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Old 01-13-09, 07:57 PM   #1
thriftee
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Default Can I run 4 screens off 2 dual DVI cards each with 1/4 of the screen space?

I'll be real honest. At this point, I guess I don't fully understand the motherboard having an nvidia chipset, and having SLI capability, and the PCIe 2.0 being both x16 instead of 8, and having the SLI bridge cable, and getting 2 dual DVI, SLI capable nvidia chipset video cards, whether or not I needed all that to be able to have my screen space divvied up into 4 pieces,

But thats what I was hoping to accomplish!!!

Could anyone tell me if this is possible with linux, and if this combo is likely to get me there, please? If I have something wrong or need to set things up a particular way that you know of, could you please tell me?

The distros I was intending to try were sabayon 4 r 1, debian lenny, or ubuntu 8.1 64 bit versions.

Here is what I bought:
1 x EVGA 122-YW-E173-TR LGA 775 NVIDIA nForce 750i SLI ATX Intel Motherboard + SLI Bridge
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16813188033

2 x GIGABYTE GV-N95TOC-512H GeForce 9500 GT 512MB 128-bit GDDR2 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16814125229

1 x Intel Core2 Quad Q9400 2.66GHz LGA 775 95W Quad-Core Processor Model BX80580Q9400
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16819115131

4 x Acer X223Wbd Black 22" 5ms Widescreen LCD Monitor 300 cd/m2 2500:1
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16824009145

1 x G.SKILL 8GB (4 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1100 (PC2 8800) Quad Kit Desktop Memory
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820231195
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Old 01-13-09, 09:03 PM   #2
xianthax
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Default Re: Can I run 4 screens off 2 dual DVI cards each with 1/4 of the screen space?

just use the nvidia-settings utility to set it up, enable xinerama and twinview on each card, thats it...

FYI you will not be able to use compositing (compiz) with multiple GPU's and have 1 big desktop.

cheers,

x
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Old 01-13-09, 09:27 PM   #3
JaXXoN
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Default Re: Can I run 4 screens off 2 dual DVI cards each with 1/4 of the screen space?

Hi!

The equipment you have should basically work. For details, please refer to:
http://www.nvnews.net/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=63661 (post #2).

However, there is the restrictions, that compositing is not working
well together with xinerama, which would be required for compiz
(if you intend to use that).

Also, you will have pretty annoying redraw events when
moving windows across screen boundaries. This may or
may not be a problem for you. It is basically possible to
get around that by using xgl, but this solution is deprecate.

Another issue is that with "true" Xinerama enabled, the "faked"
twinview xinerama information is lost and windows will not
expand nicely to the display boarders unless you configure
separate screens for each display (rather them using twinview).
But doing so will just increase the annoying redraw events, because
of the increased number of screen boundaries. There's a solution to
reduce the redraw events by using twinview and still expanding
windows correctly. However, this requires some hacking:
http://www.nvnews.net/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=85604

BTW.: i sometimes experienced problems with UT2004 and X-Plane
when using a similar triple head setup.
http://www.nvnews.net/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=104776

So in the end, you may or may not be happy with your setup,
depending on what you like to with it. If you are just doing some
office type of work, then a quad display setup with separate
screens will probably work good enough for you. Please specify
your main application.

regards

Bernhard


BTW.: it is basically possible to get around all the issues mentioned
above, but this requires additional hardware in the range of 300 to
600 Euros, depending on your needs.
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Old 01-13-09, 11:21 PM   #4
thriftee
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Default Re: Can I run 4 screens off 2 dual DVI cards each with 1/4 of the screen space?

Thanks much for the replies. I now have some reading/investigating to do, but at least now I know what to investigate. The main purpose of the machine is for stock market trading and charting, along with voice/video live chat/charts during the day. I will be using ThinkorSwim which has a java based desktop trading platform. Its likely that within a few weeks of using it I will have things organized on the screen and not be moving windows around too much.

The reason for all this is that currently I'm suffering with a windoze vista system that slows to an absolute crawl and crashes a lot running 3 trading platforms, 1 charting system and a browser at the same time, and what the new linux box will do is take 1 or 2 of those trading platforms off the windoze box, as well as replace the charting system. reducing the load on that system, and with also adding a 2nd screen to it, will allow me to run that remaining trading platform which requires Windoze, much more efficiently, and when combined with the new 4 screen linux box, will give me a total of 6 screens of information there in front of me at a time. Hopefully that will mean fewer missed opportunities for lack of seeing some event transpired.

The big question in my mind after reading your replies is what flexibility ThinkorSwim's system will allow me as far as whether I can only open additional windows in that session, in which case i'd need to adapt to that, or if I'd be able to somehow move them to other sessions, in which case there would be no need for it to be 1 big screen, and I'd be happy to hit a function key to enable my keyboard and mouse in a different session (screen). Windoze does it as 1 big screen, I think, so I'm guessing that ThinkorSwim software was designed to accommodate that and ported to linux.

Its not a big deal to me if its not snappy at drawing things across different screens or even doesnt move them for one to another so easily or quickly. I'm very flexible in that regard. The main thing is that once I have the windows positioned and sized on the screens, i'd like them to update as quickly as possible given the incoming data. I'm also hoping that when I restart the trading system the next day, ThinkorSwim will reopen those windows again as they were like it does under windoze.

You can imagine how frustrating it is to have the machine slow to a crawl or freeze up or go black just as you attempt to buy or sell something. That's why I went into overkill on the hardware, and am looking for fast reliable software, which no version of windoze is.

What desktop and GUI would be the fastest and be able to handle this? I know linux has many available, but I'm too much a linux noob to know which are the performance ones. I'm also flexible there, if its something I can install reasonably easily.

Again, thanks for the replies. At least now I know some of what I don't know, that I need to know, LOL.
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Old 01-14-09, 06:31 AM   #5
JaXXoN
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Default Re: Can I run 4 screens off 2 dual DVI cards each with 1/4 of the screen space?

Quote:
Originally Posted by thriftee View Post
You can imagine how frustrating it is to have the machine slow to a crawl or freeze up or go black just as you attempt to buy or sell something. That's why I went into overkill on the hardware, and am looking for fast reliable software, which no version of windoze is.
I'm wondering that you windows box is that unreliable. I'm not that much a big fan of
those OSes, but as of Windows 2000, it should be possible to create a reasonably
stable system. Maybe there is a deeply hidden hardware problem?

Quote:
Originally Posted by thriftee View Post
What desktop and GUI would be the fastest and be able to handle this?
LOL.
What's the best GUI for you depends on your working habits, again :-)

Since you are using the system primarily for work, i guess you don't need
a lot of bells and whistles? XFCE will probably do it fine. Or you many have
a look at the default GNOME or KDE desktops. I'm using fvwm95 - this is an
extremely old window manager, but it is exactly doing what i need it to do
(manual window placement and edge-scroll/magic-borders are features that
none of the modern GUIs have). However, i can't recommend fvwm95 to
beginners :-)

regards

Bernhard
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Old 01-14-09, 11:06 AM   #6
thriftee
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Default Re: Can I run 4 screens off 2 dual DVI cards each with 1/4 of the screen space?

Thanks for the reply...

The machine that is slowing to a crawl and crashing is a 6 month old stock HP 17" laptop with an AMD Turion64 processor running at about 2.1 ghz and running 4 gb of ram and 250 gb of disk on Windows Vista, all service packs and drivers up to date. Its not slow or unreliable until you try to get the trading platforms, charting, and browsers all going at the same time. It just doesn't handle the load well. If I close everything down and power it off and reboot, that helps, too, temporarily.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JaXXoN View Post
I'm wondering that you windows box is that unreliable. I'm not that much a big fan of
those OSes, but as of Windows 2000, it should be possible to create a reasonably
stable system. Maybe there is a deeply hidden hardware problem?
As for GUI, I've used many systems over the years, and I'm generally happy with things that are very fast with fewer bells and whistles. In this case I'm trying to find the fastest reliable desktop GUI that will allow me to move windows to any of the 4 screens, and allow me to get my mouse and keyboard to that screen either with a roll and click or a couple of keystrokes.

Ok, I think I will try XFCE. I think that works with sabayon. I have used GNOME and KDE before enough to know I don't object to how they work, but have never used XFCE that I remember. I guess I'd like to try what's FAST in 2d graphics (ie charts and text) first if I could. I apologize for my ignorance on the subject, but it sounds like you are very knowledgeable so I'll try your suggestion. I will also have a look at your fvwm95 and see if I can figure it out. Speed and capability is worth paying a little more effort for, I think.

thanks again for your help...

Quote:
Originally Posted by JaXXoN View Post
What's the best GUI for you depends on your working habits, again :-)

Since you are using the system primarily for work, i guess you don't need
a lot of bells and whistles? XFCE will probably do it fine. Or you many have
a look at the default GNOME or KDE desktops. I'm using fvwm95 - this is an
extremely old window manager, but it is exactly doing what i need it to do
(manual window placement and edge-scroll/magic-borders are features that
none of the modern GUIs have). However, i can't recommend fvwm95 to
beginners :-)

regards

Bernhard
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Old 01-14-09, 01:59 PM   #7
JaXXoN
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Posts: 910
Default Re: Can I run 4 screens off 2 dual DVI cards each with 1/4 of the screen space?

Quote:
Originally Posted by thriftee View Post
ts not slow or unreliable until you try to get the trading platforms, charting, and browsers all going at the same time. It just doesn't handle the load well. If I close everything down and power it off and reboot, that helps, too, temporarily.
hmm ... how much memory is in use when you startup everything?
Maybe there is a memory leak that causes the system to swap after
a while - Linux will not behave that much better when the system is
running out of physical memory.

Quote:
Originally Posted by thriftee View Post
As for GUI, I've used many systems over the years, and I'm generally happy with things that are very fast with fewer bells and whistles. In this case I'm trying to find the fastest reliable desktop GUI that will allow me to move windows to any of the 4 screens, and allow me to get my mouse and keyboard to that screen either with a roll and click or a couple of keystrokes.
When using xinerama, any window manager will do it, even the ancient "twm" :-)

Quote:
Originally Posted by thriftee View Post
Ok, I think I will try XFCE. I think that works with sabayon. I have used GNOME and KDE before enough to know I don't object to how they work, but have never used XFCE that I remember.
XFCE is sort of a "GNOME light".

Quote:
Originally Posted by thriftee View Post
I will also have a look at your fvwm95 and see if I can figure it out. Speed and capability is worth paying a little more effort for, I think.
fvwm95 is fast as light, but you need to configure everything in a text file.

But instead of looking into fvwm95, i'd recommend checking fvwm2:
fvwm95 is actually a branch of fvwm2 but has merged back in, years ago!
I actually wanted to move to fvwm2 for a long time, but i didn't found time
over the last ten years to adopt my configuration file accordingly :-)

BTW.: fvwm2 can look nice, too:

http://www.fvwm.org/screenshots/desk...screenshot.jpg
http://www.fvwm.org/screenshots/desk...screenshot.jpg

regards

Bernhard
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Old 01-21-09, 12:47 AM   #8
thriftee
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Default Re: Can I run 4 screens off 2 dual DVI cards each with 1/4 of the screen space?

Honestly, the problem is just too many programs running, all of them hogs. These days the programs are not optimized for memory usage or performance, and instead, people are told to buy a faster CPU or more gigs of memory or disk. Typically its running Firefox in maybe 10 or 20 tabs split between 3 or 4 windows, Telechart 3 charts and a chat session or two, Tradestation 6 or 8 windows, ThinkorSwim 3 or 4 windows, Ameritrade's Command Center, and maybe IE.

I gave up for the time being on Sabayon. I do like it a lot, but it just refuses to install on the new machine. I spent about 8 hours today trying permutations, and never could get the mouse or sound working.

I did manage to get debian etch 4.06 loaded and running. Lenny was like the sabayon or worse, never got very far into the boot at all, but etch worked enough to encourage me to keep trying. Finally I went to Walmart and bought a $12 USB mouse, and that fixed it. Why on earth it wouldn't work with a ps/2 or serial mouse I do not understand. Maybe its because the keyboard had to be USB because it only has 1 ps/2 connector and I don't have a splitter. I got my four screens all running under etch. It took an amazing amout of hunting and installing to get it going. The biggest problem was that I basically had to setup my machine as a C developement machine because I guess the scripts I was running from nvidia needed to recompile the kernel, but the instructions and errors were very vague as to what actually needed to be installed (for a noob), and the things I actually needed were not named libc as the mssage said, so I was pretty clueless until I found some instructions to do it with apt-get, which I followed blindly, having little clue what they were doing or their ramifications, but figured I had nothing to lose at this point, because my next solution was to give up and buy microsoft o/s, which i really would hate myself for. I haven't got the Firefox, Java Virtual Machine or ThinkorSwim installed yet, though. I did download and install fvwm4 for sabayon, but couldn't figure out how to run it. I can't find it available for debian. Maybe I'm not looking correctly. I'm using a program called synaptic, but so far it many times doesn't list things that appear to be retrievable via apt-get, which I don't really know how to work.

One problem that is pretty critical is that it appears that I can't drag a created window to any of the other screens. Do you think maybe I have something configured wrong?

Thanks for helping me get this far, btw.

Here is my xorg.conf. It works for dual 9500 gt's both with dual DVI other than being able to drag windows from one screen to the next.

Code:
Section "ServerLayout"
    Identifier     "Default Layout"
    Screen      0  "Screen0" 0 0
    Screen      1  "Screen1" RightOf "Screen0"
    Screen      2  "Screen2" RightOf "Screen1"
    Screen      3  "Screen3" RightOf "Screen2"
    InputDevice    "Generic Keyboard"
    InputDevice    "Configured Mouse"
EndSection

Section "Files"

        # path to defoma fonts
    FontPath        "/usr/share/fonts/X11/misc"
    FontPath        "/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/misc"
    FontPath        "/usr/share/fonts/X11/cyrillic"
    FontPath        "/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/cyrillic"
    FontPath        "/usr/share/fonts/X11/100dpi/:unscaled"
    FontPath        "/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/100dpi/:unscaled"
    FontPath        "/usr/share/fonts/X11/75dpi/:unscaled"
    FontPath        "/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/75dpi/:unscaled"
    FontPath        "/usr/share/fonts/X11/Type1"
    FontPath        "/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/Type1"
    FontPath        "/usr/share/fonts/X11/100dpi"
    FontPath        "/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/100dpi"
    FontPath        "/usr/share/fonts/X11/75dpi"
    FontPath        "/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/75dpi"
    FontPath        "/var/lib/defoma/x-ttcidfont-conf.d/dirs/TrueType"
EndSection


Section "Module"
    Load           "i2c"
    Load           "bitmap"
    Load           "ddc"
    Load           "extmod"
    Load           "freetype"
    Load           "glx"
    Load           "int10"
    Load           "vbe"
EndSection

Section "ServerFlags"
    Option         "Xinerama" "0"
EndSection

Section "InputDevice"
    Identifier     "Generic Keyboard"
    Driver         "kbd"
    Option         "CoreKeyboard"
    Option         "XkbRules" "xorg"
    Option         "XkbModel" "pc104"
    Option         "XkbLayout" "us"
EndSection

Section "InputDevice"
    Identifier     "Configured Mouse"
    Driver         "mouse"
    Option         "CorePointer"
    Option         "Device" "/dev/input/mice"
    Option         "Protocol" "ImPS/2"
    Option         "Emulate3Buttons" "true"
EndSection

Section "Monitor"
    Identifier     "Monitor0"
    VendorName     "Unknown"
    ModelName      "Acer X223W"
    HorizSync       31.0 - 84.0
    VertRefresh     56.0 - 77.0
EndSection

Section "Monitor"
    Identifier     "Monitor1"
    VendorName     "Unknown"
    ModelName      "Acer X223W"
    HorizSync       31.0 - 84.0
    VertRefresh     56.0 - 77.0
EndSection

Section "Monitor"
    Identifier     "Monitor2"
    VendorName     "Unknown"
    ModelName      "Acer X223W"
    HorizSync       31.0 - 84.0
    VertRefresh     56.0 - 77.0
EndSection

Section "Monitor"
    Identifier     "Monitor3"
    VendorName     "Unknown"
    ModelName      "Acer X223W"
    HorizSync       31.0 - 84.0
    VertRefresh     56.0 - 77.0
EndSection

Section "Device"
    Identifier     "Device0"
    Driver         "nvidia"
    VendorName     "NVIDIA Corporation"
    BoardName      "GeForce 9500 GT"
    BusID          "PCI:3:0:0"
    Screen          0
EndSection

Section "Device"
    Identifier     "Device1"
    Driver         "nvidia"
    VendorName     "NVIDIA Corporation"
    BoardName      "GeForce 9500 GT"
    BusID          "PCI:3:0:0"
    Screen          1
EndSection

Section "Device"
    Identifier     "Device2"
    Driver         "nvidia"
    VendorName     "NVIDIA Corporation"
    BoardName      "GeForce 9500 GT"
    BusID          "PCI:4:0:0"
    Screen          0
EndSection

Section "Device"
    Identifier     "Device3"
    Driver         "nvidia"
    VendorName     "NVIDIA Corporation"
    BoardName      "GeForce 9500 GT"
    BusID          "PCI:4:0:0"
    Screen          1
EndSection

Section "Screen"
    VendorName     "NVIDIA Corporation"
    BoardName      "GeForce 9500 GT"
    BusID          "PCI:3:0:0"
    Screen          1
EndSection

Section "Device"
    Identifier     "Device2"
    Driver         "nvidia"
    VendorName     "NVIDIA Corporation"
    BoardName      "GeForce 9500 GT"
    BusID          "PCI:4:0:0"
    Screen          0
EndSection

Section "Device"
    Identifier     "Device3"
    Driver         "nvidia"
    VendorName     "NVIDIA Corporation"
    BoardName      "GeForce 9500 GT"
    BusID          "PCI:4:0:0"
    Screen          1
EndSection

Section "Screen"
    Identifier     "Screen0"
    Device         "Device0"
    Monitor        "Monitor0"
    DefaultDepth    24
    Option         "TwinView" "0"
    Option         "metamodes" "DFP-0: 1400x1050 +0+0; DFP-0: 1280x1024 +0+0; DFP-0: 1280x960 +0+0; DFP-0: 1152x864 +0+0; DFP-0: 1024x768 +0+0; DFP-0: 832x624 +0+0; DFP-0:$    SubSection     "Display"
        Depth       24
    EndSubSection
EndSection

Section "Screen"
    Identifier     "Screen1"
    Device         "Device1"
    Monitor        "Monitor1"
    DefaultDepth    24
    Option         "TwinView" "0"
    Option         "metamodes" "DFP-0: 1400x1050 +0+0; DFP-0: 1280x1024 +0+0; DFP-0: 1280x960 +0+0; DFP-0: 1152x864 +0+0; DFP-0: 1024x768 +0+0; DFP-0: 832x624 +0+0; DFP-0:$    SubSection     "Display"
        Depth       24
    EndSubSection
EndSection

Section "Screen"
    Identifier     "Screen2"
    Device         "Device2"
    Monitor        "Monitor2"
    DefaultDepth    24
    Option         "TwinView" "0"
    Option         "metamodes" "DFP-0: 1400x1050 +0+0; DFP-0: 1280x1024 +0+0; DFP-0: 1280x960 +0+0; DFP-0: 1152x864 +0+0; DFP-0: 1024x768 +0+0; DFP-0: 832x624 +0+0; DFP-0:$    SubSection     "Display"
        Depth       24
    EndSubSection
EndSection

Section "Screen"
    Identifier     "Screen3"
    Device         "Device3"
    Monitor        "Monitor3"
    DefaultDepth    24
    Option         "TwinView" "0"
    Option         "metamodes" "DFP-0: 1400x1050 +0+0; DFP-0: 1280x1024 +0+0; DFP-0: 1280x960 +0+0; DFP-0: 1152x864 +0+0; DFP-0: 1024x768 +0+0; DFP-0: 832x624 +0+0; DFP-0:$    SubSection     "Display"
        Depth       24
    EndSubSection
EndSection
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Old 01-21-09, 05:44 AM   #9
JaXXoN
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Location: Munich
Posts: 910
Default Re: Can I run 4 screens off 2 dual DVI cards each with 1/4 of the screen space?

Quote:
One problem that is pretty critical is that it appears that I can't drag a created window to any of the other screens. Do you think maybe I have something configured wrong?

Code:
Section "ServerFlags"
    Option         "Xinerama" "0"
EndSection
Changing "0" to "1" (or "On") should do it.

regards

Bernhard
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Old 01-21-09, 09:44 AM   #10
thriftee
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Default Re: Can I run 4 screens off 2 dual DVI cards each with 1/4 of the screen space?

Quote:
Originally Posted by JaXXoN View Post
Changing "0" to "1" (or "On") should do it.

regards

Bernhard
BINGO!!!!

You rock, Bernhard. It worked like a charm!!!!

I'm stuck now trying to get Sun's JRE installed, because the downloads are all corrupted and even though its supposed to be included with debian etch, the package manager can't see it.

Hopefully I'll find someone on debian somewhere that knows how to get past it.

Thanks again...
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