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I am planning on getting a 6 monitor setup for my home office. The problem is, I want to use those monitors with my Lenovo Thinkpad T420s. The T420s supports only 3 external monitors by itself.

Therefore I would like to get an external graphicscard which will be connected via the ExpressCard slot.

The T420s has:

  • PCI Express v2.0 => 1 Lane has 500MB/s
  • ExpressCard 34 2.0 supported

I would go for a AMD Radeon 7870 Eyefinity 6 card which has itself 6 miniDisplayPort ports. That card I am going to place in either the ViDock 4 Plus or a not so shiny self made solution.

I want to use the 6 monitors for office applications and development. But it should as well be possible to watch a full hd movie (scaled up) on those 6 monitors.

Is the available bandwith enough for a resolution of 6 times full HD (3*1920 * 2*1080 = 5760*2160) with such a setup using expresscard->external graphics card?

What kind of performance drop might occur because of PCI-E x1 instead of x16?

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It would depend on what you are doing. The information that has to be sent over the bus has very little to do with the actual resolution and much more to do with what information is necessary to form the image on the screen. The GPU handles processing instructions for manipulating and rendering shapes to be displayed. This is a big part of why GPUs are necessary. If you are planning on simply using desktop applications and Internet, I would expect that you would probably be ok. If you are planning on playing a modern game on all the screens with the resolution and texture qualities cranked, you "might" run in to some frame rate issues.

In general, as long as you meet the requirements for the card's interface, you should be ok for the most part.

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I added use cases to my question. – kmindi Feb 28 '13 at 0:12
@Kmindi - as long as the playback software is smart about it, I don't think that the HD playback should be a problem. The actual data feed is only the size of the feed to one monitor and if it scales it in the GPU, there wouldn't be any additional load on the bus. If it does it with the CPU and tries to send 6 full HD streams, it may or may not work. I don't really know enough about the data rates supported. – AJ Henderson Feb 28 '13 at 13:58

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