I want to set up a third screen on my work computer.
No gaming, it's for work only.
I understand (right or wrong?) that Eyefinity will stretch across the second and third screens.
I want the 3 screens to behave like individual screens, so I can maximise to each individual screen, no spanning.
My full rig specs are listed here, but I'm running an ATI Rage 128 VR which I bought thinking it would do 3 screens. It has one DVI and two Displayports. I tried running three screens with Displayport adapters but it would never let me do it.
1. Is there any way I can run 3 with this card?
2. If not, what is a cheap graphics card that will do the job?
3. How to configure the 3 as individual screens, no spanning? Does ATI Eyefinity do this or not?
If multiple cards are cheaper than one big card, I'm not fussed so long as it works. But I only have one PCI-e 2.0 x16 slot, plus two PCI-e 2.0 x1 slots and three old style PCI's.
Many thanks in advance for everyone's help.
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Last edited by olliek; 20th Feb 2013 at 21:37. Reason: Added info
Most video cards can only support dual monitors, even though they may have three connectors.
The Eyefinity is one of the few video cards that supports three monitors from one card. For your needs, just just install a second inexpensive video card and run two monitors off one and the third on your ATI.
Your mobo has onboard video. The onboard video is usually automatically disabled when you install a video card, but you still may be able use one or both connectors to a second or third monitor. Your ATi is older and is likely PCI, which is ideal since I believe the onboard video is more likely disabled if you use one of the PCI-E slots (which are usually used for video cards). '
The advantage to a secondary video card is that if one video output dies, you'll still be able to continue with the other until you can get a replacement.
Not exactly sure what you mean by "How to configure the 3 as individual screens, no spanning?". As Usually_Quiet stated, you can either clone or extend (span) the screens. Each screen will allow maximized windows, but will still be linked together.
Thanks usually_quiet and linqyi for your answers.
To clarify what I mean, I want Windows to know there are three screens, not think the other two are one large screen. So I can have a window open in Screen 3 and click maximise, and it fills Screen 3, not screens 2 and 3.
@linqyi: my existing card is PCI-e x16, in the top slot.
So I should be able to buy a second card, with PCI or PCI-e x1 connector, and just connect it all and it will work?
Are either of the above (PCI or PCI-e x1) preferable (or available)?
Should both cards be ATI?
Do both cards need to support Eyefinity?
Matrox has many graphics cards with 3 outputs. I was using one (with 3 displays) 10 years ago.
Sorry I had my wires crossed
I had taken out the big ATI card and put it in my home PC.
I had a cheap ATI card (the rage 128) still in the PC from ages ago, and that's what I was looking at in Speccy.
I will check my facts and come back!
There are also USB graphics devices. They don't have very high bandwidth so games and HD video don't work well on them. But normal Desktop software is ok.
I've been running dual monitors for years, with the occasional addition of a third (usually a HDTV) doing what you're asking.
Yes, each monitor will allow you to open and maximize a window(s) within it. At my last workplace, I kept Outlook open on one monitor and worked on the other.
I didn't mention the triplehead (I believe there as even a fourhead) Matrox card because of the problem of, the card dies and you lose all your video.
Jagabo also mentioned using an external USB display. A nice option if you didn't want to open your case, but you seem comfortable with it. I had one, ~$60.00 that would ran 1080p video better than my internal card (a cheap ATI). I'd still be using it, but the USB connector broke loose because I moved the converter around too much.
That aside, try running a monitor off the internal video on your mobo. Since you're running a PCI video card, it's possible that the onboard video isn't disabled (i believe the onboard video is linked to the PCI-E slots), this is how I'm running my desktop. One monitor off the onboard video and one off the external PCI video card. I've run dual monitors off the on-board video, but again like the idea of a second card in case one conks out. I've run three monitors with the setup and could run four (two on the onboard video and two on the external card) if I wanted to.
If you go with a second external card, suggest you go with PCI-e x16. Not for the performance, given your light needs, but because PCI-e x16 cards are likely the least expensive. Supply and demand. $30-$50 for an ATI card will get you more than you need.
It's possible to mix different cards (i.e. Nvidia and ATi), but sometimes there's driver conflicts.
You don't need or want Eyefinity capability for what you're doing Eyefinty is the opposite of what you're looking for. It allows all three (or more) monitors to act as one large one.
Thanks lingyiu, that helps.
The ATi card I meant, that I thought was in my work PC but I'd swapped it into my home PC, is an ATI ASUS AMD ATI Radeon HD5450 5450 1GB. It is the same as this one:
This has one each DVI, VGA and Displayport outputs.
Should this be able to run 3 screens on its own?
If so, I will perhaps try this again with a different Displayport adapter.
No. If the card did support three monitors, it would be Eyefinty capable, which you don't want.
Other than the Matrox cards that Jagabo mentioned, I don't think any other video cards (maybe specialized high-end CAD/CAM) offer triple monitor support other than Eyefinity.
Since you're willing to remove and reinstall the card in your work PC, try this...install the Radeon, but leave the Rage also. Connect two monitors to the Radeon and one to the Rage. You probably won't have to install any drivers since you're running Win 7. Enter the Personalization screen (either through Control Panel or by right clicking on the desktop) and enable the 2nd and 3rd monitor. Choose Extend Desktop. That's it!
No I'm not fussed about dismantling PC's. (I rebuilt my home PC in a new case with Intel 510 series SSD system drive, a stack of 2TB storage drives and a few other built in options including card reader and extra USB ports.)
That's what I expected, that the next thing to try would be both ATI cards. I'll try this and then update the thread. May not be for a week or so.
Many thanks for everyone's help.
I don't have an Eyefinity card to test with, but there are supposed to be ways to use the normal Windows extended desktop mode in situations where someone doesn't want a monitor group to act as one large monitor. http://www.hardwarecanucks.com/forum/615766-post5.html
From what I understand, mini displayport to DVI-D adapters and displayport to DVI-D adapters should be be the active type. These are for illustration purposes.
There was someone recently selling a fancy, panoramic 3-monitor setup on eBay, based on a high-end Alienware laptop. (I didn't know that any laptop could do that, and apparently out-of-the-box.) It definitely caught my eye, but the reasonable price made me wonder if this merch might be hot, and the seller's almost non-existent feedback would have given me considerable pause, had this rig been of interest to me.When in Las Vegas, don't miss the Pinball Hall of Fame Museum http://www.pinballmuseum.org/ -- over 150 tables from 6+ decades of this gradually disappearing American art form.