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I am looking to build a nice setup with 6 monitors. I have not decided on the monitors yet so I am open to suggestions. I am building a new PC to run this as well.

1)
Will I need to use 3 video cards to run 6 monitors?

2)
It seems all the nice monitors I see for sale now days are all widescreen. Is it common to have a multi monitor setup like this with just widescreen monitors? Right now I am looking at the HP widescreen monitors (something like these http://www.officemax.com/technology/monitors/product-prod2380058 but I am not sure if I should be looking at something else.

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4 Answers

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Will I need to use 3 video cards to run 6 monitors?

2 will do if you choose ATI's HD5xxx series as they can drive 3 monitors each.

They feature three independent display controllers

ATI Radeon HD5670

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or look beyond consumer products and get a video wall server:

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Thanks for the info, I found this photo of an ATI card blog.pcnews.ro/wp-content/photo/2008/01/atrhd3650_e_3-4_md.jpg Is this how you meant 3 monitors? It has the 2 plugins with the 3rd round on in the middle? –  jasondavis Mar 2 '10 at 1:21
    
@jasondavis - no, this is just a HD3650, i will add a photo of a HD5xxx series card to my post. you can use 2 DVI (dual) and 1 HDMI or 1 HDMI, 1 DVI and 1 VGA connector. –  Molly7244 Mar 2 '10 at 1:46
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@Molly No, you can't use 2x DVI and 1x HDMI as the cards only come with 2 TDMS. One of the 3 monitors has to be a Display Port monitor (As DisplayPort does not require a TDMS signal, unlike HDMI or DVI), or you'll need an active DisplayPort => DVI Adapter which costs about $100. I just found that out the hard way :( I don't know if there are cards that can drive HDMI and 2x DVI, but most apparently can't. So in doubt, double and triple check. –  Michael Stum Mar 2 '10 at 2:34
    
@Michael Stum - you're right, if you're looking for a certain specification always double and triple check with the vendor or manufacturer. but as of now, the only card with triple monitor support are HD5xxx models. –  Molly7244 Mar 2 '10 at 14:16
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It really depends on what graphics cards you are using. Most modern graphics cards support three monitors, usually through a mixture of HDMI, DVI and VGA sockets - so you should only need to use two cards.

Typically, VGA is the weakest link (but still perfectly acceptable and usable) whilst DVI and HDMI are compatible with each other - you can just buy a fairly cheap converter.

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"Most modern graphics cards support three monitors" wrong, nVidia has no card that supports 3 monitors (no Fermi is on the market as of yet), just because they have 3 connectors doesn't mean they can drive 3 monitors. and only very few ATI cards (5xxx models only) can do this. –  Molly7244 Mar 2 '10 at 1:41
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I would be careful with the number of monitors you're talking about. I was a participant in a study about multi-monitor setups (1, 4 and 9 monitors during the study), and the end result heavily favored the 4 monitor display. Having too much screen real estate (and yes, there is such a thing) can actually be detrimental to your productivity since you have to move your head back and forth (and up and down) in order to take everything in.

Before you go down this road, I would consider doing some additional research to make sure a 6 monitor setup isn't going to be more painful than you think. Plus, you would save quite a bit of headache and cash by doing a 3 or 4 monitor setup instead.

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Could be, I have 3 1600x1200, and I do want a 4th (not bigger monitors, I tend to have the monitor dedicated to tasks (which might be run 8+ terminals, so bigger would be better some what), as I have one app that I tend to have hidden, but really ought to have it visible (I forget about things on it now and then). –  Ronald Pottol Mar 2 '10 at 2:33
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One card, if it is the right card, and you can wait for it to ship. Radeon HD 5870 Eyefinity 6 Edition http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=3750&p=2

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