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Setting up 3 monitors...help!

ian-d

Active Member
I would like to run 3 monitors independent off a single PC. I currently run 2 monitors using my the 2 DVI ports on my graphics card, but although it also has a HDMI port, I'm told it can only control 2 monitors.

I don't want to use fancy software or duplicate the screen, so is it possible to buy another graphics card to run the 3rd monitor and allow me to pan across the 3 screens?

My graphics card is a Sapphire ATI Radeon HD 5770 1024MB GDDR5 and they do appear to still be available for cheap.

Also, as the graphics card is PCI-Express, does that mean having two matching graphics cards will improve the graphics power on games? Or do they need to run seperate to allow 3 monitors?
 

EndlessWaves

Distinguished Member
Whether your current card can run it depends on the exact model (the description you've supplied applies to several). If it's the 'Flex' model or if it has a DisplayPort output then chances are you will be able to connect another monitor to it, either to the HDMI for the Flex Model or to the DisplayPort output for the rest (either a monitor with DisplayPort input or via an active displayPort to DVI/HDMI converter).

If it's not the flex model and doesn't have any DisplayPort outputs then you can add a second card of any description for more monitor outputs, although your motherboard would need a spare slot for it.

If you spend the extra and get another 5770 and connect them together using a crossfire bridge then you can enable the crossfire function to get them to work together and give you more performance in games that support them. However, crossfire does restrict you to using the monitor outputs on the primary card.

I would imagine that getting a 5770 with three outputs would allow you to use them even if your 5770 card doesn't have the ports for them as all 5770 chips support five monitors but I don't know for sure.
 

ian-d

Active Member
Thanks for the reply. I have the following card (hope linking to it is ok):

Sapphire Technology Web Site

Can you gleen any useful information from that? I can confirm there is what appears to be a DisplayPort on the back, so does that mean if I get a DisplayPort to DVI/HDMI converter I can run a 3rd monitor independently like I'm currently doing with the 2 running off the 2 DVI ports? Would W7 detect a 3rd monitor?

So if I went the route of another matching graphics card (they are cheap now so that is an option), and linked them (SLI?) together, I wouldn't achieve a 3rd monitor setup, just better performance on games etc? That would be a shame and defeat the point I guess, plus not sure if my Corsair 650w PSU would also cope without upgrade.

Help appreciated to conclude what I should do, thanks again.
 

EndlessWaves

Distinguished Member
does that mean if I get a DisplayPort to DVI/HDMI converter I can run a 3rd monitor independently like I'm currently doing with the 2 running off the 2 DVI ports? Would W7 detect a 3rd monitor?

Yes, it'll be no different to plugging it into a DVI socket and it'll work just like your second monitor.

Oh, the cheaper (~£20) DisplayPort to Dual Link DVI active adapters are single link only so if you're using a particularly demanding monitor (120hz or 2560x1440+) then be sure to get one that specifically supports dual link DVI (or a third monitor with a DisplayPort input).

So if I went the route of another matching graphics card (they are cheap now so that is an option), and linked them (SLI?) together, I wouldn't achieve a 3rd monitor setup, just better performance on games etc? That would be a shame and defeat the point I guess, plus not sure if my Corsair 650w PSU would also cope without upgrade.

SLI is nVidia's name for the technology, the same thing for ATI cards is called Crossfire.

As your card does support three monitors you could have a three monitor setup with crossfire, you just wouldn't be able to use the ports on the second card with crossfire enabled so you couldn't have a six monitor setup.

650W is a huge amount and it'll easily support two low power use cards like 5770s unless you've got an absolutely monster of a CPU (heavily overclocked six core i7/Phenom) or a dozen hard drives. Both cards together will use about 150W in games.
 
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ian-d

Active Member
Oh, the cheaper (~£20) DisplayPort to Dual Link DVI active adapters are single link only so if you're using a particularly demanding monitor (120hz or 2560x1440+) then be sure to get one that specifically supports dual link DVI (or a third monitor with a DisplayPort input).

I am running Samsung P2450's in res 1920 x 1080 which I assume will be ok; I think they run 60hz or certainly that is the setting for the games I play.
 

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