I have a 3 monitor setup (each 1680x1050) via an Nvidia NVS440 (2 GPUs, 2 outputs per GPU totalling 4 outputs); this works fine under Windows XP,7 but caused considerable headaches under Linux (Ubuntu 9.04).
I had previously used an XFX 9600GT and the onboard XFX 9300GS to produce the same result but the card was noisy and power hungry and I was hoping that there was some magical switch in the NVS4400 that got rid of this annoying problem - turns out the NVS440 is just 2 cards on one physical PCB :-p (I searched the net high and low for people using this card under Linux but found nothing, if anything the card uses less power and is fan less so I was to benefit from it either way)
Anyway, using either set up there were 5 solutions available:
- Have 3 separate X instances, all un joined
- Have 3 separate X instances, adjoined by Xinerama
- Have 2 separate X instances - One using twin-view, both adjoined by Xinerama
- Have 2 separate X instances - One using twin-view but no Xinerama
- Have a single Twin-view setup and leave the 3rd screen unplugged :-p
The 4rd option, using 2 separate X instances and twinview (but no xinerama) was the best balance in terms of performance and usability but caused 2 really annoying issues
- You couldn't control (without altering the shortcuts) which screen an application opened onto - and once it was opened you couldn't move it to another screen without opening up terminal and forcing it to move
- Nvidia's overriding or falsifying of Xinerama breaks and the 2 screens joined by Twin view behave like a single huge screen causing popups to open in the middle of both screens and maximising of windows stretches to the width of the first 2 screens
- Firefox can only run one instance as the same user so having multiple firefox windows requires at least 2 users
The second option "feels" like the right option, but OpenGL is basically disabled and playing any sort of game or even running anything graphical causes a huge performance drop and instability - even trying to run a basic emulator for gba or gens just causes the system to fall over. It works just enough to stare at your desktop and do nothing but as soon as you start doing some work - opening windows, dragging things around - running multiple copies of firefox it just really feels slow.
The last open, only going dual screen works perfectly and everything performs as required, full GPU acceleration - two logical screen spaces - perfect, just make it work across GPUs like windows! :-p
Anyway, I know RandR was supposed to pick up the slack when it would introduced GPU objects of sorts to allow multiple GPUs to be stitched together to create one huge desktop at a much deeper layer than Xinerama. I was wondering if this has now been fixed (I noticed X server 1.7 is out) and whether anyone has got it running successfully?
Again, my requirements are:
- One huge desktop to drag any window across
- Maximising of windows to each screen (as XP does)
- Running fullscreen apps on the primary screen and disabling the mouse from moving onto the others or on all 3 stretched
Finally as a side note; I am aware of the Matrox triple (and dual) head splitter but even the price they go for on eBay is more than I can afford atm, my argument: I shouldn't have to buy extra hardware to get something to work on Linux when it's something that's existed in the windows world for a long time (can you tell I don't get on with X :-p); If I had the cash I'd have bought the latest version of this box already (the new version finally supports large resolutions as the displays I have 1680x1050 each).