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Twin Monitors, Graphics Card Choices (solved)
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paulj
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 03, 2014 11:50 pm    Post subject: Twin Monitors, Graphics Card Choices (solved) Reply with quote

Warning: I recognise that much of the answer to my question is subjective. Anyway, I am interested in your opinions!!

Question: I have an Nvidia graphics card running one screen, and I have a spare screen I would like to add in to my system. Should I buy a second NVidia graphics card to make that happen, or should I replace the existing card with something capable of driving two monitors?

In the latter case, which card do you recommend? Most of my activity is desktop based, but I do enjoy the odd QuakeLive or RedEclipse frag fest!

Thanks!


Last edited by paulj on Sun Jan 05, 2014 6:39 am; edited 1 time in total
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eccerr0r
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 04, 2014 1:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think it turns out a lot of things are easier and work better when both monitors are hooked up to the same card.
I have never tried SLI/Xfire and don't know what that can imply however.
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BitJam
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 04, 2014 1:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

With two or more monitors, one card is the only way to fly. Don't use two cards. If you don't mind having two separate desktops, one on each monitor then two cards are fine. But if you want to move windows between desktop then you want to use a single card. The reason is that X windows sucks at splitting up windows across the seam. Part of this suckiness is because it has to rely on the CPU and doesn't not get the benefit of the GPU. It is MUCH better to let the GPU handle all of that work and present the system with one big screen.

You should use the xinerama USE flag so applications are aware of the seam between the two monitors.

I got a GeForce 210 card a few years ago in order to decode 1080p on the graphics card with vdpau. It cost about $20. I can't give you advice on a card for gaming. IMO you save lots of money if you stay away from the bleeding edge and settle for something that was state-of-the-art a year or more ago.

IMO AMD/Radeon cards are generally less of a pain than Nvidia. Many years ago Nvidia ruled but those days are gone. The problem is the proprietary drivers. Although, for me, things have been pretty stable for the last year or two. I don't know about gaming.

Are you sure your existing card has only one output? I've never seen that before in an Nvidia card.
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Vorlon
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 04, 2014 2:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've done it both ways (2 Graphics cards and single graphics card). I had difficulties with 2 cards, and eventually bought an inexpensive graphics card that had 2 DVI ports.

I used nVidia-based cards, and found I had to use the proprietary nVidia driver with 2 cards, but that nouveau works fine with a single card.


BTW, the nVidia drivers were superieor in performance, but I still stick witht ouveau since upgrading the kernel doesn't automatically break the drivers.
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AaronPPC
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 04, 2014 5:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I guess you know by now which way this is going.

Be warned: Once you go to a dual monitor setup, you will never go back. You might even try to talk yourself into a third monitor. :D
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eccerr0r
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 04, 2014 5:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I know the feeling. I am suffering missing the second monitor at the moment when my machine that was using the RadeonHD 5770 croaked (it was the VM server, and it had dual head). I'm still trying to figure out what I want to do as I have two machines here, three monitors, and don't feel like sticking the power hungry 5770 into my i7 (which actually isn't very bad in terms of power consumption at all)...

The repaired machine now has a DVI-I and a DVI-D port on the motherboard (intel graphics) to throw a wrench into my setup, and still is doing VMs.
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BitJam
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 04, 2014 5:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

AaronPPC wrote:
Once you go to a dual monitor setup, you will never go back.
++
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Nreal
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 04, 2014 6:34 am    Post subject: go ahead with two Reply with quote

BitJam wrote:
AaronPPC wrote:
Once you go to a dual monitor setup, you will never go back.
++


I have used multiseat 3 seats - 2 with nvidia and one on intel hd. Games can be played on nvidia seats..

It has worked like it should for few years now.

https://wiki.gentoo.org/wiki/Multiseat
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paulj
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 04, 2014 7:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sounds like a new card then driving both monitors! I have used NVidia for more years than I can remember - is that still a good choice, or is AMD now the better option?

Edit: additional question - I have an Asus P6TSE motherboard with PCIe 2.0 - can I put a PCIe 3 card in? Edit 2: Just googled that - yes I can...! (doh)
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paulj
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 04, 2014 9:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just crawled under my desk to have a look at the output on the existing graphics card. There is a DVI (in use) and VGA output, so I connected the second monitor to the VGA output. Voila - everything works out of the box. xinerama is already defined in the profile I am using, so I don't even need to recompile everything.

Thanks for the tips everyone!
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