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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Couple questions about PCI video cards.
1. When it says PCI does that go in the normal white plastic PCI clips on the motherboard or is it a special PCI card that goes in the brown plastic clip?

2. If they go in the white plastic clips can you run more than one PCI video card at one time? If you can will it give you two desktops or will it give two desktops that react identical or will it give you two monitors acting as one big desktop?

Here's what I want to do. I want to run 4 monitors on one computer. I would really like them to be 4 monitors as one big desktop not 4 separate desktops. And what I don't really want is 4 monitors that all do the same thing.

I am cruising some of the Matrox dual and quad head video cards on ebay. I can get video cards dirt cheap, dual head one's aren't that much more expensive and quad heads are spendy. If I could run two dual head cards and have one big desktop that would suit me just fine.

Any ideas?
 

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Originally posted by lomfs24
Couple questions about PCI video cards.
1. When it says PCI does that go in the normal white plastic PCI clips on the motherboard or is it a special PCI card that goes in the brown plastic clip?
PCI refers to the, normally, white slots.

Usually AGP are brown. Newer motherboards have PCI-express which seem to vary in colors (just from the ones i've seen).
2. If they go in the white plastic clips can you run more than one PCI video card at one time? If you can will it give you two desktops or will it give two desktops that react identical or will it give you two monitors acting as one big desktop?
yes, you can run one monitor off of each of two separate PCI video cards (or just buy one card with two VGA outputs). I've only tried it in linux, and I was able to set it up as one massive desktop, or change it to two distinct desktops. I imagine windows is the same way.

Here's what I want to do. I want to run 4 monitors on one computer. I would really like them to be 4 monitors as one big desktop not 4 separate desktops. And what I don't really want is 4 monitors that all do the same thing.

I am cruising some of the Matrox dual and quad head video cards on ebay. I can get video cards dirt cheap, dual head one's aren't that much more expensive and quad heads are spendy. If I could run two dual head cards and have one big desktop that would suit me just fine.

Any ideas?
It may depend on the drivers for the cards, but I had a friend who ran 3 monitors with no problem (one dual head card, and one single head). he ran them as three individual desktops, IIRC.

eta: be aware that you may need a pretty good power supply to run that much hardware.

 

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What do you mean by 4 different desktops? Windows 2000 and WIndows XP (theoretically) support 10 monitors. SO yes, you can have multiple PCI cards, in addition to an AGP card.

I use a dual monitor setup every day. Just letting Windows manage the monitors has the Task Bar/Start Menu on only one of the screens. Some drivers modify that, fooling Windows into thinking it has 1 screen with a combined resolution of all the monitors.

Default Windows management allows you to drag objects between screens, and things can span multiple screens. However, a maximized or full screen window only covers one monitor.

If you're looking for desktop space, the default Windows config works fine, if you need something like a movie or Powerpoint that spans all of the screens, something with aftermarket drivers will be needed. I'm thinking, but I can't say as I've tried, that Matrox would be the winner here.

For the former, just pick up 2 nVidia based cards that have 2 of the outputs you need each. NVidia's spanning options are (or at least were) better than ATI's.

http://bfgtech.com/6200_256_PCI.html is pretty much the undisputed king of PCI cards for features and power, but is $100 card. Otherwise, buy something cheap.
 

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If it is not XP compliant your going to have loads of fun getting it to work. Good luck! :shocked: :freak:
 

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Originally posted by lomfs24
Thanks guys, you have been helpful. Here's the card I bought,I think it should work fine.

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=8750013228
my understanding:

those cables split a VGA signal. i.e. you will not have 4 distinct desktops, but two distinct desktops. the splitter cable will output the same signal to two monitors.

this may not be what you were looking for.

edit: DVI, not VGA.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I hope not David. I will know in a couple days. If it does I guess I'll turn aroud and dump it back on Ebay. I can get dual head cards for $20 most any day on Ebay.
 

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well the card itself has two VGA connectors, so it should give you two separate displays.

WinNT, Win2k and WinXP (2003 server as well) all have native support for dual display adapters, so you can extend your desktop to the other monitor.

I'm still not convinced you can get 4 separate monitors to work independently with that card though.
 

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I've seen those cards. Not only does the power kinda suck on them (hope you don't like games or videos) the cards are freakin huge. Takes a monster computer case to even fit. Look at the tiny fraction of it that is the connector part to go in the pci slot. Ugh.

You'd be far better off getting a decent AGP dual head card for your primary screens and then a decent dual head pci. You'll wanna run anything intensive off your good card but things like chat windows and various things like that go great on the cheapo pci cards.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks Mike. But I don't think that power will really be an issue. I will have forex charts running on it so it won't be really a power hungry app like 3D rendering or shadowing or anything. Should run just fine. At least that's what I am hoping.
I have a big case so size should be a problem either.
 
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