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I'm thinking of building a computer for the first time and I would like to hook up 3 or more monitors. Do I have to have 2 or more graphics cards to be able to use 3 or more monitors? Or is there another (cheaper/better) solution?

Edit: The biggest reason I was thinking 3 monitors is because I play a lot of flight simulator where more room would come in handy. I also play some other games where I use teamspeak all the time and it would be useful to have at least 2 monitors. That way I could also see what they are writing without having to switch from the game to teamspeak.

asked Jun 22 '10 at 17:44

Lestat611's gravatar image

Lestat611
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edited Jun 24 '10 at 01:41


Do yourself a BIG favor and stick with an ATI 5000 series card. ATI's "Eyefinity" Technology can easily handle three monitors and the ATI HD5870 can handle up to six. As far as onboard graphics are concerned, it depends on the motherboard you choose. I installed an Asus M4A785TD-M EVO MICRO board in a HTPC I built just for that very purpose. In the board's BIOS are options that allow BOTH onboard graphics (with sideport memory) as well as a dedicated graphics card as long as the card is a PCI card and not an AGP card. The onboard graphics (ATI HD4200) feed a 50" Sony HDTV for BluRay movies etc., while the dedicated card feeds a 30" LCD monitor for gaming. This way I can watch TV on the Sony, and surf the Internet or play games at the same time on the monitor. Here is my BIG concern, as I am a crazy person and go ballistic if I don't have the most absolute perfect picture: why do you need more than one monitor? I admit more than one looks cool, but will you be gaming or just want more real estate? I ask this because I've gone BOTH routes several times. In the end, I always go back to ONE exceptional monitor rather than (more than one) mediocre monitors. If I had an unlimited Bank account I may use more than one, but consider that 30" is a LOT to look at and with windows 7, you can easily split the screen using the "SNAP" function. Just a few thoughts and a little advice since it is your very first build! Pete

answered Jun 23 '10 at 07:07

warpete's gravatar image

warpete
37147

The biggest reason I was thinking 3 monitors is because I play a lot of flight simulator where more room would come in handy. I also play some other games where I use teamspeak all the time and it would be useful to have at least 2 monitors. That way I could also see what they are writing without having to switch from the game to teamspeak. I didn't even think about the snap function on windows 7.

(Jun 23 '10 at 07:28) Lestat611 Lestat611's gravatar image
1

Gotcha! Those are good reasons! For a Flight Simulator I can easily see the need for more than one monitor. Still, I would suggest an ATI 5000 series card. You would be fairly future-proof with a 5000 series card as they are DirectX-11 capable and, in my opinion, ATI has better graphics then Nvidia. My older ATI HD 4870 can still run Crysis at the highest settings and never drop a frame. In case you need more info, "Toms Hardware" has some excellent reviews on all cards and even has "best bang for the buck" charts, among many other benchmarking charts. They explain "eyefinity" in detail and you can get absolutely any hardware info and ratings you need. Pete

(Jun 23 '10 at 11:56) warpete warpete's gravatar image

Thank you I'll defiantly go check it out.

(Jun 24 '10 at 01:39) Lestat611 Lestat611's gravatar image

Usually yes, either that or a specialized video card with more than two RAMDACs. Such specialized cards include the Matrox Parhelia or Quattro.

If your computer has onboard video, you can use just one card in addition to the onboard video.

answered Jun 22 '10 at 17:48

tsilb's gravatar image

tsilb
21.0k65199333

I thought if you added a graphics card the on board one would be disabled. At least that's one of my friends told me.

(Jun 22 '10 at 17:52) Lestat611 Lestat611's gravatar image
1

Maybe on some boards, but I've seen it work. I think it depends on the type - i.e. if you have an onboard AGP video chip, you can't use the AGP slot; but you can still use a PCI 2.0 or PCI-e slot.

(Jun 22 '10 at 18:06) tsilb tsilb's gravatar image

No, you do not need two graphics cards. That said, not all graphics cards can output to three displays at once.

Almost all of ATi's 5000 series graphics cards can output to three monitors at once; two monitors connected to DVI, the third monitor connected to DisplayPort. They can do this because DisplayPort doesn't need an extra RAMDAC to be functional.

A special edition of the ATi Radeon HD5870 can support up to 6 displays at once, all using DisplayPort.

answered Jun 22 '10 at 18:13

Leapo's gravatar image

Leapo
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answered Jun 23 '10 at 07:20

Timboy67678's gravatar image

Timboy67678
0113

Sewell sells add on card for USB connected monitors. you did not really say what you are using this for....if it is for games please get an actually dual head card (capable of two monitors at least) and another real video card in the same series. If you are looking for just another monitor the sewell cards are great for applications.....

answered Jun 23 '10 at 10:43

Michael%20Weiler's gravatar image

Michael Weiler
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Asked: Jun 22 '10 at 17:44

Seen: 11,537 times

Last updated: Jun 24 '10 at 01:41