I'm trying to help a friend put together a core i5 system that will support at least 3 and up to 4 monitors. The monitors will not be used for anything too graphics intensive... mainly for having multiple web sites open for stock trading, and/or spread sheets and documents, etc. He would like to reuse his current 17" VGA monitor, and purchase two new but inexpensive montiors in the 20-24" range. Resolution of 1024x768 at a minimum. I'm not sure that it's important that the resolutioin be much higher than this. The key is keeping the cost low. Originally I suggested an ATI FirePro 2450, but the cost was out of line with his expectations. A solution in the $150 range would be ideal.
I was planning on the following:
Motherobard: GA-Z68MA-D2H-B3 (1-PCIex1, 2 PCIe 2.0 (x16,x8,x4), onboard HDMI, DIV and VGA ports)
500W PC Power & Cooling 80PLUS Bronze Power Supply
I5-2400 Sandy Bridge w/ HD2000 IGP
some yet to be determined dual display adapter.
I've done a lot of PC builds over the years, but I've never tried multi-monitor setups. Originally I thought I'd b able to use the HD2000 IGP and a PCIe dual monitor card... but as I've read more it seems that if I use an external GPU that the HD2000 will be disabled (if anyone can confirm or deny this, I'd appreciate it).
If it's true that I can't use the HD2000 plus an external GPU for 3 monitors... I'm up for changing the motherboard and processor for something without an IGP and putting say two dual monitor video cards in a system. (any savings on mobo and CPU can be applied to GPU's).
4 DVI output (2 discreet displays split to 4) doesn't 4 DVI outputs fit your needs?
Yes it does... I think the previous user didn't see the fact that it would split to 4 =). Thanks for the suggestion, this looks just the ticket. I don't know why, but when I was looking for cards I didn't come up with this one.
Get a Sapphire Flex 6450. Its cheap ($60) and will drive three monitors without having to use a display port adapter. It has two DVI (One DVI and one DVI-D) and one HDMI all of which can be used at the same time assuming you don't want a resolution above 1920x1080.
I have the Sapphire Flex 6870 and I've been using it to drive three 21.5" monitors for about five months.