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View Full Version : 3 Displays on 1 8800GT


Karasai
01-22-08, 03:55 PM
I'm about to purchase a Superclocked eVGA GeForce 8800GT, and I'm wondering if anyone has any experience trying to run 3 displays off of one card.

What I'd like to be able to do is to buy a DVI 1-2 splitter cable connect the male end to one of my DVI outs, and then use that for both of my monitors. And then on top of that, use a DVI to HDMI cable to run a signal to my HD LCD TV, from the other DVI out on the card.

Does anyone know if this is possible? I don't have any experience using multiple displays, but I would rather not purchase another card just to have a DVI out input for my television alone if it isn't necessary.

Thanks for any help in advance.

hokeyplyr48
01-22-08, 04:07 PM
if you use the DVI splitter, your going to do exactly that. your going to split one signal into two, just duplicating two monitors. your not going to have two completely separate independent monitors, just two mirroring each other.
you can have two, but thats it. unless you use the matrox triple head to go or something.

Karasai
01-23-08, 08:13 AM
Thanks for your response. That's unfortunate but better to know now than after buying a DVI splitter cable.

At that point, does it make sense to just purchase another 8800GT and run it SLI? It seems to cost about the same as the DVI hub.

I guess what I'm asking is, if I were to purchase a second card, does it have the capability of controlling 2 more displays, or does the SLI just add its processing power to a video card that is already the "main" source for your displays?

mezkal
01-23-08, 08:49 AM
You can use the second 8800GT as a standalone card and then you'll be able to drive up to 4 displays independently each with their own resolutions or up to 4 in nView Wide or High 'spanned' mode - meaning if you have 4 22" 1650 x 1080 LCD panels the effective resolution of your desktop in Wide (monitors side by side) spanned mode would be 6600 (1650x4) x 1080 or 1650 x 4320 (1080 x 4) in High (monitors stacked on top of eachother) spanned mode. The spanned modes can also be used in conjunction with normal single display modes, so if you had 4 monitors you could use two pairs of each in Wide and High panned modes or even 3 in Wide or Panned mode and 1 left on its own. I've used two 19" crts some years back in spanned mode and had a max resolution of 3200x1200 (1600 x 1200 in spanned mode).

SLI is different to wide or high spanned modes as it uses the processing power of both cards to drive only one display. Once the card is installed with the SLI bridge you switch between SLI mode and running the two cards in standalone mode. If you're never going to use SLI mode then don't install the bridge.

http://www.slizone.com/page/slizone_faq.html - for more info on SLI mode switching.

Karasai
01-23-08, 09:50 AM
Thank you, I appreciate the help. Let me just make sure I understand what you are saying though.

If I purchase another graphics card, and install the SLI Bridge, I then have the option of switching between SLI mode and stand alone mode. If I am in SLI mode, both GPU's will be processing information to one display. (i.e. I load up Oblivion, and turn off the second monitor)

However if I want to use two displays simultaneously that are independent of one another, I would switch out of SLI mode, switch on the second display, and while lacking the processing power of both GPU's, the cards would then function separately, and power their respective displays.

Is this correct? Also, on a side note...how would this effect the HDTV display? Would I use the second DVI out on the main card (the card that would be connected to my main display, the one that would be powered by the SLI bridge when I was in SLI mode)?

Thanks again for all the help.

Bman212121
01-23-08, 11:18 AM
Thank you, I appreciate the help. Let me just make sure I understand what you are saying though.

If I purchase another graphics card, and install the SLI Bridge, I then have the option of switching between SLI mode and stand alone mode. If I am in SLI mode, both GPU's will be processing information to one display. (i.e. I load up Oblivion, and turn off the second monitor)

However if I want to use two displays simultaneously that are independent of one another, I would switch out of SLI mode, switch on the second display, and while lacking the processing power of both GPU's, the cards would then function separately, and power their respective displays.


This is correct. In SLI mode you will only have 1 monitor that will be displayed on. When you have SLI mode off you can hook up to 4 monitors as independant displays.


Is this correct? Also, on a side note...how would this effect the HDTV display? Would I use the second DVI out on the main card (the card that would be connected to my main display, the one that would be powered by the SLI bridge when I was in SLI mode)?

Thanks again for all the help.

If you want to have both monitors and your HDTV as independant displays you'll need to hook up 2 of the devices to the main card, and then the 3rd to the second card. It really doesn't matter how you hook them all up as you can change the order of the displays. It might be easier though to have both monitors on the main card, and then the HDTV on the second card. This way the monitors would come up as display 1 & 2 and the HDTV would be display 3. The reason is because when you are trying to use your mouse, you'll only have to travel back and forth across one screen to get to the other one.


You don't necessarly have to buy another 8800GT either. If you don't need to have SLI mode (Mainly used for performance gains) you can just get a cheap 8600GT or another $100 Nvidia card just to run the 3rd display on.

Karasai
01-23-08, 11:39 AM
If HDTV was display three, would I still be able to use SLI mode and use it as a display for games? It seems like, if I wanted to see graphics on the HDTV with SLI mode on, and also have the option of seeing graphics on one of my monitor with SLI mode on, they would both need to be connected to the card that was going to be preforming via SLI? The third monitor display is really just for when I am using non-graphic related software.

Would it really be a pain to move the mouse across if it were set up in this way?

yehuda
01-23-08, 12:05 PM
When you have SLI enabled, you can't even have TV+monitor working together.
You can either switch your main display to use the TV when needed, or turn off SLI.

Bman212121
01-23-08, 12:14 PM
I see what your saying, I *think* you can still use SLI mode on any display from either card. You can hook it up with a monitor and the HDTV on the main card. The biggest thing is trying to get SLI to pick the correct monitor and set it as the primary display. If your trying to use two different displays for SLI mode it could prove to be a real pain to get that to work.

The mouse isn't too bad because you can change how you have the displays setup and usually you're not going from one display all the way to the far one. IMO it's just not going to be an easy thing to do if you want to turn SLI mode on and off all the time because it will start shuffling displays. It doesn't really matter which port they are plugged into because you can change which display becomes the primary one but it will get really confusing trying to jumble all of the monitors.

Karasai
01-23-08, 02:05 PM
Thanks for all the help. I appreciate it. I'll give it a shot and see how it works out. Assuming I don't need to change up the primary display to receive SLI all that often, and that it isn't TOO big of a process to direct it towards a particular display, it should probably work out alright.

Thanks again!

Toss3
01-23-08, 02:40 PM
If you have two monitors plus an hdtv the best setup for you would imo be one 8800gt and one 2400xt. :) Unless of course you would also want to play your games on the hdtv, for which the 2400xt would be seriously inadequate. For HD movies it's great though, and this setup would be far cheaper than two 8800gt(s).
If you are a gamer on the other hand I'd definitely go with the two 8800gt, because you can simply switch sli mode on and off by the press of a button when you want to use all displays and at the same time benefit from the extra fps the second card provides when playing games.

lduguay
01-23-08, 03:55 PM
If you have two monitors plus an hdtv the best setup for you would imo be one 8800gt and one 2400xt. :) Unless of course you would also want to play your games on the hdtv, for which the 2400xt would be seriously inadequate. For HD movies it's great though, and this setup would be far cheaper than two 8800gt(s).
If you are a gamer on the other hand I'd definitely go with the two 8800gt, because you can simply switch sli mode on and off by the press of a button when you want to use all displays and at the same time benefit from the extra fps the second card provides when playing games.
It's still a major pain switching SLI on and off. Depending on the driver version, you might have to reboot, change the resolution, monitor scaling, etc...

icantgo_onlivin
01-25-08, 06:45 AM
dammit so what would I do if I wanted to have 3x 24" running a game? Could I have 2x8800GTX running in SLI and use the 3rd slot (780i) with the extra monitor plugged in?

That would be so friggin awesome :D Imagine that. Crysis @ 5760x3600 @16QAA, 16XAF, Max quality :D


......well maybe not. But lots of other games would look cool.