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Windows XP: I have an on-board graphics card that has 2 outputs (VGA and HDMI) (Intel motherboard).
In addition I have an external graphics card with VGA and DVI (nVidia).

Can I use 3 or 4 of them at the same time?

share|improve this question
good job on the edit, @mmyers! – studiohack Feb 2 '11 at 5:42
To determine specifically if you can or not, we need to know the actual models of the display adapters (and likely the motherboard too). Otherwise we can only speculate and give generic answers because graphics cards vary in their capabilities. – Synetech Feb 1 '12 at 23:46
Yes specific mobo and graphics card type is needed to answer. I will say that I have not had very much luck mixing onboard video with a dedicated card. – Cand3r Feb 11 at 14:27

You almost certainly cannot. Video hardware is more than just an outlet socket, it needs RAM, DMA or bridge and controller circuitry. In nearly every case, a card or motherboard has one set of circuits that can drive one monitor, but has both a DVI and VGA connector so you can connect either one DVI, DMA, or whatever monitor. Trying to plug multiple monitors into the same circuit would show identical images at best, but will probably not have enough signal to drive two monitors and will not work at all.

You may be able to run a monitor from the on-board integrated graphics and another, separate, video card if the separate card does not make use of any of the on-board graphics circuitry. Many cheap video cards do. In that case, you will only be able to use the (presumably better) card video.

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Huh? Most video cards made in the past decade that have more than one output connector can be configured to either clone a single display or extend the desktop across them. I find that most of the time, the limit is with the S-Video connector; you have to choose between that and one of the others (ie up to two outputs on a three connector card). It really depends on what the display adapters are and what drivers are available, but your blanket statement is specious (even if you did start with ‘almost’). – Synetech Feb 1 '12 at 23:44

Yes, you can use 1,2,3, or 4 at the same time. Windows 7 might not like having two different drivers for video cards, but that should not be an issue with xp.

With Dell desktop machines, I've been able to use the onboard vga with a PCI FX5200 card for 2 to 3 monitors without problem. Your motherboard may not support this feature, so it's something to check on for your motherboard.

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how do i do that??? when adding external graphic card the internal one is disabled... how can i make them work at the same time? – Y.G.J Jan 27 '11 at 18:54
This is NOT correct. You /may/ be able to use them, depending on the motherboard, but a lot of boards will disable the onboard graphics when you use a discrete controller. Clearly this is the situation @Y.G.J is in. (And also, 7 is a lot more tolerant of multiple drivers than XP is, so that's not right either. :/) – Shinrai Jan 27 '11 at 19:16
and how can it be done in windows 7??? – Y.G.J Jan 28 '11 at 17:52
Y.G.I., with everything connected and powered on at boot, when you go to the screen resolution, how many monitors do you have listed? If they are not listed there, check your device manager to make sure the drivers are installed for the video adapter. – Calvin B. Feb 2 '11 at 3:20
In windows 7 it is trivial. Add drivers for both cards. Reboot. Right click on the desktop, select screen resolution and enable the displays. This has worked since Vista. On XP on the other hand the setups is different and the OP tagged the question with XP. – Hennes Feb 11 at 14:18

For people that want to hook up more than two monitors, try downloading the AMD software — it works fine on NVIDIA cards. Normally you can't hook up more than two monitors on an NVIDIA card, but the AMD software allows it.

Here is my setup:

  • AMD Phenom 955 x4 3.2 GHz running on 3.8 GHz water cooled.
  • 16 GB RAM 1600 MHz
  • 1 - 128 GB SSD
  • 2 - 500 GB SSD
  • 3 - 500 GB SSD
  • 4 - 500 GB SSD
  • Gigabyte UDH2 AM3.
share|improve this answer
I do not believe for a second you have 3 500GB SSD. How does this even answer the author's question? – Ramhound Jun 1 '12 at 13:29
Haha, maybe he's freakin loaded, they better be RAIDed – Cand3r Feb 11 at 14:26

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