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What video card to get so I can run 3 monitors with my setup

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November 19, 2009 11:32:54 PM

Hello,

I just bought a 30" monitor and I was already running two 20" monitors. I would like to swivel the two 20" monitors and put the 30" in the middle (the 20" monitor in portrait mode is the same height as the 30")

The problem is that my motherboard only has one PCI-e slot so I can't just buy another eVGA 9800 GTX+ and SLI. My question is what PCI graphics card should I get that will allow me to use all three monitors? I'm assuming it has to be nVidia, but how do I know the card will work with the same driver I'm using now?

System:

Motherboard: Gigabyte P35C-DS3R
Video Card: eVGA 9800 GTX+
OS: Windows 7 64bit
Power Supply: 550 watt

Also, I would like to run the 30" at 2560x1600 and the other two at 1600x1200.

Thanks for your help!
November 19, 2009 11:37:36 PM

cyates1 said:
Hello,

I just bought a 30" monitor and I was already running two 20" monitors. I would like to swivel the two 20" monitors and put the 30" in the middle (the 20" monitor in portrait mode is the same height as the 30")

The problem is that my motherboard only has one PCI-e slot so I can't just buy another eVGA 9800 GTX+ and SLI. My question is what PCI graphics card should I get that will allow me to use all three monitors? I'm assuming it has to be nVidia, but how do I know the card will work with the same driver I'm using now?

System:

Motherboard: Gigabyte P35C-DS3R
Video Card: eVGA 9800 GTX+
OS: Windows 7 64bit
Power Supply: 550 watt

Also, I would like to run the 30" at 2560x1600 and the other two at 1600x1200.

Thanks for your help!


Has to be Nvidia?? The new ATI 5xxx series cards (waaay more powerful than any nvidia) can run up to 6 monitors, building in resolution- so you can easily reach resolutions waaay past 2560x1600 with 3 monitors.
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November 20, 2009 12:50:58 AM

yannifb said:
Has to be Nvidia?? The new ATI 5xxx series cards (waaay more powerful than any nvidia) can run up to 6 monitors, building in resolution- so you can easily reach resolutions waaay past 2560x1600 with 3 monitors.


well, a bit of qualification to that... which 30" monitor did you buy? If it was a new Dell that has a Displayport you have a bit more options that include ATI.

You can only run 3 monitors with the ATI boards that are currently out and one must be a DP. They also ALL need to be running the same resolution which would exclude your setup from Eyefinity.

You should also consider that USB based solutions (most laptop expanders) would work. It doesn'thave to be an Nvidia based solution, since Windows allows expanded desktops in any combination as long as they can be "seen" by the OS. In fact an ATI card may work in this mode, without the unified one-screen span for games.

In any case, buy Ultramon (or similar) to control it with if you aren't able to Eyefinity it. I have been using dual displays for years, and its a lot easier now than it used to be.

Setting up an Eyefinity rig tomorrow, if my 5970 arrives.
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November 20, 2009 1:16:59 AM

redwolfexr said:


Setting up an Eyefinity rig tomorrow, if my 5970 arrives.


5970??? lucky...
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November 20, 2009 1:27:05 AM

Cyates1, even with new nVidia cards you'd need to update the drivers just as you would getting ATi cards.

And I completely agree with Yannifb. The HD 5xxx series from ATi is a multi-monitor owners dream come true.
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November 20, 2009 1:58:30 AM

yannifb said:
5970??? lucky...


er, 5870... I almost bought a 5970 and chickened out. :) 

The "beta" part of the drivers for Xfire/Eyefinity scared me off...
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November 20, 2009 2:13:19 AM

redwolfexr said:
er, 5870... I almost bought a 5970 and chickened out. :) 

The "beta" part of the drivers for Xfire/Eyefinity scared me off...


Lol, i'd have been happy trading my GTX 295 for a 5870 :/  ... When i bought the 295 i completely forgot about the dx11 cards that would be released in a month and a half and that my board was a crossfire board :pfff: 
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November 20, 2009 2:25:07 AM

yannifb said:
Has to be Nvidia?? The new ATI 5xxx series cards (waaay more powerful than any nvidia) can run up to 6 monitors, building in resolution- so you can easily reach resolutions waaay past 2560x1600 with 3 monitors.


The reason I figured it would have to be an nvidia is because I've read somewhere that in order to use two graphics cards simultaneously in order to go beyond two monitors they have to be of the same type so you use the same driver. Also note that the total resolution would be 4960x1600 - one 1200x1600 on left, one 2560x1600 in middle, and one 1200x1600 on right.

I bought the LG W3000H monitor from newegg. I can only use DVI-D so no display port. I believe my only options are (A) SLI or (B) add a second video card using a PCI slot.

I realize that the best way would be to just upgrade my video card and/or go to SLI but that's also the priciest. It would be a lot easier and cheaper if I could just buy a PCI VGA card and have that run the 3rd monitor.

Thanks for your help and suggestions guys but I'm still not sure what card I need.
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November 20, 2009 2:38:05 AM

cyates1 said:
The reason I figured it would have to be an nvidia is because I've read somewhere that in order to use two graphics cards simultaneously in order to go beyond two monitors they have to be of the same type so you use the same driver. Also note that the total resolution would be 4960x1600 - one 1200x1600 on left, one 2560x1600 in middle, and one 1200x1600 on right.

I bought the LG W3000H monitor from newegg. I can only use DVI-D so no display port. I believe my only options are (A) SLI or (B) add a second video card using a PCI slot.

I realize that the best way would be to just upgrade my video card and/or go to SLI but that's also the priciest. It would be a lot easier and cheaper if I could just buy a PCI VGA card and have that run the 3rd monitor.

Thanks for your help and suggestions guys but I'm still not sure what card I need.


If you want a res of 4960 x 1600 you'd need eyefinity- which means a 5 series ATI card.
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November 20, 2009 3:26:11 AM

yannifb said:
If you want a res of 4960 x 1600 you'd need eyefinity- which means a 5 series ATI card.


I don't think that is the case because I read an article about a guy with the exact setup I have over a year ago, so he did it before eyefinity even existed. I can't find the article now though.

None of my monitors have a displayport so that's just not going to work for me, unfortunately.
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November 20, 2009 3:41:38 AM

get a 5 series ati card and thy will be done.
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November 20, 2009 3:50:07 AM

cyates1 said:
Hello,

I just bought a 30" monitor and I was already running two 20" monitors. I would like to swivel the two 20" monitors and put the 30" in the middle (the 20" monitor in portrait mode is the same height as the 30")

The problem is that my motherboard only has one PCI-e slot so I can't just buy another eVGA 9800 GTX+ and SLI. My question is what PCI graphics card should I get that will allow me to use all three monitors? I'm assuming it has to be nVidia, but how do I know the card will work with the same driver I'm using now?

System:

Motherboard: Gigabyte P35C-DS3R
Video Card: eVGA 9800 GTX+
OS: Windows 7 64bit
Power Supply: 550 watt

Also, I would like to run the 30" at 2560x1600 and the other two at 1600x1200.

Thanks for your help!



I also have a 9800GTX+, In my opinion I would get the GTX285 and eventually SLI it if you are only looking for an Nvidia setup. I am also thinking of getting the GTX285 before it gets harder to find. The Fermi (New GTX3xx series)cards are going to take at least 4-5months according to recent reports plus they will be overly expensive.....

If you really want great 3 monitor support you can go with the 5870 or the 5970 which will cost $400 and $600! I was so tempted to get an ATi card but I am still waiting if the prices for the GTX285 will go further down to at least $250.... Eyeinfinity is supposed to be great and 3 screens can easily be run at the highest resolutions 2560x1600 and with DX11. The new catalyst drivers are also said to be out or coming out soon. I don't care however because I think I will wait to build my next system next year.

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November 20, 2009 4:01:24 AM

I would switch to an ATI 5 series in a heartbeat if one of my three monitors had a display port. Since none of them do that wont work for me.

I ordered a GeForce 6200 PCI card since I found out it uses the same driver as the 9800 GTX+ and according to what I'm reading on the internet this should work. If not I'll just return the card and upgrade to SLI.
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November 20, 2009 4:12:15 AM

ANY videocard that you use will be able to work, as long as all three monitors can be seen (assuming WinXP or newer)

What you won't get (without Eyefinity) is a setup where applications treat that huge space as one monitor. DESKTOP will expand across, so you can span a window across all of them, but any fullscreen application will only see the monitor its launched in. If you maximize a window it will fill the monitor your mouse was in.

I have used 2 displays as one desktop workspace for a long time, and its hard to go back -- in fact I have a similar setup at work.

Just plan to peg games to the 30" and use the satelites for other things.

I have not seen anything that suggests you can run 3 monitors from an ATI 5000 card without running them as one spanning workspace and all of them must run the same resolution. I can answer that for you tomorrow, I hope. If they CAN run in that mode they are easily the best answer for your situation.
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November 20, 2009 7:33:01 AM

i agree with red ^

it also depends on what you plan on using those monitors for, if it is as a giant gaming screen you wont be able to get playable framerates with anything under a GTX260's and you can't use SLI with multi monitors (at everything lowest possible and maybe mid on older games) or a 5870 for newer games and the next gen DX11 games.

if you only game on the 30" and use the other 2 as side extra screen space for other programs and graphic easy applications you could even get away with using a pair of USB to DVI-D adapters which will run them the same as a second graphics card.

the ideal set-up would be a higher end card running the 30" then a secondary running the pair of side monitors as you would have the heavy load on the main card.
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November 20, 2009 4:32:51 PM

Also, an ATI 5000 card is not going to work for you anyway. Not unless you add a powered DP adaptor.

To slot it you would have to remove your current card and then you are back in the same place you are now.

(powered connectors run about $100 by themselves)

Also, its not an SLI configuration -- you cannot SLI unless you have a pair of matched boards on a supported platform. You will just have a multiple GPU configuration.

I used SLI for a little while, then went back to two monitors with each driven by a GTS8800. SLI didn't help as much as I had hoped. Last system upgrade I bought an early GTX280 and just ran both monitors off of it. Its what I am currently running, until the UPS guy gets here...

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November 20, 2009 4:51:07 PM

I'm hoping the 5770 will run dual monitors as a single desktop/extra wide gaming set-up with only 2 monitors but it would have to be set to lower graphics if i am extending the window across both monitors at once

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November 20, 2009 7:49:48 PM

Ghost_Roadie said:
I'm hoping the 5770 will run dual monitors as a single desktop/extra wide gaming set-up with only 2 monitors but it would have to be set to lower graphics if i am extending the window across both monitors at once



There is no reason it won't, you will find that playing games across two panels doesn't work well though -- at least for FPS/RPGs. Its great for Civilization though... The center of the action will end up split with two monitors in action games. Thats why three-screen works best.

You may be surprised at what the 5770 can handle as far as resolution though. Remember that card is intended as a Mainstream board. The entry levels are still unreleased. Since Eyefinity was intended to be a major selling point it should work fine. I have run 2 monitors off a comparable 8800GTS and a GTX280 -- always running at 1920x1200 or 1920x1080 depending on the monitor. I never had FPS issue in anything, except games that themselves had issues serverside. (I am looking at YOU, WAR....)

New 5870 arrived just as I left for work, so will have more information for you about it tonight...
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November 20, 2009 8:47:16 PM

I'll be getting myself a third Samsung 2270 with the powered display port adapter as a nice x-mas gift to myself.
it's just a matter of staying within budget right now with the 5770 and the 2 monitors i already have on my current system
(Pent-2 1.3ghz and a 9400GT running both for general tasks and lowest game settings and around 1024x768 on single monitor gaming even older games like halo 2 and half life lag my current card so i'm hoping for a major visual difference once i upgrade)
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November 20, 2009 9:32:10 PM

From what I see, most 5XXX cards have 2 DVI, 1 HDMI and 1 DisplayPort ports. Wouldn't it be feasible to use 3 monitors with two connected via DVI and one connected through the HDMI port?
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November 20, 2009 9:36:22 PM

nope, the HDMI port does not link into the Eyefinity system yet.

if you are only wanting to run 3 separate screens you can hook them into the 2x DVI and the HDMI but not extending the desktop across the 3 or gaming across the 3.
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November 20, 2009 9:41:40 PM

You learn something new every day. That's a bummer. I'm surprised that it won't extend the desktop across all three though, as that capability has been around forever (or so it seems). Is this just a limit with HDMI, or is it an express Eyefinity issue?
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November 20, 2009 9:45:17 PM

it has been around for a very long time but the HDMI port is actually running off the same module as one of the DVI ports. the only way to use Eyefinity is to use a
a - powered 4x DVI to Display port adapter+the 2x DVI on the card
b - powered 3x DVI to Display Port
c - 2x DVI's and a powered DVI to display port adapter

most of the newer or yet to be released monitors will support display port lines so they can go above 2560x1600 or daisy chain them together
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November 20, 2009 9:48:18 PM

Ah, makes much more sense now. That's actually kind of what I expected. Thanks for the edumacation!
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November 20, 2009 10:34:46 PM

Still thinking about running in portrait mode... 3240x1920 -- its very close to 16:9.

Have to play with it.
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November 20, 2009 10:45:43 PM

from their examples it looks like if you were to do portrait set-ups you have to have all 3 as portrait orientation.

theres also no info yet on if they can do eyefinity across 2 screens for gaming or if it has to be 3+ for it to work
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November 24, 2009 6:57:06 PM

Well I can give you some feedback. You can definitely Eyefinity 2 screens.

Yeah, if you portrait they would all have to portrait. I mostly struck out with the games I was playing ATM and EF. It works great as extended desktops from the center though. Especially coupled with Ultramon (which I already had).

Right now mainly playing Aion, Dragon Age, CoH, SotS.

Sometime this weekend I might take apart my stand and try portrait mode, but I suspect I will leave it as is. I find it more useful to have three separate spaces than one most of the time. I still need to set up the quickset to toggle between modes.
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November 28, 2009 10:57:22 PM

redwolfexr said:
You should also consider that USB based solutions (most laptop expanders) would work.


I have not had much luck with USB based solutions. Would you be able to recommend a vendor that provides a workable solution for the Windows (7) platform?
thanks

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November 30, 2009 11:23:32 PM

Thats because for the price of a triplehead he/she can buy a 5850, or 2 5750s. (or many other options -- TH2G is only worthwhile if you are trying to do a span.)

From the OPs post he wants to satellite his screens which can be done by adding pretty much anything. Windows can handle extended screens with any combination. (I use 2 monitors at work from my HP laptops docking station -- on analog and one digital -- and I couldn't tell you which is which)

Triplehead has some limitations that would hurt a LOT on a 30" main monitor. If he had a new Dell with a DP connector it would have been a no-brainer.

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December 1, 2009 12:33:31 AM

i'm kind of kicking myself for not going with a display port monitor instead of my LG's but the LG's just look so much better i wouldnt mind spending $100 on the active display port to DVI-D adapter for a third 22"
of course i would need a second 5770 to play anything above 1280x960 on each.

anyone know if you can use the 2 DVI-d's on the first card then one or both on the second card for eyefinity span instead of using a display port adapter?

it would be better for ATI to release a patch to allow that, so people buy a pair of 5770's or 5850's instead of going to third party companies for $100 adapters, more money straight to ATI!
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December 1, 2009 1:23:05 AM

Ghost_Roadie said:
i'm kind of kicking myself for not going with a display port monitor instead of my LG's but the LG's just look so much better i wouldnt mind spending $100 on the active display port to DVI-D adapter for a third 22"
of course i would need a second 5770 to play anything above 1280x960 on each.

anyone know if you can use the 2 DVI-d's on the first card then one or both on the second card for eyefinity span instead of using a display port adapter?

it would be better for ATI to release a patch to allow that, so people buy a pair of 5770's or 5850's instead of going to third party companies for $100 adapters, more money straight to ATI!


Actually there is a video of a 5770 running WoW on high on 3 monitors, each at 1920 x 1080 i believe. I'll search around for it for you.
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December 1, 2009 1:56:53 AM

found the WoW one
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8dpBJq5nHs4&feature=rela...

very impressive performance, hopefully not running an SSD like most review sites like to, which totally screws with framerates.
definately will find me on halo 2 or modern warfare 2 benching it out (will create thread once third monitor arrives, computer with pair of 22" LG's should be within the week)
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December 1, 2009 2:09:41 AM

I would try the 5770.
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December 1, 2009 4:34:41 AM

yannifb said:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f-gfoeWfxOc

Can't find the WoW one but heres a Grid video, which is pretty cool. And yes its a single 5770 :) 


need to take that review with a grain of salt or two, the WoW set-up was running 10-20fps, there is quite a bit of stuttering within the grid test too. it's playable but smooth and a little lower resolution is better than stutter.

also they were running 8 cores on a dual chip motherboard with 6GB of RAM, Raid 0 drivesx2
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December 1, 2009 9:41:47 PM

Ghost_Roadie said:
need to take that review with a grain of salt or two, the WoW set-up was running 10-20fps, there is quite a bit of stuttering within the grid test too. it's playable but smooth and a little lower resolution is better than stutter.

also they were running 8 cores on a dual chip motherboard with 6GB of RAM, Raid 0 drivesx2


Well you need to know fast HDDs, RAID, or SSDs only really affect loads times; look at comparison bench's and thats where you see the perf increase. Also where do you see this dual chip mobo?
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December 2, 2009 12:14:42 AM

Ghost_Roadie said:
i'm kind of kicking myself for not going with a display port monitor instead of my LG's but the LG's just look so much better i wouldnt mind spending $100 on the active display port to DVI-D adapter for a third 22"
of course i would need a second 5770 to play anything above 1280x960 on each.

anyone know if you can use the 2 DVI-d's on the first card then one or both on the second card for eyefinity span instead of using a display port adapter?

it would be better for ATI to release a patch to allow that, so people buy a pair of 5770's or 5850's instead of going to third party companies for $100 adapters, more money straight to ATI!


I haven't seen anything about that either way, but it makes sense that it would work -- there have been enough 6 grids posted and the Eyefinity edition isn't out yet.

Its not a crossfire setup, its a tandem video setup.
---

I still rarely use Eyefinity, mostly I just have the three monitors being driven by the one card as independant extended desktops. Its nice for doing boring things in an MMO (crafting in aion for example) while doing something else in the main monitor -- surfing or another game.


Oh, and I am running an SSD and can concur -- it doesn't help framerates at all. It greatly speeds loading times and launch times though. (mine is a Corsair 256GB SSD -- worth every penny it was)
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December 2, 2009 5:29:17 AM

i can see how a 256GB could be useful or even the 80GB ones, havent found any use for a 30 (OS and maybe 2 games if they are small)

and of course the prices have dropped like a rock since they first started coming out, probably for me the best option would be a PCI-E style (256 or 500? maybe) then a smaller 30 for the boot just to speed up windows start-up. i know i will miss the load time being enough to get coffee started so it's ready when i have everything finally finished onto the desktop.
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December 2, 2009 11:21:37 PM

Ghost_Roadie said:
i can see how a 256GB could be useful or even the 80GB ones, havent found any use for a 30 (OS and maybe 2 games if they are small)

and of course the prices have dropped like a rock since they first started coming out, probably for me the best option would be a PCI-E style (256 or 500? maybe) then a smaller 30 for the boot just to speed up windows start-up. i know i will miss the load time being enough to get coffee started so it's ready when i have everything finally finished onto the desktop.


The ones worth getting have gone UP in price.

The large ones are just as fast as the small ones and sometimes faster. If you go that route just get one large one. 128MB is plenty if you un-install stuff regularly.

I don't --which is why I have the 256. I back that up with a 1TB that I send all downloads and stuff to. (all my programs are on the SSD)

Mine is the Corsair P256, but the new X256 is out as well. Both use SATA2 speeds. They are wsted if your PC is SATA1. (my laptop is SATA1, so I didn't upgrade it)
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December 3, 2009 1:02:59 AM

the Asus is SATA2
the obvious alternative is go for raid 0 across 3 or 4 x500GB hdd's
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December 21, 2009 3:34:22 AM

So...If I don't want to spend the dough on the latest card right now (I know Nvidia is doing some cool stuff with 3d soon)... And I don't want to build a new pc till next summer... What is your opinion about the Triple Head2go digital system? have any of you tried it?

I am doing my gaming with the Obutto and have the triple monitor setup on the way...hope I can squeak by with it till i build a new machine. :bounce: 
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December 21, 2009 3:53:04 AM

Nvidia already has that 3d stuff out.
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December 21, 2009 3:55:45 AM

Well it could be.. I know a guy on the Nvidia dev team and he said that what his team is working on won't be out till spring of '10....but it was August last time i spoke with him...lol...maybe i should call and wish him a merry Christmas and find out the scoop ;) 
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December 21, 2009 3:57:35 AM

CrazyTexan28 said:
Well it could be.. I know a guy on the Nvidia dev team and he said that what his team is working on won't be out till spring of '10....but it was August last time i spoke with him...lol...maybe i should call and wish him a merry Christmas and find out the scoop ;) 


Wait you are talking about Nvidias 3d vision right? If so then yeah, its out, but a little expensive for me :( 
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December 21, 2009 3:58:44 AM

...and...I am running an OLD XPS 410 and like others only have one slot...so for now I guess the matrox system is my best bet...just wandered what y'all's opinion was, if it is the best splitter on the market and also the pro's and con's...like the fact that it costs over $300...
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December 21, 2009 3:59:50 AM

He was telling me about 3D projection technology using one projector with uber high res
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December 21, 2009 4:03:42 AM

CrazyTexan28 said:
He was telling me about 3D projection technology using one projector with uber high res


Hmm sounds interesting. And also if you want a cheap 3 monitor solution but don't want to spend 300-400 dollars on a 58xx series, you could get a 5770 for a lot less. They perform fine with 3 monitors, and you'd have money for whenever any card you are waiting for comes out.
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December 21, 2009 7:17:09 AM

Not really a lot less as the 5770 is about 170 US and a display port adapter which most people need is about 100 US meaning still spending like 300-400 dollars. after tax etc.
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