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Old 01-24-10, 02:05 PM   #1
cycler
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Default 6 Monitor recomendations

I am looking to purchase a new workstation for the office. If this post belongs in the hardware thread please accept my apologies. I tried this question in the workstation forum and received only one unhelpful response.

One of the key requirements of this workstation is support for at least 6 monitors and a good deal of processing power. It's primary use is to run two or more VM's in VMware workstation that I use to monitor and operate our various data centers. Lots of web, email, browser based apps, office apps and remote desktop; but no heavy things like CAD for example.



My current setup (above) is 6 17" screens powered by a Q6600 with 3 8400GS/G98/512M boards (one pcie and two pci). The base OS is Ubuntu 9.10 and the VM's are a variety of versions of Windows including Win7.

This year is my turn for an upgraded machine, and I am thinking of a Dell T3500n system with a wx3580 processor and a pair of Quadro NVS 420's (fits budget). Of interest, the T3500 has two 16x PCIe slots and a half length 8x slot.

My largest complaint with my current setup has been the responsiveness of the system with regards to graphics. Especially playing video inside a VM.

This post lists all of the problems I experience due to my use of Xinerama across the 6 monitors.

What I guess I need to know is what experiences people have had with the NVS 420 card under Linux. Does having fewer cards and more displays/card decrease the re-draw effects I live with now? Will I be happy with my NVS 420's performance in comparison to what I have now? I think the 420 is still a G98 right?

This isn't a gaming machine, but Win7 even in a VM can be a bit intensive graphically. The T3500 comes with a 500W PS, but a pair of GTX 260 isn't going to happen.

Another option I have been considering is the T7500 system with a single W5590 processor. The T7500 is quite a bit more expensive, but has a third full length PCIe slot, that is wired as an 8X slot. Further more, there is space enough between each x16 slot for a dual-slot card. To boot, it has a 1100W PS. It is unclear to me if I could get three cheap GTX-260's in there however. I think each x16 slot supports 200w of power though.

What other options do I have for 6 monitors?

Thanks in advance.
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Old 01-24-10, 06:03 PM   #2
JaXXoN
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Default Re: 6 Monitor recomendations

Quote:
Originally Posted by cycler View Post
This post lists all of the problems I experience due to my use of Xinerama across the 6 monitors.
Posting #2 in the thread linked above also discusses two alternatives to Xinerama:

* SLI Mosaic with Nvidia QuadroPlex
* 2x Matrox TripleHead2Go connected to a single GPU

For further details, please refer to
http://www.nvnews.net/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=126134

Some more background info:
http://www.nvnews.net/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=106517

regards

Bernhard
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Old 01-25-10, 04:49 PM   #3
cycler
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Default Re: 6 Monitor recomendations

Thanks for your reply!

The QuadroPlex option is clearly out of my price range. As it is for most of humanity

A catch I noticed with the Matrox device is that I will have to have a video card with two DVI-D connectors on it to achieve 1280x1024 resolutions on all three monitors. See compatibility sheet.

Where will I find a GTX series that has two DVI-D connectors or should i be looking at a 9000 series card?

If I went back to having two cards (each with 1 DVI-D connector), do I again run into having to use Xinerama?
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Old 01-25-10, 05:43 PM   #4
JaXXoN
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Default Re: 6 Monitor recomendations

Quote:
Originally Posted by cycler View Post
A catch I noticed with the Matrox device is that I will have to have a video card with two DVI-D connectors on it to achieve 1280x1024 resolutions on all three monitors. See compatibility sheet.
Please note that you can have up to 1680x1050 per LCD with the TH2G,
note just 1280x1024. So the combined maximum resolution will be 5040x2100
(2x 3x1680x1050). Which resolution do you need per LCD?

Quote:
Originally Posted by cycler View Post
Where will I find a GTX series that has two DVI-D connectors or should i be looking at a 9000 series card?
Please note that you need dual-link DVI outputs. However, to my knowledge,
any 8-series and up cards with two DVI connectors have dual-link outputs. So any
recent card should just do it - at least my XFX GTX 260 Black Edition is working
just fine at 5040x2100 :-)

Quote:
Originally Posted by cycler View Post
If I went back to having two cards (each with 1 DVI-D connector), do I again run into having to use Xinerama?
Yes - if you want to "move windows from one GPU to the other one", then
you need Xinerama.

regards

Bernhard
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Old 06-04-10, 01:39 PM   #5
cycler
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Default Re: 6 Monitor recomendations

It's been a few months, but I wanted to post an update to say that I have my setup of 6 monitors with two TH2G working flawlessly. I could not be happier.

I'm running an Alienware Aurora desktop with a single GTX-260 card and two TH2G boxes to get all 6 displays without any Xinerama use. It's wonderful.
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Old 06-04-10, 05:44 PM   #6
JaXXoN
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Default Re: 6 Monitor recomendations

Thanks for the feedback! I like success reports :-)

regards

Bernhard
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