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video cards for multiple monitors

tmh88tmh88 Pittsburgh / Athens, OH
edited Mar 2011 in PC Building
Hi guys, I need some advice for the video card(s) for a computer that I'm going to build soon. I will be using it for currency trading and will be using two monitors for now, but I'd like to have the option for expansion in the future if I decide to use additional monitors.

Now here comes the part where I'm somewhat lost. I haven't really been that into the computer scene for the past year or two, so I have no idea about the level of performance of new video cards. All I know is that I need one that has two outputs so I can use both of my monitors which are 1920x1080 resolution. However, I'd like the option for expansion in the future so I can add an additional monitor or two. Would it just be easier to buy an additional video card down the line, or is there some external device that I'd plug the 3-4 monitors into which then connects to the computer? This computer will be used exclusively for trading so it's not going to be handling any intense graphics, only some charts and graphs. Thanks

Comments

  • ThraxThrax Professional Shill, Pokémaster, Watch Slut Toronto, ON Icrontian
    edited Feb 2011
    Disclaimer: I work for AMD.

    The AMD Radeon HD 6800 and 6900 Series cards support six simultaneous displays at resolutions up to 2560x1600. This requires monitors, splitters or hubs that support DisplayPort 1.2 Multi-Stream Transport. Using this technology, you can run 3 displays per Mini DisplayPort port on these cards. MST-enabled hubs or displays are pretty rare (and expensive) until the spring, but I wanted to point out that the multi-monitor capabilities of these cards is going to improve again in the spring.

    Without using hubs or splitters, you can get four simultaneous displays working on these cards. You can connect two 1920x1200 monitors via DVI, and any monitor beyond that has to be connected to one of the two Mini DisplayPort jacks on the card. If your monitors aren't mDP, these cheap adapters will do the trick.

    If you would rather use three 2560x1600 displays, connect two displays via mDP, and connect the third to the top DVI port.


    At this time, NVIDIA cannot support more than three simultaneous displays, and you must buy two GPUs to do it.

    //EDIT: For your needs, I recommend the Radeon HD 6850.
  • tmh88tmh88 Pittsburgh / Athens, OH
    edited Feb 2011
    Thanks Trax. Now as far as the different brands go, does it really matter since I don't care about getting the most extreme performance possible? Generally if I were building one for gaming I would take it into consideration, but if I can save $25+ and won't notice a difference in performance I'm ok with that.
  • ThraxThrax Professional Shill, Pokémaster, Watch Slut Toronto, ON Icrontian
    edited Feb 2011
    For your needs, I would just buy the manufacturer with the warranty that appeals to you most. That would probably be from Sapphire or XFX.
  • SnarkasmSnarkasm 's-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands Icrontian
    edited Feb 2011
    XFX is usually double lifetime. Hard to beat.
  • _k__k_ P-Town, Texas Icrontian
    edited Feb 2011
    I had an easy time with xfx. Had a card blow at a LAN and within an hour and a half had my RMA number and just had to wait until I got home to mail it. I did e-mail response with support so I could walk around and hang out during the process. This was at 11 PM, they say you have to provide proof of purchase but the rep. didn't care since it was well inside standard warranty.

    The live support seems fairly standard and my experience with RMA was normal to slightly above average, not very much script talk.
  • jedihobbitjedihobbit Central Virginia, USA
    edited Feb 2011
    While I like Sapphire and XFX along with several other brands, if I were to use AMD my vote also would go for XFX. As already stated they have one of the best if not the best warrenties!

    BTW four of my six nvidias are XFX!! :wink:
  • litenkulitenku Maryland
    edited Feb 2011
    Snarkasm said:
    XFX is usually double lifetime. Hard to beat.
    From what I understood from my XFX card, the double lifetime warranty just means that whoever you sell the XFX card to after you're done with it also gets a lifetime warranty. In terms of my usage in computers for the last 20 years, I've never actually sold a computer part to someone else that was worthwhile to sell - usually they're so outdated and junky that it's just not worth it at that point.

    Anyway, you're right. Pick one that has a reasonable warranty and you should be fine. Most card designs these days use the same standard reference design, so there isn't much cusomization that goes on with the cards. For stock trading, you won't need to worry about the custom cooling etc. solutions. Those are really only for 3D gaming/modeling (for the component of 3D modeling that can be done on a video card, that is).

    I'll back the 6800/6900 video card recommendation. The 6850 card is the cheapest of the bunch, and should be able to drive up to 6 displays (with some additional hardware purchases - MST hub).

    Oh, right, the first question I should have asked: Mac, Windows or Linux?
  • edited Mar 2011
    Thrax said:


    The AMD Radeon HD 6800 and 6900 Series cards support six simultaneous displays at resolutions up to 2560x1600.

    I have a problem, I have a computer with 2 ATI Radeon 6800 series graphics cards. The problem is I can only extend the desktop to 2 monitors for a single card. As soon as I go into display settings and try to extend or duplicate to the 3rd one it says I have to disable one of the 2 I am currently using. So for the 2 cards I can get it to work with 4 monitors, but I need 5. I tried connecting it via DVI and the 2 mini display ports using the required cables but no luck, still the same problem. I tried using VGA (using a vga to dvi cable) and the mini display ports but again no luck. It's almost as if the card doesn't support more than 2 monitors, but that makes no sense as I read on another site that a single card supports 6.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated
  • ThraxThrax Professional Shill, Pokémaster, Watch Slut Toronto, ON Icrontian
    edited Mar 2011
    All monitors in a CrossFire configuration must be running from the primary GPU. If you turn CrossFire off, however, then each GPU will offer its full monitor connectivity.

    If I were you, I'd look into seeing if the Matrox DualHead2Go is a true splitter. If it performs like my very cursory search says it does, then you should be able to drive two independent 1920x1200 displays off that box, taking you up to 6 full displays on the single card.
  • edited Mar 2011
    Thanks but I am not sure what you mean by that? I have managed to connect 2 monitors in the way that I wish by creating a group. Thing is I can't make a group consisting of 3 or more monitors. Dunno why that is. I tried switching them between the 2 cards but still nothing.

    I saw some crossfire options in the gaming section of the ATI Catalyst Center, should I turn on or off something there? All monitors are being run from a single computer

    Crossfire X is disabled in my case.
  • ThraxThrax Professional Shill, Pokémaster, Watch Slut Toronto, ON Icrontian
    edited Mar 2011
    Is the monitor you're connecting to displayport connected with DP?
    Is that DP adapter an active DVI to DP adapter?
    If you're creating a group (what Eyefinity calls "SLS"), are all monitors the same resolution?

    Please note that creating a group gives you the advantage of being able to span games across multiple displays, or the taskbar across multiple displays. A group is not needed for the "connect a bunch of monitors" aspect of Eyefinity.
  • edited Mar 2011
    Thrax said:
    Is the monitor you're connecting to displayport connected with DP?
    Is that DP adapter an active DVI to DP adapter?
    If you're creating a group (what Eyefinity calls "SLS"), are all monitors the same resolution?

    Please note that creating a group gives you
    the advantage of being able to span games across multiple displays, or the taskbar
    across multiple displays. A group is not
    needed for the "connect a bunch of monitors"
    aspect of Eyefinity.
    I dunno what DP is. I connected the monitors using the group way because I
    needed the ability to span my application like
    a game across the monitors. They are connected via DVI cables directly and via mini display ports with DVI on one side and the mini usb thing on the other. I can extend the desktop to 4 monitors but I can only group 2. Why is that? Even if I connect 3 monitors to a single graphics card I still can only group 2. As soon as I add a third one It tells me I have to disable one monitor if i want to hook up the other
  • ThraxThrax Professional Shill, Pokémaster, Watch Slut Toronto, ON Icrontian
    edited Mar 2011
    DP is DisplayPort.

    Please answer ALL of my questions, though.
  • edited Mar 2011
    To clarify some monitors are connected via dvi cables directly, and other monitors are connected via dvi cables on the monitor side and a dvi to mini usb port on the other
  • edited Mar 2011
    All monitors are same resolution (800 * 1200) I don't know what u mean by asking if the DP adapter is active? I would guess so as we tried connecting different monitors at a time and they all worked, its just when we try to put them together that we get problems
  • edited Mar 2011
    Also just to clarify when you say dp adapter do you mean the device that has a dvi input on one side and mini usb port output on the other?
  • ThraxThrax Professional Shill, Pokémaster, Watch Slut Toronto, ON Icrontian
    edited Mar 2011
    There are two types of DisplayPort adapters. Active and passive. All of your adapters need to be active type. Check online to make sure that they are.

    If you're having issues making an eyefinity group, you are doing some of the following things wrong:
    1. Your DP adapters for the third (or more) monitor are not active.
    2. You are trying to connect a monitor to HDMI.
    3. All monitors are not of the same native resolution.
  • edited Mar 2011
    Thrax said:
    There are two types of DisplayPort adapters. Active and passive. All of your adapters need to be active type. Check online to make sure that they are.

    If you're having issues making an eyefinity group, you are doing some of the following things wrong:
    1. Your DP adapters for the third (or more) monitor are not active.
    2. You are trying to connect a monitor to HDMI.
    3. All monitors are not of the same native resolution.
    Ok I will check that tommorrow, they are in the office about the passive and active.
    What does it mean native resolution? Cos I read about the native thing as well and best I could find for my monitors was a 900 to 1400 resolution but I tried setting them all to that resolution and didnt accomplish anything. Could u tell me what does native resolution really mean? I tried connecting a 6th monitor (touchpad) via an hdmi cable to see if that would work but nah same deal as before
  • ThraxThrax Professional Shill, Pokémaster, Watch Slut Toronto, ON Icrontian
    edited Mar 2011
    The native resolution refers to the resolution the monitor is supposed to run at, before the user changes it.
  • edited Mar 2011
    I can check that as well, it says that on the specs right, thats the resolution thing? All the monitors are the same, Lenovo ThinkPad L1 somethig so Im pretty sure that the 800 to 1400 resolution is the right one for all of em. Ill give it a shot though. Does it matter that I flipped the display to be vertical? Should the native resolution then be 1400 to 800 and would that even work? Or does it have to be horizontal because thats the native resolution?
  • ThraxThrax Professional Shill, Pokémaster, Watch Slut Toronto, ON Icrontian
    edited Mar 2011
    Yes, all the monitors should be 1440x800 if they're all the same. The PC doesn't know you've rotated any of them unless you tell it, though, so it's fine. :)
  • edited Mar 2011
    Thrax said:
    Yes, all the monitors should be 1440x800 if they're all the same. The PC doesn't know you've rotated any of them unless you tell it, though, so it's fine. :)
    I changed the display in the Ati Catalyst Center though, rotating it so the desktop is vertical as well as flipping the monitor
  • ThraxThrax Professional Shill, Pokémaster, Watch Slut Toronto, ON Icrontian
    edited Mar 2011
    Even so, the PC won't care. :) As long as the drivers and the display agree with their orientation.
  • edited Mar 2011
    Thrax said:
    Even so, the PC won't care. :) As long as the drivers and the display agree with their orientation.

    Thanks a lot for all your help Thrax I'm gonna give it a go tommorrow checkin if the dps are active and if i set the native resolution right. We also got the plasma tvs we ordered so if it all goes well gonna try it out on them (its for a gameshow this stuff we are trying to do)
  • edited Mar 2011
    Here is the update, we have connected the two plasma tvs. They don't have dvi inputs only vga and HDMI, so we connected them using VGA adapters. We now have 1 plasma tv connected via hdmi to hdmi cable, another via vga to vga/dvi adapter and 1 computer monitor (because we have no room for the third plasma tv) connected dvi to dvi/mini displayport adapter.
    Again the problem is the same, we can connect all 4 but only if we use the extended desktop. We can only create groups out of 2 plasma tvs. Anything more doesn't work.
  • edited Mar 2011
    If I was to buy an HDMI mini display port and connect all plasma tvs via that would that work? Because as far as I understand it those display ports cannot be active or passive (at least on this page there is only one kind)

    http://support.amd.com/us/eyefinity/Pages/eyefinity-dongles.aspx
  • ThraxThrax Professional Shill, Pokémaster, Watch Slut Toronto, ON Icrontian
    edited Mar 2011
    You can't have anything connected to HDMI.
  • edited Mar 2011
    Ok well we decided to use 2 splitters, one for the plasma tvs and one for the assorted monitors (the director's monitor, the programmer's monitor etc). We tested it out with one splitter, just connecting it willy nilly and it seems to work. We will then try it out on the plasma screens via an hd splitter, connecting them all on the hd. The problem you see is that in my country I can't buy active DPs, my company had to order these passive ones from Germany. So I hope this way works
  • ThraxThrax Professional Shill, Pokémaster, Watch Slut Toronto, ON Icrontian
    edited Mar 2011
    Okay, passive will not work with anything more than three displays.

    //edit: Three, not four. Woops.
  • fatcatfatcat Mizzou Icrontian
    edited Mar 2011
    Mini DisplayPort to DVI-D Active Single-Link Adapter

    what I use for Eyefinity. can be found for $25-$30 or cheaper on sale.

    If you don't have miniDisplayPort
  • edited Mar 2011
    Yes but the general rehearsal is this sunday and I live in Bosnia and Herzegovina:) If you can find me that adapter there I will pay a 100$ for it:)
  • I recently purchased an AMD Radeon HD6800, with two D-DVI outputs, and I connect two IPS Displays, made by Korean manufacturer CrossOver, which natively support 2560 x 1440. But only one port seems to be enabled. Both show up in the Catalyst Control Center software when I click on "Detect Displays, but one remains "black", with the other one showing up as Monitor 1. When I linger the mouse over that display icon, a popup says "1440 DFP, DVI, Disabled"

    How do I enable the 2nd port on this card?

    Thank you,
    Barry
    Thrax said:

    Disclaimer: I work for AMD.

    The AMD Radeon HD 6800 and 6900 Series cards support six simultaneous displays at resolutions up to 2560x1600. This requires monitors, splitters or hubs that support DisplayPort 1.2 Multi-Stream Transport. Using this technology, you can run 3 displays per Mini DisplayPort port on these cards. MST-enabled hubs or displays are pretty rare (and expensive) until the spring, but I wanted to point out that the multi-monitor capabilities of these cards is going to improve again in the spring.

    Without using hubs or splitters, you can get four simultaneous displays working on these cards. You can connect two 1920x1200 monitors via DVI, and any monitor beyond that has to be connected to one of the two Mini DisplayPort jacks on the card. If your monitors aren't mDP, these cheap adapters will do the trick.

    If you would rather use three 2560x1600 displays, connect two displays via mDP, and connect the third to the top DVI port.


    At this time, NVIDIA cannot support more than three simultaneous displays, and you must buy two GPUs to do it.

    //EDIT: For your needs, I recommend the Radeon HD 6850.

  • ThraxThrax Professional Shill, Pokémaster, Watch Slut Toronto, ON Icrontian
    2560x1440 requires a dual link DVI port. The GPU will need two such ports to connect natively via DVI, but most use one dual link and one single link (max resolution 1920x1200) to make a less expensive video card that supports more simultaneous monitors. You'll likely need to purchase an active dual link DVI adapter, or find some way to overdrive the single link. For overdriving, each GPU is different and you'll need to Google that.
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