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The Tri-Monitor Nvidia Enigma

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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December 4, 2009 3:48:08 PM

Hello Toms!

As a recent procurer of 3 24'inch monitors I have come to an fork in the road regarding gaming and some of my CAD programs.
Apparently, in all of Microsoft's infinite wisdom, they took the road less traveled with windows 7 and removed some functionality that windows XP possessed which allowed your computer to span its desktop across multiple monitors.

Let me clarify by what I mean by Spanning. In Windows 7 and Vista, the closest you can get to a spanned desktop is to extend
it across your connected monitors. Unfortunately this only allows you to keep the base resolution of each monitor active on each monitor. For example....I have three monitors each showing their native resolution of 1920x1200. Now, if this was windows XP I would be able to set my computer up to Span the display across all three monitors, so instead of having 1920x1200 on each display, my pc would see all 3 displays as one giant display at 5760x1200. This has obvious advantages for CAD programs and gaming as you can just span the window across all three monitors instead of just being confined to one. XP Spanning only worked for my CAD programs sadly...Games still required the matrox triple head to work...and lets be honest...having three monitors staring you in the face just begs for you to fire up Crysis.

So...on to my bigger problem.

My problem is that there are multiple solutions to not being able to span and I am not exactly stoked about any of them since they all involve a wad of cash.

I could go the easy route and buy an Matrox Triple Head2go for the unsightly price of 299.99 and just be done with it.

I could purchase a new radeon card that supports eyefinity for 600.00 and find a new home for my dual GTX 280 cards.

Last but not least, I could sit around and wait / hope that nvidia will release a driver update or w/e that will allow triple monitor gaming as an answer to eyefinity.

I would love to know if any of you have an opinion on this subject. Has anyone heard anything from the Nvidia camp?

My rig specs are:

3 dell 24'inch Ultrasharp Mons @ 1920 X 1200
E8500 @ 4.0ghz
2 x GTX 280 OCX in SLI
EVGA 780 ultra Mobo
8 GB OCZ SLI Edition RAM
1000 Watt Silverstone OP Series PSU
G2 Intel SSD
WD Caviar Black 750gb HD
Cosmos 1000
Xiggy Cooler
December 4, 2009 11:27:56 PM

The XP/Vista multiple monitor functionality has always been the same as what you are reporting for Win7. Expanding desktops across.

I used multiple monitors on my last 3 platforms, 4 including this Vista 32 at work. These machines have run XP Ultimate 32bit, XP Pro Premium 64bit, Vista 32 Bit, Vista 64 bit and for a while I had a Media Center Edition PC with two screens.

That was why so many people BOUGHT the Matrox, and why Eyefinity is such a big deal. Three monitors is nice, but the ability to span them is the big deal.

Now what you might remember doing, and still CAN do is to manually drag a window across multiple monitors. As long as you don't go full screen it will span just fine. That has ALWAYS worked.

Invest in Ultramon, too. It makes expanded screens WAY more user friendly.

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Quick add: wouldn't expect an answer to this from NVIDIA with a driver solution. A large part of the ATI product is hardware, as it is with the Matrox solution. You can also get a software version of triplehead -- but its limited to 1600 resolution per screen.
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December 5, 2009 4:18:15 AM

Unfortunately the Matrox will only support up to 3 monitors with 1680x1050 not your 1920 resolution.

So barring that that leaves you with the 5870 or 5970... $400-600 indeed.

Just thought of something, XP mode in windows 7. :) 

I kind of doubt that nvidia will come up with a driver that would allow two cards to have eyefinity like feature. It would make more sence/practability if nvidia made a 3 output card like ati.
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