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  1. Member
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    Hey there,

    I'm trying to connect my desktop to three monitors and need advice on what configuration of video cards will work best.

    I currently have a gigabyte nVidia 8600GT video card that serves video via DVI to a 24" Dell as the primary monitor and a 17" Dell as a secondary monitor, allowing the desktop to extend to the right. Recently, I connected a 42" HDTV via HDMI cord to the computer with a HDMI->DVI adapter, making it the secondary monitor. The HDTV is in my living room, and the desktop is 10 feet away in my bedroom. I use a wireless keyboard and mouse to control the computer while in the living room.

    I'd like to be able to have all three monitors connected to the computer at once, so I thought I'd get another nvidia card to go along with the other one, so as to not have a driver conflict (hopefully). I am running a triple boot of Vista home prem, XP Pro and OSx86. So, I'm sure this won't work perfectly on all of those OSs. My motherboard is a gigabyte P35-DS3P, with 2 pci, and 2 pci-express slots (1 available).

    Can anyone recommend a "cost-effective", 1080p compatible, blu-ray, etc...(for HTPC type stuff) video card that will be compatible with my current system and accomplish my goal?


    ---------------


    On a follow-up note: Once I have this all set up, is there a easy way (hotkeys or software) to switch between 2 monitors as the primary monitor?

    The two Dell monitors being my workspace. I'd like to be able to just sit down in the living room, press a hotkey on the wireless keyboard and have the two Dells be "detached" and the HDTV be the only "attached", primary monitor.


    Thank you for any help!
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  2. Member edDV's Avatar
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    What are the card slot connectors on your mother board? Do you have dual PCIe SLI support?
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  3. Member
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    The motherboard has 2 open PCI slots and 2 PCI Express 16x slots (however one is already used by the 8600GT card). It also has 2 PCI express x1 slots.

    I don't believe it can do SLI since its a P35 chipset (not nvidia), but could do crossfire if need be. But wouldn't I only want SLI or crossfire to make gaming on 1 monitor have better FPS and graphics (AA, etc)?
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  4. Member edDV's Avatar
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    If it will take a second card, you can get a third monitor going (not Crossfire mode).

    There are also USB2 to DVI-D display adapters that work for low demand display.
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  5. contrarian rallynavvie's Avatar
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    You'll want a second nVidia card. You don't need anything fancy if you aren't gaming on that display so something like this will work:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814133247

    If it's only for 1080p video content playback then anything with HDCP support and DVI outputs (since you already have the cable to run to HDMI) will work for you.
    FB-DIMM are the real cause of global warming
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  6. Member
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    ah ok, so you think that the 9400 GT is the cheapest, 1080p hdcp card, and compatible with my system. Looks good for what I saw on the newegg product page.

    does anyone else have a suggestion for anything cheaper, or recommend a more expensive card for any particular reason?

    thanks again
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  7. Member edDV's Avatar
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    If Nvidia, make sure it supports Purevideo HD. Most current cards do.
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  8. Member
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    Ya' know this ATI 2600XT I have lets you switch resolution and primary monitor from a desktop shortcut

    Don't know if all ATI cards can do that

    ocgw

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  9. contrarian rallynavvie's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by ocgw
    Ya' know this ATI 2600XT I have lets you switch resolution and primary monitor from a desktop shortcut

    Don't know if all ATI cards can do that

    ocgw

    peace
    The OP already has an nVidia card, why the ATi comment? I don't think it'd be cheaper for him to replace both cards rather than just get a second nVidia card. I believe most cards have options for easy switching but with LCD monitors being the norm these days why would you want to switch to anything other than the display's default resolution?
    FB-DIMM are the real cause of global warming
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  10. Just did three monitors last week.

    I was working on a old PM800 MOBO with onboard video, and a dual head ATI fireGL AGP 8x card. I was suprised when I am able to move the cursor move across the three screens.
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  11. Member
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    @rallynavvie,

    I am not wanting to change resolutions, but change which monitor is set as the primary display.
    More accurately, I am wanting to be able to switch from using the two dells a set, with the 24 as the primary and the 17 as the secondary. Then be able to hit a hotkey combination to switch those two "off" and have the 3rd monitor, a 42 inch HDTV in my livingroom, be the only monitor "on" (thus primary).
    This computer is used for working, then as a HTPC in the living room.
    (Read first post for all of this information and more on my situation.)

    Thanks for the help, too, everyone!
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  12. Member
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    Originally Posted by rallynavvie
    Originally Posted by ocgw
    Ya' know this ATI 2600XT I have lets you switch resolution and primary monitor from a desktop shortcut

    Don't know if all ATI cards can do that

    ocgw

    peace
    The OP already has an nVidia card, why the ATi comment? I don't think it'd be cheaper for him to replace both cards rather than just get a second nVidia card. I believe most cards have options for easy switching but with LCD monitors being the norm these days why would you want to switch to anything other than the display's default resolution?
    I just mentioned it in passin bro', it was btw his original question

    bit of a retorical remark "for posterity"

    ocgw

    peace
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  13. contrarian rallynavvie's Avatar
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    If your 24" is 1920x1200 and your 42" is 1920x1080 you may just want to clone them and use the 17" as your extended desktop. Since you're only ever using one or the other primary display it would prevent you from having to swap primaries manually. If you set it right the picture would crop slightly on the 1080p display but when you're watching HD content it won't matter because it would only be cropping the letterbox.

    Another option, depending on the apps you use to display media on the 42", would be to set profiles up in the nVidia control panel so that your primary monitor switches when you open up the app. For instance when I launch Media Center I have mine set to dim the other display (since my 24" and 47" are next to each other rather than in different rooms).
    FB-DIMM are the real cause of global warming
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