding or something similar.

Any cpu above/around 3200 should do it and A64's are a good choice, but if you have more $$$ go for a faster cpu.
Related resources
December 19, 2005 4:45:27 AM

Quote:
Integrated video for years has been sub-standard, get a cheap Nvidia or ATi card - your gaurenteed dual display with more options and more simple aswell as frequent driver updates (and nview comes as a part of the drivers and updates) - aslong as you get a card with two outputs (usually standard).


Ok Apache - thanks a lot for this. I was starting suspect the same thing. I had this idea that the fewer the components, the easier the build will be, but it's not turning out that way.

I will make sure to get a card with two outputs. I assume that a card with one D-COM out and one DVI out will be okay? The reason I ask is - that's the configuration I was inititally looking for in a GPU-integrated mobo but it turns out that I have this problem (by the way, it seems that there is only one RAMDAC on the integrated cards, thus these problems).

Something tells me that I should look for a video card with dual DVI-I outs only and then use two dongles until I get my LCDs, but I have to make sure that it has Dual RAMDAC.

Quote:
As for multi tasking what you want to do, any cpu should be able to handle that - i got a P4 3ghz (C class with HT) with 1gb ram, and dual monitor like your wanting and i encode video, surf the web, burn cds and chat and more at once without issue - dont worry too much bout it unless your doing heavy frequent video encoding or something similar.

Any cpu above/around 3200 should do it and A64's are a good choice, but if you have more $$$ go for a faster cpu.


Excellent, thanks for this. It's either an Athlon Venice 3200+ or an Opteron 146 for me.

Once again, this was a useful response, thanks and take care.
December 19, 2005 5:02:00 AM

I looked up the motherboards that you're considering. Both have a DVI and RGB/D-Sub out. I'm not 100% certain, but I don't think that those boards support dual displays. I reviewed the specs of both boards and it doesn't say there's support for dual monitors. The only reason it has DVI & RGB out is for flexibility.

So.... you're going to have to get a PCI-E video card. If you're not doing anything 3D, then a low end card w/ dual DVI out will do fine. Here's one:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...

or

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...

You can also get a dual out card w/ 1 DVI and 1 D-Sub/RGB. (like this one: http://www.atacom.com/program/print_html_new.cgi?cart_i... ) But if you connect 2 LCD's w/ DVI know that one LCD will have to use the analog D-Sub connection and the other the digital DVI. You may see a very very slight difference in color temperature between the 2 LCD's. But you can adjust it. As far as CRT's go, you can use both connections, you'll just need to use DVI to D-Sub adapter that comes w/ the card.

My advice would be to get the dual DVI card. Soon all displays w/ have DVI connections. Even CRT's. :-)

Does that help?

-mpjesse
December 19, 2005 5:22:03 AM

Quote:
I looked up the motherboards that you're considering. I'm not 100% certain, but I don't think that those boards support dual displays. I reviewed the specs of both boards and it doesn't say there's support for dual monitors.


Hi mpj

Thanks a lot for taking the time to respond. I suspect you're right about the two mobos I listed. As I mentioned, someone else said that it was a problem with the integrated mobos having a single RAMDAC... this means a heck of a lot more to you than to me. I am a musician so at least I know what a digi to analog convertor is. :) 

Quote:
So.... you're going to have to get a PCI-E video card. If you're not doing anything 3D, then a low end card w/ dual DVI out will do fine. Here's one:

My advice would be to get the dual DVI card. Soon all displays w/ have DVI connections. Even CRT's. :-)

Does that help?

-mpjesse


Yes, that helps a lot. I am going to go with it - I have spent enough time trying to figure out the integrated mobo/dual out thing. There doesn't seem to be much reason to go for a board with one of each kind of out. I'm sure that the nvidia nview Desktop Manager will be fine if I am running the two DVI-I outs into two dongles and then into my two CRTs. What matters most, in the end, is that I can get the spanned desktop going on. If I had to ditch my CRTs to do it, I would.

I'm off to check out the links you provided.

Thanks again for taking the time. It's amazing that a newb like me can come on here and get info from people like you.
December 19, 2005 5:27:09 AM

Quote:


So.... you're going to have to get a PCI-E video card. If you're not doing anything 3D, then a low end card w/ dual DVI out will do fine. Here's one:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...

or

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...



Hi mpj

I just checked out those links you provided. If you're around in a few minutes, there's one thing I would check out with you. I will post the question with links in this message )I will edit this message).

Thanks again

___________________________________

Ok mpj or anyone else

I checked out the cards you linked me to, which were in the $150+ range (in CDN dollars with tax = $200+ for me).

I did a search at Newegg for one DVI-I, one D-COM cards like the Asus card you linked me to.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.asp?Descripti...

However, I can't get the NewEgg search engine to specify Dual RAMDAC. My concern is that the cheaper video cards with one DVI-I and one D-COM out will be like the mobos, and that the two outs will in reality just be there for convenience, and not for someone who wants to run dual monitor set-up.

All the true dual DVI-I out cards I found were in the price range of the ones you linked me to, and I know that Matrox has a good rep in this field.

Thanks again, I will make my decision and go with it.
December 19, 2005 6:07:07 AM

The usual is one older "vga" (the usual/older ones) and one newer DVI port but i have seen some FX (geforce5's) with 2 dvi ports so look around, cards usually come with converters (DVI -> VGA) but not the other way round.

Dual monitor support any newer ATi/Nvidia card will support it easily.

As for LCD monitors all the ones iv seen have the older vga input rather then the DVI port.
December 19, 2005 6:13:01 AM

Quote:
The usual is one older "vga" (the usual/older ones) and one newer DVI port but i have seen some FX (geforce5's) with 2 dvi ports so look around, cards usually come with converters (DVI -> VGA) but not the other way round.

Dual monitor support any newer ATi/Nvidia card will support it easily.

As for LCD monitors all the ones iv seen have the older vga input rather then the DVI port.


Ok Apache

Intrigued by your revelation that LCDs have the older VGA input! I would have thought just the opposite. Oh well, just another thing for me to figure out.

Seems like the thing to do for me, since this is my first build, is just to spend enough that I know I am getting new, full featured items that will do everything I need. It's not a total disaster if my rig is too much for my needs.

Thanks again for taking the time.

Nik
December 19, 2005 7:19:37 AM

Alright when you go to buy your new monitors the seller will list if its DVI or not, the vga/analog ports there wont be any diffrence, and if you get something geforce5/fx or later (i know for a fact they support two out with anything pluged in, cant remember wether geforce4 supports) you should be fine - i used a geforce fx for a year with dual out there easy to setup.

Tip - check before you buy the card wether they supply a DVI to VGA converter to save a few dollars - most brands supply them with the card, or atleast the decent brands do - leadtek, asus, gigabyte etc.

As for complexity of systems and less cards and all that - no diffrence with or without dedicated video cards - onboard vga will use system memory and lower overall system performance, where as a card will use its own memory, and if you use a card it will disable onboard/integrated video and use the card.

Onboard video (atleast intels solutions) usually has adverse effects on multimedia and video content - for examply flash items on web pages will go out of sync with sound, windows fade effects will skip, windows media player video crap will skip and anything video will load up the cpu really bad so its best to have a card reguardless - not just for games. An ancient TNT2 M64 32mb AGP is faster then Intels latest on chip video on the desktop and general 2D tasks and more compatible.
December 19, 2005 8:05:48 AM

Quote:
and if you get something geforce5/fx or later (i know for a fact they support two out with anything pluged in, cant remember wether geforce4 supports) you should be fine - i used a geforce fx for a year with dual out there easy to setup.


Hi Apache

Ok - this is no problem, it will definitely be GeForce 6150 or better

Quote:
As for complexity of systems and less cards and all that - no diffrence with or without dedicated video cards - onboard vga will use system memory and lower overall system performance, where as a card will use its own memory, and if you use a card it will disable onboard/integrated video and use the card.


Perfect - this is what I needed to know. I am sure at this point that I will be going with a separate video card

Quote:
Onboard video (at least intels solutions) usually has adverse effects on multimedia and video content


Ok - that's it - it's a separate video card for me for sure. I have a bunch of different options from jesse, so I should be okay.

The more I think about it, the more I think I should just go ahead and get the LCDs now - that way I can do all the work necessary to ensure compatibility at once and I don't have to go thorugh all this info again in a few months.

Really appreciate your taking the time to sit down and type this out. I know it isn't a matter of two minutes (unles you're a super fast typ[ist). I will check back here just in case you have any further comments.
!