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At the moment I have got two monitors running off a dual output video card. I have read this article about having multiple monitors connected.

It says that this

is highly dependent on the combination of motherboard and graphics card you use as some motherboards will not allow you to use the onboard video if an add-on video card is detected

My question is there a way I can check if my computer will work with three monitors, before I go and either buy a new monitor or borrow one (which involves much hassle).

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If it's Dell, it will disable the onboard. Easiest way to go triple is to get any ATI Eyefinity card, you also then won't get performance differences between the three screens and our previous setups of one PCI-e and one PCI card had. –  Richard Benson Jan 20 '12 at 12:17
    
Just a note I have a old dell 3300 (off the top of my head) with a standard ati PCI dual graphics card. I tri-monitor off of that and the on-board with out a problem - it worked straight off (but I was a little surprised to be honest!) –  megaSteve4 Jan 20 '12 at 16:05

4 Answers 4

up vote 19 down vote accepted

Even simpler test!

Just swap one of your monitors to the onboard VGA output and see if it's displaying!

No

What motherboard do you have?

According to Belarc=> Board: ASUSTeK Computer INC. V-M2NC61P 

A google search shows this is an 'V-Series M2NC61P Asus PC (Desktop Barebone)' and reading the manual shows (in the BIOS/Advanced/Southbridge Configuration)

*Primary Graphics Adaptor [PCIE -> PCI -> IGP]*
Allows you to set the display decives priority.
Configuration options: [PCIE -> PCI -> IGP] [IGP -> PCI -> PCIE]

Usually the motherboards which disable onboard video actually do it on a hardware level - you would not see a display adaptor listed in device manager, this would be your next port of call to see if the onboard Graphics Adaptor is enabled with either of the 2 BIOS settings, if it is then you might be able to use that setting (aslong as your 8400 works) to have 3 displays...

If it doesn't your next step would be a 2nd Graphics card as explained by josh3736 below, but just remember - your motherboard only has ONE PCI-e x16 port (and 2 'standard' PCI).

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Ah, the simplest answers are always the best. However, when I connect one monitor to onboard I get nothing on the other one. Also I have no idea what motherboard I have - how do I find out? –  Rooneyl Jan 20 '12 at 10:53
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@Rooneyl: superuser.com/questions/175213/… –  Joachim Sauer Jan 20 '12 at 13:55
    
If you can let us know which motherboard you have then we can give you a definate yes/no answer... Aswell as probably providing instructions if it's possible :) –  HaydnWVN Jan 20 '12 at 14:00
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According to Belarc=> Board: ASUSTeK Computer INC. V-M2NC61P Rev x.xx Serial Number: MS1C88B85001002 Bus Clock: 200 megahertz BIOS: American Megatrends Inc. 0301 12/20/2007 and Display: NVIDIA GeForce 8400 GS [Display adapter] –  Rooneyl Jan 20 '12 at 14:56
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that's mine computer –  Rooneyl Jan 20 '12 at 15:44

Simply unplug one of the monitors from your graphics card and plug it into the main board.

If you get a display you know that you can buy a new monitor.

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+1 as i initially just beat your answer by a few seconds ;) –  HaydnWVN Jan 20 '12 at 15:52

Since you commented that after connecting one monitor to the IGP and one to your graphics card you only had the one attached to the IGP working I think you're out of luck unless you get a card that supports 3 monitors natively. Any ATI5xxx 6xxx or 7xxx card will do this provided at least one of your monitors supports displayport. If you're buying a new monitor this isn't hard to get as long as you're not determined to buy the absolute cheapest monitor you can find. You can connect a non-DP monitor to a DP port on an ATI card; but to get 3 monitor support you'll need to use an active adapter; these are on the chunky side and run about $30. The much smaller/cheaper passive adapters won't let you add a 3rd monitor.

Most ATI/nVidia cards will only support a total of 2 monitors across VGA, DVI, and HDMI. There are a handful of exceptions; but they're the result of customization by the manufacturer so you'll need to read the specsheet/box to find them; it's not as simple as "any XYZ series card will work".

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You need to check the bios. There may be an option in there for enabling/disabling the on board video.

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I'm afraid there isn't :( –  HaydnWVN Jan 20 '12 at 15:52

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