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(Yes, really)

How can I manage to connect 5 monitors on one PC?
Up to 4, I can handle it with 2 video cards...

Is there any video card out there with 3 video outputs?
Is there any motherboard with more than 2 PCI Express slots?

I've seen pictures of setups with 6-12 monitors. How is this even possible?

Also, what kind of problems should I expect? (I've never had more than one video card in my PC yet, only one with 2 monitors).

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Jeff Atwood blogged about ways to connect multiple monitors over at Coding Horror. – Sampson Jul 16 '09 at 19:27
related… – Daniel Moura Jul 16 '09 at 22:01
Update circa 2011, although this was true at the time of this question as well if you were willing to pay a ton: There are plenty of motherboards with up to seven PCIe slots. There are plenty of video cards that support 3 or 4 outputs (usually requiring DisplayPort, sometimes more than four if you're lucky). Building a PC with 24 monitors is fairly trivial in everything but cost. – Shinrai Jan 5 '12 at 20:51

10 Answers 10

Some of the Nvidia Quadro cards have 4 ports on them. Technically it's two special ports, that each get split into 2 DVI or VGA.

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Motherboards that support 3-way SLI have three PCI-E slots. You don't have to run the cards in SLI mode. You can run them as three video cards.

Reference: SLI | GeForce

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The rigs that I have seen with many monitors were all done in one of two ways:

  1. They crammed as many PCI(-E) video cards into a PC as possible.
  2. They have multiple machines powering the different displays. This one is pretty popular with the flight-sim guys. Three big monitors for the cockpit front windows, and then many smaller screens for the different flight instruments. Seems to work well.
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Some graphics cards in the ATI Radeon HD 5000 series and higher support up to 6 monitors from a single graphics card. Conceivably, if you have room for quad-Crossfire, you could drive 24 displays from a single computer. These are consumer-level cards, too.

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Also, what kind of problems should I expect? (I've never had more than one video card in my PC yet, only one with 2 monitors).

Expect a significant slowdown in performance as all of the monitors use the graphics card to display what they need.

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Especially if you end up using any "throw-away" cards – zildjohn01 Jul 16 '09 at 21:00

Matrox offer cards that support up to 4 monitors. Presumably you could have two cards in a machine.

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In addition to your PCI Express card, you could put in some regular PCI graphics cards (yes they still make 'em). Depending on what you're doing there may be some performance issues.

You may also look for stores that target the niche groups that really have a need for more than 4 monitors and see if they have some special hardware.

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I've used the VGA Y-Cable Splitter (also available in DVI) to have multiple Monitors on one VGA (or DVI) Port.

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Also, what kind of problems should I expect? (I've never had more than one video card in my PC yet, only one with 2 monitors).

Currently my work PC has a PCI and an AGP video card in it so that I can have three monitors. I think one of the cards has a couple of problems (either that or it is the rather cheap LCDs).

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Two cards, each with two slots and one on-board VGA output out of the crappy Intel chip.

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Every machine I've seen disables the onboard VGA when a card is present. – Dentrasi Jul 16 '09 at 19:53
@Dentrasi Not always, but I have seen a good handful that don't – Canadian Luke Sep 17 '12 at 16:05

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protected by studiohack Sep 17 '12 at 16:26

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