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Old 07-15-2011, 03:21 PM   #1
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Default ATTN modern video-card geeks

At my desk, I have a Dell Optiplex 760, in the "Desktop" form factor: http://support.dell.com/support/edoc...sm/dtindex.htm It accepts only low-profile cards

In it, I have a cheap GEforce video card installed into the one PCIe-16 slot, and I have two monitors plugged into this card (one VGA, one DVI-D). In this configuration, the computer's on-board VGA port is disabled.

What is the most elegant solution that will allow me to run a third monitor?

I have seen devices which plug into a USB port and provide a video output, however I question their performance. I'm not playing games or watching videos here, but I need a clean, fast refresh as I work in AutoCAD quite a bit.

There's also the fancy Matrox DualHead2Go box, which is quite expensive and would require me to run one of my two video ports at 2048x1024, which is not a resolution that I am sure it supports.

I have one free PCI slot. If I install a cheap PCI card into this slot, will it drive a third monitor in the customary fashion?
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Old 07-15-2011, 03:28 PM   #2
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I have one free PCI slot. If I install a cheap PCI card into this slot, will it drive a third monitor in the customary fashion?
As I understand it, yes.

If you had 16 free PCI slots, you could put 16 gfx cards in and drive (in theory) 32 monitors (assuming each card can drive 2).
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Old 07-15-2011, 03:37 PM   #3
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i could check on this since we do a lot of this type of thing but that means getting up.

actually I take it back. we dont have much need for more than "two eyes" worth.

for everything else, we use custom made splitter-repeater-DA/AD boxes.
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Old 07-15-2011, 03:41 PM   #4
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Yes.

Just make sure it's nVidia, or you could run into some odd driver-related hiccups.

/Thread.
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Old 07-15-2011, 03:42 PM   #5
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this thread reminds me I need a new CPU/MB so I can get a better video card.
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Old 07-15-2011, 03:47 PM   #6
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richy got it right, bestbuy has PCI cards for older systems that don't have an AGP or PCI-E slot. They are about $50 and should do the job just fine. They also support the same outputs as yours, analog and digital. Probably s-video as well. They look pretty simple, no fans or anything fancy, just a heat sink. So it won't take too much power and you won't have to worry about your PSU being able to handle the extra load or not.

Thats how I would do it. I run two monitors, with two nVidia 8800GTS on a SLI motherboard, but they aren't running SLI. Kinda outdated cards.
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Old 07-15-2011, 03:54 PM   #7
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richy got it right, bestbuy has PCI cards for older systems that don't have an AGP or PCI-E slot. They are about $50 and should do the job just fine. They also support the same outputs as yours, analog and digital. Probably s-video as well. They look pretty simple, no fans or anything fancy, just a heat sink. So it won't take too much power and you won't have to worry about your PSU being able to handle the extra load or not.

Thats how I would do it. I run two monitors, with two nVidia 8800GTS on a SLI motherboard, but they aren't running SLI. Kinda outdated cards.
Those cards used to be pretty badass, but theyre getting seriously old at this point.

You can get PCI adapters for really cheap now, like under 40 bucks. Itll have **** poor 3D capability (obviously), but it should do a fine job just for adding an additional monitor for random stuff. I think about how much 512mb of DDR cost 6 years ago and I cant believe I can get 4gb of 1600mhz DDR3 for under 40 bucks


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this thread reminds me I need a new CPU/MB so I can get a better video card.
I just went through this process recently. It had been a while since I had built a new computer and my setup was getting pretty sad, but I was pleasantly surprised by what I could build on a budget.
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Old 07-15-2011, 04:02 PM   #8
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Yeah they where pretty bad *** when I built the thing 4 years ago, I just haven't brought myself to redoing it. It runs what I want it to pretty well. iRacing has been maxed out and haven't had any problems yet. I have been tempted to run SLI but never did that either. I kinda want to go water cooled...maybe one day.
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Old 07-15-2011, 04:06 PM   #9
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I just went through this process recently. It had been a while since I had built a new computer and my setup was getting pretty sad, but I was pleasantly surprised by what I could build on a budget.

I have a dual core that's maxed. my PS and MB is only capable of 60watts so I'd need to upgrade both in order to run a quad core that fits and/or a better video card.
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Old 07-15-2011, 04:20 PM   #10
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actually I take it back. we dont have much need for more than "two eyes" worth.
Well, normally I don't either. But sometimes when I'm working on a large wiring design, I need to have two punchblocks visible side-by-side, plus the sheet with the actual wirelist on it.

Right now, I wind up either printing out one of the blocks and making pencil-notes on it as I go, which I then have to transcribe into the excel sheet later, or just toggling the left monitor back and forth between the blocks, which can be a pain if I want to see them both at the same time because then I have to drag one over to the right monitor where it covers the wirelist sheet.

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Originally Posted by blaen99 View Post
Just make sure it's nVidia, or you could run into some odd driver-related hiccups.
I wasn't aware of this. Why would it be any different from running one of those external USB -> VGA boxes? Wouldn't that unit need to install a graphics-card driver as well?

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Originally Posted by RyanRaduechel View Post
bestbuy has PCI cards for older systems that don't have an AGP or PCI-E slot.
BB lists one card, which is a full-height unit so it won't fit into my computer. Fry's only has one PCI card, and it's an ATi. Geeks has several Jaton cards with either the GeForce 6200 or MX4000 chipset- is that close enough? (Mine is an 8400 GS).
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Old 07-15-2011, 04:32 PM   #11
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http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_no...ia+low+profile

Are you amazon prime? you could have it in < 24 hours.
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Old 07-15-2011, 08:17 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Perez View Post
I wasn't aware of this. Why would it be any different from running one of those external USB -> VGA boxes? Wouldn't that unit need to install a graphics-card driver as well?
I am unfamiliar with USB->VGA devices. However, I run 4 monitors on my development PC, and running ATi+nVidia always results in big headaches for me.

Quote:
BB lists one card, which is a full-height unit so it won't fit into my computer. Fry's only has one PCI card, and it's an ATi. Geeks has several Jaton cards with either the GeForce 6200 or MX4000 chipset- is that close enough? (Mine is an 8400 GS).
Any PCI card will work fine and drive a third monitor for 2d-only work. Don't expect 3d out of it, and you'll be fine with even something as old as a GF6200.
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Old 07-15-2011, 08:23 PM   #13
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Id put a riva 128 in it. Load up quake 2 and smile.
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Old 07-15-2011, 08:29 PM   #14
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Are you amazon prime? you could have it in < 24 hours.
ComputerGeeks.com is just up the road in Oceanside. I could have it by lunchtime.


Quote:
Originally Posted by blaen99 View Post
I am unfamiliar with USB->VGA devices.
They've been around for a while. Simple idea, I've just never used one. I have to wonder about the bandwidth of a USB port as compared to even an old-school PCI socket.

Examples:
http://www.geeks.com/products_sc.asp?cat=958
http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_no...%2Ck%3AUSB+DVI
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...SB+DVI&x=0&y=0

Quote:
Any PCI card will work fine and drive a third monitor for 2d-only work. Don't expect 3d out of it, and you'll be fine with even something as old as a GF6200.
3d? Heh. I occasionally run a flash game on this PC if I'm bored.



Sidebar: what ever happened to Midwest Micro? Weren't they the ones with the cute little raccoon on the front of the catalog? Or was that PC Connection before they went all upscale?
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Old 07-16-2011, 01:07 AM   #15
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Sorry, I just went to BB online store and saw they only have that one. I know for sure I have seen a few nVidias PCI cards at the actual store. The brand of the card doesn't matter as long as its the same chipset manufacturer. eVGA, ASUS, PNY, MSI and probably a few others sell nVidia cards, they all do their own tweaks to it, overclocking and such. As for ATI I have no idea about there cards. I have always preffered nVidia and have always used there cards and motherboards.

Although the last PC I built I used a Gigabyte motherboard with an Intel P35 chipset, one of the more stable systems I have built. I use an old Intel Q6600 Quad Core, bought it when it was brand new, $600 or so. I think it was clocked at 2.39GHz from Intel, I run it at 3.11GHz.

Money, money, money. Gets tiring and expensive.
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Old 07-16-2011, 03:35 AM   #16
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usb video adapter are slow. get an ati and ignore every one else. they are better, cheaper and you will not have driver problems. both ati and nvidia have gotten to the point where each others driver packs will not conflict, i have even ran 1 ati pci-16 and 1 nvidia pci-16 at the same time to get 4 monitors.
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Old 07-16-2011, 11:59 AM   #17
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I'm not at work to check the knowledgebase, but I don't believe the newer Optiplex systems will even recognize a pci video card.


You'll want to look into an ATI "eyefinity" type card to run 3 monitors:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16814102875
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Old 07-16-2011, 12:29 PM   #18
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If the work you will perform is not very graphics intensive, then the USB adapter will be fine. I had one at work for a while. It uses a lot of processing power though. Our IT guy changed mine out to a dedicated card because I was having trouble with some programs crashing when I would move from screen to screen and click on different programs. Something about how the screen has to refresh.
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Old 07-16-2011, 01:57 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by mcarp22 View Post
I'm not at work to check the knowledgebase, but I don't believe the newer Optiplex systems will even recognize a pci video card.
Hmm.

I spent some time browsing the documentation, but couldn't find any reference to video cards at all. That might be a problem. (If only I hadn't thrown out all those old PCI cards...)


Quote:
You'll want to look into an ATI "eyefinity" type card to run 3 monitors:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16814102875
Interesting...

So to use my two existing monitors (which are VGA / DVI), plus a third monitor, I'd need an "Active Displayport Dongle", so total of $170 for the card and the dongle.


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It uses a lot of processing power though.
That kills that idea. I already have one very database-heavy app that damn near crushes by processor all by itself.
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Old 07-16-2011, 06:25 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Joe Perez View Post
Hmm.

I spent some time browsing the documentation, but couldn't find any reference to video cards at all. That might be a problem. (If only I hadn't thrown out all those old PCI cards...)
It doesn't come up that often, but i'm pretty sure i've taken calls where a PCI video card didn't work.


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So to use my two existing monitors (which are VGA / DVI), plus a third monitor, I'd need an "Active Displayport Dongle", so total of $170 for the card and the dongle.
Or a monitor with a displayport.
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