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Running multimonitor setup

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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September 13, 2010 10:36:11 AM

Hi my question is regarding running a multimonitor setup with at least 4 or 5 monitors. Im getting a prebuilt alienware system so the graphics cards options are:

Dual 1GB GDDR5 ATI Radeon™ HD 5770 CrossfireX™ Enabled
Dual 1GB GDDR5 ATI Radeon™ HD 5870 CrossfireX™ Enabled

Dual 1.8GB GDDR3 NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 260 - SLI® Enabled
Dual 1.8GB GDDR3 NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 460 - SLI® Enabled

http://configure.dell.com/dellstore/config.aspx?s_tnt=2...

but the problem is this, I've read about this Eyefinity technology, and my purpose is not really for gaming (i.e. I dont need to have the monitors in sync for in window games), rather Im just trying to find a simple way to extend my desktop across 4 or 5 monitors.

Therefore, if I purchase any of the dual video card options above (where I believe it mentions that EACH card can support up to THREE, therefore dual = SIX?) will I be able to achieve the setup I desire?

this is the link i found regarding eyefinity,

http://support.amd.com/us/kbarticles/Pages/gpu50-ati-ey...

im trying to either go for a 3x1 Display Group Plus 1 Extended (4 monitors), or 4x1 Landscape Display Group + 1 extended (5 monitors)

but Im not sure if the 4x1 works since each card can only support 3 monitors, can I do a 3x1x1? where 3 monitors are one display group on one card and 1x1, (i.e. two other) monitors are extended are on the other card?

also im still not quite sure whether "eyefinity" is necessary for what Im trying to do, can i simply just use some other mulitmonitor software (i.e. matrox) that lets me configure the monitors connected to the cards so that I can setup my extended desktop?

hope someone can clear this up
a c 376 U Graphics card
a b C Monitor
September 13, 2010 12:41:11 PM

Well, to start why are you getting an "Alienware" computer if you aren't going to be gaming? Buying(or better yet, building) a regular system then adding the appropriate video card yourself will be MUCH cheaper.
As for the cards you cannot use crossfire +eyefinity in the way you are discussing as far as I am aware. Even if you could there are better options if you won't be gaming. If 4 monitors is good enough then this card is what you want;
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
The there is this card with 5 displayports if you really need 5;
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
There are also special HD5870s with 6 displayports but they start at $450+ and are entirely unnecessary if you won't be gaming.
Unless most of the monitors you will be using have displayport inputs then I highly recommend the first card I linked. Even on that one to use a 4th monitor you will need at least one of them to have a displayport input or you will need to use an active adapter such as this one;
http://www.amazon.com/Accell-B087B-005B-DisplayPort-Sin...
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September 13, 2010 3:49:08 PM

okay so as in your saying i can save a lot of money by not paying the premium to get a factory installed computer such as alienware and built my own, but I guess im lazy, and Id rather just have one prebuilt so I dont have to worry about any sort of troubleshooting/debugging (i.e. bsod) by messing something up. and alienware was one of the only ones I saw that has the option of 2 pci express slots that allows for multiple video cards to enable a multimonitor setup.. other models might not be able to handle it.

btw, im primarily going to be using the system for day trading... and i looked up many of those companies such as www.falcontradingsystems.com and www.digitaltigers.com and they charge about the same if not more for a similar setup.

in any case, the first link you sent with the 5770 graphics card, are you saying just a single card? it mentions it can only handle THREE dvi monitors so how would I hook up a forth?

more importantly, i want to make sure that this is the case where if I do end up getting the alienware model with a dual video card option, I can then hook up 4-6 monitors (hopefully it can support 6) right? just not with eyefinity, but at least it will recognize 4-6 monitors if I set it up. if that is the case, can windows 7 automatically do this through its system properties or do i need some kind of special software so that the computer can recognize them?

you can tell that this is the first time I am setting up a multimonitor display :D 
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a b U Graphics card
September 13, 2010 4:00:13 PM

Well, Alienware computers are built for gaming and you could easily go with other options from HP or Dell. Both HP and Dell sell lower cost systems that provied you with the option of SLI/Crossfire at a much lower cost then Alienware or other Gaming system manufacturers.

When you get into 4-6 monitor systems it is usually easier to build your own system as you thenk know exactly what is in it and how to get it work.
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a c 376 U Graphics card
a b C Monitor
September 13, 2010 4:51:37 PM

dyi2 said:
in any case, the first link you sent with the 5770 graphics card, are you saying just a single card? it mentions it can only handle THREE dvi monitors so how would I hook up a forth?

more importantly, i want to make sure that this is the case where if I do end up getting the alienware model with a dual video card option, I can then hook up 4-6 monitors (hopefully it can support 6) right? just not with eyefinity, but at least it will recognize 4-6 monitors if I set it up. if that is the case, can windows 7 automatically do this through its system properties or do i need some kind of special software so that the computer can recognize them?

As I said crossfire + eyefinity cannot be used in the way you are talking about so forget about the alienware systems. Your only options are single cards. A normal computer with the first card I linked is your best choice. And yes, it does say it can handle three DVI monitors. To use a fourth you will need an adapter like the one I linked to. If you want to use the 5 monitor card with all displayport outputs then I believe you can use 2 passive adapters(which are a bit cheaper) and you'll need 3 of the active adapters.
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