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Discussion Starter #1
Does anyone have a recommendation on a video card that has 2 DVI outputs, each of which are dual-link and can handle 2 dual-link DVI 2560x1600 LCD monitors? If I wanted to run 4 dual-link DVI 2560x1600 LCD monitors from 1 PC would I need an SLI or CrossFire configuration or would 2 of those video cards, independent of each other, be fine?


My key interests are:
  • 2 dual-link DVI outputs on 1 card for 2560x1600
  • Mobo which would support 2 of the above cards
  • Quiet/silent video cards
  • Multiple Desktop configuration: 2 (or 4) side by side, 2 vertical, 4 in a quad, all separate desktops and/or 1 big desktop

I'm not interested in:
  • Gaming
  • Overclocking
  • HTPC

This setup is actually not for a specific HTPC, but the monitors have dual DVI inputs (or HDMI w/HDCP) so I would hook up the 2nd DVI/HDMI of two of them to my HTPC and cable box.
 

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If you check out PNY`s web site,they have cards that have 2 dual link outputs for the resolution your looking for.They have one that has 4 dual link outputs,one of the 4600`s if i remember correctly.These are the Nvidia Quadro series cards.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
The two dual-link DVI card starts at the 8600GT. If I put these in a non-SLI mobo, can I drive 4 2560x1600 DVI monitors? Or would I specifically need an SLI mobo?
 

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I have two 7950GT cards doing exactly that, although I'm driving "only" 3 monitors at 1680x1050 each, but the cards are perfectly capable of 2560x1600. And they are dual, dual link DVI each. The motherboard these are on is an XFX 680i based motherbaord, with a q6600 on it (although the processor is not a factor in the equation).


If the motherboard has 2 full speed (PCI-e x16) slots, you can do 4 monitors, whether they are SLI or not, but chances are any motherboard that has 2 PCI-e x16 slots will be SLI (or Crossfire) capable, but you don't have to use it.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by hollywoodjoe /forum/post/12934288


The two dual-link DVI card starts at the 8600GT. If I put these in a non-SLI mobo, can I drive 4 2560x1600 DVI monitors? Or would I specifically need an SLI mobo?

To run multiple monitors, you do not need a motherboard that supports SLI or Crossfire.


(And there are boards such as the Asus P5W64 WS Pro that I'm typing on right now that have 4 PCIe x16 slots if you want to be able to support even more monitors.)
 

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The options that the others offered you are all good.The Quadro cards are Nvidia`s Professional cards,if you want to go that route.They do have one card that I`m aware of that would allow you to use all 4 monitors with a single card if that appeals more to you.You didn`t say what you wanted to do but,some of their cards have a G Lock function that allows you to syncronize all monitors for a single photo or video so they appear as 1 monitor,if that interests you.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill101 /forum/post/12935420


The options that the others offered you are all good.The Quadro cards are Nvidia`s Professional cards,if you want to go that route.They do have one card that I`m aware of that would allow you to use all 4 monitors with a single card if that appeals more to you.

The only Nvidia cards I can think of like that are the Quadro NVS line, which are a very different animal than the rest of the Quadros. They really have minimal hardware acceleration of any kind, whether video or 3d. I wouldn't recommend them for most applications, though they're fine for servers, status monitoring, and text applications.


They also don't have dual-link DVI. They use DMS-59 connectors which are typically used with pigtail adapters to convert them to a pair of single-link DVI or VGA connectors.

Quote:
You didn`t say what you wanted to do but,some of their cards have a G Lock function that allows you to syncronize all monitors for a single photo or video so they appear as 1 monitor,if that interests you.

G Lock? I have a few of the Quadro FX cards with Genlock / G-Sync, but that's kind of a different animal. It's not cheap (and not available on the NVS line) but more applicable to broadcast and editing situations where you are compositing computer-generated graphics with external video sources.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for the input. I'm looking to setup a Trading PC. While I need to monitor a lot of items in realtime, I don't care for the 8x1600x1200 setup that most traders have. It's too many little monitors and too many desktops. So a 4x2560x1600 would be better - and treated as 4 separate desktops.


So if I added, say 2 of those 8600GT to any dual PCI-e 16x mobo, I could hook up 4x2560x1600 DVI monitors, correct? Could I specify whether I want them side-by-side-by-side-by-side, or in a 2x2 (square) desktop config?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by hollywoodjoe /forum/post/12935864


Thanks for the input. I'm looking to setup a Trading PC. While I need to monitor a lot of items in realtime, I don't care for the 8x1600x1200 setup that most traders have. It's too many little monitors and too many desktops. So a 4x2560x1600 would be better - and treated as 4 separate desktops.

Ah! That actually is the kind of application the Quadro NVS cards are targeted at...except that they don't have dual-link DVI. They only go up to 1920x1200 DVI or 2048x1536 analog VGA.

Quote:
So if I added, say 2 of those 8600GT to any dual PCI-e 16x mobo, I could hook up 4x2560x1600 DVI monitors, correct? Could I specify whether I want them side-by-side-by-side-by-side, or in a 2x2 (square) desktop config?

Depends on the OS, but on any version of Windows since NT 4, you can just drag them around in the display setup window to wherever you want them. They don't even have to match up in a grid if you want--you could make them work in a diamond-shaped pattern or a hexagon (with more monitors) if you wanted. They also don't have to be the same resolution for you to do this.


*However*, under Windows Vista, they all have to be from the same family of cards--you can't mix Nvidia with ATI, but you can combine different models, as long as they are all Nvidia or all ATI. Under XP, there is no such limit and you can mix and match to your heart's content.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill101 /forum/post/12935963


The Quadro FX4500 X2 has 4 dual link outputs at up to 2560 x 1600 resolution.

I stand corrected. I'd only seen the quad-output NVS cards before. It's a big card (and takes two slots) and has a street price just under $3,000, so it's not the cheapest option out there, but it certainly has style.
 

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Discussion Starter #12

Quote:
Originally Posted by trygve /forum/post/12936022


has a street price just under $3,000, so it's not the cheapest option out there

Ouch! And I'm looking at the specs and it's for 3D apps, etc. I think a pair of $200 8600GT's would work. So in Windows XP Pro I can specify how my monitors are lined up? (A hexagon?!
)
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by hollywoodjoe /forum/post/12936158


Ouch! And I'm looking at the specs and it's for 3D apps, etc. I think a pair of $200 8600GT's would work.

Sure...except that the 8600GT goes for more like $85 these days. For that $400 you could be driving eight monitors if you wanted.

Quote:
So in Windows XP Pro I can specify how my monitors are lined up? (A hexagon?!
)

Yep. I've got an assortment of monitors going across my desk and then a shelf behind them with other displays I'm using as status monitors, video previews, etc., and they're driven off everything from Nvidia Quadro FX cards to Blackmagic HD-SDI. You can drag them around into a zig-zag pattern if you like; they don't have to be at the same level or in line with each other, but you can still set them up so that when you drag your pointer off the side of one display it appears on the next one at the appropriate height, even if the monitors are at different levels.


What I don't know how to handle as cleanly is when the pixels are radically different sizes or aspect ratios on the different monitors. Over at the studio I have some systems that use older but large 720p LCD tvs intermingled with multiple 20-22" displays and objects change size and jump a bit when dragging from one to another.


However, it's never been enough of an issue that I'd devoted a lot of time to making those displays match better, so there may be ways to do it that I haven't tried.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
So is it the Windows XP Display Properties that you are setting up the monitor layout in or is it NVidia's Control Panel->Multiple Displays?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by hollywoodjoe /forum/post/12936240


So is it the Windows XP Display Properties that you are setting up the monitor layout in or is it NVidia's Control Panel->Multiple Displays?

I'm just dragging them around in the Control Panel > Display > Settings tab. You'll see the display with the different numbered monitors and you can click-and-drag them to where you want them. If some of the monitors don't appear, you might have to enable them in Nvidia's control panel.



Oh, as a side note, I set up some systems like what you're doing except under Vista about eight months ago and at that time the Nvidia drivers would cause the OS to crash when more than one card was installed and used with multiple displays (as opposed to in SLI). At the time, I could get absolutely no combination of Nvidia cards, including the Quadro NVS cards to work without crashing. Doing the exact same setup with ATI cards worked flawlessly and without a single problem.


Odds are that Nvidia has fixed this problem in their drivers by now, so if anyone out there is thinking about trying this with Nvidia cards, get the latest drivers first.


But under XP, I've had no problems with either Nvidia or ATI cards in this setup. The only issue I've had is that some software (notably Avid) does not play nice with additional graphics devices, such as the HD-SDI cards I have. (Since, obviously, no one would *ever* want to use Avid with video editing equipment.
)
 

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Dude,

do yourself a favour and get nvidia cards for multi-monittor applications as their implementation of it is massively better than ATI's. I had nVidiea and it allowed you to draw guidelines on each monitor (like a grid if you like) and had the ability to maximise a window to the grid at any point in time. If you are going for 4 large monitors rather than 8 smaller ones. You'll likely have more than 1 window on each monitor and this fits the bill perfectly. You can also move a window from 1 monitor to another at the press of a button even if all your monitors are the same "desktop" (ATI only allows switching between desktops). And, as I'm rapidly learning, a million other little things that I used to take for granted.


I upgraded my PC and got an ATI card this time around thinking that "Of course ATI will have all these civilised features that I'm used to". Big mistake. The other thing that blows my mind when I think about it is that my 5 old NVIDIA 5900 Ultra allowed me to have an extended desktop up to 4096 x 1536 but with my new and "improved" ATI 3870 I'm stuck with 3200 x 1200 as my max resolution for 1 extended window. I gotta say that when I was anticipating my new computer it was going to be like science fiction but the reality is that I'm spending half my time re-arranging windows manually on a desktop that's shrunk 40% in size.
 
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