Topic Title: Can I run more than three monitors on my system?
Topic Summary: Currently running three with a Radeon HD5450, want to know if I can increase
Created On: 02/28/2013 12:37 PM
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 02/28/2013 12:37 PM
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MrYossu
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Hello,

I have a Dell Vostro 460, with Windows 7 Professional 64-bit, and 12Gb RAM. I have a Radeon HD5450 graphics card plugged in, and I'm running three monitors off it, one DisplayPort, one HDMI and one VGA - all 1920x1080 resolution.

I would like to know if I can add a second board, and run more monitors. I know you can with some of these cards, but can't get clear if this card supports it.

Even if this card doesn't support dual cards, I would need to know if my computer woudl support this with another model. These cards aren't so expensive, so I don't mind buying two new ones if I can run more monitors, but I seem to remember seeing something about motherboard requirements for dual cards. I can't find what it was now, so can't check if my motherboard would support it.

In case it makes a difference, I'm a software developer, so only need the ability to run multiple monitos of a decent resolution. I don't need the ability to play games or run high-spec graphics applications.

Anyone able to advise me here? Thanks in advance.

 02/28/2013 01:05 PM
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MrYossu
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Predictably, not long after posting, I found a page with more info! ADM have a FAQ that shows the number of monitors supported by each family of cards.

I had a look around for some of these cards, but all the photos I can see only show a maximum of three output ports, despite the fact that the FAQ claims that some of these cards support four, five and six monitors.

I'm a rank newbie at this stuff, and could do with someone explaining this in simple language to me! I just want to know how to run four or five monitors on my machine.

Thanks for any help.

 02/28/2013 01:24 PM
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Mime
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Three seems to be the limit for how many monitors can be spanned to create a single display, but I believe you can hook up as many monitors as you have inputs and just keep them separate if you don't care about having one whacking huge display.

I'd personally try to stay away from using multiple cards if at all possible.  Video cards seem to be rather territorial these days and start causing all kinds of problem when put in groups, although most of that has to do with SLI and crossfire.



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 02/28/2013 02:30 PM
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Slayerx
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Originally posted by: MrYossu Predictably, not long after posting, I found a page with more info! ADM have a FAQ that shows the number of monitors supported by each family of cards.

I had a look around for some of these cards, but all the photos I can see only show a maximum of three output ports, despite the fact that the FAQ claims that some of these cards support four, five and six monitors.

I'm a rank newbie at this stuff, and could do with someone explaining this in simple language to me! I just want to know how to run four or five monitors on my machine.

Thanks for any help.

 

There are high end cards out there that have five ports like the 6970 and the 7970 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814150586 but they are pretty pricey and I'm not to sure you want to pay that just to run five monitors.

Now you can just add a second 5450 but since your pc only has one PCI-E x16 slot you'll have to use one of the PCI-E x1 slots.

I never seen anybody use a X16 card and a X1 card at the same time so I have no idea if it would even work or what kind of problems you would run into.



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 02/28/2013 03:25 PM
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MrYossu
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Hi Mime and Slayerx, thanks for the replies.

Mime: no, I'm not bothered for a single display, but I can't find any cards with more than three ports. Although the AMD FAQ says that many of the cards support 4, 5 and 6 monitors, I can't see how they do this, as all the pics I have seen only have a maximum of three ports.

Slayerx: Sounds like it's not going to work with two cards, and you're right, I don't fancy those sorts of prices!

Oh well, it was a nice idea. Thanks again to both of you.

 02/28/2013 03:53 PM
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Slayerx
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I would't give up so soon maybe a workstation video card insted of the gaming cards you were looking at would do trick.

Something like this one http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814195099 it has four display ports and it dose not cost a arm and a leg.

Just an idea



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 02/28/2013 07:27 PM
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Thanny
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There were 5870 and 5970 models which had six mini-DisplayPort connectors, allowing the direct connection of six displays (either native DP or anything with active DP adapters).

Beyond that, everything in the 6000 and 7000 series has depended on the ability of DisplayPort 1.2 to use up to four monitors through a single DP connector.  That requires either daisy-chaining between monitors that support that functionality (Dell recently released a few that do), or using a multi-streaming transport hub that doesn't exist on the market yet.

Attaching all the displays to a single card is only important if you want to use Eyefinity to create a single virtual monitor, or if you want to run games with Crossfire support.  I'm going to guess you don't need either, but are simply extending the desktop onto your extra monitors and arranging them in the order you want.

To add more monitors, a second card will work just fine.  You'll be able to extend and arrange whatever you plug into the second card just like you do now.  Windows has supported that functionality for 15 years now, with an arbitrary mix of graphics cards (with the exception of Vista, which oddly dropped the ability to load multiple graphics drivers, a regression fixed in Windows 7).  Using multiple cards used to be the only way to do it, since few cards had multiple outputs way back when.

 

 03/03/2013 09:48 AM
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MrYossu
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Slayerx - thanks for the link. It's still quite a bit more than I was hoping to pay. I was seduced by the low price of the card I have, and was hoping to add more monitors for little more.

Thanny -I had a look on AMD's web site for the 5870 and 5970 cards, but both seem to have just three outputs, so no good there.

However, your last comment is very interesting. You're 100% right in that I'm only interested in extending the desktop, so a second card would be fine. Does this mean I can buy any old video card and plug it in, and Windows should recognise both? If so, do you know what I need to look for? Slayerx said "since your pc only has one PCI-E x16 slot you'll have to use one of the PCI-E x1 slots" which means a little to me, but not much! I'm a software man, don't know too much about the hardware side of things.

Thanks again to both of you. Any further advice would be greatly received.

 03/04/2013 12:14 AM
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Thanny
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This card should fit your needs.

 03/04/2013 08:52 AM
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MrYossu
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Thanks for that link Thanny. That looks like the same card as I already have, an XFX Radeon HD5450. Are you sure this will go in my machine, bearing in mind I already have one card in? I'm not sure what slots I have, but the existing card is a PCI Express 2.1.

Thanks again.

 03/05/2013 04:40 PM
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Thanny
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According to what I found online, your Dell has a single 16x PCIe slot and three 1x PCIe slots.  The card in your computer is very likely a 16x model occupying that slot.  The card I linked to is a 1x model.  It would be fairly dire for 3D rendering, but ample for driving more displays in 2D mode.

 

 03/10/2013 10:07 AM
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MrYossu
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Originally posted by: Thanny According to what I found online, your Dell has a single 16x PCIe slot and three 1x PCIe slots.  The card in your computer is very likely a 16x model occupying that slot.  The card I linked to is a 1x model.  It would be fairly dire for 3D rendering, but ample for driving more displays in 2D mode.

As it happens, I had just opened my PC before switching on, so I could take a look at the slots, and it looks like you're right. Please take a look at http://dotnetwhatnot.pixata.co.uk/mybits/pcislots.jpg and confirm I got it right.

Anyway, the problem with the link is that it's for amazon.com, and I'm in the UK. I tried searching amazon.co.uk for the same card, but couldn't find it. I had a look in the PCI Express Graphics Cards section, but couldn't see any (on the first few pages at least) with the right kind of connector.

Any idea what I should look for?

Also, you mentioned that 3D rendering would be "fairly dire" which isn't an issue, as I don't play games, but would this have any impact on my sort of usage?

Thanks again.

 

 03/10/2013 01:09 PM
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Thanny
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Based on that picture, I'd put the new card in the middle slot, to ensure decent air flow. 

As for where to find the card in the UK, this one should do as well.  The "Product Features" section is clearly wrong (describes a laptop bag), but everything else suggests it's the correct product page for that card.

 

 03/11/2013 02:36 PM
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MrYossu
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Thanks for that. Doesn't exactly fill you with confidence when you see a description like that does it!

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