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GFX card, support 3 monitors and only take up one slot

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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December 25, 2010 1:31:34 PM

Hi lads,

Am looking at the moment for a graphics card that would be suitable to use with a 3 monitor setup. Plan is to have a 24" monitor as the primary monitor and use 2 19" monitors as the secondaries. Would prefer the graphics card to support high resolutions.

Im not mad into gaming, but i'd be annoyed if i got into it sometime down the line and didn't have the gfx card for it, so standard enough for gaming is a must.

The most important thing I need is a graphics card that isnt going to take up one extra slot than it needs. I am using an ASUS M4A78LT-M motherboard and it only has one extra PCI-e slot, which I want to use for a wireless n card. So I need this slot to be available. This slot is located above the grapics card slot. I don't mind if the card takes up an extra PCI slot, that is below the gfx slot.

My budget is no more that 120 pounds.

I should also mention that the case im using is a Thermaltake V3 Black Edition Midi Tower with a Phenom II x 2 Black edition CPU .

Thank you all in advance for your advice.
Dave
a b U Graphics card
a b C Monitor
December 25, 2010 2:03:38 PM

Almost any Radeon 5000 or 6000 series card will support three monitors (some support up to 6). The lowest you can go is the 5570 eyefinity for ~$50, which is decent for gaming.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
That will play any game around today, but some likely at low settings. If you wanted to spend a little more, you could get a 5670. It's the next step up, but it takes up two slots. One thing to note, though, is that double-slot cards take up the slot below the PCI express slot they are connected to as well, not the one above, at least on most motherboards.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Those cards are pretty good, but once you get into the 5770, 6850, 5850, 6870, that's where you can run most games on max settings. Something like a 6970 can max any game around at fairly high resolutions.
a b U Graphics card
December 25, 2010 2:33:33 PM

For the budget probably the best option that is single slot would be one of the newer single slot versions of the 5770 - ie. this XFX model - decent performance in a single slot package and fairly low power usage as well.

Something to keep in mind -- IIRC to run 3 monitors you'll need at least one monitor that has native display port support (or you'll need an active display port to Dual Link DVI adapter which runs about $100 +\- !!) - since using 3 displays requires at least one to be on the display port on all implementations of eyefinity.
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December 25, 2010 3:09:29 PM

JDFan said:


Something to keep in mind -- IIRC to run 3 monitors you'll need at least one monitor that has native display port support (or you'll need an active display port to Dual Link DVI adapter which runs about $100 +\- !!) - since using 3 displays requires at least one to be on the display port on all implementations of eyefinity.


Thanks for your comment mate, but what do you mean by native display port support?

Thank you all for bringing to my attention that graphics cards that take up more than one slot below, and not above.

Im thinking of going for the Saphire HD5770. 100 pounds on amazon and free shipping. Opinions would be appreciated.

Thanks again,
Dave
a b U Graphics card
December 25, 2010 3:41:37 PM

DeWire said:
Thanks for your comment mate, but what do you mean by native display port support?

Thank you all for bringing to my attention that graphics cards that take up more than one slot below, and not above.

Im thinking of going for the Saphire HD5770. 100 pounds on amazon and free shipping. Opinions would be appreciated.

Thanks again,
Dave


On the graphics cards - the HDMI, DVI, and VGA ports all share 2 full connections -- so only 2 monitors can be run from those connections (if running a 3rd monitor on them 2 monitors will always display cloned information) -- so in order to run a 3rd monitor that has different information you need to use at least 1 monitor connected to the displayport adapter on the graphics card - so you need a monitor that supports Display port natively (has a displayport connector on the monitor - usually more expensive monitor !) or you need a display port to Dual Link DVI adapter and in most cases that adapter has to be an ACTIVE not Passive adaprter (some people have had success with passive adapters on lower resolutions but there is no official word on whether it will work properly and is troublesome) -- The Active adapters need power and so will also have a USB connnector. ( And currently these adapters run approximately $100 or more !) -- For more info read through the How to SETUP at this link - under the how to it also includes info on the approved adapters.
December 25, 2010 5:04:46 PM

JDFan said:
On the graphics cards - the HDMI, DVI, and VGA ports all share 2 full connections -- so only 2 monitors can be run from those connections (if running a 3rd monitor on them 2 monitors will always display cloned information) -- so in order to run a 3rd monitor that has different information you need to use at least 1 monitor connected to the displayport adapter on the graphics card - so you need a monitor that supports Display port natively (has a displayport connector on the monitor - usually more expensive monitor !) or you need a display port to Dual Link DVI adapter and in most cases that adapter has to be an ACTIVE not Passive adaprter (some people have had success with passive adapters on lower resolutions but there is no official word on whether it will work properly and is troublesome) -- The Active adapters need power and so will also have a USB connnector. ( And currently these adapters run approximately $100 or more !) -- For more info read through the How to SETUP at this link - under the how to it also includes info on the approved adapters.



OK thanks for the info mate, appreciated.

So, just to make sure I have this correctly ;

I must buy a graphics card that has a DisplayPort connection.
If I have 2 VGA 19" monitors and a HDMI 24" widescreen montior and I want the 24" to be the primary montior, I must buy a DisplayPort adaptor (displayport to HDMI) , connect that to the graphics card, and then connect the 24" to that adaptor, yes ? Then all I need is DVI to VGA adaptors to connect the 2 19s to the gfx card. Would that be correct ?

Thank you very much for your help, again, much appreciated.

Having read through that setup guid in that link you sent, would you believe they reccommend the 5770 as the card I should use :) 

Cheers,
Dave
December 25, 2010 6:30:49 PM

Just after doing some more research on this and it turns out that the three monitors must support the same resolution in order for it to work :( 

Think I will still be getting the 5770 and might buy the extra monitors periodically through the coming year.

Thank you all again for your help,
Dave
!