Looking to build several systems to output to 4 monitors over DVI. I notice most of the recent Nvidia and ATI/AMD cards have dual-DVI ports. Can I simply install two of these cards to get four monitors - or are only some cards capable of running side-by-side with another? How can I tell before purchasing?
As long as you get 2 video cards that each have 2 DVI outs each, you should have no problem. The Nvidia/ATI software should help you set up your 4 monitor configuration.
Also, as Dan mentions below (thanks!):
Note: If a video card has 2 outputs, 1 DVI and 1 VGA, this may not work to go to 2 monitors even if you have a VGA->DVI converter. This is because some video cards with multiple types of output are only designed to output to 1 of them at a time.
The video cards are part of the solution, but you will also need to ensure that your motherboard will accommodate two video cards at a time - many seem to take just one. Also, you'll want to be sure your power supply provides enough power for two video cards, on top of everything else that is in the system.
2 Graphics cards with 2 DVI's should give you 4 DVI's with no bother! Just make sure they are both by NVidea [presumably fine with ATI too] or else you could get driver issues.
You can mix and match VGA and DVI outputs on the same card if your monitors supports that.
Currently have a 8200 onboard graphics outputting through HDMI and VGA and a 275GT with 2 DVI's.
Setups that have worked for me include
- onboard Geforce 8200 [DVI, VGA], Geforce GT275 [2 DVI]
- Geforce 8200 [DVI, VGA], Geforce 8800GT [DVI, VGA]
- Gefore 5700 PCI [2 VGA?], Geforce 8800GT [DVI, VGA]
- Geforce 5200 PCI [2 VGA?], Geforce 5700 Ultra [DVI, VGA??]
You gotta love having 4 monitors! :D
If two video cards aren't an option for you, there are lots of multi-monitor solutions out there. Matrox have been doing multi output video cards for years, meanwhile ATI's EyeFinity technology looks very interesting according to the Toms Hardware review - 6 displayport screens from a single card.
Depending on your needs, and your budget, another option is to take each of two outputs of a traditional graphics card and split each one into a pair of screens using Matrox DualHead2Go units. This has the advantage that you are not tied to a particular graphics card and can upgrade your graphics card at any time, keeping the same monitor configuration.
Yes, I managed to get 4 commercial LCD screens running off my system successfully!
I used a recent motherboard with 2 x PCI-Express slots, and 2 x Nvidia Geforce 250 cards, both with dual-DVI outputs. I also needed both the PCI-E power plugs coming from the power supply into the two cards. Installation was relatively easy and pain-free, and I now have 4 monitors appearing in Windows Display Control Panel, with the ability to choose different resolutions/configurations, and using the Nvidia control panel can even rotate screens 90/180/270 degrees as required. It works brilliantly!
The only remaining issue is that if any monitor cables are removed while Windows XP is running, it somehow senses that and the configuration stuffs up - Windows may disable that monitor, and it doesn't come back up automatically when the cable is reattached. Also, the order of plugging the monitors in (while in Windows) affects the numbering of the monitors. I would prefer that those monitors remained enabled even if the cable was detached momentarily (while testing our setup). Does anyone know of a way to disable that auto-sensing functionality? Or a way of ensuring that a particular DVI port is *always* monitor 1 or 2 or 3 or 4 etc.?
UPDATE: Have since found that Windows 7 is MUCH better than XP at handling multiple monitors, especially when the plugs are taken in and out at unexpected times. Win 7 usually brings them back in the same configuration while XP does not.