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Dual monitor questions

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April 30, 2009 4:04:01 PM

Hi,

I plan on hooking up a second monitor to my HD4850 1GB. If I use one for gaming and one for a desktop/MSN/web monitor, will it tax much of my video card's power?

Will it give a noticeable decrease in performance?

My first monitor has both a VGA and DVI port, if I hook up a VGA to DVI adapter on both ends of the VGA cable, will it be the same as using a DVI?



My second monitor will be running 1280x1024, my first one is running 1440x900, if that's important.

More about : dual monitor questions

a b U Graphics card
a b C Monitor
April 30, 2009 4:18:35 PM

It will work without a problem.
Any differences in performance will vary based on the game in use and what other stuff you have running at the same time. The difference should probably be minor but only testing will tell you for sure.
a b U Graphics card
a b C Monitor
April 30, 2009 4:20:38 PM

Fortunex said:
My first monitor has both a VGA and DVI port, if I hook up a VGA to DVI adapter on both ends of the VGA cable, will it be the same as using a DVI?
Can you better explain how you're going to hook up each monitor?
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April 30, 2009 4:35:18 PM

WR2 said:
Can you better explain how you're going to hook up each monitor?


My first monitor is using a VGA cable with a DVI/VGA adapter on the video card, the second monitor will be using the same thing.
May 1, 2009 9:07:25 PM

You should be fine.

My current setup is Nvidia not ATI but it probably works the same way: 2x 8800 GTS 512 in SLI mode with 2 monitors. Both are VGA connectors going to the same video card with a VGA to DVI adapter. The second video card is a slave in the SLI setup and has no output device connected.

A couple pointers about doing this. First, Nvidia stopped supporting dual monitors in SLI under XP ... I had to upgrade to Vista to stay with current drivers (that actually fixed problems I had in a couple games so it was okay). I don't know if ATI Crossfire did that or not. I used to have 2x X1950Pro in Crossfire and at that time dual monitors worked on XP, but maybe things changed.

Second, if you run your game full screen, you have to switch out of the window (ALT+TAB) to get your mouse over onto the other monitor. It's handier to run the game windowed so you can easily mouse from one screen to the other. On my old dual monitor Crossfire setup, it was like 10-15% FPS loss for windowed and 10-20% loss for the second monitor (my Nvidia setup is similar). So if you're running a game where you don't have frame rate to spare, expect that -- of course for that situation you can always run full screen and leave the other monitor static or just outright disable the other monitor.

Enjoy!
May 1, 2009 9:43:29 PM

CeruLucifus said:
You should be fine.

My current setup is Nvidia not ATI but it probably works the same way: 2x 8800 GTS 512 in SLI mode with 2 monitors. Both are VGA connectors going to the same video card with a VGA to DVI adapter. The second video card is a slave in the SLI setup and has no output device connected.

A couple pointers about doing this. First, Nvidia stopped supporting dual monitors in SLI under XP ... I had to upgrade to Vista to stay with current drivers (that actually fixed problems I had in a couple games so it was okay). I don't know if ATI Crossfire did that or not. I used to have 2x X1950Pro in Crossfire and at that time dual monitors worked on XP, but maybe things changed.

Second, if you run your game full screen, you have to switch out of the window (ALT+TAB) to get your mouse over onto the other monitor. It's handier to run the game windowed so you can easily mouse from one screen to the other. On my old dual monitor Crossfire setup, it was like 10-15% FPS loss for windowed and 10-20% loss for the second monitor (my Nvidia setup is similar). So if you're running a game where you don't have frame rate to spare, expect that -- of course for that situation you can always run full screen and leave the other monitor static or just outright disable the other monitor.

Enjoy!


Thanks.

One more question, if I was to turn off the monitor while gaming, would that still decrease my FPS? Or would I have to unplug it from my tower?
May 1, 2009 10:04:49 PM

Your best bet is that if you weren't using it at the time just don't have anything open on that screen and either turn it off or do what i do and make the background solid black and just leave it on. I don't notice an FPS hit when i have stuff open though compared to when i don't. So i wouldn't worry about unplugging or anything like that, you'll be just fine.
May 1, 2009 10:14:09 PM

It's easiest to leave the monitor connected and just go into the video drivers and disable the second monitor. That turns off output going to that display port. So that's how I always do it. :) 

Mostly if you do this while the game is running the video hardware suddenly has more headroom and so the game doesn't need to be restarted or anything to get the FPS boost ... but it may depend on the game.

If you pulled the cable or turned off the monitor, are the video drivers smart enough to recognize the display device isn't functioning and react by lowering the resolution they're managing, thus giving the game more FPS just because you hit the monitor's power button? I've no idea. I've always assumed not, but maybe I'll give that a try. :) 

May 2, 2009 8:13:43 AM

I have a 4850 with same setup. You won't notice any fps drop. Maybe 1 but I doubt even that. I run both monitors at 1920x1200, and play lots of fps games.

second part of your question: using vga will result in analog. I notice a difference on my monitors between dvi and vga. Dvi produces a cleaner picture.

1440x900 is nothing for that card. should run all games, except crysis, on high presuming you have a decent rig to go with it.

third question: turning your monitor off while playing games will only save you electricity. Anything going on in the background will still be there. I do this often to focus more on gaming and to save on pge.

Here's my $.02, leave your second monitor always connected, don't disable second output. turn off your non-gaming monitor while gaming if it distracts you (i turn it off and also keep it on if im following stocks, sports, ect). you WON'T loose any noticeable fps by having your second monitor connected. Running windows desktop doesn't require much of the gpu (~1%). I'm assuming you game in windows.
!