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need help!! multi monitor non gaming???

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
June 24, 2008 1:43:03 AM

Questions about mulitple monitor use and video cards. I’m not interested in games (I know, go somewhere else to find answers), but I know that game technology is the cutting edge of the computer industry. So I know I will get the best and most accurate answers here versus some other places.
Usage: three or four monitors to display as one desktop so I can drag windows of various applications amoung them. 2D financial charting and streaming mostly.
Monitors: I will start out with three 20” at 1680x1050. I would like the ability to change in the future to two 24” at 1920x1200 and one 20” at 1680x1050, all running together as one desktop (yes, the different resolution of one would be on purpose). In that future 2-24” and 1-20” setup, I may even add one more 24”.

My reserch tells me my choices are:

Quadro FX 4500 X2 at over $3000, way more card than I need.

Quadro NVS 440 PCIEX-16 at $450, is this enough card for my resolution desires?.

ATI FireMV™ 2400 at $400, reviews talk about driver issues.

Radeon HD 3870 X2, the Asus version EAH3870 X2 looks great and even better with a current rebate so total cost is $ 320.

run two 8800GT’s. I would choose the 8800GT over lesser cards becuse of a current rebate on the 8800GT’s making each card $130 so $260 for two, which is not that much more than say two 8600’s.

Price is a concern, but reliability and ease of use across multiple monitors is the most important.

The 4 DVI outs on one card is nice, but I have no problem with two 8800GT’s if syncing them together is not a continous maintenance problem.

The rest of the story?. I will either buy a tower from a gamer in my town at a great price(680i SLI motherboard, thermaltake 800 watt SLI PSU, etc.etc), or build one to meet my needs.

I would greatly appreciate the input of this community.

More about : multi monitor gaming

a c 175 U Graphics card
a b C Monitor
June 24, 2008 1:54:18 AM

Two cards. Run them on an SLI/CF motherboard, just don't link them. You will then have 4dvi outputs available, or whatever outputs they come with. If there is no gaming going on, look to the 8800GS/9600GT/38x0 cards, they should be rather cheap.

If you haven't already, you might want to get ultramon. I hear its the tool to have when you have more then one monitor. I use two, but my needs aren't very complex.
Related resources
June 24, 2008 4:43:49 AM

Thanks for your inputs.

QUESTION, in the specs for the 8600GT at newegg is lists max resolution as 2560x1600. Is that for the whole card thus split between two DVI lines?. If so that make two 1280x800's. On the 8800GT the max resolution is listed at 2560x1600 twice. So I would assume that means max per each monitor. I guess I need an education as to how to interpret max resolution per monitor/output on a multi-output card.

So how do you compare a card with two DVI outs and a card with four DVI outs when the specs only list max resolution?. Again, I'm looking for max resolution PER monitor when all outputs are hooked up.

I wait for your response's.
June 24, 2008 4:49:25 AM

Hello again,
The 8800GS/9600GT also lists max resolution as 2560x1600 only once. Again, how does that apply to max resolution per monitor when two are hooked up?. (The 8800GT is actually less $, but the 8600GT is the least $ as aevm said)
a b U Graphics card
June 24, 2008 4:53:26 AM

Another tip, you can mix and match any of those cards (just not nVidia and ATI)(they don't play well together). or you can try an 8800(series) for the 2x monitor out, and an 8600/9600 for the one monitor out.
a b U Graphics card
June 24, 2008 4:56:57 AM

eland the 2560x1600 is the max res that the card can safely handle (from one, or both DVI ports) so max res is the same per output (not counting differing resolutions on monitors)
a b U Graphics card
a b C Monitor
June 24, 2008 5:01:22 AM

The max resolution is per monitor. Also, just to run dual monitors, you don't need higher than the ATI 3650/8600GT, that is a $100 graphics card. Just make sure they have at least DDR3 memory. I'm running dual 19" LCD's on a lowly 7300LE. Here's a card for $67 that can run what you're doing:

If you want to just to get one card that has 4 DVI's, here are a few for sale on Newegg:
a b U Graphics card
a b C Monitor
June 24, 2008 5:56:50 AM

What do you mean by run as a single desktop? Do you have something against using and extended desktop?

I only ask cuz to the best of my knowledge in a dual monitor setup the standard nvidia cards will not combine the two monitors. Meaning you will have 2 desktops at independent resolutions. The quadro cards will combine monitors to give you a single display under windows.
June 24, 2008 1:56:31 PM

This has become confusing..

can a single basic GeForce 7 or 8 series video card run TWO LCD screens at 1600x1050 at the same time as an extended desktop? Would they both be DVI?

I thought it was an obvious yes but now with this talk of max resolution being 2560x1600 etc, buying TWO cards (I definitely do not want to do this on my mobo) I'm confused.

Will one nVidia GeForce 8x000 card do?
a c 143 U Graphics card
a b C Monitor
June 24, 2008 2:33:30 PM

Yes. I have an 8800GTX running two LCDs at 1680x1050 each. They behave exactly like a monitor with 3360x1050 resolution. All I needed to do was to connect each DVI output to its own monitor and tell the nVidia Control Panel that I wanted the Dual View mode.
a b U Graphics card
a b C Monitor
June 24, 2008 2:40:36 PM

aevm yeah i do the same thing. however with dual view you still have 2 independent displays, basically your windows task bar is only on 1 of the monitors and your desktop background is cloned on both monitors. I belive the OP wants windows to see a single display that would stretch the taskbar and the desktop background through all displays. To do that i believe he will have to buy a quadro.
a c 175 U Graphics card
a b C Monitor
June 24, 2008 9:06:26 PM

Or Ultramon...

I could be wrong, but I don't think the op wants "one display". I think he just means what most mean, that he wants to be able to drag from one monitor to another.

What I don't understand is why he said only one card. In his first post he even said

I have no problem with two 8800GT’s

So I'm not sure what the issue is. He could even use an 8800GT for the main two monitors (in case there will be any gaming.) and an 8500GT/8600GT for the second two monitors. (or a 3870 for the main, and a 3650/3450 for the secondary) There are no "snycing" issues, its the best/cheapest way to do this.
April 28, 2009 10:24:35 PM

The Three main ways to Setup Multiple Monitors

1) You can buy a pre-manufactured multiple monitor computer. The best place to purchase a multiple monitor computer is at: They carry a multi-monitor computer line called SUPER-PC that can support from 2 to 12 monitors.

Multi-Screen Computer Systems

Multiple Monitor LCD Displays

2) You can get a USB to VGA Adapter, or USB to DVI Adapter that will allow you to add an extra monitor to your computer
via any USB2.0 Port. You can also add multiple extra monitors by using multiple adapters. This is a great option for viewing
documents, surfing the web, using Microsoft Office and many other business tasks. This is not a good option for intense
graphical situations such as HDTV, Blu-ray, Gaming and 3D / CAD Workstation applications. For those types of scenarios,
it is highly recommended that you purchase a high-powered multi-monitor workstation or a Matrox Dual or Triple Head2Go.

Multiple Monitor Adapters

3) You can replace or add an extra video card to your existing computer, depending on how many monitors you wish to support.
Although this sounds easy enough, this is a rather complex solution for a beginner, especially when trying to find a compatible
graphics card. For this reason, I am going to write an entirely seperate post on that topic and will link to it here, very soon.

Multi-Monitor Graphics Cards

Once you have your multiple monitor system set up and ready to use, you will need to enable all of your monitors in
your “Display Properties” Control Panel. Here is a great link to a complete and animated walkthrough of how to enable
your multiple monitors in Windows.

How to Setup Multiple Monitors (Instructions)

This is what it will look like when you are done:

Multi-Monitor Video Demo 1
Multi-Monitor Video Demo 2