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Three Monitors in Windows 7


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#1 rboone2020

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Posted 26 October 2010 - 08:33 PM

Folks,

I've got a new Dell XPS 9100. I was told by Dell support that the video card would support 3 monitors, but have since found that is not the case. I have spoken with Dell support but cannot get a good response. Today, for example, they pointed me to a video card that they said supports three monitors but supports two. In XP, supporting 3 monitors required only another video card. With Windows 7 it seems more complicated.

The short question then, what is the best way to connect 3 VGA monitors in Windows 7?

Thanks,
Randy


The longer question ... I am working in a business setting, so I'm not speaking of a video game displaying across the three monitors. It's more a matter of the Web on one monitor, Email on another, and Word on a third. I have a PCI-e ATI Radeon HD5670 1GB GDDR5. It has a VGA, DVI-I, and HDMI port, but we suspect the HDMI port mirrors the DVI-I. I don't have another PCI-e port. I have a PCI port, some AGP ports, and one other (can't recall). I bought a cheap PCI card without considering the drivers available. That failed; the third screen flashed every second. I returned the card. I then did much more research, and identified a card certified compatible with Windows 7 by Microsoft. That was a GeForce 8400 PCI card. Dell couldn't find it on the web, but I can promise it was a PCI card, and appropriately installed. However, I got a "PCI-to-PCI bridge" error, with code (10). Lots more web searches suggested to me that that problem was more mysterious than I was in the position to deal with. We will return that card tomorrow. So now I'm left with two monitors nicely linked using the card that came with the computer, and the third monitor sitting unused. It's like my life is one-third dark ...

Thanks again.

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#2 sleepwalker

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Posted 27 October 2010 - 12:08 AM

Did you check out Amd's Sapphire Radeon HD5770 Flex supports three monitors with DVI inputs,you can get VGA to DVI adapter's if you need.It supports Eyefinity 3x1 setup that can be used like three separate desktops when not being used for gaming,you can even setup multi desktop profiles with CatalystControlCenter (CCC) if you have Hydravision installed (up to nine) it's a free download from AMD.Here's a link to a review Radeon5770 Flex I have a HD5970 I use for gaming but when I'm not gaming I use my desktop like three separate monitors I just don't maximize the windows and I can have a multiple windows open on each monitor without having to change any setting works great.Good luck,Cheers

Edited by sleepwalker, 27 October 2010 - 12:20 AM.


#3 rboone2020

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Posted 27 October 2010 - 02:31 PM

No, Sleepwalker, I hadn't seen that. It looks like the card you reference will fit the bill nicely. One is on order. Thank you.

Randy

#4 sleepwalker

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Posted 29 October 2010 - 12:01 AM

Glad I could help,here's a good video showing how to set up your desktop for Eyefinity don't pay any attention to the beginning of the video as it deals with hooking up a card with a non Displayport monitor with a active adapter as the 5770 flex has the adapter build in.The setup for the desktop is the same for all cards. Eyefinity Desktop Setup If you have any problems or questions post back in this thread and I will try to help you.

#5 keyboardNinja

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Posted 29 October 2010 - 08:09 PM

Yeah, I've seen videos showing the new Eyefinity setup. Pretty cool for gaming and epic multitasking. :huh:

Let us know how well it works for you, Randy. :huh:
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#6 rboone2020

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Posted 02 November 2010 - 12:17 PM

Well, the frustration continues, I'm afraid. I did not read carefully enough that the card supplies 1 DVI-I and two DVI-D ports. That will not drive my three monitors. Frustrating indeed - something so trivial in XP is costing hours and dollars to try to solve. I don't wish to purchase digital monitors. If I trim the extra pins on the DVI-I to VGA adapters and narrow the middle blade, will it still drive the analog monitors? I've read those pins are supporting analog signal, but I've also read others have had success. But they may be working on another platform. Argh.

#7 rboone2020

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Posted 02 November 2010 - 12:22 PM

Well, the frustration continues, I'm afraid. I did not read carefully enough that the card supplies 1 DVI-I and two DVI-D ports. That will not drive my three monitors. Frustrating indeed - something so trivial in XP is costing hours and dollars to try to solve. I don't wish to purchase digital monitors. If I trim the extra pins on the DVI-I to VGA adapters and narrow the middle blade, will it still drive the analog monitors? I've read those pins are supporting analog signal, but I've also read others have had success. But they may be working on another platform. Argh.

#8 sleepwalker

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Posted 03 November 2010 - 12:40 AM

If you read the review and look at the images you can see the outputs on The HD5770 flex are as follows 2 x DVI-I, 1 x HDMI and 1 x DisplayPort.For three monitors you use the 2 DVI-I and the Displayport output with the adapter cable to go from Displayport to DVI (comes with the card) and then the DVI to VGA adapter or you can get an adapter cable to go from DP-VGA. And as far as operating systems I don't see a difference between XP and Windows 7,you must have a different card than the Sapphire Radeon HD5770 Flex.Can you return the card for the proper one as this is obviously not the one you need,I haven't seen any with those outputs in any of the reviews,I am sorry that I didn't tell you to get that exact model.The only difference using VGA is you can't take full advantage of the resolution that you can with HD LCD monitors. Andy

Edited by sleepwalker, 03 November 2010 - 01:06 AM.


#9 rboone2020

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Posted 03 November 2010 - 03:50 AM

Thanks, Andy. The card checks out, and I have been in contact with Sapphire and they have confirmed its pin-out, if you will. It ends up the card has one DVI-I, one DVI-D, and one DisplayPort with an included DisplayPort to DVI-D adapter. So in essense a DVI-I and two DVI-Ds. Must be incorrect specs. But still useful. I've been working on this a couple of weeks now, and have snapped. The card seems great - thanks again - and will indeed support three DVI monitors as advertized. I'm going to buy three new DVI-D monitors.

#10 sleepwalker

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Posted 04 November 2010 - 03:57 AM

Ok sounds great I was a little confused when you talking about removing pins and such I thought you had the wrong card here's a shot of the different types DVI formats Posted Image and here's a good link to explain the different uses All about DVI in case anyone is curious

Edited by sleepwalker, 04 November 2010 - 03:58 AM.


#11 rboone2020

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Posted 20 November 2010 - 09:16 AM

The new monitors are bought (3 Asus 20"ers), and have been working for several days now. Nice to be surrounded by 4 million pixels again! Thanks once again for your help.

Randy

#12 sleepwalker

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Posted 20 November 2010 - 07:54 PM

:thumbsup: Hey Randy glad it all worked out I know what you mean once your used to multiple monitors sitting in front of one is not the same. Happy computing :busy:

cheers Andy

Edited by sleepwalker, 20 November 2010 - 07:54 PM.





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