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Old 04-27-06, 11:01 AM   #1
shadroth
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Join Date: Apr 2006
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Default Quad Display (all with 3d acceleration) on Dual or Quad PCIe/PCI

What I want:
4x 1280x960@85Hz (analogue) bare minimum, if minimum is not technically achievable.
4x 1280x960@100Hz (analogue) at minimum
4x 1600x1200@100Hz (analogue) would be desirable.

It would be nice if I could have support for 4x 1920x1200@60Hz (DVI) in the future.

I will consider quad graphics cards if required or cheaper overall.

All 4 displays should support 3d acceleration. I don't need it to be great, or fast or even linked across the 4 displays. I just want 4 desktops windows, with each capable of 3d acceleration for 3d desktop effects etc. I don't game or want flight sims or anything like that.

I have a Gigabyte K8N Pro SLI (this board is nForce 4 based).
It has 4 PCIx slots on it, as
2x PCIe x1
and
2x PCIe x16
I don't need the two small PCIe slots for anything.
and two PCI slots.

All empty but for an ATI PCIe card that will be removed.

I don't need/want SLI graphics processing support, I just want the multiple displays.

What are the cheapest nVidia based graphics cards I can achieve this with? (I'm buying in Australia)

I'll be using Fedora Core 5 unless there's a really good reason to use something else.

TIA
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Old 04-27-06, 12:29 PM   #2
JaXXoN
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Default Re: Quad Display (all with 3d acceleration) on Dual or Quad PCIe/PCI

Please find a set of xorg.conf sample files for various multi-head
configrations tested with two 7800GTX PCIe cards on an
Asus A8N-SLI Premium with 4x 1600x1200 LCDs.

You are probably mostly interessted in the following one:

xorg.conf-6400x1200_quadhead-4x1-xinerama-twinview+twinview

Please note that altough the README tells otherwise 3D applications are
currently limited to 4096x4096 window size. At least for me,
i.e. glxgears seems to fall back to software rendering when
exceeding this limit. Non-3D windows can be i.e. 6400x1200 at
my setup without any problems. With xinerama, you can also
drag 3D application windows from one screen to any other screen.

regards

Bernhard
Attached Files
File Type: zip xorg.conf-multihead-examples.zip (20.3 KB, 412 views)
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Old 04-27-06, 09:00 PM   #3
shadroth
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Default Re: Quad Display (all with 3d acceleration) on Dual or Quad PCIe/PCI

Thanks Bernhard

I saw your post earlier on, when I was searching for quad display info.

I was hoping to find a cheaper solution than dual 7800GTXs, but if none exists, then I may have to re-evaluate.

From my understanding it's the RAMDAC that determines the max refresh rate and resolution. Is there a table of RAMDACs or max refresh/res for nVidia cards somewhere?

I'm not sure what component specifies whether acceleration in available on both displays?
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Old 04-27-06, 09:50 PM   #4
JaXXoN
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Default Re: Quad Display (all with 3d acceleration) on Dual or Quad PCIe/PCI

Quote:
Originally Posted by shadroth
I was hoping to find a cheaper solution than dual 7800GTXs, but if none exists, then I may have to re-evaluate.
Sorry, i have overlooked that you are looking for the *cheapest*
solution :-)

Quote:
Originally Posted by shadroth
From my understanding it's the RAMDAC that determines the max refresh rate and resolution.
From what i have seen so far, pretty much every recent 6xxx/7xxx
series GeForce cards have two RAMDACs at 400MHz, each.

With analog displays, each output should be capable of driving
2048x1536 at 24bpp and 85Hz. Two cheap 6200TC PCIe cards
should do it (the DVI ouput can typical be converted into an
VGA output using an adaptor). A 6200TC may cost about USD 50,
but these cards are getting rare!

For 1920x1200 LCDs with DVI, you need two PCIe cards with two
DVI outputs, each. 2xDVI-I 6600GT cards (i.e. XFX 6600 GT, USD 160)
are getting rare, so you may need to consider buying two 2xDVI-I
7600GTs for about USD 230 each (i.e. XFX 7600GT).
From what i know, DVI-I should be basically sufficient to drive
1920x1200 at 60Hz, but i can remember that there have been
negative reports concerning twinview mode with 2x 1920x1200
(per card) - you may better double-check :-)

Another - not recommended - option is this one:
Check if there is enough free space behind the two PCIe x1 slots. Cut
of the end of the PCIe x1 slots so that you could plug in PCIe x16
video cards. Purchase four cheap PCIe nvidia cards.
There is certainly no guarantee that it will work, but at least this
variant works perfectly fine for my for a SATA PCIe x8 RAID Controller.
BTW.: the performance drop when running UT2004 at x1 instead
of x16 has "only" been 20% - i would have expected a higher
performance penalty (tested with a GF6600).


Quote:
Originally Posted by shadroth
I'm not sure what component specifies whether acceleration in available on both displays?
3D will be available at any VGA/DVI output and any configuration
(twinview and/or multiscreen mixed with xinerama).

regards

Bernhard
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Old 07-30-06, 01:47 AM   #5
shadroth
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Default Re: Quad Display (all with 3d acceleration) on Dual or Quad PCIe/PCI

Thank you Bernhard!!!

After months of stuffing about, I finally had so many other tasks I wanted to avoid that I came back to this.

I now have
four 1280x960 22" Diamondtron CRTs running off:
two Gigabyte 6200TC video cards (full size, not SFF), running off:
one Gigabyte K8N-Pro-SLI motherboard, in the PCI x16 slots, with SLI mode on.

The cards don't support SLI, but they need RLI mode is required for the second card to function at all.

I tried with Twinview + Xinerama, but I got two double sized displays, which was rather irritating for maximising, etc..

I am using straight Xinerama and it seems fine. I can run a video overlay across all four screens at once, which is nice. GL also works spanned across the displays, but anything over 4096px wide will revert to software mode - yuck.

For my next challenge, I will be adding modes to the screens to try and drop the resolution, so my screen saver will run at quad 1024x768 instead of quad 1280x960.

You can tell I _really_ need the GL hey... :-p
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Old 07-30-06, 02:09 AM   #6
shadroth
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Default Re: Quad Display (all with 3d acceleration) on Dual or Quad PCIe/PCI

While I don't get SLI, I do get some benefit when GLX gears goes across the two cards.

screen 0 & 1 run on card 0
screen 2 & 3 run on card 1

glx gears (at default size)

on screen 0: ~1400 FPS
on screen 0&1: ~1100 FPS
on screen 1&2: ~1800 FPS

it will also run better in full screen on 1&2 vs 0&1 or 2&3, as both cards can work on it in 1&2.

glx gears (streched to max size of the screens)

on screens 0,1,2 : ~41 FPS
on screens 0,1,2,3: ~1 FPS (fallback to software mode for >4096 GL width).

I was quite happy with how well it was optimised - I didn'd really expect it to work that nicely.
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