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Low Profile Multi-Display Graphics on the Cheap

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September 29, 2006 10:45:21 AM

Diamond Multimedia offers MultiView graphics cards for low-profile systems with BizView BV200 for PCI and BV300 for PCIe.
September 29, 2006 12:30:35 PM

I am surprised that other small-form-factor cards such as the NVIDIA 6200TC or 7300LE/GS and Radeon X300, X550, anx X1300-based units weren't compared. One can usually get a card like that for $30-60 and the capabilities are better than the Radeon 9250-based Diamond cards. They also have RGB- and DVI-out as well as SVHS out. There is also a much more powerful 7300GT (Zigos) and a dual-DVI X1300 made by HIS that would be much more card for the money than the Diamond. And for the real low-profile performance junkie, Sapphire makes an X1600 Pro-based card with an HDMI and an RGB-out.
September 29, 2006 1:06:43 PM

What do you expect, Toms Hardware doesn't really write in-depth articles anymore. I mean seriously, there were just a few paragraphs and some pictures, this could have been copied straight out of the Diamond marketing materials.

They didn't really do anything that would even indicate or SHOW that they actually used the card. No tests to show how well it worked for 2d work, no pictures of it actually being used, nothing. This entire article could have been written by someone just sitting there looking at the Diamond website and writing about one of their products. In fact... was it?
Related resources
September 29, 2006 1:16:20 PM

Isn't $120-130 expensive for a dual head display? I picked up a Radeon X300 with dual DVI for under $75 and it works great for all my office apps...

Big whoop if they are low profile cards...
September 29, 2006 2:03:53 PM

It seems that since the originator "TOM" of the site was kicked out by the board the site has gone downhill. IT SEEMS TO HAVE LOST ITS MISSION, VISION AND FOCUS OF THE REASON IT WAS STARTED AND WHAT BROUGHT IT TO GREATNESS.

The forum community is still a great feature. Unfortunately they are just using the site to generate revenue-but as far as depth goes on the site it is simply style over substance. I hope they reverse the trend.

I'll probably get kicked off or censored but truth is truth.
September 29, 2006 2:24:00 PM

Tom isnt around anymore?
September 29, 2006 2:40:24 PM

Quote:
Tom isnt around anymore?



I didn't even know there actually was a real 'Tom'.
September 29, 2006 2:46:36 PM

LOL. Another McDonnalds scheme then? Or was there a real McDonald?


Anyway I agree. There are soo many beter low profile cards. This one is not even on the list of ones to consider and yet its being reviewed without comparison.
September 29, 2006 3:06:43 PM

No Ronald 8O ???

My whole world is crashing down around me!!!

Anyways, I agree with everybody above. Unless these cards are in the $10-20 range, there are vastly better cards out there for the money. Don't all new video cards have dual monitor support?
September 29, 2006 3:29:35 PM

Tom Pabst was the originator actually he is also a physician with a love for computers. Most people also do not know what country this site originates from. Any takers?

see this site http://www.pcmech.com/show/tt/209/

C ya
September 29, 2006 3:42:44 PM

Yeah, this article seems a waste. They didn't even mention that you can use a two-slot style backplate to still use the D-sub easily. I'm all for making computers smaller, and having low-profile GPU's that are worth a darn is taking as long as SATA DVD players becoming mainstream. Just doesn't make sense. And where's creative with a low-pro sound car in PCIe x1?!?
September 29, 2006 3:45:08 PM

Europe, but forgot where in. It was discussed heavly in the thread about winning Tom's 10k FNW computer. People were mad that this site wouldnt extend the contest to where this site started from. Lets not get into that again.
September 29, 2006 3:49:08 PM

Speaking of 2D cards (per se) there are a lot of them that can be benched/reviewed and their existance brought to light.

ATI FireMV series PCI & PCI-E
Nvidia Quadro NVS285 PCI-E
Matrox numerous models PCI-E, (PCI/PCI-X)


The glittery world of 3D is not needed in most business aps and there is the assumption that everyone needs 3D or might need to use it. I would venture to say that a number of businesses would prefer NOT to have their work machines capable of 3D but would prefer accelerated 2D. There is the belief that 2D is 2D on any card in the PCI-E platform it is usually true, but their are other benefits such as the use of the software package that comes with the multiheaded cards. There is also the matrox line which has a broad range of 2D cards with pristine 2D graphics and fast but with a price to match.

Why not an in depth 2D business app card roundup?
September 29, 2006 3:49:34 PM

Germany?
September 29, 2006 3:51:20 PM

Germany, I remember when Tom hit the scene. He instantly made friends with Mike McCreedy (sarcasm folks ;-)
September 29, 2006 6:26:26 PM

I bought a $80 ($70 after rebate) EVGA GeForce 6200 256MB DVI+Analog output card from CircuityCity two weeks ago. This card worked great in dual head mode on Fedora Core 5. I had two 1600x1200 LCD connected to the card. The one connected to the DVI was the main display. My desktop resolution went to 3200x1200... LOL~~

It took me a whole evening to figure out how to configure the dual head mode for nVidia GeForce 6200 on FC5:

Don't use the FC5 provided dual display mode. Instead, modify the /etc/X11/xorg.conf file:

Section "Device"
Identifier "Videocard0"
Driver "nvidia"
VendorName "Videocard vendor"
BoardName "EVGA e-GeForce 6200 nVidia"
Option "TwinView" "true"
Option "SecondMonitorHorizSync" "31-79"
Option "SecondMonitorVertRefresh" "56-75"
Option "MetaModes" "DFP-0: 1600x1200, CRT-1: 1600x1200;"
Option "TwinViewOrientation" "LeftOf"
Option "Xinerama" "on"
EndSection

Unfortunately I have to return the 2nd LCD to my wife :oops:  after the dual head setup and demoed to her.... we couldn't afford buying another 20" LCD

--
Lijian Liu
September 29, 2006 7:46:08 PM

In a small amount of defense, I would bring up the fact that these cards have half-height back plates that make them usable in SFF setups. There are a lot of half-height cards on the market, but most include non-removable full-height back plates.
a b U Graphics card
September 29, 2006 9:06:09 PM

Quote:
In a small amount of defense, I would bring up the fact that these cards have half-height back plates that make them usable in SFF setups. There are a lot of half-height cards on the market, but most include non-removable full-height back plates.


Exactly, not even worries about SFF, they can use 3/4 heigh cards like the usual X1300 and X1600HDMI, but low profile 1/2 height cards needed for slim cases like DELL, IBM, HP, etc thin clients are impossible to find, and next to none having dual DVI on 1/2 height. Sure I'd prefer that they put the RV515 on the BV200 instead of the weak R9250, but it's a step in the right direction for 2D. The only big drawback is the loss of AVIVO features, but for 2D CAD and static phtoshop type suff, that BV200 will deliver about the same quality as the BV300, bothrunning 10bit per channel colour and both spliting the DualTMDS into 2 DVI outs so no panel adv either.

Very purpose driven, but if those other readers didn't know that at the start guess they wouldn't apprciate why these cards exist and are needed by niche markets.

Sure I'd prefer a little more detail on multi-montior suppoprt, like Hydravision examined a bit on these cards (maybe add MutliMon for kicks). But it looks like more of a news flash / heads'-up , rather than an in depth article.

Quote:
Most people also do not know what country this site originates from. Any takers?


Bet you don't know either. You probably think you know, but you probably don't based on your comments.

It's definitely a different animal now, but that change happened long before Tom left and his lack of involvement near the end was obvious, as was the frustration of members. Now it runs like the corporate entity it always was destined to become after it had more than 1,000 chip heads like myself reading it.

BTW, there was no Mr McDonald, the founder Ray Kroc died in the 80s and left the company to his wife who died recently and left alot of it to the Salvation Army.
September 29, 2006 9:28:23 PM

Quote:


BTW, there was no Mr McDonald, the founder Ray Kroc died in the 80s and left the company to his wife who died recently and left alot of it to the Salvation Army.


Because the Salvation Army needs cheeseburgers, much like they need outdated video cards.



I would love to donate a bunch of old PCI modems to the SA.. then watch them hand out 9600 baud modems to the homeless.
September 29, 2006 10:14:20 PM

I was interested in building a Multimedia PC based on one of the low-height A/V style cases but couldn’t find a suitable half-height video card for it (MX4000 was all that I could find).
The ones in this review wont do either, but at least there better then the MX4000.
September 29, 2006 10:16:09 PM

Quote:

BTW, there was no Mr McDonald...


Lies!!! Ronald lives!
a b U Graphics card
September 29, 2006 10:33:32 PM

Quote:
I was interested in building a Multimedia PC based on one of the low-height A/V style cases but couldn’t find a suitable half-height video card for it (MX4000 was all that I could find).
The ones in this review wont do either, but at least there better then the MX4000.


I agree, these don't fit the bill but if they put the BV300, or better yet an X1650, into a BV200 form factor, then you'd have the perfect Media Centre PC solution IMO.

Full HD AVIVO features, plus passive cooling (reliable/quiet), plus better basic 3D options for VISTA, all in a half-height package. No one offers that right now. For it to be a worthy nV solution you'd want the GF7600GT for the added PureVideo features like HD telecine not available on lower models (including the 7600GS).
a b U Graphics card
September 29, 2006 10:39:57 PM

Quote:
I am surprised that other small-form-factor cards such as the NVIDIA 6200TC or 7300LE/GS and Radeon X300, X550, anx X1300-based units weren't compared. One can usually get a card like that for $30-60 and the capabilities are better than the Radeon 9250-based Diamond cards.


You show me those in PCI garb, and then maybe you'd have something.

The GF6200TC doesn't exist in PCI, it's a plain GF6200, and the GF7300 never surfaced as a marketable product in PCI form. And the X series cards were not available either.

Only the 3/4 height X1300 is available in PCI form of the ones you listed, and then it's a alot more expensive, and has none of the features of the BV200 (not passive cooling, not half height, and can only support 1 DVI-I or DVI-A monitor at a time, the other output is DB-15/VGA.

These are niche products, and like a quad output Matrox, nV or ATi card, could be better replaced by other solutions for most people, but for some it's just what is needed for them.
October 2, 2006 2:23:44 PM

I dont think those cards would do much good for a MCPC. I purchased the HP Media Center, and it is by far the best looking case + equipment on the market. However, its a beast, and still has trouble some times lagging behind the audio/video. Granted I returned it before I upgraded the ram, because it was missing some items too... but what a PC that was (if only it didnt have voice-lag issues when recording).
October 2, 2006 6:13:13 PM

The real issue is who and what is driving the market? Niche products can be very profitable and sometimes I have niche needs. Matrox has been very profitable in their niche. Everyone wants to be the big dog in the big market but eventually that market gets wittled down. Now there are only 2 major players ATI and Nvidia. Matrox saw this a few years ago when it got blasted on delivering the Parhelia with too little too late. The have changed their business plan and done very well in Video and 2D imaging. A recent development is the PCI 2.3 spec which allows 66Mhz in a regulat PCI slot "Not a PCI-X slot". This effectively doubles the bandwidth but the problem is the motherboard manufacturers have not put it in many motherboards yet. If the general PCI video card manufacturers would raise the level of their PCI cards to work at that level their could be an increase in PCI video cards. They would work at the same level as an x1 PCI-Express video card which are rare but expensive.

For me the beauty of it would be you could have 2-3 busses operating at much higher rates and be seperated from each other. Those 3 busses being
PCI-E/16 lanes@250MB/s per lane,
PCI-X/133Mhz * 64bit,
PCI/ 66Mhz * 32 bit

You woud think that the new ASUS workstation boards would have done this but the P5WDG2-ws-Pro has PCI-X but the 2 PCI slots are 33Mhz

The ASUS P5W64-WS Pro has 4 PCI-E slots and 2 PCI slots running at 33Mhz.

Yes, I would have a reason for all three busses running as fast as possible. There is a reason they call the P5W64 the wallstreet quartet but they missed a golden opportunity with the PCI slots. I hope they make a revised board with the PCI slots running at 66Mhz

Check out www.Tradingcomputers.com .

Machines like this are not unheard of in financial circles and the scientific arena. some of these machines have 20 monitors.

Niche, YEAH, But a profitable niche
October 2, 2006 6:19:05 PM

Quote:
They would work at the same level as an x1 PCI-Express video card which are rare but expensive.

For me the beauty of it would be you could have 2-3 busses operating at much higher rates and be seperated from each other.


You're missing the point of PCIe. It is not a "bus" in the general sense any more than SATA is. There is nothing inherently making PCIeX1 cards more expensive than PCI 2.3 or PCI-X cards. Even if (1) PCI 2.3 video card gets the same bandwidth as one PCIeX1 card, things change as soon as you add another PCI card. You seem to understand the point of having separate "buses," but don't seem to understand that that is part of the point of PCIe.
October 2, 2006 7:19:59 PM

YES, I do understand. Let me give you a real life situation. I had a P4 with a 4 port PCI video card. I added it to a Quadro 900XGL AGP card. The bandwidth remained the same, but each time I added a monitor the speed of a change of monitor content dropped.

I changed to PCI-E very fast, added Pci-X still very fast PCI-X not quite as fast as

I was saturating the PCI bus

I am also currently running SCSI on the PCI-X bus but plan to go the the WS Quartet (or equiv)after I find a descently priced PCI-E SCSI RAID card for the exact same reason you stated but don't seem to think I understand. The 16 lanes of each PCI-E slot has great potential but the early adopter cards are very expensive. Now, I have seen 2 port PCI-E video cards for $30.00 NEW. However 4 port video PCI-E cards are VERY expensive--more than the flagship Nvidia or ATI cards, The Matrox offering is $799.00

When used for SLI the x16 PCI-E slot gets reduced to x8 that sounds like BUS behavior to me. Just because the manufacturers don't want to call it that I am looking at its behavior. HOWEVER, It is maturing very quickly and some are able to keep the x16 bandwidth if cards are used in both slots and I can only see this getting better. And for all intents and purposes the bandwidth is not saturated at x8 speeds. In the mean time there is a lot of corporate technology that can be had for great prices in the PCI-X format, but general consumers need not apply. That said, 66Mhz PCI slots may be too little, too late for most, but every little bit helps in the transition to all PCI-E slot motherboards. And I for one am looking forward to it for the reasons you mentioned.
October 2, 2006 7:50:22 PM

Its interesting that with the increased interest of MCPC's in cases that are A/V in form-factor, more companies don’t come out with half-height, passively cooled mid-upper range video cards.
October 2, 2006 7:53:40 PM

Quote:
When used for SLI the x16 PCI-E slot gets reduced to x8 that sounds like BUS behavior to me.


Good point there, but as you said, the higher end SLI chipsets do not do this. And how the two PCIe x16 slots are set has no effect on any PCIe X1 slots, whatsoever. So, even a regular micro-atx board with one PCIeX16, one PCIeX1 and two PCI slots can run a lot of monitors (depending on what you need to do) with a regular graphics card and a card like this:

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

You could even throw in a pair of these:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...
a b U Graphics card
October 2, 2006 9:10:47 PM

Quote:
The real issue is who and what is driving the market? Niche products can be very profitable and sometimes I have niche needs. Matrox has been very profitable in their niche.


Actually they haven't been VERY profitable in their niche, just stable profitability. Very profitable is the low-end and OEM stuff which they have little of. Their profit or margin per unit is good, but their overall ROI is low.

Quote:
Everyone wants to be the big dog in the big market but eventually that market gets wittled down.


And eventually the Big dogs goes after the little dog's niche and will hemorrahge money to do it. Expect Matrox to lose alot of business in the display market in the future because ATi/nV/SiS/Intel are all going after the traditional Matrox market, and their smaller niches will not provide enough revenue to survive. Matrox is moving to capture/editing-solutions, more than just display cards. nV is even going after Matrox and Chyron's pro market.

Quote:
Matrox saw this a few years ago when it got blasted on delivering the Parhelia with too little too late.


The Parhellia was better than the R8500, and competative with the GF4ti (with more features than both).

Quote:
The have changed their business plan and done very well in Video and 2D imaging.


For now, but they are simply staying afloat, and if the big booys target those markets, buy buy Matrox. The X1300 on PCI , AGP and PCIe is a wake up call IMO, providing more video option than the P and G series, and the M is being attacked by these products and the FireMV ones.

Quote:
If the general PCI video card manufacturers would raise the level of their PCI cards to work at that level their could be an increase in PCI video cards.


Why bother? PCI 2.3 requires motherboard redesign so why not simply go with PCIe, most new workstations have at least 1 PCIe slot nowadays, and most have the old AGP PRO 4-8X 50/110.

Quote:
They would work at the same level as an x1 PCI-Express video card which are rare but expensive.


They are no longer expensive, and not that rare;

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

FireMV is expensive @ $400, but on X1300 @ $100 a pop, you get dual link DVI unlike the base Matrox P series PCIe 1X.

But for basic 2D and 3D which is what Matrox does, this X1300 is cheaper and better than most;
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...

The only area Matrox still owns is PCI-X, and then great multi-mon software.

Next barirer for Matrox, not one of their card will be compliant with Vista's AeroGlass, thus reducing their market ever more.

Quote:
For me the beauty of it would be you could have 2-3 busses operating at much higher rates and be seperated from each other. Those 3 busses being
PCI-E/16 lanes@250MB/s per lane,
PCI-X/133Mhz * 64bit,
PCI/ 66Mhz * 32 bit


Why bother separating them since if you have PCIe and PCI/PCI-X likely the PCI/PCI-X are running off 1 PCIe lane anyways. Persoanlly I'd prefer 2 1X PCIe + 1-2 PEG 8-16X for such a system.

Quote:
You woud think that the new ASUS workstation boards would have done this but the P5WDG2-ws-Pro has PCI-X but the 2 PCI slots are 33Mhz

The ASUS P5W64-WS Pro has 4 PCI-E slots and 2 PCI slots running at 33Mhz.


Reinforcing the end of PCI other than standard PCI. PCI2.3 makes little sense, just like PCI-X 533, no point anymore. And alot of 2.3 like on the Tyan boards are also showing as 32/33.

Quote:
Machines like this are not unheard of in financial circles and the scientific arena. some of these machines have 20 monitors.


In which case you'd be better off with something more along the lines of a Tyan board with many PEG slots and many PCIe or PCI/PCI-x slots.

Quote:
Niche, YEAH, But a profitable niche


Profitable in indiviudal terms, but not profitable when seen overall for the business, and it's owning a dying niche for now pfotiability is evaporating fast. They will have a 'maintain' strategy for people who already have MAtrox, solutions, but that only works for so long.

Matrox needs new hardware to continue to be a viable entity, and I say that as someone who loves Matrox.
October 2, 2006 11:00:09 PM

YEAH, but what is the jist of my argument and what am I looking for as an end product? Everything is done incrementally and from what I see we will get to all PCI-Express boards faster than any other change of slots the industry has seen in the past. BUT IN THE MEANTIME. The change will still be incremental. You did not address that the more PCI cards you have the slower the whole thing gets so why would I want traditional PCI. I DON'T. For me the best setup is as explained for what I do.

Also extra PCI-Express lanes are a redesign because it is usually another chip that has to be included to get them. As time goes on chip resources will be allocated to putting them in because there will be more cards to use them.

It is more than just the technology of being able to do it. Each board they make is to fit a market segment "a niche". The question is asked what niche would like what on their boards, and how can we fit our technology to them so they will buy it. It is called marketing. Finding out what the customer wants and giving it to them so that they will buy the probuct in an amount that will give them a profit.

There are some people who do not understand it. A few months ago Gigabyte came out with the QUAD Royal a 4 PCI-Express slot board. All the gamers were only looking at their application of the board. Some reviews were even asking the question, Is there a market for it?

Well DUH!!!

The European and Asian market got the ASUS P5W64 4 PCI-E slots long before it hit the US market and if they are calling it the Wall Street Quartet they have their market.
October 3, 2006 1:08:22 AM

Quote:
Also extra PCI-Express lanes are a redesign because it is usually another chip that has to be included to get them. As time goes on chip resources will be allocated to putting them in because there will be more cards to use them.


Technology will change, sure, but I don't really see what you're trying to get at here. Sure a northbridge/southbridge chip could eventually need to have more and more PCIe lanes, but we could be seeing many different revisions of PCIe by then, much like Sata 6g is in the works now.
a b U Graphics card
October 3, 2006 7:31:32 AM

Quote:
You did not address that the more PCI cards you have the slower the whole thing gets so why would I want traditional PCI. I DON'T. For me the best setup is as explained for what I do.


No, you example involved multiple PCI, PCI-X and PCIe solutions.

ALL PCIe would be far better.
As for 'incremental' why? PCI is dead, PCI-X is also dead. PCIe is already the new standard, and already we are seeing al PCIe board, and if the server market didn't already have a ton of PCI-X Giabit Ethernet and SCSI RAID controllers we'd see them gone too.

Quote:
Also extra PCI-Express lanes are a redesign because it is usually another chip that has to be included to get them.


What are you talking about? The lanes are either there or not, if you want more PCI or PCI-X then you still need the PCIe for that too. So whether it's a single chip solution or dual like nV's PRO chipset makes little difference be it 40 or 48 lanes, you still have to allocate them properly.

Quote:
A few months ago Gigabyte came out with the QUAD Royal a 4 PCI-Express slot board.


Which they leaked about a year and a half ago, and which was discussed here in many ways.

Quote:
All the gamers were only looking at their application of the board.


Why not? Should they have been discussing the possible 24 drive raid controller options or optical networking controller possibilities?

Quote:
Some reviews were even asking the question, Is there a market for it?

Well DUH!!!


Well that's a mature thought, I'm sold. :roll:
The question is not whether there is any market at all for a product, but whether there is enough of a market for it to become more of widespread product. You could sell a handful of $50,000 graphics systems if they were fasty enough, there is a market for it, but is there enough of a market to make the cost of production and the R&D focus worth it?

Quote:
The European and Asian market got the ASUS P5W64 4 PCI-E slots long before it hit the US market and if they are calling it the Wall Street Quartet they have their market.


Which is still not really a good guided solution, true Wall Street system builders have been using 3rd party inegrators like ColorGraphic for years to get dedicated systems, and they don't care about the cost, matrox G200-MMS or G450-MMS would be fine for them. The market for the Asus board if anything is the wannabe broker. It should be called the 'Day Trader Tetrad' because that's their market, day traders and gamers.

Heck when it comes to multi-mon, the flight sim gamers tend to be the ones who break ground for everyone else, including the financial & statistical users.

The reality is that the 2D impact is very low on resources, and the biggest slowdown for 2D implementation is the system resources required to provide fresh data for the monitors. The burden of the PCIe lanes and the cards themselves is minimal compared to gaming.
The only reason that an array of G450s , FireMVs or Quadros will be limited versus a bunch of PCIe 1X X1300 is the move to 3D desktops; stick to Win2K, Unix/Linux, and apps like Xinerama and it won't matter. But then again, it also means no need for the 'WSQ' either.
September 23, 2007 8:12:52 AM

Just a heads up. There is a NVidia GeForce 8600GT Low Profile card out there now. I can't find anyone in the US that sells it but it does exist.

http://www.galaxytech.com/Product_Details.asp?id=135

Anyone know where I could perhaps grab this card through online order?

!