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Thread: Triple monitor options.

  1. #1
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    Default Triple monitor options.

    I'm currently using 3 monitors over 2 nvidia cards. While it works for the most part, it does have its downsides - one is lack of composite support.

    What are my ATI options for driving 3 monitors from Linux. Is it going to be any better than NVidia?

    Thanks.

  2. #2
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    Just buy 2 dual ported video cards, assuming you have free slots in your mobo. Then you can drive 4 monitors and pretend you are NASA Mission Control launching the Space Shuttle.

    Both ATI and Nvidia make dual ported cards.

    And be sure and set your hostname to something like "hydra"

  3. #3
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    Already using 2 NVidia cards, each with 2 DVI ports.

    No composite means not using the latest fancy Linux window stuff like compiz. Plus, if you just xinerama 3 individual nvidia displays, performance sucks. Its a bit better if you twinview 2, and then xinerama in the 3rd, but then apps and window managers think that the twinview'd screens are one big one. Using a fake xinerama library to provide fake info most solves this problem.

    But for the most part triple monitor/dual card support under Linux really kind of sucks.

    I suppose when the Catalyst drivers can drive 3 displays from a single card we'll be one step closer.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by jason26 View Post
    Already using 2 NVidia cards, each with 2 DVI ports.

    But for the most part triple monitor/dual card support under Linux really kind of sucks.

    Well that's what I've got - a dual-ported Nvidia FX370 running Twinview. I guess 2 monitors is enough for me. Since Sun pays Nvidia to make drivers for their Quadro cards... support is quite good on openSolaris.

    I once saw a demo with an HP rep driving 9 monitors from one HP-UX machine. They were arranged 3x3, so I guess he could play Tic-Tac-Toe with a giant font.


    But why 3 monitors? I went a event hosted at a well-funded startup - all the developers had 24" LCD monitors. I don't see how you could fit multiple 24s side by side. Wouldn't you get a crick in your neck from looking back and forth all the time?

  5. #5
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    Here's my setup..

    http://www.dslreports.com/forum/r230...ew-home-office

    3 24"s side by side.. I don't find it that bad. Center is of course my primary.. And I have keyboard shortcuts to swap all the windows on one screen for another, or to bring a specific window to a different screen. So its quite quick to position what ever you are working on to the center screen then push it back. I love it.

  6. #6
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    The limitations when combining composite + Xinerama are limitations inside X, not in the driver (at least one of the nvidia guys said so ). To get it working, you need to use a single GPU with three outputs.

    Options:

    Matrox Dual- or TripleHead2Go, basically a DVI splitter.
    Pros: isn't tied to a specific GPU or driver, doesn't require it's own driver either. Can be reused with future GPUs.
    Cons: You may need to boot into windows once for the initial configuration.
    Requires manual configuration for modelines and screen boundaries. Resolution switching with XRandr may not work as well as expected any more.

    Evergreen
    Pros: probably the cheapest option, performance boost included.
    Cons: One monitor has to use DisplayPort. The HDMI port and one of the DVI ports are shared and cannot be used at the same time.

    nVidia Quadro
    Cons: unreasonable price tag


    Disclaimer: I cannot confirm whether the last two options actually support three monitors in the drivers.


    Short-term, the TripleHead2Go will work fine today, but it's a bit hackish and leaves another box and cable on/under your desk.
    Long-term, Evergreen would be the preferred option, once the OS drivers are ready (noone knows when, certainly not before february).

  7. #7
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    Ok I guess the well-funded startup had 30" LCDs, not 24", that's why they looked so massive.

    Awwww, in defense of the nVidia Quadro cards, you can pickup the dual headed FX380 for under $115 or an FX370 for under $75. I've certainly seen mobos with 3 PCIe x8 slots. Still trying to figure out why three monitors is better than four. Can't independant video cards have independant compwiz/compositing settings?


    - vs the Matrox TripleHead2Go comes in at $260-$300

    - vs the Evergreen device is not yet for sale?

    You have a clean, Spartan setup. If it were my SOHO I might want to consider painting the walls darker or hanging a picture up to break the whitespace.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by svrocket View Post
    you can pickup the dual headed FX380
    I don't mean to be rude, but you display an astonishing inability to count to three here

    Two displays are easy with almost anything. Three is a problem as you usually need multiple cards to get the required amount of outputs. And multi-GPU-systems have certain restrictions.

    The challenge is to get three (or more) monitors attached to a single GPU to bypass those restrictions. As mainstream-cards only have two outputs (sometimes three, but only two usable at the same time), there aren't many options.

    Quote Originally Posted by svrocket View Post
    Can't independant video cards have independant compwiz/compositing settings?
    sure, but then you'll have independant X displays, that means no Xinerama, that means not being able to drag windows across screens. Sucks.
    If you want a single, huge workspace, you need Xinerama. Which currently means: no composition.

    Quote Originally Posted by svrocket View Post
    - vs the Evergreen device is not yet for sale?
    The 6-output eyefinity version? No idea. All regular 5xxx cards have three usable outputs, which is plenty in this case.
    There's a little shortage, but it's quite possible to buy one if you choose a vendor that happens to have some on stock. (I have a 5770 sitting right next to my desk, took a week to deliver. I'm not allowed to plug it in until after christmas though )

  9. #9
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    I think ideally Eyefinity is the way to go. But if I understand correctly, on Linux it can only drive 2 displays at this time.

    As soon as Linux drivers exist that can drive 3 monitors I'll get one. As its the perfect solution.

    svrocket: Sure, 4 might be better than 3. But 4 in a row is harder to work with 3. Is is ideal, as you have a true center focal point. I may add a 4th as a large LCD TV up on the wall.. In that case, it can be an independent display of the others, so I don't have to deal with the current X limitations that I have to deal with for a triple display output.

    One dualhead2go may be the way to go if Eyefinity support for Linux is still a ways out.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by svrocket View Post
    Well that's what I've got - a dual-ported Nvidia FX370 running Twinview. I guess 2 monitors is enough for me. Since Sun pays Nvidia to make drivers for their Quadro cards... support is quite good on openSolaris.

    I once saw a demo with an HP rep driving 9 monitors from one HP-UX machine. They were arranged 3x3, so I guess he could play Tic-Tac-Toe with a giant font.


    But why 3 monitors? I went a event hosted at a well-funded startup - all the developers had 24" LCD monitors. I don't see how you could fit multiple 24s side by side. Wouldn't you get a crick in your neck from looking back and forth all the time?


    Three screens works out pretty well except for the Xinerama+Compositing issue.

    I'm using a work around to get Xinerama with compositing at the moment but it's not perfect so I'll probably switch to using KDE in twin view and Gnome on my other screen till Eyefinity comes to Linux.

    Also the fake Xinerama patch for the Twinview+Xinerama window maximising issue seems to works perfectly.

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