View Full Version : Three monitors and two video cards.

10-23-05, 04:42 AM
I've done a fair bit of searching on this forum and I can't really seem to find an definitive answer....

Is it possible to span a desktop, and play games on three monitors across two seperate video cards, as a single display?

I currently have a 6800 and two Dell flat panel widescreen displays. Most of the games I play work fine enough across both displays but the division in the middle is most annoying especially in fps's.

I have a Tyan Thunder K8WE motherboard with two 16x PCIe slots. What I'd like to do is by another Dell 20" widescreen flatplanel display and a 7800 GTX. The 7800 would drive the two outer panels (1 and 3) and the 6800 drive the center panel(2) for a true surround gaming experience.

As is...

The 6800 will do NWN just fine without a hint of choppiness and I can live with it as is, but for FPS's like FarCry and Doom 3 (I've not tried HL2 or CS) the split is just not playable. The chop is not bad on FPS's if I lower the video settings but I can't aim worth beans (not that I can on a single display either, but that's besides the point).

Is it possible to make all three monitors a single "Span" display across two video cards and still play games like FarCry, HL2, and NWN?

Can it work with two different video cards?

How would chop be with the given setup? (I'd consider uping the 6800 to another 7800 if it would help and SLI on the center panel for games that might require the added heft).

The relavent machine specs are:

Tyan Thunder K8WE MB
Dual Opteron 250's
4GB Ram (2 per CPU, 4x1GB sticks)
Nvidia 6800 PCIe video card
Twin Dell 20" Wide Screen flat panel displays
and various other doo dads and knick knacks.

Windoze XP is the operating system for most of my games, but I've got a Suse 9.3 Pro install on a sparate hd for playing around with. Xinerama would be nice across the three monitors, but its an after thought for now. Its a gaming rig first and foremost.


10-24-05, 03:43 PM
Is it possible to span a desktop, and play games on three monitors across two seperate video cards, as a single display?In a word, no. Not with NVIDIA GPUs.

You can span a game across only the displays that are driven by the same video card. This is to say
- on most NVIDIA cards your game can span 2 displays, since most NVIDIA GPUs drive 2 displays.
- on Matrox Parhelia cards your game can span 3 displays, since Parhelia GPUs drive 3 displays. Resolutions, color depths and refresh rates must be the same on each display.

Matrox Linkies because their new website design is friggin impossible to navigate:
- triple head (http://www.matrox.com/mga/products/parhelia512/technology/triplehead.cfm)
- surround_gaming (http://www.matrox.com/mga/products/parhelia512/technology/surround_gaming.cfm)
- supported games (http://www.matrox.com/mga/3d_gaming/surrgame.cfm)
- Matrox has a QID (http://www.matrox.com/mga/workstation/3dws/products/qid/qid_pro.cfm) GPU that drives four displays under Win2K or XP.