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I'd like to use three screens. I've looked on Google and found a lot of different and contradicting answers, so I decided to post a question.

What I have now: three screens, and an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460 with 2 DVI ports and 1 HDMI port. I think that just linking the HDMI port to another screen won't work, and I've found a lot of solutions, but I'd like to hear the best and cheapest way to get it done.

I also have an old NVIDIA GeForce 8600 GT. Could I use that to send the signal, but let the 460 GTX do any calculations? Or perhaps it's possible to let Windows/the card think the three screens are one screen, so it's only really rendering one big image that can be split somehow?

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You might want to specify your operating system. Edit your question, or at least ad a tag. –  CarlF Jun 19 '11 at 16:04
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1 Answer 1

You need to use an additional video card to get the triple monitor setup working. Additionally, if you wanted to use SLI/Crossfire in this setup, you would have to check Nvidia's website to see if triple monitors are supported (e.g. I had 2 x 8800 GT's in SLI, and had to disable SLI to get triple monitors to work - this does work with some newer Nvidia cards however). See this page for more details.

Using two video cards in non-SLI is a completely different story, and quite possible with the 8600 GT you mentioned. My recommendation is to use your one center monitor as your "main" monitor (and have the 460 GTX be that monitor's hardware acceleration), and plug the other two monitors into the 8600 GT. That way, 3D applications that output to your main display won't take a performance hit (those running on the additional monitors will - you might want to put one of them back on the main 460 GTX if you need something else hardware accelerated).

The core requirement from Nvidia's website to use an additional video card to drive an additional monitor is:

Additional monitors (up to 6 monitors total enabled) may be enabled by using either a motherboard GPU and/or a PhysX capable graphics card (GeForce 8 series or higher with at least 256MB of memory) that does not have the same GPU as those that are SLI enabled. More information regarding multi-monitor in SLI can be found here.

The above information applies wether or not you use SLI.

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Is there any way to not have the performance hit when using the 8600GT? I think SLI is not really supported here, but assuming it does, would it be possible to only let the 8600gt function as a 'bridge', where the 4600gtx would still calculate everything, and the 8600 only supplies the 3rd connection? Or would this be possible without SLI someway? –  Valura Jun 19 '11 at 15:31
    
@Valura no, unfortunately this is due to issues higher then the driver-level. Windows allows the selection of a single hardware accelerated display (which is called the "focus display"). The Nvidia drivers only allow you to accelerate the displays connected to a single video card at a time. Read the second link in my answer for more details (there are a few FAQ questions with some details related to your question). –  Breakthrough Jun 19 '11 at 15:36
    
Alright, so how about 'fusing' the screens? If windows and the card think that for example screen 1 and 2 are just one big screen, it would be possible to run 3 screens with only a 460gtx? Is this just a stupid idea or is it possible someway? –  Valura Jun 19 '11 at 15:44
    
While it is very possible, no solution for that already exists - you would essentially need to create a discrete hardware device to further process the fused DVI signal into two separate display signals. –  Breakthrough Jun 20 '11 at 2:01
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