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  • Dual monitors vs 3 monitors

    For those of you that have 3 monitors hooked up or dual monitors, can yall give me some insight on how to do it (I know I need another graphics card, but which one would be best?).

    Also, is it best to use LCD monitors or CRT? I found a 17" monitor with .20 dot pitch for $99 and I know I want at least dual, but should I just spend the extra $99 and go with 3 monitors?

    Also, does the brand of the monitor really make a difference when using multiple monitors? The ones I'm looking at are KDS (yes I know they aren't the top, but hey, I can't afford 2 or 3 top-of-the-line monitors).

    Thanks for the help in advance guys (and gals).

    Edit: I can give a link to the monitor if yall need to see the specs on em.
    Genius is a blink before a moment of insanity.
    "Dream is Destiny"
    Waking Life

  • #2
    Well,

    At work i'm lucky enough to have 3 screens all of the same model and make, they are all the same size. All CRTs, they function well enough tho dont look particuly stylish.

    Me personally, I would stick with CRTS, Flatscreens are still a bit overpriced, as for the model, ideally you'd want a sony one, black like Buhos would be sweet, I've got a 22inch NEC with 2 x 17inch ones at either side, one a philips and the other a CLEAR gx17. None are crap, just ok I guess.

    If money is no object get 3 x LCDs at the moment it's not worth shelling out because few games support them, but it IS very handy for applications, I've not looked back after hooking up 2 monitors, I struggle to work on 1 now!

    If you get it all setup get in touch curry, I have loads of backgrounds and useful applications for this, so has Buho I believe.
    ~TuF~

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    • #3
      What kind of Vid Card should I go with for the 3 monitors, TMach? Are there any that can support 3 or would I have to go with several vid cards? And if several, which ones would you suggest (I was thinking ATI).
      Genius is a blink before a moment of insanity.
      "Dream is Destiny"
      Waking Life

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      • #4
        I just dug an old 14" monitor out of my basement the other day because I realized my vid card has a second output. The colours a bit off, but otherwise it seems to work ok. Well, other then with photoshop. Photoshop starts resizing it's windows all over the place and hiding their close buttons

        Anyway, I had a question too: what does the second (and third I suppose) monitor do while you're in a game? Does it just display black, or does it stay on the desktop?
        It's not my fault everything you like is terrible.

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        • #5
          What vid card are you using, Big_D? I am thinking about just going ahead and upgrading to ATI AIW RADEON 9800PRO, but it doesn't have a 15 pin D-Sub connector, and the monitors I want have 15-pin D-Subs... Could I just get an adapter?
          Genius is a blink before a moment of insanity.
          "Dream is Destiny"
          Waking Life

          Comment


          • #6
            the only vid-card that properly supports three monitors is the Matrox G800 (?), though i believe there are some nVidia solutions that allow a dual monitor nVidia card to also work with the display from the onboard video of a nVidia motherboard.

            there are quite a few games that support multi-monitor use.

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            • #7
              i use my 2 onboard video ports and my vid card, but only one monitor will work well wiht thievery.

              A CRT monitor will give you MUCH better quality of picture, viewing angle, etc, and they're cheap, but if your going to have a tri-monitor setup, you'll wantthe LCD to save space.

              however, you'd be MUCH, MUCH better off getting one of these *drool*
              "Just off the border of your waking mind there lies another time, where darkness and light are one. As you tread the halls of sanity, you feel so glad to be unable to go beyond. I have a message from another time."

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              • #8
                I'm using a ATI 9600 Pro. I have no idea about connectors at all. I know my second monitor needs an adapter, because the video card's second output is different.
                It's not my fault everything you like is terrible.

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                • #9
                  ATi cards come with the adpater needed to use the "other" connector. Which is a DVI connection. At least my last 2 ATi cards did. Which where a ATi Radeon 8500 128mb and my Sapphire brand ATi 9800Pro

                  Now there is only one card that supports 3 monitors on a single card and it is not cheap. However it's pretty much the only option for 3 monitor gaming. The card is called the "Matrox Parhelia". There is also another card by the same company but with only 64mb of ram I don't think playing games with 3 monitors would be vary fun on it(3 monitors = 3 times the graphics load to render = 64mb not being enough)

                  As for 2 monitors? Well good for desktop work use but thats about it. There are some flight sims and maybe some other games that make use of the 2nd monitor but none that I have played personally.
                  ZT

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                  • #10
                    I've tried Nvidia and ATI, Nvidia IU had a geforce4 with dual output, and yes indeed the plugs on the back are different but you do normally get an adapter when you buy the card.

                    My ATI card which I currently have because the fan ceased on my other one although is beefier and can pump out much more on the single screen doesn't work as well as my Nividia one did, I find that complex 3D on the second monitor makes the computer jerk and some video formats playback jerky. I never had any of this on my GF4.

                    I think the only 3 x monitor cards out there at the moment are the matroxes, but as for thier performance in game I'm not sure, 3 monitors are extremely useful for UED (3d view on one screen, textures on another and 2D views on the other) and for paintshop pro (full screen editing)

                    I personaly will buy a Nvidia card next time I upgrade with duel output (unless theres a 3 by that point) and I'll buy an additional PCI version, but gaming at the moment is restricted to some flight sims and only a few games (I can get Unreal over all 3 tho)

                    I'd say buying a 2x output card would be worth it at the moment, but Multimonitor gaming is something I look forward to when the hardware becomes redily availible.
                    ~TuF~

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by TheMachine

                      My ATI card which I currently have because the fan ceased on my other one although is beefier and can pump out much more on the single screen doesn't work as well as my Nividia one did, I find that complex 3D on the second monitor makes the computer jerk and some video formats playback jerky. I never had any of this on my GF4.
                      Try Rage3D forums. Might be someone there that can help you with that problem

                      As for the performace of matrox cards? They are not vary powerfull considering and there price doesn't help matters either. I don't think they are powerfull enough to play modern games at high detail settings accross 3 monitors any more(For new games like say BF:V or UT2k4 for example)
                      ZT

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                      • #12
                        Matrox is the leading company in multihead cards. However, they are not known for their suberb 3D crunching. They are fantastic 2D cards, from what I've heard, with "OK" 3D. Indeed, the Parhelia might be an option for you.

                        Any monitor will work with multimon systems. All the monitors care about is a proper signal, which all dualhead signals send out -- one screen, one monitor.

                        Not all cards work with other cards for multimon systems. Video cards older than 6 years old are iffy. They might work, they might not. Cards 6 years and newer have a good chance of working with other cards. For a second (or third) display, all you need is a POS 4MB, 8MB, or 16MB PCI graphics card. It must be PCI slot type if your main graphics card is AGP, since you only have 1 AGP slot. You can still buy PCI graphics cards, but I suggest looking around for a used, free or cheap one.

                        I have an nVidia geForce4 ti4600 with dual-DVI plugs on back that I adapt to SVGA for my CRTs. Only one of the displays is 3D-accelerated. My second graphics card is a POS 8MB PCI card -- zero or very little graphics acceleration.

                        When I play games on my setup, the middle monitor changes resolution to fit the game, the right monitor display shifts over to the right if the middle monitor reduces in resolution, the left monitor keeps displaying the same thing. (I put my IM windows and Winamp over there so I can see what's going on while I'm playing a game). If I want to play a game on all three monitors, I have to reduce the resolution manually on all three monitors to 640x480, switch to windowed mode in the game, strech the window to fit all three monitors, and increase the field of view to 135. There's gotta be a better way. Rendering on all 3 monitors means I have to software-render the game. I have a AMD 2800, so that helps. I get about 20-30fps in UT at 1920x480.

                        Very few games support true multimon. True multimon means its specifically written for multiple monitors. In UT, I trick it into thinking its one large window, which horribly distorts the two wing monitors. MS Flight Sim is a true multimon game. It renders different cameras in each monitor (for instance, LookLeft on the left, LookRight on the right, and center view in the center. In each window here, there is minimal perspective distortion, and when you look out each monitor, it's as if you turned your head in the game. Most other "multimon" games simply show a "data" screen on the second monitor, which is ghetto, IMO.

                        I got 3 screens primarilly for surround 3D gaming, but my dreams have not been realized yet. The game support simply isn't there yet.

                        However, it's paying for itself with increased freedom and flexibility while working within Windows. I love it! For instance, I expanded Photoshop's pallettes to include ALL of one other monitor. IM, Winamp, Start Bar, and favorite icons are all on the left monitor. Windows I'm working on are in my left monitor, and I drag files into the middle monitor where I work on them. The right monitor has Opera and my mail (and Photoshop's toolbars). Sweet setup. (Occasionally I wish I had a small 4th monitor but I think I have issues.)
                        "Garlisk's got a lov-el-y bunch of coconuts."

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                        • #13
                          Oh, more stuff.

                          Two vs three? Depends on space, cash, and what you want to do. I got 3 monitors because playing a game on 2 is annoying because the center of the combined screens has this thick black bar going down it, and there's a 3" separation. Much less noticeable on three monitors.

                          CRT or LCD? Depends on space, cash, and what you want to do. CRTs are bigger, cheaper, (generally) higher resolution, and truer color, but take up more room and are hotter than LCDs. For me, the pros outweigh the cons. I bought my 21" flatscreen graphics-series Viewsonic CRTs. The LCD cash-equivilant is either one 21", two 19", or three crappy 18". On top of that, I personally am not satisfied with the display quality of LCDs. They're too "rich". Also colors can become distorted because of viewing angle, by as little as a few degrees. When your eyes are perpendicular to the top of the screen, the bottom of the screen is a few degrees off of perpendicular, and colors may appear faded, a solid color may look to have a gradient. If you want something better than 1280x1024, you'll have to pay a lot more. This is no good for me and graphic design. LCDs will get better in the next 3-5 years, but I won't buy them yet. Also, LCD pixels can burn out and you can't return them, it's an "acceptible flaw" according to the manufacturer and retailer. Bullshit! But that's the way things are.


                          Discussion on tripple-monitor systems: http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/re...essage=8658975

                          Discussion on LCDs vs CRTs: http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/re...essage=8564926
                          "Garlisk's got a lov-el-y bunch of coconuts."

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                          • #14
                            IF however money is no object then why not get this!

                            http://www.9xmedia.com/pages-Build_a...---4over4.html
                            ~TuF~

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                            • #15
                              Four problems I have with 9XMedia. One, they're using LCD. Two, their customer support sucks. I sent them an e-mail stating I was interested in their systems and they never responded. Three, I think they primarilly sell WHOLE SYSTEMS, including the computer it runs on and the cards to make it run. Four, I think their hardware is outdated (leading me to believe the company has gone stagnent). Also, they use Matrox cards. If you're into 3D gaming, as previously stated, Matrox is not the BEST way to go (but it is an option).

                              I think you can get a better system by not going 9XMedia.
                              "Garlisk's got a lov-el-y bunch of coconuts."

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