nVidia multiple displays - how well do these work in reality?

Discussion in 'Computer Components' started by jon_c0, Jan 10, 2008.

  1. jon_c0

    jon_c0
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    I asked a question on this many moons ago, but now I've firmed up on my requirements. In a nut-shell, I want to output to two displays at the same time with no faffing about after initial set-up:

    So...I want a graphics card for my lounge-based HTPC to supply two TVs at the same time, but with exactly the same content - a plasma in my lounge and an LCD in my kitchen. With this in mind, I want to output 1080p over HDMI (or DVI, not really fussy) to the plasma and 720p over component for the LCD. Now...I know that various nVidia-based cards exist that can output to dual displays via HDMI/DVI and component, but how well does this work in reality? Does the simultaneous output of the same content at two different resolutions work well? If one or other display is off, does it cause issues?
     
  2. Aaron9

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    My 7900GT (And I'm sure nearly every other reasonably specced nVidia card) can output the same image to one display. There's an option in the nVidia control centre whereby you can "clone" the monitor, so Windows assumes there's a single monitor, but there's two, connected to each of the ports on the card.

    I'm not very up on this, but couldn't you just do this, and have both with 1080? (Would be scaled on the LCD I assume) both over DVI to HDMI?
     
  3. jon_c0

    jon_c0
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    'fraid not - the LCD will take a maximum of 720p over component (and it has to be via component).

    This sort of "two displays, same content, but scaled to different resolutions for each display" is possible, I'd just like to know what the reality is like with nVidia solutions, as I know people have issues here. I need this to work seemlessly after the initial set-up e.g. works correctly with both displays on and with one or other display off at power-up - this is an HTPC and I don't want to resort to keyboard/mouse for such an everyday task. At the moment I'm using an onboard Intel G965 Graphics solutions with an ADD2 card that gives you component + HDMI, but using this requires you to set the resolution to the lowest common denominator for the two connected displays - so that's 720p via both component and HDMI, whereas I want 720p via component and 1080p via HDMI/DVI.
     
  4. jon_c0

    jon_c0
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    Any further views on this? I guess this should have been more simply put as:

    "How well do current graphics cards deal with outputting to two TVs simultaneously?".

    I'm now toying between ATI and nVidia solutions, but the key for me is that, once I've set-up my two TVs via both HDMI/DVI and component, that it all just basically works out of the box with either/both switched on without resorting to the keyboard/mapping special remote buttons etc. Googling for related stuff seems to throw up folk having lots of issues, and yet I suspect this is a common setup these days with people having more than one TV and HTPCs becoming more popular?
     
  5. Bagger

    Bagger
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    Ive Just had a Quick play.
    In the nvidia control panel under setup multiple displays you set nview display mode to clone. This displays the same on both screens
    Then from the normal display options ( right click desktop and properties > settings ) you can set individual resolutions for each display.

    I`m using a 8800GTS now but im sure you could do the same on my old 7900GT
     
  6. jon_c0

    jon_c0
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    Thanks for trying that Bagger. Just to clarify - what outputs do the two displays map to in this test i.e. are they both DVI/HDMI, or is one DVI/HDMI and the other component? I need to get the second case working, and I'm assuming one of the outputs being component may make a difference to what's possible... I know this also varies per-card, and I would need to be looking at implementations of cards that include both DVI/HDMI and a break-out for component connections.
     
  7. Bagger

    Bagger
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    One is DVI to HDMI going to my pany plasma and the other is an analogue monitor through a DVI to VGA adapter

    If the TV shows up in the control panel through the component break out lead then there shouldn't be a problem in adjusting the resolution. I spose your question is. does it ?
     
  8. Monster

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    I'm a relative noob with my HTPC but I think I can get this to work... but not for BluRay playback.

    Card is Nvidia8600GT

    You can set to clone and then individually adjust resolutions for each monitor. In my case its DVI to HDMI to Sony V2000 LCD and Component break out box supplied with card to Panasonic projector.

    Desktop seems to work ok at 60Hz refresh but when you try BluRay playback via Power DVD ,with AnyDVDHD running in the backgroud, as soon as playback starts, I loose the picture on the projector. I am guessing its something to do with HDCP...

    All I wanted was 720p to the LCD at 50Hz and 720p to the PJ without having to faff... There may still be a way to do it or perhaps Nvidia will update their drivers :rolleyes:...

    What with limited refresh rates, overscan and clone montitor problems its all a bit frustrating. Early days for me though. Lots to read up on the net and not enough time...

    But I hope this bit of info is of use to you.
     
  9. jon_c0

    jon_c0
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    Thanks - it's really useful to hear some real-world experiences...

    I guess my aims are relatively limited, although it sounds like I'm going to hit some of the issues you've had to deal with :(.

    My main requirement is the 1080p output to my plasma - I guess I don't want this "compromised" in any way by also supporting an additional display in the kitchen. The 720p over component to the LCD in the kitchen isn't as important quality/over-scan/refresh-rate wise, as long as it's a full-screen and comparable output to what's being pumped out at 1080p. The LCD will mainly be for controlling the Media Center in for music, but also occasionally for playing back something recorded on it; HDCP shouldn't be an issue for me as I have no such sources (and, if I do get them, I'll only be viewing via 1080p to the plasma).

    I did a few experiements with my current onboard Intel X3000 graphics + HDMI/component ADD2 yesterday, and they weren't too good. With the Intel G965/X3000+ADD2 solution you're basically limited to the same resolution and refresh rate for both displays when running multiple outputs - the lower one that each will support. So - over HDMI to my plasma I get [email protected] and over component to my LCD I get [email protected] Obviously this isn't quite what I want from the HDMI/plasma side, but also the Intel graphics driver controls to centre/size the display over component are quite poor, and I couldn't actually get a full-screen 720p display from these alone. Quality of component wasn't great either, but would be acceptable for what I want.

    What I'm wondering is whether nVidia (or indeed ATI) simultaneous HDMI/DVI + component output solutions are really any better in terms of quality, flexibility and "anti-faff once setup" factors than what I already have... I'm keen on moving to a standalone graphics card anyway, as I suspect the Intel onboard graphics for other HD + panning issues that I already have. However, I only really want to move to something that does simultaneous HDMI+DVI 1080p and component 720p at least reasonably on the component side...
     
  10. Monster

    Monster
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    No worries.

    There has been a vista update for Nvidia and now I can get 50Hz to the LCD at 720p with a resized desk top, which it wouldn't do before.

    What I don't understand however, is that I get less judder with pans on HD-DVD via Power DVD at 60Hz than I did at 50Hz.... Perhaps HD-DVD is not Pal or something. As I say I have a lot to learn but is this one of the problems with panning to which you refer?
     
  11. jon_c0

    jon_c0
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    Basically I get subtle, but consistent, judder on slow moving pans/movement regardless of what I'm playing (recorded/live MPEG2/h.264/DivX) and hence independent of source and decoder (and I've tried many decoders for the different formats) and also independent of display (I've recently moved from an LCD to a plasma - both the same).. I've never successfully got rid of it, regardless of refresh rate and resolution, but the one consistent thing through-out is my use of the Intel onboard graphics - I suspect it's a peculiarity of the hardware and/or drivers, and I'm looking forward to moving away from them for this reason too...
     

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