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3 monitors per computer? / what does Quadro mean? / is PCI-Ex1 superio

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
October 26, 2007 7:31:58 PM

The topic is somewhat unclear to me so this going to be a little long.

short version:
I have Asus P5B that has only one PCI-Ex16 slot. My graphics card is Leadtek WF PX 7600 GT.
How can I connect 4 monitors to this machine?

long version:

- should I use PCI or PCI-E x1 video card?
That means: are the PCI-E cards faster? i.e. will my computer run slower with PCI card? All I need is 2D but I don't know how the communication between card and CPU influences the performance (I don't want to slow down my CPU).

- can you recomend any (probably nVidia) graphics card?
I mean the only PCI-Ex1 card that I've found is this:
There are also some HP cards but I cannot find a single shop that has it in stock.
Also the card is only 1-DVI. I need 3 monitors right now. Will the computer handle 3 video cards when I need to add-up the 4th monitor or is there a PCI-Ex1 card with 2 DVIs?

- my graphics card is Geforce 7600. Can the second card be Quadro?
I heard that you should use a card that can use the same driver. But Quadro and Geforce uses separate drivers.

- If yes which one?
AFAIK the only difference between NVS 440/290/285/280 is the performance for CAD/CAM. I don't use any. All I need is very wide desktop.
I can go with the cheapest (i.e. 285), correct?

If you have something additional I should be aware, please, point me to that.
Also I would appreciate some articles if available. All I found was some articles about two PCI-Ex16 set-up what isn't my situation.
October 27, 2007 3:26:51 AM

chmod777, if I were you I would find any nvidia card that is on the list of supported cards for you driver. This way you'll have a lot less problems. You can find a list on the release notes.

Here, I'll save you the trouble... supported GPUs for lates production nvidia driver for xp (163.71) at the end of this post.

Just find one that meets you price performance. Don't worry the second card will not be pushed hard with 2D apps, any will do, but it would be nice to get one that has dual heads (for future 4 monitors) and with outputs that match you monitors (ie VGA vs DVI). So I would not bother with Quadro. Less headaches, cheaper, and you dont do cad\cam so no worries.

Cheap one with 1 DVI + 1 VGA
Only $49.99 and is passively cooled so it will be silent. And if you have only DVI monitors it does come with a VGA-DVI converter for the second head.

Here is a great resource for multimon set-ups (guides, reviews, Articles, FAQ, Forum, etc):

Oh yeah forgot to mention, you other option is to get a Matrox TripleHead2Go. It basically uses 1 of your heads and outputs to 3 heads (hence TripleHead ;)  ), and makes windows think it is a very wide display. This means you you maximize an app it will maximize across the three monitors. It can be good or bad depending on what you are looking for.

Good luck, and I hope this helped.

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Release Notes (v163.71)
New Control Panel User's Guide
October 27, 2007 1:47:29 PM

thanks for the comprehensive answer.
Basically are you saying that PCI Geforce FX 5200 is better than PCI-Ex1 Quadro NVS 285? (in terms of performance - the real bottleneck for me is CPU so I'm a little bit afraid of the slow communication over PCI).

The 2 options are here:

There are some other FX5200 cards that are about the same (about $50 and 128MB DDR). Can I use this card?

I heard I can modify drivers (I did worse things than that). But I want the impact on overall performance to be as low as possible (mainly the impact to the CPU).

SpeedyVV said:
it would be nice to get one that has dual heads (for future 4 monitors) and with outputs that match you monitors (ie VGA vs DVI).

Yes but I can barely find a card that is nVidia with PCI or PCI-Ex1 (there are lots of Radeon PCI cards however). For now I give up the dual-head.

SpeedyVV said:
Cheap one with 1 DVI + 1 VGA Only $49.99

Very nice card. But NewEgg doesn't deliver to EU (they even won't allow me to register my address in their system).
$50 is the price of FX 5200 I found. It's also the only card that is PCI and has a nVidia chip.
Every time I need something related to computers I clearly see where the third world starts (on the borders of US) :pfff: 

Local sellers don't have anything else than what I linked (they even don't have PCI-Ex1 cards in stock).
As of the foreign sellers I know only Amazon delivers to the EU. I haven't found any newer nVidia chip that has PCI there.

October 27, 2007 9:26:37 PM


Yeah, I can imagine that EU might make your choices a bit more limited. I guess being in Canada, is a bit better in that respect, specially with our $ being so strong compared to the US :bounce: 

However, I am sure I have seen some threads here from folks getting good selection in the EU (or maybe UK).

Also, I am not saying the FX5200 is better than the Quadro, i am just saying that for your purposes you dont need to pay the triple the cost, because you will not be using the features of the Quadro. I dont have any working knowledge of the Quadro, but I am sure they are great cards for their intended purpose, but that is not what you are using them for. So save the money.