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Graphics Six Monitors

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by boiled_elephant, 7 Jun 2016.

  1. boiled_elephant

    boiled_elephant Whitelist Bit-Tech in your adblock!

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    A search turned up this thread but it's a bit old, and never really came to a hard conclusion.

    I have a customer interested in having 6 displays for the least money possible. Strictly for work, but potentially quite big monitors, so I'm loathe to recommend using VGA on any of them.

    What would be the cheapest option for 6 digital display outputs?

    The old thread suggested USB external display adapters. I'm reluctant to do that because (a) I don't know how good they are, (b) it takes up several USB ports and (c) it means having a bunch of adapters dangling around the back of the case and doesn't look very good.
     
  2. andreinuk

    andreinuk Active Member

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    Didn't AMD/ATI do eyefinity cards with six displays on?

    Not too sure how good they were but vaguely remember a few of the series used to have them, might be thinking 5xxx and 7xxx series though.
     
  3. Strudul

    Strudul ~

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    Can't you daisy chain display port monitors regardless of how many ports on the back of your card?
     
  4. Guest-16

    Guest-16 Guest

    Firstly how big is the res? You can have big + 'low' res like a HDTV. If you're spending $ on the monitors you'll need to balance that budget to spend some $ on driving them. At a min opt for ones with DisplayPort.

    You're either looking at something like a AMD FirePro W600, which is $, or USB to DVI or DP adapters which will be limited to something like ~Full HD@60Hz iirc. 'Cheap as poss' and 'doesn't look good' might be mutually exclusive in your case.

    Not all monitors and graphics cards support DP daisychaining. Need to check specifically.
     
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  5. theshadow2001

    theshadow2001 [DELETE] means [DELETE]

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    Just price two low end gaming graphics cards and be done with it. There's no point going for something weird or esoteric. A business machine should really have parts that can be replaced overnight. You would be looking around 90 to 130 pounds per card region. Unusual configurations are probably not worth the hassle for you or the customer should something awkward to replace go bad.
     
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  6. boiled_elephant

    boiled_elephant Whitelist Bit-Tech in your adblock!

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    True. Still waiting for word on the exact screen sizes, resolutions and available connectors (I doubt they'll be displayport, but you never know).

    If any are regular HD or less I'll just go for two cheap cards and leave two on VGA, the visual quality loss isn't exactly life-changing. If he wants to drop an extra £100+ on making them digital by having midrange cards I guess I can do that....I just hoped there'd be a quicker, neater solution to this by now.

    It really ticks me off that there isn't a cheap all-digital card already. Just...DVI-D, DVI-I, HDMI and a VGA adapter. How hard is that? Cheapest I can find with that configuration is the GT 730, at £60 a pop. So £120.

    I had a look round for those 6-output AMD cards but I can't find any now, and I seem to remember they were high-end cards anyway, so they'd still cost a fair bit (sought after for exactly this reason) I suspect.
     
  7. Guest-16

    Guest-16 Guest

    Mmm depends if the MB is already a fixed factor and has dual PCIE. Or, there are rear PCIEx1 cards out there.

    Standard consumer cards? 5870 Eyefinity 6 Edition. Long time EOL.
     
  8. boiled_elephant

    boiled_elephant Whitelist Bit-Tech in your adblock!

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    Yes! Eyefinity 6, that's what it was called!

    Sadly, they still fetch ~£200 on ebay. edit - also driver support is probably a total cow, or will be in the near future. Windows 10? Anyone's guess.

    I'm also waiting on word from ebuyer as to whether the Asus Z170 boards can support PCIe + onboard simultaneous output. Apparently some boards can. If so, the Z170-A has three onboard digital outputs...that'd do nicely.
     
    Last edited: 8 Jun 2016
  9. 13eightyfour

    13eightyfour Formerly Titanium Angel

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    You could go for the Matrox C680 but they're not cheap ~£500.

    Matrox also made a multi GPU breakout box type thing, no idea if they're still available or how much they are though.
     
  10. boiled_elephant

    boiled_elephant Whitelist Bit-Tech in your adblock!

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    Just an update to clarify what I did in the end: I decided we'll go for an Asus H170 or Z170 board and one dedicated graphics card as and when he needs it.

    These boards allow you to enable both the onboard and dedicated outputs simultaneously (although they don't frickin' boast about it, I had to dig around in the online manual to even confirm it was possible). The Z170 Pro Gamer and H170 Pro Gamer boards have 3 digital outputs (they have a VGA too, but they don't support 4 displays on the onboard) so he's got 3 digital straight off the bat, and can add another 2 digital and 1 analogue for the price of an Nvidia GT 710.

    Job done.

    Oh, and for posterity, the feature in the BIOS that switches this on is apparently called iGPU, although I've never tried using it. Sure am gambling a lot on it working...
     
  11. adam_bagpuss

    adam_bagpuss Have you tried turning it off/on ?

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    i used to use 3 GPUs with dual outputs

    if you are just driving displays you just need a mobo that has 3x 8xPCI-e lanes - hell a 4x would do it.
     
  12. boiled_elephant

    boiled_elephant Whitelist Bit-Tech in your adblock!

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    Yup, true, the issue is leaving enough space for other expansion cards and not having them all kicking out too much heat, though. By the time this guy's finished there might be several expansion cards in there, and I'd hate to be trying to fit a big sound card alongside some frilly passive graphics card heatsink later on. And he's trying to avoid unnecessary fans in the case. And the more expensive board + integrated graphics wound up being cheaper than a cheap board + several graphics cards (my neighbouring thread's got a full writeup of the build in it)
     
  13. theshadow2001

    theshadow2001 [DELETE] means [DELETE]

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    Did this build ever go ahead? I'd be interested to see if you could get six screens going with just integrated graphics and another graphics card.
     
  14. boiled_elephant

    boiled_elephant Whitelist Bit-Tech in your adblock!

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    It's still being proposed to the customer, as and when it comes into existence I'll update accordingly with the results! The motherboard manual definitely states that it SHOULD work, and in fact my own Asus board (P8H77-I) has the same feature, and explicitly says in the BIOS feature description that it will allow simultaneous onboard and discrete outputs.

    Stranger things have been promised by motherboard vendors. It may yet be true.
     

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