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  Triple Monitor Conundrum 
 Date Written 
J L May 10, 2011, 01:40am EDT Report Abuse
Ok this is the mess:

System in question right now has an nVidia 210 and a double monitor setup with a third monitor operating via USB adapter, which has a noticeably slower response time than the other two understandably. We want to run all 3 off one card or at least all 3 with no lag. Main application is not gaming, but heavy data transfers for real-time stock research using custom software across 3 monitors simultaneously, continuously.

I was thinking of getting the 6870 which I think would be more than enough for this situation. I already have an active DP-DVI adapter sitting here. Then I find out that Eyefinity needs Windows Vista or 7 to run. This PC has Windows XP still, and not sure if this custom stock software will support 7 without some major upgrade cost.

So I need options here...
- Add some cheapo PCI video card I had sitting around for almost a decade for the third monitor (or get a more modern PCI card)?
- Check to see if the mobo has an extra PCI-e slot even if its not x16 and add another PCI-e card?
- Ask the vendor if the custom software will work with Windows 7 (*shudder*) and deal with that and then get the 6870?

....or another option? Thanks in advance.....

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G. G. May 10, 2011, 09:45am EDT Report Abuse
>> Re: Triple Monitor Conundrum
well..... if you go the route of a 6870..... it will surely do what you are looking for but it will also run you around the 200.00 mark.... then the question is this card will be an overkill especially when you are not gaming.

If the nVidia 210 is doing what you need on the two monitors...... then I would go the route of getting a second video card of the same calibre to run the third monitor, let it be a pci or pci-e type. Price wise would be much lower. Heck, even a old pci card lying around would probably work just fine.


J L May 10, 2011, 06:38pm EDT Report Abuse
>> Re: Triple Monitor Conundrum
Monitors are HDMI/DVI, DVI, DVI/VGA, no DP.
Found out finally the MB is a Gigabyte GA-G31M-S2L, only one PCI-e slot, and 2 PCI slots. I figured it was too small to have 2 PCI-e slots.

Ok here is the final choice:

1. Get the GIGABYTE GV-R585OC-1GD Radeon HD 5850 (Cypress Pro) for $155 AR at Newegg and I also get the Shogun game for free (score!) and hope the "Active" DP/DVI adapter I got works (my client doesnt care about spending an extra $50 or whatever as long as he thinks he is getting something nice)

2. Get the EVGA GeForce 6200 512MB 64-bit DDR2 PCI 2.1 Card and just add the third monitor to it, assuming that one will run at the same speed as the others (unlike the USB crap)

I feel like #2 is the simplest solution but my client and I are still leaning towards #1 for various reasons. Can we take a pole here (for anyone present) and help me make my final decision?


mothow May 10, 2011, 06:44pm EDT Report Abuse
>> Re: Triple Monitor Conundrum
dont mix brands get something from ati

couldnt you do something like this

ASRock Z97 Extreme 4 / i7 4790K / Corsair H80i / 4x4GB Crucial Ballistix Smart Tracer DDR3 1600 / 1TB Western Digital Caviar Black / 240GB Mushkin Chronos Deluxe SSD / 2x Evga GTX 670 FTW 2GB in SLI / Sound Blaster Recon3D Fatal1ty / Corsair HX1000w
J L May 10, 2011, 06:49pm EDT Report Abuse
>> Re: Triple Monitor Conundrum
The one in there right now is a GTX210, sorry, I may have not mentioned that.

mothow May 10, 2011, 06:52pm EDT Report Abuse
>> Re: Triple Monitor Conundrum
OH my bad,I just usally try to keep same types to gether for less headaches down the road

ASRock Z97 Extreme 4 / i7 4790K / Corsair H80i / 4x4GB Crucial Ballistix Smart Tracer DDR3 1600 / 1TB Western Digital Caviar Black / 240GB Mushkin Chronos Deluxe SSD / 2x Evga GTX 670 FTW 2GB in SLI / Sound Blaster Recon3D Fatal1ty / Corsair HX1000w
J L May 10, 2011, 06:53pm EDT Report Abuse
>> Re: Triple Monitor Conundrum
Roger that, but I want that Shogun game! LOL... I know its not right to freeload off your client,, ahem..............

john albrich May 10, 2011, 07:10pm EDT Report Abuse
>> Re: Triple Monitor Conundrum

Unfortunately the data rates on the 64-bit memory-bus card are really going to be low compared to the HD5850 or the GTX210, so you will likely still have some issues to deal with...unless the media content attached to that particular card has lower dynamic requirements than the 5850 (e.g. does not need high frame-rates, high pixel/texture fill-rates, high bandwidth, etc)

In addition of course, the PCI slot bus' base bandwidth is lower than that of the PCI-e x16 bus.

edit: fumble fingers
edit: add in GTX210

J L May 10, 2011, 07:14pm EDT Report Abuse
>> Re: Triple Monitor Conundrum
If I get the PCI card, it'll be that plus the existing GTX210, but I see what u mean... so that means go for the 5850 for the best performance, but I am hearing all sorts of thins about its not being compatible with XP, that an upgrade to 7 is needed, UGH! What is the truth??? ATI web site says the same thing, but I KNOW other people have said they are using triples with 5000 series on XP, so...........................

john albrich May 10, 2011, 07:46pm EDT Report Abuse
>> Re: Triple Monitor Conundrum
J L said:
...but I KNOW other people have said they are using triples with 5000 series on XP, so....

But, are those people claiming they are using Eyefinity?

You don't need Eyefinity to display multiple independent images on multiple monitors. Folks have been doing that for a LONG time...pre-XP.

See this link for someone else who used 2 vid cards (although both of them were 5870's) with XP in a non-gaming use. It works of course, but he reported some display corruption. That would suggest Catalyst issues to me, but one would hope they've addressed it since last year.

J L May 10, 2011, 09:16pm EDT Report Abuse
>> Re: Triple Monitor Conundrum
They did not mention eyefinity and ya since he doesnt need it, and only needs it to display his program windows on the 3 monitors, I think it'll be fine.

J L May 10, 2011, 09:19pm EDT Report Abuse
>> Re: Triple Monitor Conundrum
But ya the hardforum post may be trouble, I guess I'll have to do some more research, UGH what a PITA!!!!!!!!!!!

john albrich May 11, 2011, 11:35am EDT Report Abuse
>> Re: Triple Monitor Conundrum

I'm also looking for a new video card, so I did a bit more research...

One HD5830 is only $95 (not including shipping) at TigerDirect today in their "Deal of the Day" with rebate. It's $130 with the rebate at Newegg (free shipping)


(although I'm a bit confused because on the actual product page it says Expires 05/15/2011, but when I click on Terms and Conditions OR Rebate info, no additional information pops-up where I would normally expect DETAILED rebate and/or sales information)

XFX Radeon HD 5830 1GB DDR5
I adjusted the Passmark Performance/Value rating for the $95 price:
Radeon HD 5830 = Video Card (note: this is NOT the specific XFX card)
2085 = G3D rating
30 = Rank (based on G3D rating)
21.94 = Value (@$95)

Note that the 21.94 "Value" makes it the highest "Value" card on the list (without knowing if any other cards are on sale/rebated at the moment).

Read the details on HOW Passmark rates their cards before assessing its relevance to your planned usage.

I find it VERY odd that the TigerDirect provided specs say it does NOT support 1080p
Comparing the specs from for the same card shows discrepancies (e.g. the "effective" memory clock, TigerDirect I think simply used the "4.0Gbps" value instead of the 1000MHz value, but it does raise questions about the accuracy overall)

Specs per tigerdirect:
Maximum Resolution: 2560 x 1600
Memory Interface: 256-bit
Video Memory: 1GB
Memory Type: DDR5
Core Clock: 800 MHz
Memory Clock: 4000 MHz
Dual DVI
Display Port
Max. Monitors Supported: 3
Overclocked: No
1080p Support: No

Edit to add:
I didn't realize Newegg did things this way, but to get the free Shogun game deal (which is NOT obvious in the main product page) you have to go down to the bottom of the page and click on another link:

J L May 11, 2011, 02:04pm EDT Report Abuse
>> Re: Triple Monitor Conundrum
What were u looking for in a card? Lucky for me I already told my client that it may cost up to around $200 for a nice card, so right now I have this in my cart:

$158AR with the free Shogun game, not bad for a good card that will last him years no problem, and he will feel like he got a great card so he cant blame me for anything later! Then just the active DP-DVI adapter which I already have which looks a lot like this one

and he should be all set to go even in XP since we are just running an extended 3 display set, not eyefinity or gaming etc...

Not sure what your budget or purpose is for the card but most people are saying the 6000 series is a much better value for pretty much anything... I am sticking with the 5000 because its older and I assume that will help XP compatibility for drivers etc... I doubt the 6000's will even have XP drivers.

john albrich May 11, 2011, 07:47pm EDT Report Abuse
>> Re: Triple Monitor Conundrum

Primary goal = single-card supporting HDCP and HDMI 1.3 minimum) with highest "G3D" performance at about US$100. GDDR5 memory at ~1GB is acceptable. Power requirement is not an issue.

I will lean heavily on the Passmark G3D figures. Target is G3D >2000.
Note: HD5830 G3D=2085, GTX460 G3D=2349
Both have been on sale with rebates at ~$100 every now and then. For example today, HD5830 1GB=$95 and GTX460 768MB=$105.
However, one MUST be careful in using the G3D ratings as a given rating can be limited to a UNIQUE brand/model and generalizing performance based simply on macro-level names is a risk. e.g. not all GTX460's are created equal. Ideally of course you find an exact match, but one may be able to compare nitty-gritty specs to the specific card that has the specific G3D rating (e.g. streams, clock rates, memory type, etc) and assess how well the G3D rating for a specific card may apply to your specific card.

Ideally the card should also be likely to have driver support for at least 2 more years.

Also, I've been mostly satisfactorily using AMD(ATi) on multiple systems under WinXP and lately on Win7, but have read of many folks having to spend too much time with Catalyst issues with newer cards so I'm open to using Nvidia.

john albrich May 11, 2011, 08:19pm EDT Report Abuse
>> Re: Triple Monitor Conundrum

As for 6000 v. 5000 series or even within a given series, one has to be careful. Like I said above, not all cards of a given model are created equal. There can be huge differences between cards due to specific implementation, and you can find some real gems in the lower series and turkeys in higher series.

It's surprising how often a cheaper card and/or lower model card has a nearly equal or even superior G3D rating. This becomes more obvious as you get farther down on the list from the top-ranked bleeding-edge cards.

G3D ratings for a few card types among the top ranked cards:
HWA formatting may make this a bit unpretty.
(G3D higher=better, Rank lower=better)


Definitely check out this and other Passmark page for more info:
Note: Passmark also lets you view video card list by categories like
"High mid-range"

J L May 21, 2011, 11:28pm EDT Report Abuse
>> Re: Triple Monitor Conundrum
As I was afraid of, got the 5850, didnt work. Just 2 displays. Only 2 showed up in CCC, third monitor showed no life. Third display was in XP Display properties but could not right click on it at all. I tried using first:

Display 1: Displayport + adapter to DVI cable (worked at all times)
Display 2: DVI to DVI cable (worked at all times)
Display 3a: DVI to DVI cable (never worked)
Display 3b: DVI to DVI/VGA adapter to VGA cable (never worked)

The reason I tried 3b was because I heard some say it will not work with 2 DVI connections or the HDMI, that a VGA has to be involved. Well it seems like that didnt work either. And yes I did a reboot several times.

Either I am missing something very simple or as other people have said, the 5850 or these eyefinity cards dont work with XP regardless of using eyefinity or extended desktop. Any other ideas would be appreciated.

G. G. May 22, 2011, 12:07am EDT Report Abuse
>> Re: Triple Monitor Conundrum
I believe you have 4 ports on that 5850 (HDMI, Display port, and Two DVI).

When ATI EyeFinity first came out, recalling through my memory, your display needs to be attached to HDMI, Display port, and only one of the DVI port. Dont know which DVI port though. It is said that when you run EyeFinity, that one of the DVI port is disabled.

Now in regards to if it works with XP..... Dunno


J L May 22, 2011, 12:01pm EDT Report Abuse
>> Re: Triple Monitor Conundrum
Many "experts" adamantly reassured me it would work with XP as long as it is for EXTENDED desktop and NOT EYEFINITY. If it will not work with XP NO MATTER what, then I'll just trash this card and get the best nvidia PCI card and couple it with my existing 210.

I did not try the HDMI port even thought I was thinking about that because some were saying that its not HDMI vs DVI, its that it cannot handle 3 digital signals, ie, cant do 2 DVI+HDMI or 2DVI+DP... thats why I used the VGA adapter for one DVI. I knew I should have tried the HDMI anyways but his monitor setup sucks so it takes like 5 minutes to keep switching each cord around, let alone physically unwieldy. I have to go back there again anyways Monday so I'll be sure to try every combination of cords, but man is that gonna p**s me off, esp if none of those combos work.

Is it just me or does this triple setup seem like a super inexact science still? WTFFFFFFFFFFFF????????? It cant be this hard and I aint exactly a computer novice.

J L Jun 05, 2011, 11:29pm EDT Report Abuse
>> Re: Triple Monitor Conundrum
So I just ordered the 6200 PCI card to add to the 210... waiting for it now, should be here any day... But I am having some doubts because in the office, I have a Quadro 3500/4000 or something, running dual, and I tried adding a 6200 for the triple third display, and it would not work and Photoshop would crash, even with the latest drivers, but wasn't sure if I were supposed to install BOTH Quadro and 6200 drivers or... my IT guy told me that those 2 drivers are probably not compatible so it wont work, i.e., Quadro and 6200 are too far apart in architecture/drivers to play nice. But he said a while back he got it to work with a VGA cable on the 6200... I was trying it with a DVI cable, + 2 DVI's on the Quadro... does that even matter? Has anyone here gotten a PCI-e and PCI to work together from different families of cards within nVidia, with all DVI or otherwise?

I looked a around a bit for a PCi 210 but couldn't find one, and I heard people using the PCI 6200 for triple display as a second card so I figured it's safe but....



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