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I currently use a RHEL 5 workstation with a pair of Nvidia Quadro graphics cards, feeding four WUXGA (1920x1200) monitors. Unfortunately, using Xinerama to get a single X desktop means loosing much of the hardware acceleration these cards could provide.

Another machine here with quad monitors has two X desktops, with two monitors on each. Using two X desktops means that all monitors are hardware accelerated, but it also means that you can't drag windows between monitors that are on different graphics cards.

We did hope that using a dual GPU card like the Nvidia Quadro Nvs 450 would solve our problem, but it turns out that as far as X is concerned, two GPU's on one card is treated the same as having two graphics cards, triggering the same problem.

I believe that Eye-finity on the AMD FirePro workstation graphics cards would allow us to use a single four monitor X display, but we are almost exclusively an Nvidia shop, so I'm reticent to suggest this. Also, while I can see a number of people claiming to have triple monitor set-up working with RHEL 5, I can't find anyone claiming to have quad monitor setup working and AMD technical support are being less than helpful.

I was assured by Matrox technical support that their M9140 and M9148 cards would be ideal, and initial testing confirmed that the M9148 cards did work, but in production we found that their performance was inadequate and all but one workstation equipped with these boards had to be reverted to their old Nvidia cards.

So,

  • Can anyone confirm whether Eye-finity supports 4 monitors on a single X display without Xinerama on RHEL 5?
  • Alternatively, can anyone suggest any alternatives which might allow a RHEL 5 workstation to support 4 monitors with hardware OpenGL acceleration on all screens?

Incidentally I know about Matrox DualHead to Go,but have dismissed that as an option since we would end up with two 3840x1200 or 1920x2400 virtual monitors, where maximising a window would maximise over two monitors - we would prefer maximised windows to be constrained to the monitor they were on.

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We all play our parts. My part involves a lot of spell checking. :-) –  oKtosiTe Jan 21 '12 at 16:01
    
I wonder if using RHEL5 as a virtual machine with a Windows host will work for you. –  harrymc Jan 22 '12 at 11:45
    
@harrymc - If this were a problem at home, sure, it would be a reasonable work around, but in a managed I.T. environment it simply isn't going to be an option. It would be difficult enough to get I.T. to consider using AMD hardware instead of Nvidia. –  Mark Booth Jan 22 '12 at 13:18
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3 Answers

Incidentally, I do have access to a workstation equipped with Eye-finity adapter and installed with RHEL5.5. It seems to have too old version of xrandr X.org extension which does not work with Eye-finity very well. I am able to use any two monitors together in Xinerama setup but not all of them.

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Thanks blami, do you happen to know which version of xrandr that workstation has? I presume that its the standard version that comes with RHEL 5.5? –  Mark Booth Mar 17 '12 at 11:44
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xdmx + chromium proxies glx requests even to networked presentation wall...

I have two displays (one screen other HDMI) without using xinerama. Sort of xrandr works for me very well (allowing to switch second display on and off – something unimaginable with 20 years old Xinerama)

Xdmx and chromium are acceleration proxies to allow panoramic 4-screen Quake 3 etc where normal xrandr would give up.

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Unfortunately, it looks like this solution also requires Xinerama, which is what is causing us problems on the existing systems. Have you actually had a 4 screen system working on RHEL 5 with this configuration? –  Mark Booth Jan 27 '12 at 14:19
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With NVidia cards and NVidia's proprietary driver, you could also try NVidia's own "TwinView" feature. It kind of stretches one Xserver over all monitors, as long as these are on NVidia cards and having the same resolution/framerate.

We did not have the luxury yet to test it with more than two monitors, but for those, it worked like a charm. And as it it remains one single X server, dragging windows all over the screens is no problem.

Read /usr/share/doc/packages/x11-video-nvidiaG02/html/configtwinview.html for details, but in essence, it is eg.

  Option "TwinView"
  Option "MetaModes" "1680x1050, 1680x1050"

in xorg.conf's Device section.

Hth

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Alas Twinview, as it's name suggests, only supports two monitors. –  Mark Booth Mar 8 '12 at 17:29
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