Mixing Dell 20" and 30" monitors

I have 2 Dell 2007 monitors that run at 1600x1200 that I want to use in portrait mode flanking a Dell 30" monitor that runs at 2560x1600, for combined resolution of 4960x1600. This is for work rather than gaming and I want to end up with a desktop that will span these 3 monitors. I'm unclear what the difference is between eyefinity and an expanded desktop, but can what I describe be set up with ATI cards? And how would this be done? Thanks.

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  1. Expanded means that the screens are in theory independant. Meaning you would have a 1200x1600+2560x1600+1200x1600 resolution.

    Eyefinity would combine them all to one. As far as I know though it would use the least common denominator, or in your case the 1200x1600 and would therefore cut quit a bit of the 2560 resolution off down to 1200 leaving big black boarders on the sides or stretching the image.

    In eyefinity the surface space would work as one large space. Meaning edit:the full 4960x16003600x1600 space. So if you maximised a program it would span over the 3 screens. In the expanded setup it would by default only fill one screen, though it would still be possible to stretch it manually over all 3 screens if wanted.

    For productivity I prefer expanded hands down, because often times when I program I keep one page open for code, one for the website/simulation and the last one usually for some reference sources or misc stuff. Since they are considered independant when I maximse one it won't fill ALL the screens with just one page, but only fill the current screen it is on. Very handy when having say two letter pages open on one monitor and I want to maximse one for better reading.

    Hope this helps.

    EDIT3: always something more to add hahah

    Q:Do all monitors need to be the same brand for SLS mode?
    ...Assuming for a moment that you never perform any additional configuration once the monitors are connected, these displays are running in what’s called “extended mode.” Monitors do not have to be the same size or resolution in this mode, and you should feel free to rearrange your games and applications across the extended displays as you see fit.
    While SLS(Single large surface aka eyefinity) mode does not require all monitors to be of the same resolution, SLS mode will force each monitor to match the smallest resolution on any of the displays you’re combining. For example, a 1680x1050 monitor paired with two 1920x1200 monitors will force the 1920x1200 monitors to 1680x1050 before they’re combined for a final SLS resolution of 5040x1050. For this reason, we do strongly encourage all monitors to have, at the very least, the same resolution. Provided you meet this technical requirement, we think you’ll find the effect of SLS to be absolutely breathtaking.

    Many GPU's nowadays support 3+ monitors. Depending on what software you use, such as Adobe (assuming from the 30inch) something along a gtx670 should be perfect for CUDA acceleration with aftereffects and supports 3 monitors out of the box. I don't use Adobe myself but always found the discussions about CUDA and opencl interesting. Another tomstopic dealing with this here http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/354726-33-tomshardware
  2. Aha! Now it's clear. As I add monitors to my installation what I'm really going to end up with are the 3 I mentioned...20"/30"/20"...on a bottom row, and two 24" on a top row. I can run an extended desktop on the bottom like I do now and eyefinity on the top two since they're identical. I've been trying to identify AMD cards that will run 5-6 monitors and that's difficult because manufacturers don't include this in the spec sheets and they don't necessarily follow AMD's reference designs. Thanks for the info.

  3. dbissett222 said:
    I've been trying to identify AMD cards that will run 5-6 monitors and that's difficult because manufacturers don't include this in the spec sheets and they don't necessarily follow AMD's reference designs.

    Yes that is unfortunate, you just have to read the small print.

    Keep in mind that past 2 screens on AMD you will in most cases need to use an active displayport to dvi adapters if the screens don't have displayports! If you are using the ultrasharps your in luck most of them have DP. Also instead of buying a super expensive card with 5 ports you might also want to consider (if you motherboards supports it) to use 2 GPUs instead of just one in non sli/crossfire mode. This usually ends up being cheaper than having to buy an expensive flexedition AMD gpu and 5 display port adapters if needed.

    Have a look at GPUs on newegg.com and use the power search feature under narrow your results. There you can select how many displayports/normal ports a card should help. Also take a look at nvidia quadros and the firepro series. Many of them offer 4+ display support and start at around $200

    The very cheapest way I know of getting 6 monitor support on the cheap would be by using 2x http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814102960 with a total cost of $120 but of course they are out of stock right now
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