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9 monitor setup

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June 1, 2012 3:28:15 PM

Hey everyone,

I am setting up a 3x3 matrix for a total of 9 monitors, used for business applications (no gaming). All 9 monitors are of the same type, and run at 1920 x 1080. I was looking for some advice as how to go about setting this up. The only requirements are that all 9 monitors run at 1920 x 1080 (so the total resolution of the 3x3 grid would be 5760 x 3240), and that I need to be able to run some applications in full-screen mode across the entire grid (like one giant monitor) and still be able to easily switch it so that all 9 monitors act individually, so that I can have 9 different windows/browsers.

I was looking at using 2 or 3 Radeon Graphics cards and Eyefinity, but realize there may be some limitations there, as I've read that Eyefinity only supports 6 monitors.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you,

More about : monitor setup

June 1, 2012 3:45:07 PM

I'm not aware of any way to do that (doesn't mean that it can't be done, just that it is probably unconventional and/or insanely expensive to do it)

Eyefinity can only drive 6 screens.
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June 1, 2012 4:11:44 PM

Budget isn't too much of an issue, but plausibility and functionality are. I've seen a few setups with 9 monitors, but few details were given on their construction. Maybe I can use splitters to trick the graphics cards into thinking there were 3 monitors total instead of 9 (grouping each row of 3 monitors into a single splitter, and then that splitter into the graphics card). Are there splitters that support 5760 x 1080 resolutions though? I don't want the quality of the image to suffer because a splitter spreads the resolution across 3 monitors instead of keeping the native resolution of each monitor intact.
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a b C Monitor
June 1, 2012 4:28:17 PM

Such solutions are not available from consumer graphics cards. Perhaps it will be available in the next coming generation of the GPU's. But in the meantime, we make do of this in our office:
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June 1, 2012 4:33:44 PM

Thanks Wolf, that looks exactly like something that would work. This might limit functionality, however, now that I think about it. If the computer only thinks that 3 monitors are hooked up, I don't see a way in which I would be able to use all 9 monitors individually, so that I could have 9 windows maximized in each monitor. Would that still be possible?
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June 1, 2012 5:42:03 PM

In our control room we have a PC running (2) XFX HD6770 Eyefinity cards with 5 mini DP outputs, and 7 monitors attached. All monitors have a separate application running full screen. I have another card in standby in case we go crazy and add more to the wall.

I have not attempted any Eyefinity setups yet.
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June 1, 2012 8:06:48 PM

Firebird, that sounds like half of the functionality that I want. I was just curious if, with Eyefinity, I would be able to have the 3x3 grid treated as one huge monitor. I know Eyefinity does this for gaming, but can it also do it for the desktop?
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June 1, 2012 8:09:36 PM

^^ Eyefinity can only do 6 screens. So, while you can hook more monitors up than that, you can't run them all as one screen.
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June 1, 2012 8:13:21 PM

BigMack70, I would be utilizing 3 DVI switches, however, so Windows 7 should only think that 3 monitors are being used, so that limitation shouldn't be an issue. This switch still allows each monitor to be used indivdually even though Windows will think that 3 5760 x 1080 monitors are being used, even though the actual number is 9 1920 x 1080 monitors.
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a b C Monitor
June 1, 2012 8:24:58 PM

Jibbie said:
Thanks Wolf, that looks exactly like something that would work. This might limit functionality, however, now that I think about it. If the computer only thinks that 3 monitors are hooked up, I don't see a way in which I would be able to use all 9 monitors individually, so that I could have 9 windows maximized in each monitor. Would that still be possible?


Under the listed features of the Matrox TripleHead2Go Digital it states the following:

Quote:
Open an application on each display or span one across multiple-screens


I'd probably want to see it working before plunking down the money for this set up, or at the very least, contact Matrox and see if they've successfully done this.

I'm at work right now, so I can't hear what in this video, but the description seems right.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lppSDVi94Dc

-Wolf sends
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June 1, 2012 8:35:29 PM

I remember reading about Eyefinity when it was introduced, and one feature described was the ability to use it for normal desktop use, creating "groups" of monitors and having applications on certain groups. I think this was an expansion of the Hydravision application ATI has always had which would allow for multiple desktops (like Linux) and even remember locations for applications to appear on the monitor.

So I think you could do a 6x6 Eyfinity group and still have the other 3 monitors in a separate group (I could be wrong) or at least have 3 independent monitors from the Eyefinity group.

I would like to know more about this "DVI switch" that somehow creates independent displays that the PC isn't aware of.
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June 1, 2012 9:19:17 PM

Again, thank you everyone for the responses. They have all been very helpful and have pushed me closer and closer to figuring out this scenario. Currently, I believe I can utilize 3 of these: http://www.matrox.com/graphics/en/products/gxm/th2go/di... These "switches" will allow me to mask the 9 monitors as 3 monitors (windows will think that each row of 3 monitors is a single monitor with a resolution of 5760 x 1080).

Matrox also has a software called PowerDesk, which would be used to manipulate these rows of 3, so that, while Windows may think that there are only 3 monitors, the software can treat all 9 monitors as individual montiors.

I believe for this to work, Eyefinity and PowerDesk would need to be compatible. I would need to be able to make one big desktop across all 9 monitors using Eyefinity (because again, Windows and Eyefinity will only think that 3 monitors are plugged in, allowing me to sidestep the 6 monitor maximum). I would then use PowerDesk to manipulate each individual monitor and set up "profiles" regarding which programs would open on which monitors, etc. This would accomplish my goal of setting up a 3x3 grid of 1080p monitors, all running at native resolution, and I'd have the full grid to use as one desktop while still being able to run programs maximized in individual moniters if need be. If I've missed a constraint or restriction, please let me know. Otherwise, I believe this should work.
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June 1, 2012 10:29:17 PM

Jibbie said:
Again, thank you everyone for the responses. They have all been very helpful and have pushed me closer and closer to figuring out this scenario. Currently, I believe I can utilize 3 of these: http://www.matrox.com/graphics/en/products/gxm/th2go/di... These "switches" will allow me to mask the 9 monitors as 3 monitors (windows will think that each row of 3 monitors is a single monitor with a resolution of 5760 x 1080).

Matrox also has a software called PowerDesk, which would be used to manipulate these rows of 3, so that, while Windows may think that there are only 3 monitors, the software can treat all 9 monitors as individual montiors.

I believe for this to work, Eyefinity and PowerDesk would need to be compatible. I would need to be able to make one big desktop across all 9 monitors using Eyefinity (because again, Windows and Eyefinity will only think that 3 monitors are plugged in, allowing me to sidestep the 6 monitor maximum). I would then use PowerDesk to manipulate each individual monitor and set up "profiles" regarding which programs would open on which monitors, etc. This would accomplish my goal of setting up a 3x3 grid of 1080p monitors, all running at native resolution, and I'd have the full grid to use as one desktop while still being able to run programs maximized in individual moniters if need be. If I've missed a constraint or restriction, please let me know. Otherwise, I believe this should work.


this sounds terribly inefficient as a worker. it sounds like at least 2 people need to be doing your job.

anyway i thought that in theory you can have a 6 monitor setup but only 7xxx series cards support it.
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June 1, 2012 11:09:31 PM

firebird said:
I remember reading about Eyefinity when it was introduced, and one feature described was the ability to use it for normal desktop use, creating "groups" of monitors and having applications on certain groups. I think this was an expansion of the Hydravision application ATI has always had which would allow for multiple desktops (like Linux) and even remember locations for applications to appear on the monitor.

So I think you could do a 6x6 Eyfinity group and still have the other 3 monitors in a separate group (I could be wrong) or at least have 3 independent monitors from the Eyefinity group.

I would like to know more about this "DVI switch" that somehow creates independent displays that the PC isn't aware of.


you guys cant just use a splitter! it wont work, it will onlyt make 3 screens have one image, another three have the other section, and the last 3 will have th last section, it will be liek a regular 3 monitor setup but stacked on top of 2 opthers exactly the same. do not bother with it it will nto work how you think.
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June 4, 2012 3:36:21 PM

mildgamer001 said:
you guys cant just use a splitter! it wont work, it will onlyt make 3 screens have one image, another three have the other section, and the last 3 will have th last section, it will be liek a regular 3 monitor setup but stacked on top of 2 opthers exactly the same. do not bother with it it will nto work how you think.


That is my intention, however. The three splitters will make the computer think that 3 monitors are plugged in, not 9. Each row of 3 monitors will be 1/3 of the display. I will use a software like Eyefinity or the PowerDesk software that comes with the splitters to combine the 3 rows of 3 into one large desktop, while still being able to snap windows to each individual monitor. Best of all, the entire grid won't be sized to 1920 x 1080, but 5760 x 3240.

I am still convinced that this will get me the results that I want, unless for some reason Eyefinity and PowerDesk cannot be used together. I would use Eyefinity to make one large desktop out of the three rows of three monitors, and then PowerDesk would be used to manipulate windows within each individual monitor. If they don't work together, though, then my plan wouldn't work.

PowerDesk can work with 6 monitors, or so it says on the website, so I wonder if it can work with 9, allowing me to bypass the use of Eyefinity all together.

I'll need to do more research, and hopefully engage in more discussion on this thread, before I committ to buying and building a 3 GPU computer with 3 DVI splitters, a hefty purchase to say the least.
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June 4, 2012 3:41:30 PM

I think the term "splitter" is causing some confusion. The devices being referred to as "splitters" are much more sophisticated than a splitter and seem to be smart devices that will present a single monitor the the connected PC/laptop even though it can have 3 monitors connected. It then uses the supplied software to manipulate what is actually shown on the 3 monitors.
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June 4, 2012 4:35:22 PM

firebird said:
I think the term "splitter" is causing some confusion. The devices being referred to as "splitters" are much more sophisticated than a splitter and seem to be smart devices that will present a single monitor the the connected PC/laptop even though it can have 3 monitors connected. It then uses the supplied software to manipulate what is actually shown on the 3 monitors.


Exactly. This is my understanding of it as well.
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June 4, 2012 7:32:02 PM

Would anyone have any recommendations as to which graphics cards I should use? I would want 3, and was looking at AMD's Radeon 5000, 6000, and 7000 series. I'd appreciate any advice.

Thanks,
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a c 128 C Monitor
June 4, 2012 9:15:54 PM

Eyefinity and 2D surround's system is to treat a screen as a single screen for gaming purposes, but for a windowed application, is it really needed? Can't an extended desktop setup allow for a very large windowed program to run?
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June 4, 2012 9:45:10 PM

Jibbie said:
Would anyone have any recommendations as to which graphics cards I should use? I would want 3, and was looking at AMD's Radeon 5000, 6000, and 7000 series. I'd appreciate any advice.

Thanks,


by recommendation do you mean, "hey who wants to do all the work for me?"
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June 4, 2012 10:02:31 PM

bystander said:
Eyefinity and 2D surround's system is to treat a screen as a single screen for gaming purposes, but for a windowed application, is it really needed? Can't an extended desktop setup allow for a very large windowed program to run?


While that woud work, an extended display would make the task bar very small compared to the entire 3x3 grid, whereas making Windows think it was one giant monitor would ensure the desktop icons/text/taskbar weren't too small.
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a c 128 C Monitor
June 4, 2012 10:15:30 PM

Jibbie said:
While that woud work, an extended display would make the task bar very small compared to the entire 3x3 grid, whereas making Windows think it was one giant monitor would ensure the desktop icons/text/taskbar weren't too small.


The icons won't change size due to Eyefinity, but you can customize the size through the "customize" interface by right clicking the desktop. However, the taskbar will only exist on one of the monitors in such a setup.
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June 4, 2012 10:30:48 PM

As far as the graphics cards I use are concerned, I just need to ensure that each one can output 5760 x 1080p resolution. That way, each card can max the resolution of a row of 3 1080p monitors. Can any HD 6000 or 7000 series cards do this? If so, then I'll just go with a 6950 or something.

Again, thanks for the help everyone. It's much appreciated.
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June 5, 2012 10:45:25 PM

i suggest any big, beefy high end card u can afford.. or severakl slightly lower end ones crossfired/SLI'd.
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June 6, 2012 1:42:16 AM

it sounds like you will only need 1 as 1 amd card can display 3 outputs.
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June 6, 2012 6:43:08 PM

cbrunnem said:
it sounds like you will only need 1 as 1 amd card can display 3 outputs.



Connectivity-wise, I agree that that would be ideal. I don't think one GPU could output 5760 x 3240 resolution though. I know that one GPU can do 5760 x 1080, which would be one row of 3 monitors, and so I believe I would need 3 GPUs. If this is wrong, let me know, because using one GPU would be awesome.
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June 6, 2012 9:55:33 PM

Jibbie said:
Connectivity-wise, I agree that that would be ideal. I don't think one GPU could output 5760 x 3240 resolution though. I know that one GPU can do 5760 x 1080, which would be one row of 3 monitors, and so I believe I would need 3 GPUs. If this is wrong, let me know, because using one GPU would be awesome.


it is my understanding that the computer is going to see 3 monitors with resolutions of 5760x1080. so it will be outputting 3 images at 5760x1080 not 1 image at 5760x3240. if that is correct then an amd card can do that and will have enough power to do so unless youre going to be gaming.
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June 6, 2012 10:15:35 PM

it will think it has enough power but it will still have 3x the stress....
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June 15, 2012 10:31:40 PM

I don't recommend the Matrox TH2G, I tried the same thing with a 3x3 setup and they kept failing to display a set of 3 monitors as 5760x1080. I am using two 7970 DC II 3gb cards. I can support up to 12 displays and have connected as many as 9 for the wall, and so far am only able to have each of them as an independent display. This means no full screen, that said I can click and drag certain applications across all 9 but it's not ideal. I'm still working on a way to make this easier.
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