Multiple monitors using motherboard's on-board graphics


M

Market man

I want to build a PC with 3-4 monitors using a cheaper option
(either 0/1 AGP card + 1-3 pci cards) rather than an expensive
AGP card with 3 or 4 outputs like Matrox Parhelia or Nvidia Quadro. (I
have no interest in 3D performance. This machine is for desktop work).
Am thinking of getting some old PCI video cards with ~4 MB video
memory.

Can anyone tell me of any motherboards with on-board video (AMD socket
A)
that does not disable itself once AGP or PCI graphics cards are
inserted?

e.g. for a 4 monitor system, 1 will use on-board video, 3 others use
either
3 PCI cards (keeping on-board video enabled in BIOS) or a combination
of AGP and PCI cards.

Has anyone used this kind of setup before and with what
motherboard/graphics cards?

TIA
 
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G

Gary L.

On almost all motherboards you CANNOT use onboard video while using video
cards.

Actually, most boards will allow you to use the on-board AGP video if
you add a second *PCI* video adapter. I had no problem doing this with
both an Intel 810 and an Intel 845 board, by adding an extra PCI video
card. However, if the board has on-board AGP video and an AGP slot,
then using the AGP slot will disable the on-board AGP video, since
only one AGP device can be used at a time.

I never tried more than two video cards at a time (for a total of
three monitors) so I can't help the O.P. with his plan for 4 monitors.
Windows NT systems (Win 2000 and XP) are supposed to support up to 9
monitors, so it should be possible. But that is a *lot* of display to
be refreshing, so a fast system would be recommended. Also, I'd try to
stick to the same brand of video card to make driver management a
little easier.
- -
Gary L.
Reply to the newsgroup only
 
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D

David Maynard

Gary said:
Actually, most boards will allow you to use the on-board AGP video if
you add a second *PCI* video adapter. I had no problem doing this with
both an Intel 810 and an Intel 845 board, by adding an extra PCI video
card. However, if the board has on-board AGP video and an AGP slot,
then using the AGP slot will disable the on-board AGP video, since
only one AGP device can be used at a time.

I never tried more than two video cards at a time (for a total of
three monitors) so I can't help the O.P. with his plan for 4 monitors.

Seems to me the simplest solution would be to forget the on-board video,
since they're usually lousy to begin with, and use a dual head AGP card
with a dual head PCI, but then I've never tried that many either.

Since he's not interested in 3D performance there's no reason to go with
the modern 'exotics'. The ATI Radeon 7000 can be had in both AGP and PCI
versions with dual head, one VGA and the other DVI, for $30 and $45
respectively although, at that price, you'd probably have to buy the DVI to
VGA adapters separately.

I've used both separately, but never together, so I don't know if that
presents any problem for the ATI software.
Windows NT systems (Win 2000 and XP) are supposed to support up to 9
monitors, so it should be possible. But that is a *lot* of display to
be refreshing,

Unless one is using on-board video with shared memory (which could only be
one to being with), the 'refreshing' is handled by the video card's
on-board memory.
 

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