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Multiple monitors

Old 26th May 2006, 20:12
  #1 (permalink)  

Howcanwebeexpectedtoflylikeeagles
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Multiple monitors

I am wanting to feed three monitors from my PC. I already have two running off a single graphic card and intend to fit a second card to feed the third monitor. The existing card is PCI express so will the second one have to be PCI express also?

Are there any problems associated with running two cards in the one PC?

Any help and advice will be greatfully appreciated
HughMartin is offline  
Old 26th May 2006, 20:16
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I run two monitors from two seperate graphics cards, don't have much of a problem, though I did not expect some of the slow downs that it produces (running the same game in two windows (different views)) I expected the cards to run at optimum without drawing anymore of my resources.

The only issue I have really come across though is when running a video on one monitor if I move it to the other it loses all of it's colour set up and basically becomes a mess. Other than that no problem.
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Old 26th May 2006, 20:25
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Problems.......

It all depends on what your doing really...

I have three monitors (two on one of the GFX cards and one on the other), The only problems i have had is in Flight Simulator 2004 with it slowing down when doing certain things.

Out of games there isnt any problems at all
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Old 27th May 2006, 00:19
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I would be a bit concerned if colour management were important. If it is for gaming and info, then not too critical, but expect to see different colours on each of them.

Conan
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Old 27th May 2006, 03:37
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If your motherboard has two full-size 16x PCI-Express slots, you can use two PCI-Express graphics cards to drive 3/4 monitors. Most chipsets will however reduce each slot to 8x speed. If you intend to run any sort of 3D application across all three monitors, this is your best bet.

If your motherboard only has one full size (16x) slot, then you will have to use something like the Matrox G550, which will fit in a smaller 1x PCI-Express slot. Alternatively you could use an old PCI graphics card. The Matrox solution would work well enough with 2D graphics, but don't expect to use either of these solutions for games.
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Old 27th May 2006, 05:50
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Howcanwebeexpectedtoflylikeeagles
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Thanks to all who have replied; some useful info.

FunkyMunky, you mentioned "full size 16x PCI express slots". How do I know if mine are 16x? I have already tried a cheap standard PCI card and it gave my PC a severe stomach upset. It stopped booting up and I had to remove the card and ended up having to reload windows due to various corrupted files. I assumed that was because PCI is not compatable with PCI express. (It was a Club Radeon 9250 card)
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Old 27th May 2006, 16:18
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Hugh,

Have a look at the Graphics Expansion Modules from Matrox linked below, they may help you out.

http://www.matrox.com/mga/products/home.cfm
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Old 27th May 2006, 16:38
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On your motherboard you will generally find one or two long PCI-Express slots. These will be the longest physical slots on the board.

When only one graphics card is in use, it gets the full "16x" speed from the motherboard. The other long slot goes into 1x mode, allowing you to use it with smaller 1x PCI-Express cards such as sound cards or network cards. The slots are designed so that cards designed for small slots can also fit into larger ones, but not vice-versa.

If your board has two of the longest slots, then you can probably use two graphics cards. Each card gets 8x speed from the motherboard. You may have to change a switch or flip a small circuit board on the motherboard to get it into "dual video card mode".
The original intention of this design was for nvidia "SLI" mode. This allows two graphics cards to drive one monitor, theoretically doubling display performance.

What you want however, is to drive three monitors. In this case, you need to ignore any option of "SLI" mode in your graphics card drivers. I recommend you buy your second card from the same chipset manufacturer as the existing card eg. nvidia + nvidia. This means you only have to run one set of drivers on the PC.

Things get problematic if you only have one 16x long PCI-Express slot. The other slots on the board will likely be only 1x (smallest) or 4x (slightly larger) PCI-Express slots, or even old PCI slots. In this case, you will have to get either a PCI-Express 1x card such as one from Matrox, or a PCI version of, say, an nvidia card.

The matrox card is likely to perform better in 2D than a PCI based card, but may confuse windows with having both nvidia or ATI drivers and Matrox drivers installed.
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Old 27th May 2006, 18:25
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Howcanwebeexpectedtoflylikeeagles
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Thanks for your help FM, much appreciated.

I suspect I have only one PCI express slot which is being used by a Radeon X740XL card. The two empty slots (shorter than the slot the existing card is in) are marked PCI 1 & PCI 2 on the MB. As I said before, I have tried a standard PCI card and it caused the PC to crash intermittently.


I only want the extra digital video signal to feed a LCD TV with standard video. . I don't want to use the composite or scart socket as the quality isn't nearly as good as dvi feeding into the TV's HDMI input. I am not going to be playing heavy duty video games or Flight Sim etc so I didn't think I would need a particularly high spec card.

If I understand you correctly, I can't fit a PCI Express x1 in a standard PCI slot. Is this correct?

I have copied my system information input/output screen below with the hope you might be able to give me some other pointers.



0x00000000-0x00000CF7 PCI bus OK
0x00000000-0x00000CF7 Direct memory access controller OK
0x00000010-0x0000001F Motherboard resources OK
0x00000020-0x00000021 Programmable interrupt controller OK
0x00000022-0x0000003F Motherboard resources OK
0x00000040-0x00000043 System timer OK
0x00000044-0x0000005F Motherboard resources OK
0x00000061-0x00000061 System speaker OK
0x00000062-0x00000063 Motherboard resources OK
0x00000065-0x0000006F Motherboard resources OK
0x00000070-0x00000073 System CMOS/real time clock OK
0x00000074-0x0000007F Motherboard resources OK
0x00000080-0x00000090 Direct memory access controller OK
0x00000091-0x00000093 Motherboard resources OK
0x00000094-0x0000009F Direct memory access controller OK
0x000000A0-0x000000A1 Programmable interrupt controller OK
0x000000A2-0x000000BF Motherboard resources OK
0x000000C0-0x000000DF Direct memory access controller OK
0x000000E0-0x000000EF Motherboard resources OK
0x000000F0-0x000000FF Numeric data processor OK
0x000001F0-0x000001F7 Primary IDE Channel OK
0x00000220-0x00000227 Winbond Smartcard Reader OK
0x00000274-0x00000277 ISAPNP Read Data Port OK
0x00000279-0x00000279 ISAPNP Read Data Port OK
0x00000294-0x00000297 Motherboard resources OK
0x00000378-0x0000037F ECP Printer Port (LPT1) OK
0x000003B0-0x000003BB Intel(R) 915G/P/GV PCI Express Root Port - 2581 OK
0x000003B0-0x000003BB MEDION RADEON X740XL OK
0x000003C0-0x000003DF Intel(R) 915G/P/GV PCI Express Root Port - 2581 OK
0x000003C0-0x000003DF MEDION RADEON X740XL OK
0x000003F0-0x000003F5 Standard floppy disk controller OK
0x000003F6-0x000003F6 Primary IDE Channel OK
0x000003F7-0x000003F7 Standard floppy disk controller OK
0x000003F8-0x000003FF Communications Port (COM1) OK
0x00000400-0x000004BF Motherboard resources OK
0x000004D0-0x000004D1 Motherboard resources OK
0x00000500-0x0000051F Intel(R) 82801FB/FBM SMBus Controller - 266A OK
0x00000778-0x0000077B ECP Printer Port (LPT1) OK
0x00000A79-0x00000A79 ISAPNP Read Data Port OK
0x00000D00-0x0000FFFF PCI bus OK
0x0000C000-0x0000CFFF Intel(R) 915G/P/GV PCI Express Root Port - 2581 OK
0x0000C000-0x0000CFFF MEDION RADEON X740XL OK
0x0000D000-0x0000D07F VIA OHCI Compliant IEEE 1394 Host Controller OK
0x0000D100-0x0000D107 Creatix V.92 Data Fax Modem OK
0x0000D200-0x0000D2FF Creatix V.92 Data Fax Modem OK
0x0000E000-0x0000E01F Intel(R) 82801FB/FBM USB Universal Host Controller - 2659 OK
0x0000E100-0x0000E11F Intel(R) 82801FB/FBM USB Universal Host Controller - 265A OK
0x0000E200-0x0000E21F Intel(R) 82801FB/FBM USB Universal Host Controller - 265B OK
0x0000E300-0x0000E31F Intel(R) 82801FB/FBM USB Universal Host Controller - 2658 OK
0x0000E400-0x0000E407 Intel(R) 82801FB Ultra ATA Storage Controllers - 2651 OK
0x0000E500-0x0000E503 Intel(R) 82801FB Ultra ATA Storage Controllers - 2651 OK
0x0000E600-0x0000E607 Intel(R) 82801FB Ultra ATA Storage Controllers - 2651 OK
0x0000E700-0x0000E703 Intel(R) 82801FB Ultra ATA Storage Controllers - 2651 OK
0x0000E800-0x0000E80F Intel(R) 82801FB Ultra ATA Storage Controllers - 2651 OK
0x0000F000-0x0000F00F Intel(R) 82801FB/FBM Ultra ATA Storage Controllers - 266F OK
0x0000FE00-0x0000FEFF VIA Rhine III Fast Ethernet Adapter OK
HughMartin is offline  
Old 27th May 2006, 21:54
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Join Date: May 2004
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If I understand you correctly, I can't fit a PCI Express x1 in a standard PCI slot. Is this correct?
Correct I'm afraid you can only put a bog-standard PCI card in there.



Just to help clarify things, in the above image, the three white slots are normal PCI slots. The two very short yellow ones are PCI-Express 1x and the long yellow one is a PCI-Express 16x slot. You can put a matrox card in the smallest PCI-Express 1x slots, if your board has them.

I'm afraid I'm not sure what would cause the system to crash with the secondary PCI ATI card included. It's a setup which I would expect to work without any problems. Apart from the usual checks on the PSU power rating, driver reinstallations etc, I can only suggest a quick post on the boards at Guru3D.com or somewhere similiar might help solve things

Perhaps try completely uninstalling your ATI graphics card drivers with only one card installed. Then shut down and install the second card. When you reboot windows, install the latest drivers from the ATI website and appropriate drivers for both cards should be installed. I'm more of an nvidia man so I'm not entirely sure how reliable ATI drivers are with multi-card multi-monitor setups like this.
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