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3 Monitor Cheapest Graphics Card

Hi guys,

I currently use a very cheap computer for work at home and am looking to upgrade starting from scratch.

My main question is what is the cheapest graphics card that can support 3 monitors? I am not looking to game or anything but looking to support 3 1080p monitors doing spreadsheets, scripting, word, outlook and other applications for work. Will not use any graphics intensive application like photoshop or anything like that.

Will an integrated solution (Llano, bulldozer, Sandy Bridge, Ivy Bridge) work or do all of them support only 2 monitors? I am open to both AMD/Nvidia and do not care if it is a professional quadro/firepro or regular gaming video cards. Just looking for the cheapest option. It does not have to play crysis :P hehe.

Thank you very much!
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  1. Most integrated solutions only support 2 monitors. Motherboards that support them usually only have two outputs (either one DVI and one HDMI, one VGA and one DVI, or one VGA and one HDMI).

    I'm personally a fan of using purely digital outputs so I stay away from VGA or DVI-A on principle. NVidia GPUs typically have very poor multi-monitor support (this has been improved with the GeForce 600 series) whereas AMD cards are usually quite good. Therefore, I am going to recommend an AMD 6 or 7 series video card. Output configurations will vary by manufacturer but most will have 2 DVI, one HDMI and up to 2 displayport or mini displayport.

    Normally I would suggest a Radeon 6670 or 6770 but most of these have one DVI, one HDMI and one DisplayPort. If one of your monitors supports DisplayPort, go for it. If not, get a Radeon 6850 such as this one

    http://www.ncix.com/products/?sku=58225&vpn=GV-R685OC-1GD&manufacture=Gigabyte&promoid=1230

    It is a bit more expensive than a 6670 or 6770 but cheaper cards that support your display needs aren't easy to find (I suggest you keep looking though). On the plus side, the 6850 is a half decent gaming card.

    good luck!
  2. Thanks for the reply, is that the cheapest I can go?

    Since I won't be doing gaming, I am just looking to save money, but 100-150USD is a lot to run 1 extra monitor basically. Would it be possible to run 2 monitors with say sandy bridge and run 1 monitor off the cheapest video card I can get?

    Also, can you link monitor to monitor? I think at work, my computer is setup monitor to monitor, not both monitors linking to the main computer.
  3. Here's a 6670 that I found with 2 DVI and one mini-HDMI

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814150576

    I'm not sure if it's possible to span desktops running on multiple video cards. In fact I think that the onboard video gets disabled when a discrete adapter is detected.

    You can link monitor to monitor if you are using Displayport, but not with HDMI or DVI
  4. That looks better on the price range.

    I do have displayports and HDMI on my monitors. Since I have displayports, can I link that way with a lower video card? Also, are displayports to displayport adapters cheap? I read that maybe they can be quite expensive.
  5. DisplayPort to DisplayPort cables are more or less the same price as HDMI cables. The difficulty is that there are two equally common DisplayPort physical specifications, DisplayPort and Mini-DisplayPort. Most laptops have Mini-DisplayPort but only newer graphics cards have Mini-DisplayPort, the rest have traditional DisplayPort. Thankfully they're electrically identical and mini to normal cables are easy to get ahold of (check the apple store if you can't find them anywhere else, it's about the only reason to go in there)
  6. Best answer
    ivy bridge processors will support up to 3 video outputs. so getting an ivy bridge processor with a Z77 motherboard that has a D-Sub, DVI and Hdmi outputs will help you without getting a graphics card. the integrated graphics on ivy bridge, while being horrible for gaming, will be fine for viewing spreadsheets.
  7. doesn't 3 monitors need a displayport? So get a motherboard with at least 3 display outputs including a mini or normal displayport
  8. shadow_city said:
    doesn't 3 monitors need a displayport? So get a motherboard with at least 3 display outputs including a mini or normal displayport

    what would be the difference between a display port and a hdmi out?
  9. Anonymous said:
    what would be the difference between a display port and a hdmi out? from what i understand there wasn't enough room on a discrete card to have two dvi and a hdmi . .



    DisplayPort can be daisy chained so that one cable feeds multiple monitors. HDMI cannot do this.

    A lot of discrete graphics cards have 2 DVI and one mini adapter (either HDMI or DP)
  10. Pinhedd said:
    DisplayPort can be daisy chained so that one cable feeds multiple monitors. HDMI cannot do this.

    A lot of discrete graphics cards have 2 DVI and one mini adapter (either HDMI or DP)

    yeah . .thanks though a 680 GTX has four HDMI outs and can connect three displays.

    a display port is not necessary for a three monitor set up.
  11. Anonymous said:
    yeah . .thanks though a 680 GTX has four HDMI outs and can connect three displays.

    a display port is not necessary for a three monitor set up.


    No it isn't, but who said it was?

    OP isn't looking for a GTX 680, he's looking for something much cheaper and the number of ports go down fast as cards get cheaper, especially single slot cards
  12. Pinhedd said:
    No it isn't, but who said it was?

    OP isn't looking for a GTX 680, he's looking for something much cheaper and the number of ports go down fast as cards get cheaper, especially single slot cards

    are you only reading the last post?

    shadow_city wrote :

    doesn't 3 monitors need a displayport? So get a motherboard with at least 3 display outputs including a mini or normal displayport

    and if you cannot figure out i used the 680 as an example of not needing a display port . .nevermind.

    and again thank you but i am aware of what the OP is looking for and i suggest and ivy bridge build which support 3 video outputs. doesn't need a discrete without gaming.
  13. Anonymous said:
    ivy bridge processors will support up to 3 video outputs. so getting an ivy bridge processor with a Z77 motherboard that has a D-Sub, DVI and Hdmi outputs will help you without getting a graphics card. the integrated graphics on ivy bridge, while being horrible for gaming, will be fine for viewing spreadsheets.


    Thanks for pointing that out. I did some digging and found this:
    http://news.softpedia.com/news/Intel-Ivy-Bridge-Won-t-Support-Three-Displays-Easily-262061.shtml

    I am not that great with computers so can someone tell me what that means? Does it mean it won't work because manufacturers won't implement it and take advantage of it?
  14. Get the Sapphire 6450 flex. Its will drive three monitors. It has two DVI and one HDMI and comes with a HDMI to DVI adapter. That way you can run three monitors off of one card. Also, its only $60 which is pretty cheap. I have the Sapphire Flex 6870 driving three monitors and am very happy with it.

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814102960&Tpk=6450%20flex
  15. Anonymous said:
    are you only reading the last post?

    shadow_city wrote :

    doesn't 3 monitors need a displayport? So get a motherboard with at least 3 display outputs including a mini or normal displayport

    and if you cannot figure out i used the 680 as an example of not needing a display port . .nevermind.

    and again thank you but i am aware of what the OP is looking for and i suggest and ivy bridge build which support 3 video outputs. doesn't need a discrete without gaming.


    I think the 6670 is a much better option for him. No real reason for op to upgrade the whole system if he just wants to upgrade to 3 monitor support. That's an (at least) 250 dollar solution vs an (under) 100 dollar one.
  16. this thread got way overly complicated. but jsrudd gave the best advice. since most monitors lately are skipping vga support. a dual dvi an hdmi card is a great idea. though if you have a monior that supports vga then any of the cheaper 6450s will work fine. what makes the sapphire flex version "flex" is that in games you dont need a displayport connector to do eyefinity.

    as for your softpedia article. it just points out that some motherboards might not support 3 monitors and the ones that do might only support it with vary specific connector combinations. a lot of the boards are out so you can check their website for model specific info. it might cover if/how it supports 3 monitors.
  17. farrengottu said:
    this thread got way overly complicated. but jsrudd gave the best advice. since most monitors lately are skipping vga support. a dual dvi an hdmi card is a great idea. though if you have a monior that supports vga then any of the cheaper 6450s will work fine. what makes the sapphire flex version "flex" is that in games you dont need a displayport connector to do eyefinity.

    as for your softpedia article. it just points out that some motherboards might not support 3 monitors and the ones that do might only support it with vary specific connector combinations. a lot of the boards are out so you can check their website for model specific info. it might cover if/how it supports 3 monitors.



    As this is true, one other thing to know is that you cannot use a VGA and hdmi together on radeon cards.
  18. Pinhedd said:
    Here's a 6670 that I found with 2 DVI and one mini-HDMI

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814150576

    I'm not sure if it's possible to span desktops running on multiple video cards. In fact I think that the onboard video gets disabled when a discrete adapter is detected.

    You can link monitor to monitor if you are using Displayport, but not with HDMI or DVI


    Unfortunately AMD requires you to have a DP (or mini-DP) on one of the 3 monitors in a 3 monitor setup.

    However, there is an exception, and that is the FLEX cards.

    Here is a cheap FLEX card that will allow for 3 monitors to connect on it without a DP connection: http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&DEPA=0&Order=BESTMATCH&N=100006662&isNodeId=1&Description=radeon+flex&x=0&y=0
  19. Jesus, thank you bystander!

    When using eyefinity with AMD cards you HAVE to use DP. Even if the card has the plugs you can't use 2 DVI and 1 HDMI. You might be able to go with IB, but you'll need a new x77 board. I suggest this card, unless you need the low profile card already linked.

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814161334

    $70, no rebate to worry about, and a 5670 should have more then enough power to handle anything you throw at it.
  20. 4745454b said:
    Jesus, thank you bystander!

    When using eyefinity with AMD cards you HAVE to use DP. Even if the card has the plugs you can't use 2 DVI and 1 HDMI. You might be able to go with IB, but you'll need a new x77 board. I suggest this card, unless you need the low profile card already linked.

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814161334

    $70, no rebate to worry about, and a 5670 should have more then enough power to handle anything you throw at it.


    Don't forget about the FLEX cards, like the one I linked above and I believe I just saw linked by one other. FLEX cards get to bypass that restriction.
  21. Correct. But those are special Sapphire only cards. When dealing with Asus, HiS or others you need to make sure you use the DP. Actually, when dealing with Sapphire non flexx cards you need to use the DP as well.
  22. yialanliu said:
    Thanks for pointing that out. I did some digging and found this:
    http://news.softpedia.com/news/Intel-Ivy-Bridge-Won-t-Support-Three-Displays-Easily-262061.shtml

    I am not that great with computers so can someone tell me what that means? Does it mean it won't work because manufacturers won't implement it and take advantage of it?


    whatit means is that not all motherboard manufacturers will take advantage; the models will be few and far inbetween.

    i didn't mean to be confusing or throw a wrench in the works here. i believe you asked in your original post:
    "I currently use a very cheap computer for work at home and am looking to upgrade starting from scratch. "
    "Will an integrated solution (Llano, bulldozer, Sandy Bridge, Ivy Bridge) work or do all of them support only 2 monitors?"

    and thought i should point out one of the few new features ivy bridge has over sandy bridge
    http://media.bestofmicro.com/V/O/316068/original/Ivy%20Bridge%20005.jpg
    honestly the EASIEST way to get a three monitor set up is to use 2 video outs from the motherboard (on a sandy) and get a CHEAP (like under $50 US) graphics card for the other 1.
    ASUS EAH5450 SL/DI/512MD3/MG(LP) Radeon HD 5450 512MB $29.99
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814121476

    even that will do for DESKTOP applications.
  23. bystander said:
    Unfortunately AMD requires you to have a DP (or mini-DP) on one of the 3 monitors in a 3 monitor setup.

    However, there is an exception, and that is the FLEX cards.

    Here is a cheap FLEX card that will allow for 3 monitors to connect on it without a DP connection: http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&DEPA=0&Order=BESTMATCH&N=100006662&isNodeId=1&Description=radeon+flex&x=0&y=0

    I believe this is the best advice. The OP does not need to change his PC or his PSU at all.

    To OP:
    A cheap sapphire flex card such as bystander recommended is the best solution for your need if you have DVI capable monitors. I am a Flex user myself and been happy with it.
  24. Only problem with that idea Looniam is not all motherboards will continue to use the video headers with an add in card plugged in. And, it won't act as one screen. (task bar will be limited to one monitor, etc.) The cards that have already been suggested will fix those issues.
  25. 4745454b said:
    Only problem with that idea Looniam is not all motherboards will continue to use the video headers with an add in card plugged in. And, it won't act as one screen. (task bar will be limited to one monitor, etc.) The cards that have already been suggested will fix those issues.


    oh, my bad. didn't understand that.

    thanks for putting it in the manner you did :)
  26. Best answer selected by yialanliu.
  27. Pinhedd said:
    Here's a 6670 that I found with 2 DVI and one mini-HDMI

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814150576

    I'm not sure if it's possible to span desktops running on multiple video cards. In fact I think that the onboard video gets disabled when a discrete adapter is detected.

    You can link monitor to monitor if you are using Displayport, but not with HDMI or DVI



    So can the 6670 run 3 monitors??
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