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help with choosing video card for 3 monitors

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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June 6, 2006 3:46:38 PM

Dear All,

I need show three different videos on three monitors. What kind of video cards can I use?

Any suggestion will be much appreciated.

Jeff
June 6, 2006 3:48:28 PM

What do you plan on doing with the three monitors? Gaming? Video? Office Applications?

Depends on what you plan on doing.
a c 173 U Graphics card
a b C Monitor
June 6, 2006 4:18:16 PM

What kind of ports do you have? AGP, PCIe, or just PCI. All you really need is a single AGP/PCIe card, and another PCIe/PCI card. (Second card can be PCIe if you have a SLI motherboard, just don't SLI them.) Matrox sells a card that can do 3 monitors at once, but the gaming performance is lacking.
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June 6, 2006 5:03:17 PM

Use a pair of PCIe cards, (SLI or Crossfire).
June 6, 2006 5:04:43 PM

Or if your motherboard has an integrated video adapter, you just need a single dual-monitor graphics card to bring you up to three displays. This will work well for a home office setup, but not for gaming. Most new graphics cards have dual-monitor capability, so take your pic. I hope you aren't planning on doing this solely for gaming, as not many games support multiple monitors.
June 6, 2006 5:42:26 PM

Quote:
Or if your motherboard has an integrated video adapter, you just need a single dual-monitor graphics card to bring you up to three displays. This will work well for a home office setup, but not for gaming. Most new graphics cards have dual-monitor capability, so take your pic. I hope you aren't planning on doing this solely for gaming, as not many games support multiple monitors.


Motherboard only have one AGP bus, which means you can use either the onboard video OR your video card in the AGP slot. If you know of a motherboard that will suport dual AGP busses, please share.

Unless I'm misinformed, there isn't an onboard PCIe video mobo around.
June 6, 2006 5:49:42 PM

Quote:

I need show three different videos on three monitors. What kind of video cards can I use?
Any suggestion will be much appreciated.


I would do this one of two ways...

Have one source output to Maxtor's TripleHead2Go
OR
Have my primary output from my vid card goto it's own display and the second output goto Maxtor's DualHead2Go

I would probably do the second because the TripleHead2Go is about $315 while the Dual is about half as much.
June 6, 2006 5:50:42 PM

You're right about 1 agp. I was assuming the card would be PCIe. [Extending the desktop is required to use 3 AGP connectors]
June 6, 2006 6:00:33 PM

Quote:
I hope you aren't planning on doing this solely for gaming, as not many games support multiple monitors.


True, but there are usually ways to make it work.
A look through widescreengamingforum.com may help you there. Rendering pixels through a *Head2Go box is done the same from the video card as rendering to a widescreen display.
June 6, 2006 6:03:12 PM

Quote:
Dear All,

I need show three different videos on three monitors. What kind of video cards can I use?

Any suggestion will be much appreciated.

Jeff


If you are only planning on using this for multiple video streams over 3+ monitors then you should consider a Matrox Parhelia series cards.

They come in multiple flavours; AGP, PCI, PCI-X, and PCI-E.

If you want to also play games on your system then you have 2 choices.
A. Get a Matrox TripleHead2go. (please note that this is a gfx extender and you will be limited to the bandwidth of your primary GPU for video)
B. get a SLI or crossfire solution and use them in non-sli/crossfire configurtation.
June 6, 2006 6:06:20 PM

Quote:
Quote:

B. get a SLI or crossfire solution and use them in non-sli/crossfire configurtation.


Ahh, that will work with no issues? Nice.
Forgive me, I'm still running a 7800GS. =)
a c 173 U Graphics card
a b C Monitor
June 6, 2006 6:29:19 PM

Your misinformed. Onboard video motherboards that I've played with will continue to work with a video card installed. Just check the "extend desktop to second monitor" box in properties, and you've got dual screen. I believe its the 6150 chipset from Nvidia that has onboard graphics, with a PCIe 16X slot also. (6100 only has onboard.) I haven't played with the 6150, so it might shut off if a PCIe card is installed, but I don't see why it would.
June 6, 2006 9:32:08 PM

I will do presentation on a meeting with these three monitors. I need synchronize three presentations on three monitors. At least two presentations will be videos. (The central one shows information, and the other two play the videos of our experiment).
June 6, 2006 9:36:44 PM

I will check what slots I have. The computer is Dell 8400, P4 processor, 1G/2G memory. I am not sure whether I can use one card or not. My current video card is RADEON X300. It got performance problem when I tested it with two videos on two monitors.
June 6, 2006 9:39:30 PM

Yes. I am trying to order an TripleHead2Go. However, I am worry about its performance. I have no experience with it.
June 6, 2006 11:07:11 PM

Quote:
Yes. I am trying to order an TripleHead2Go. However, I am worry about its performance. I have no experience with it.


TH2G might not be what you need. It's performance is limited by the primary GPU. If you think your 7800GS can handle 3 fullscreen video streams then go ahead and try.

What the TH2G does is trick your GPU into thinking there is a ultrawidescreen monitor connected and then splits the signal to 3 monitors. You can then use the Matrox software to devide the very wide desktop into 3 virtual screens (remember windows still thinks it's a widescreen).

Your GPU is already pushing it's limits rendering a 3840x1024 desktop.

My advice stands, if you want 3+ screens then you should get yourself a Parhelia. Get a PCI or PCI-X version that will fit into spare PCI slot.

Just want to add that if you are running things on DVI or high-res monitors then you might want to consider a Matrox QID (quad monitor support) that can handle 4x displays running at 16x12 DVI. The QID also comes in AGP, PCI, PCI-X and PCIe flavours.

As for SLI/Crossfire, you can software disable via windows and connect your monitors to 3 free VGAs.
a b U Graphics card
a b C Monitor
June 6, 2006 11:34:03 PM

Quote:

What the TH2G does is trick your GPU into thinking there is a ultrawidescreen monitor connected and then splits the signal to 3 monitors. You can then use the Matrox software to devide the very wide desktop into 3 virtual screens (remember windows still thinks it's a widescreen).


That's the thing that's going to make the video a little tricky, but easier than some implementations. You won't be able to widescreen the video onto separate monitors, and instead there will be 2 video windows open in conjunction with the main desktop. Alittle nightmarish on the workload, but as long as they don't require acceleration or VPU assistance it should be ok, and no need to worry about overlays.

Quote:
Your GPU is already pushing it's limits rendering a 3840x1024 desktop.


Without video acceleration it should be ok for 2D.

Quote:
My advice stands, if you want 3+ screens then you should get yourself a Parhelia. Get a PCI or PCI-X version that will fit into spare PCI slot.


Too bad there's no P750 in PCIe form, save a few bucks. He would also be able to get away with an R9200SE PCI add-in card in addition to what he's currently got. And for any non-Matrox solution (and even Matrox if you have extra coin) I would recommend getting a dedicated 3rd party multi-monitor program like UltraMon which really gives nice added functionality and ease of use compared to Hydravision and nView.

Quote:
Just want to add that if you are running things on DVI or high-res monitors then you might want to consider a Matrox QID (quad monitor support) that can handle 4x displays running at 16x12 DVI. The QID also comes in AGP, PCI, PCI-X and PCIe flavours.


Just a little pricey though, but definitely a good choice for 4 monitor there's also the ATi FireMV and there's even a GF6200 based quad monitor card out there, but it's hard to find.

Quote:
As for SLI/Crossfire, you can software disable via windows and connect your monitors to 3 free VGAs.


But don't use the SLi or Crossfire, it just mucks things up for the most part. But 2 PCIe cards (2 X300 or 2 GF6200) would be fine, but that requires a new MoBo, and likely with Dell other new parts.
June 6, 2006 11:47:04 PM

Quote:


Too bad there's no P750 in PCIe form, save a few bucks. He would also be able to get away with an R9200SE PCI add-in card in addition to what he's currently got. And for any non-Matrox solution (and even Matrox if you have extra coin) I would recommend getting a dedicated 3rd party multi-monitor program like UltraMon which really gives nice added functionality and ease of use compared to Hydravision and nView.


That would be the APVe. I'd also expect more PCIe Parhelia's coming from Matrox soon.

Quote:
Just a little pricey though, but definitely a good choice for 4 monitor there's also the ATi FireMV and there's even a GF6200 based quad monitor card out there, but it's hard to find.


I agree with you, definitly a little pricey.

Quote:
But don't use the SLi or Crossfire, it just mucks things up for the most part. But 2 PCIe cards (2 X300 or 2 GF6200) would be fine, but that requires a new MoBo, and likely with Dell other new parts.


the question is, would a second card and mobo be more cost effective than a single card solution?

I'd like to find out how this all pans out :) 
a b U Graphics card
a b C Monitor
June 7, 2006 12:04:38 AM

Quote:

That would be the APVe. I'd also expect more PCIe Parhelia's coming from Matrox soon.


Actually not quite. The APVe has a P650-128 board layout , and features and specs better match the P650. The thing is it has some additional support and restrictions in comparison tothe whole P line, so it's likely not even that. But the price alone makes it very different too. The reason I meantion the P750 is better triple monitor suppor than the P650, but cheaper than the Parhelia. The APVe is still pretty pricey so negates the advantage of the P750, which is likely why they decided to remove the card because it hurt their top of the line.

Quote:
But don't use the SLi or Crossfire, it just mucks things up for the most part. But 2 PCIe cards (2 X300 or 2 GF6200) would be fine, but that requires a new MoBo, and likely with Dell other new parts.


the question is, would a second card and mobo be more cost effective than a single card solution?[/quote]

And that's the issue when it comes to recommending SLi. Personally I'd try and find a second hand or cheap R9200SE at a computer surplus etc, and use Hydravision/UltraMon and that would likely get the results he needs. It would definitely be the most cost effective.

Quote:
I'd like to find out how this all pans out :) 


Yeah interesting to get some feedbacck once he's done.
July 12, 2006 3:16:22 PM

any news on how this went?
September 6, 2006 7:30:04 PM

sorry for slow response. We bought Triple2Go at the end. It does not work well to support three videos.

We worked around to make one big video to show on three monitors.

Thanks.
September 6, 2006 10:25:29 PM

Quote:
sorry for slow response. We bought Triple2Go at the end. It does not work well to support three videos.

We worked around to make one big video to show on three monitors.

Thanks.


I wouldn't blame the TH2G, it's just a gfx extender and doesn't do any kind of processing.

In actuality, it's your gpu that doesn't not work well with 3x video streams.

a Parhelia would have definitly got the job done. for example: a while back i had a Parhelia DL512 connected to a Dell 30" res:25*16. I used matrox software to divide the desktop into 4x 12*8 virtual screen and played a different video in each. very sweet!

a QID would have been a better (also more expensive) choice because it can have 4 independent displays.

/me looks around

where's a grape ape when you need one?
September 6, 2006 11:05:39 PM

No, the problem is that everyone recommended a solution that shows one big monitor to the Gfx card, like the nView 'Span' mode.

This means that when you maximise something, it maximises to the WHOLE 3 monitors, it is not possible to have 3 programs, each maximised to the one monitor as it is with a true multi-display mode. (Dualview in the nview settings)

You need either 2 Gfx cards (1 AGP 1 PCI, or 1 PCI-E 1 PCI, or 2xPCI-E), or a matrox card.
!