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Triple-Screen setup / new machine

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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March 6, 2008 6:25:07 PM


I'm building a new machine (will be my 5th one). Even though the GX2 and new GTX are right around the corner, unless they come out in the next week I am kinda pressured to get a new machine now.

My question is that I have a 3rd LCD screen (I currently dual-screen) that will be left over from an older PC. I was thinking of using it for a triple-screen setup (not while gaming).

I have only ever used one video card in a build so I don't know how multiple cards will work. Since I can only run at 1280x1024 it seems that running SLI/CrossFire is really not needed. So I thought I could get one nice card (8800gts) and then use a cheap $50 PCI card to run the third screen.

Will this work? Will this mess up the game performance at all? What would happen if I tried to drag a windowed game from the gts dual-screens to the cheapo card screen? I'm guessing the window will just go black.

I have seen some benchmarks with SLI GTS's at 1280x1024. There does seem to be a boost but I don't know if it's worth the cost. Hence the idea above.

Not on topic but I'm also debating what MB to get. I'm looking at a 780i mostly for the PCIe 2.0 even though that seems pointless. I'm also looking at an X38 MB DDR3 for future-proofing. But I know very little about DDR3 and it seems too expensive right now to be worth it, but with all the new stuff right around the corner I feel that the 780i might be a bad choice looking into the future.

Any help and feedback would be great.

BTW, I'm not really an overclocker, I just want a really good machine at out-of-box settings. My budget is about $1400-$1500. I have a case, 500w PSU, DVD drive and the 3 LCDs left over from my old machine.

Thanks.
a c 140 U Graphics card
March 6, 2008 6:48:23 PM

You would think it would work. Honestly I would stick with both cards having the same manufacturer, ei both nvidia or both ATI cards. I know what you are saying and trying. I would think windows would install each adapter and manage each as such. It would allow you to make each monitor a seperate display. I believe when you run games it will only use the first port on your primary video card. Therefore performance will not be an issue. unless the game enables dual monitors in which case I think it would still only use the primary card. Besides, for $50 it's worth a try.
March 6, 2008 7:02:17 PM

Yeah, I was looking at an evga 8800gts and I found a cheap evga nvidia card that has a DVI port for $50. So it's the same brand and company etc. Seems like it would be worth the shot. Just thought I would ask first.
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a c 140 U Graphics card
March 6, 2008 7:25:20 PM

If i wanted a 3rd monitor, $50 would be worth a shot.
March 6, 2008 7:41:28 PM

Morbius--I've been using 3 monitors with two video cards for a couple years now...for multitasking in Windows you can't beat it. I've done the bit with a NVidia PCI-exp 6800 GT and a cheapo ATI Radeon 7000 PCI. That setup was alright...but scrolling on the monitor on that PCI card was a little herky-jerky (no video playback either). About a year ago I swapped with another rig of mine and now run a 7800 GTX (two monitors) and a 6800 GT (the third). It runs great...1600x1200 center 20" and 1024x1280 left and right both in portrait mode. Stick with what jay2tall said about all the same chipset manufacturer as the ATI-NVidia setup was quirky (both driver apps wanted to control the other card). An added bonus to having all the same manufacturer is that all of the color matching is possible through one app (makes it easier to get uniform color across 3 monitors). Never tried to multimonitor game. I just use the 20" in the middle. Good Luck!
March 6, 2008 8:00:00 PM

Great! That's good to hear. I thought it would work just wasn't sure. Thanks for all the information guys!
March 6, 2008 9:01:10 PM

Another option that I have seen is a Matrox Dual head 2 go, they also have a tripple head. It is a box where you plug in one video output, and then it takes multiple monitors and has them acting as one. That way you can use multiple monitors in games!!
a c 236 U Graphics card
March 6, 2008 9:48:38 PM

In the bios, you will have to specify which card is to be your primary; not a big deal. The 8800gts(512-G92 only) is a fine card. I think I would make it the primary,which is used for games, and use the second card to attach the two aux monitors. The nvidia driver for the 8800 series also supports lower series, down to 66oo, I think. It is much better to run all three monitors with the same driver. Using dualview, All three look like one big desktop. You can seamlessly drag a window from one to another. Games have more direct control, and most will probably use only the primary monitor.
March 6, 2008 11:09:54 PM

you want the matrox for triple set up

its the "chit", there are a ton of games that support

i am currently building a triple sli for the triple head set up - we see how it works - its half built.

the $1800 for cards still hurts
!