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Thread: Adding a third display

  1. #1
    Richard Allen Evans mr_anderson187's Avatar
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    Adding a third display

    Ok.

    I have my standard desk computer which i do all my work on, watch movies, email, surf etc

    A few months ago i decided to buy a second monitor as my work tends to require me to have multiple things viewable at the same time, so i went out and bought myself one of these:

    http://www.cclonline.com/product-inf...192&tid=frooct

    Its a nice screen, its nice having two of them - makes me a little more productive

    My computer currently has an old X1950pro graphics card with two DVI outputs, both of which i have used to connect my displays.

    The motherboard i have is one of the old DFI Lanparty NF4 models:

    http://www.hardcoreware.net/reviews/review-273-1.htm

    I've recently happened to acuire a nice new 42" LG LCD Tv, and would very much like to encorporate this into my current setup.

    The idea would be to have them in this sort of order:

    [26"] [42"] [26"]

    The problem however is that There is only two outputs on the Graphics card and my Mobo doesnt have an onboard graphics output.

    When I first thought of this, i borrowed a friends X1950 card, he advised me that it would work just the same, the mobo having two PCI-E slots woudl enable me to just stick it in below it.


    So I could have up to 4 monitors if I wished, however I never got round to trying it for some other smaller reasons (lack of power cables on the psu etc) and mostly for the reason that my current X1950 has such a fat heatsink, that the other card may not actually fit in anyway!

    What im wondering then is, are there any smaller PCI graphics cards you coudl recommend that i could maybe put in at the bottom of my case to help me out? or some alternative olution to this problem?

    Thanks

    Richard
    Under Development...

  2. #2
    Not a good person scaryjim's Avatar
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    Re: Adding a third display

    Hmmm, several options, I guess...

    1) get any old cheap PCIe graphics card and try it next to the x1950, *or* move the x1950 down to the second PCIe slot (since you don't game it doesn't really matter which way round they are!). Probably the cheapest option - you can pick up graphics cards from ~ £20 that would do the job fine. I'd stick with ATI though, to try to minimise any driver conflicts, and don't forget that ATI don't officially support the x1950 on Windows 7...

    2) Sell the x1950 and get two new graphics cards. Since you don't game you can get something low powered like this XFX HD4650 which is single slot and draws less power than your x1950 - two of those would give you up to 4 DVI monitors.

    3) Sell the x1950 and buy a Radeon HD5000 series gpu. You'd need one with 3 digital outputs, and you'd also need appropriate adapters, including an *active* displayport to DVI unless one of your monitors has native displayport. I believe this Sapphire HD5670 is the cheapest card available with 3 digital outputs (DVI, HDMI and DP), but the active DP - DVI adapter is pretty expensive. The benefit of this option is that it gives you the full power of eyefinity. Sadly, this is only for Vista and 7 users though, so if you're on XP it rules this out...

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    mr_anderson187 (14-04-2010)

  4. #3
    Richard Allen Evans mr_anderson187's Avatar
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    Re: Adding a third display

    thanks for your input, I'm leaning towards option 1 I think,

    I never actually fully tested the card to see if it would fit in the second slot, I first realised that the generic PSU i had bene using (for too long yes, i know) didnt actally have any connectors left to connect another 6 pin pci-e power connector jobbie, nor did it have a spare molex to actually use the converter on.

    I'll acquire myself a new PSU first I think (any good advice on these?) and then see if i can fit my other 1950 in there, if not - move the first one down and stick a smaller 1 slot card above it.

    Do the generic ATI CCC driver thingies automatically support three displays, or do alternate versions of these drivers have to be downloaded for this?


    EDIT: Also, after some quick googling, it seems like i would have to change one of the jumpers on the mobo if i were to have it recognise another PCIe card, since the ddefault is just one X16 card, is that right?

    and im using XP currently still.
    Last edited by mr_anderson187; 14-04-2010 at 11:09 AM.
    Under Development...

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    Senior Member MaddAussie's Avatar
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    Re: Adding a third display

    http://www.displaylink.com/

    They are great we use them on all our machines @ work, they work really well apart from they dont seem to like our Vaio laptops and sometimes go on the Fritz with them

  6. #5
    Not a good person scaryjim's Avatar
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    Re: Adding a third display

    Quote Originally Posted by mr_anderson187 View Post
    I'll acquire myself a new PSU first I think (any good advice on these?)
    I'm not Hexus' leading PSU expert, and it will depend on the rest of your spec to a certain extent: what else have you got in the box?

    Quote Originally Posted by mr_anderson187 View Post
    EDIT: Also, after some quick googling, it seems like i would have to change one of the jumpers on the mobo if i were to have it recognise another PCIe card, since the ddefault is just one X16 card, is that right?
    From my reading of the review you linked to, the default setting (top to bottom) is x1, x16, x1, x2: so you could use the default setting but the second graphics card would only get 2 PCIe lanes. The one you probably want to go for is x4, x8, x0, x8 - that is, 8 lanes to each x16 slot, a full x4 slot (which will happily take an x1 expansion card if you wanted), but none to the x1 slot (that's the one between the x16 slots). If you've got an x1950 in the top slot that's not really going to be a problem though, since you can't use the x1 slot anyway

    If you've got two x1950s anyway, you may as well get a new PSU and give them a whirl - most cards only have a dual slot cooler so they should fit in the 2 x16 slots compfortably. Once both cards are in, Windows should just detect that you've got 2 cards and happily let you connect up to 4 monitors, 2 to each card.

  7. #6
    HEXUS.social member Disturbedguy's Avatar
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    Re: Adding a third display

    Something like this maybe?

    We user them at work, splitting the signal over two monitors and they work fine.
    http://www.scan.co.uk/Product.aspx?WebProductId=527258

    If the link fails LN17151
    Quote Originally Posted by TAKTAK View Post
    It didn't fall off, it merely became insufficient at it's purpose and got a bit droopy...

  8. #7
    Richard Allen Evans mr_anderson187's Avatar
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    Re: Adding a third display

    Disturbedguy: doesnt that cable just make whatever is being output, display on two monitors instead of one? i.e. just a clone thing?

    From what i can remember (the age of this system reflects my out of date tech knowledge) the system is:

    AMD FX-55
    DFI Lanparty NF4 (linked above)
    2Gb (4 x 512) RAM (400MHZ PC3200 maybe)
    X1950pro
    IDE HDD
    Sata HDD

    Generic grey 'casetec' PSU, afaik is only 300 watts

    I had a nice super silent Zalman 450watt one that I was using before, but when it came to build this system, somehow the ATX connector wouldnt fit, so thats why I have this generic thing.

    I dont have any optical drives connected purely because this PSU has only 3 molex connectors i think:

    • One for the IDE HDD
    • Second for the Sata HDD (molex to sata power adaptor lead thingy)
    • Third for the Graphics card (molex to pci-e power adaptor lead thingy)


    This was the primary reason i didnt actually try to fit the other 1950 in when i looked at it, i realised i couldnt power it anyway so i shouldnt connect it up just yet.

    A more beefier and connectable PSU would enable me to have my optical drives back in use too, fan controllers etc

    I guess i've held off buying one just incase i bought the wrong one, although since your first reply i have been searching, and saw this:

    http://www.ebuyer.com/product/200489

    2 pci-e adaptors and a lot of sata? mmmhmm? not sure about the mobo connectors though

    Or maybe im way off in picking this?

    I wouldnt be against buying a nice coolermaster case/psu bundle either, they do look good

    Thanks again
    Under Development...

  9. #8
    HEXUS.social member Disturbedguy's Avatar
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    Re: Adding a third display

    Nope, or not for the ones we have it work. We have our main display with the task bar etc and then another we can drag what we want onto.
    Quote Originally Posted by TAKTAK View Post
    It didn't fall off, it merely became insufficient at it's purpose and got a bit droopy...

  10. #9
    Not a good person scaryjim's Avatar
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    Re: Adding a third display

    Whatever you do, change that PSU ASAP!

    As far as PSUs go, I reckon anything decent brand @ 400W or higher should be fine. I'm not sure about the quality of Coolermaster PSUs - I personally rate Antec very highly but that is my preference rather than a guarantee of quality - although Antec are pretty reliable as long as you steer clear of the Basiq range. If you're looking at the £50 - £60 range, you could do a lot worse than the OCZ Mod XStream 500W or an Antec Earthwatts 500 if you want 2 native PCIe connections - you could go down to an Earthwatts 430 Green or an OCZ StealhXStream 500W if you don't mind using adapter cables for one of your x1950s...

    ANy of those should provide all the appropriate connections: 24pin main power, 4pin 12V, lots of molex, sata and at least one PCIe.

  11. #10
    Richard Allen Evans mr_anderson187's Avatar
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    Re: Adding a third display

    Thanks forall your help today Scaryjim mate, I've been onto Ebuyer and bought a :

    OCZ 500W Mod XStream Pro PSU

    Hopeully ill be able to fit the other X1950 onto my mobo and power it with this new PSU.

    Ill keep you update as to how it goes

    Thanks, Rich
    Under Development...

  12. #11
    Senior Member Pob255's Avatar
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    Re: Adding a third display

    I'm not fully up on this, but the main thing you want is two cards of the same type and series, so they both use the same base drivers.
    so two ati x1950 would be good, although I would say that if you're not using them for games they are fairly overkill a couple of 4650 would work just as well and not require so much power.

  13. #12
    Richard Allen Evans mr_anderson187's Avatar
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    Re: Adding a third display

    Ok, so time has moved on, and today I received one of these in the post:



    (thanks Scaryjim for the choice)

    It looks quite nifty, I look forward to getting it stuck in when i return home on Sunday

    This has prompted me to consider other niggling problems that I have been neglecting in my aging system over the past years or so...

    About a year ago, the stock NB fan on my mobo gave the usual RRRrrRRRrrRRrrRRr sound, and gave up the ghost.

    I left the fan where it was and decided to just whack in an old 80mm case fan, stand it upright in the case and have it pointing towards the NB, did the trick, kept things roughly cool.


    However since im now going to be (hopefully, if this card fits in!) whacking another fat 1950 in there that will produce some heat and restrict airflow around the NB (see pic below of where NB is located in relation to GFX cards on this mobo) I think its wise to pre-empt an overheating fiasco.

    So, with that in mind, i got back on the google trail and looked for nice replacements. Typically since this mobo is as old as jesus, pretty much everything was out of date, and the results i did find were mostly in america, relating to products I probably cant get hold of anyway...

    So i had a browse in my local Maplins when i was in town earlier, and picked myself up one of these little kits:

    http://maplin.co.uk/Module.aspx?ModuleNo=351567

    The picture isnt that good at showcasing whats actually in the product, but the fan featured there is on a small heatsink with lugs at opposite corners (I'm hoping these lugs fit the lugs on my old stock Nb fan)

    However the problem is the serious lack of clearance between the fan and the grfx card that sits in the way. In the pic below you can see where someone has replaced the stock cooller/fan with a snazzy looking thing and just about fitted it in, theres really no more room than the stock setup provides i think.



    The akasa cooling kit also comes with a shallower heatsink that attaches via a conductive pan which could be used instead of attaching via lugs, however I still think there will not be enough room to fit it on with the Grfx card in the way

    What im really wondering is:

    Has anyone here previously owned this mobo and had their Nb fan die, what did you do?
    Anyone have an exact measurement of how many Millimetres the stock fan/cooler sits out from the mobo?
    Has anyone used this replacement chipset fan kit I have and had success with this mobo in fitting it in?
    Or possibly know of a better product?
    Or any other random solution...?

    Thanks again guys,

    Richard
    Under Development...

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