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  • First of all which graphics cards support 3 monitors?

  • Is it possible to buy a graphics card which has 2 outputs and use the onboard (motherboard) graphics output for the third monitor?

(as far as I know you have to toggle between onboard or external graphics usage in the BIOS)

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You can use Onboard and PCI/AGP at the same time. In modern biosing the toggling if there is any is more for which monitor to use during booting. – MrStatic May 2 '10 at 20:09
    
Actually, many BIOS setups do not allow you to use the Onboard video and a card at the same time. It depends on the motherboard and BIOS. You're mileage will vary. – BBlake May 3 '10 at 12:33
up vote 2 down vote accepted

Regarding the second question: Yes.

We have a bunch of older Dells (like Dimension 3100) at the office that can run 3 displays with the addition of a video card. 2 from the card and the third from the onboard video.

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Do you have to change any settings in the BIOS or do they work plug and play – rzlines May 2 '10 at 21:45
    
I got a Dell at work (inspiron 531) with a 8300GS on PCI-E for having 2 screens and if I try to use onboard for a 3rd screen it doesn't work... Well, I'm missing something here I guess :P – Marc-Andre R. May 2 '10 at 23:07
    
@rogue - Didn't have to change anything. It just worked. I'd have to actually open one up to remember if they're rocking old PCI or PCI-E video cards though. – Chris_K May 3 '10 at 1:01
    
Well it worked on a Gigabyte motherboard, had to make one change in the BIOS and that did it! Thanks Chris for the reply! – rzlines May 4 '10 at 18:17

You should consider Eye Infinity from AMD/ATI with screens that support DisplayPort :

http://sites.amd.com/us/underground/products/eyefinity/Pages/eyefinity.aspx

And, I don't know if Matrox still make hardware but if so, they have solution that allow you to do this.

That said, I think a EyeInfinity video card will be much more cost effective than Matrox stuff, please correct me if I am wrong on this.

And about using the onboard VGA, I don't think it's possible since the onbard VGA is automaticaly disable when something is plugged on the PCI-E port.

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Yes, EyeFinity from AMD/ATI. Supports up to 3 monitors.

But if you're getting a card, check whether the ports on the card will fit your monitors. My 5770 here has a Display Port, HDMI and 2xDL-DVI. I forgot when I was buying my third monitor (which only outputs DVI as my other 2 does) and so I had to forgo my oldest monitor, 17", to get my new 22" on.

Of course, I could've gotten a converter but I figured the 22" widescreen had enough screen area to make up for the 17" :D

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