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Author Topic: Need dual monitors plus TV video out.  (Read 5001 times)

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Qkix

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    Need dual monitors plus TV video out.
    « on: September 07, 2011, 04:45:02 PM »
    Hi.  I need help.  I've been looking at video cards from all over and I'm more confused now that when I started.

    What I need to do is hook dual monitors *and* a television up to this computer http://www.dell.com/us/slgov/p/optiplex-780/pd.  I don't know if I need one video card or two.  Right now it's just using the onboard video, so all of the expansion slots are open.  It has one PCIe slot.

    This is for office applications such as Word and Powerpoint, no 3D games or anything too intensive.  Any recommendations for a video card that can do all of this?

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    Re: Need dual monitors plus TV video out.
    « Reply #1 on: September 07, 2011, 04:56:56 PM »
    Most video cards will output to 2 monitors, even if it has 3 outputs.
    Desktop computers won't do onboard & PCI-e video simultaneously.  When you plug the card in, it will disable the onboard; a Dell might require this be done manually through the BIOS.

    1.  What inputs does the monitor have?  (VGA and/or DVI)
    2.  What inputs does the TV have?  (VGA and/or HDMI)

    This is your computer:  http://support.dell.com/support/DPP/Index.aspx?c=us&cs=RC978219&l=en&s=slg&SystemID=PLX_780
    Desktop, Mini-Tower or SFF?

    Consult the Service Manual:  http://support.dell.com/support/edocs/systems/op780/en/index.htm

    Qkix

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      Re: Need dual monitors plus TV video out.
      « Reply #2 on: September 07, 2011, 05:04:50 PM »
      It's a mini-tower.  The monitors are VGA and the TV is yet-to-be-purchased so I assume it will have HDMI.

      All the manual says about it is:  "PCI Express x16 slot supports either a PCI Express card or a DVI add-on card (for dual-monitor support)."  I've looked at dozens of cards and I'm still not sure what I need.   Very few of them are advertised as having more than one VGA output, and when they do they don't seem to support TV out on the same card.

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      Re: Need dual monitors plus TV video out.
      « Reply #3 on: September 07, 2011, 05:56:12 PM »
      It's a mini-tower.  The monitors are VGA and the TV is yet-to-be-purchased so I assume it will have HDMI.

      All the manual says about it is:  "PCI Express x16 slot supports either a PCI Express card or a DVI add-on card (for dual-monitor support)."  I've looked at dozens of cards and I'm still not sure what I need.   Very few of them are advertised as having more than one VGA output, and when they do they don't seem to support TV out on the same card.
      You have to consider physical & electrical requirements:

      Physical:
      PCI Express x16
      Mini-tower  --  one full height card

      Electrical:
      PCI Express x16
      Bus type:  PCI Express 2.0
      PSU capacity:  Watts & 12VDC, read the label on the PSU.  (This may be your limiting factor).
      Your PSU is rated at 255/305W, likely not enough.


      Start looking:  http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&N=100007709%20600007855&IsNodeId=1&name=PCI%20Express%202.0%20x16

      Some cards specify how many watts they require, other how many amps of +12VDC.

      Qkix

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        Re: Need dual monitors plus TV video out.
        « Reply #4 on: September 07, 2011, 07:14:07 PM »
        Thanks for the link, what am I looking for?  None of those appear to have dual VGA outputs, nor do they say they support dual monitors.   What do I need to be able to hook two monitors and a TV to the computer?

        Lisa_maree

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        Re: Need dual monitors plus TV video out.
        « Reply #5 on: September 07, 2011, 08:11:52 PM »
        Hi

        Can you explain what needs to be displayed on the 2 monitors and the TV. I was thinking that if the TV is to display what is on one of the monitors then a VGA splitter or if the TV doesn't have HDMI or VGA input then a VGA to composite adapter after the splitter  would be needed.

        Which ever way more information is needed.


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        Re: Need dual monitors plus TV video out.
        « Reply #6 on: September 07, 2011, 09:07:51 PM »
        http://extreme.outervision.com/psucalculatorlite.jsp
        A calculator to find out the power supply you need.
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        Re: Need dual monitors plus TV video out.
        « Reply #7 on: September 07, 2011, 10:14:18 PM »
        Most video cards will output to 2 monitors, even if it has 3 outputs.

        True for most older cards. Any ATI/AMD card that supports Eyefinity (listed below) can use 3 monitors if it has 3 outputs. In fact, they claim that they can actually support up to 6 screens per GPU.

            AMD Radeon™ HD 6870 GPUs
            AMD Radeon™ HD 6850 GPUs
            ATI Radeon™ HD 5970 GPUs
            ATI Radeon™ HD 5800 Series GPUs
            ATI Radeon™ HD 5700 Series GPUs
            ATI Radeon™ HD 5670 GPUs
            ATI Radeon™ HD 5500 Series GPUs
            ATI Radeon™ HD 5450 GPUs
            ATI Mobility Radeon™ HD 5400 Series or higher GPUs

        *From the Eyefinity FAQ, link below


        Can you explain what needs to be displayed on the 2 monitors and the TV. I was thinking that if the TV is to display what is on one of the monitors then a VGA splitter or if the TV doesn't have HDMI or VGA input then a VGA to composite adapter after the splitter  would be needed.

        As was already mentioned, 300 watts just isn't going to cut it I think. Depends on the demands that your system already makes and the demands the card makes if you put in a new one. You might want 500 watts, but not sure if you'll find that powerful of a power supply to fit in a mini-tower, it depends on what kind of space it has to fit one.

        With an ATI card that supports the Eyefinity feature, which allows for displaying on at least 3 different monitors with 3 individual instances of desktops from a SINGLE video card.

        Check out this link:
        http://www.amd.com/us/products/technologies/amd-eyefinity-technology/how-to/Pages/set-up.aspx

        Choose the options you need (for you, I would most likely choose "Productivity", "Advanced", and 3 monitors), then click the "See Recommendation" button. On the next screen, it will suggest some example chipsets (for the options I've suggested, it came back with ATI Radeon 5570 or 5670). You may choose other options if you feel what I suggested isn't right for you. I'm just guessing.

        You also need to pay particular attention to the "AMD Eyefinity Technology Support Information" section. There are 3 ports the card will need:
        1. AT LEAST ONE Display Port or Mini-Display Port (to which an active Display Port adapter can be attached).
        2. AT LEAST TWO of the following: HDMI, VGA, or DVI. (Any combination will work for this.)

        I would suggest getting an adapter for the Display Port and two ports that all match whatever connections your screens can support. Different models of cards will come with different ports, so you'll have to do some hunting for the one that's right for you. If you can't find a perfect match, I'd suggest getting one with the Display Port and either DVI or HDMI ports. Even if all the ports aren't right, you can connect the ones that are right and get an adapter for the others so the will be right. I don't suggest getting one with VGA unless the screens have VGA. Sometimes VGA doesn't always give desired results when adapting to HDMI or DVI, but adapting DVI to HDMI or vice versa usually works fine. Going from HDMI ports to a VGA monitor usually works fine though.

        ***Please note that just because the model is listed as supporting Eyefinity, it MUST have those three ports (Display Port and two normal ports). This will depend on individual card manufacturers' models of those chipsets.***

        I hope that wasn't all too much at once. If you're confused or have any questions, please ask and I will try to clarify.

        Other Eyefinity pages you might want to look at:
        Eyefinity FAQ
        http://www.amd.com/us/products/technologies/amd-eyefinity-technology/how-to/Pages/faqs.aspx

        Eyefinity How-to
        http://www.amd.com/US/PRODUCTS/TECHNOLOGIES/AMD-EYEFINITY-TECHNOLOGY/HOW-TO/Pages/how-to.aspx


        I don't think the following will work for you, but I would like to mention it:
        Another option is getting two identical cards and linking them (SLI for Nvidia cards, CrossfireX for ATI/AMD cards). From what I've read, all the ports on the cards should be able to display individually. The downside to this method: twice the heat (two cards instead of one) and a bit expensive. Plus, you will definitely need a more powerful power supply than 300 for this. Something in the neighborhood of 600+ watts most likely. I haven't looked at the full specs on your system yet, but you would also need two PCI Express x16 slots as well.

        Drrwho



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          Re: Need dual monitors plus TV video out.
          « Reply #8 on: September 08, 2011, 07:29:28 AM »
          This video card might work for your computer:

          http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/searchtools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=6798045&csid=_21

          It's a PCI Express x16 card, with dual monitor capability (one DVI, one VGA) and HDMI video out as well.  It is a low profile card, so it might just fit the mini tower case size.  I've worked with the Dell mini tower computers before (in a school district... they had several hundred of them).  The design was pretty tight inside, but some low profile cards did fit.  We went through a number of cards to find one, with a single DVI port and an S-Video out port. 

          The tricky part is the orientation of how the PCIe cards fit inside.  If they fit vertically, a low profile card still won't fit (in the case of the computer laying on its side and the video card being oriented in a vertical position in the PCIe slot... meaning it sits perpendicular to the motherboard).  But, if there is a special assembly piece that attaches to the motherboard, allowing for a video card to sit horizontally (that is, parallel to the motherboard), then it may fit because it could allow for a full size bracket (where the DVI, VGA, and HDMI ports protrude from).

          Without seeing the inside of your computer and knowing the exact design specs, it's hard to make a more accurate recommendation, but this low profile card may just work for your case.  It recommends a 300-watt power supply minimum, and with yours being rated at up to 305 watts, it could work, though it would potentially be pushing the PS to it's limits most of the time.  Finding a more powerful PS for a mini-tower won't be easy, but you might be able to find one around 350-400 watts.  Not sure if they make them with higher wattage than that.  And being a Dell, you'd likely have to get it from them, as it will probably have a proprietary design to fit their cases.

          Oh, and I should also mention... you said both of your monitors are VGA.  You can get a VGA-to-DVI adapter to connect one of your monitors to the DVI port, if one doesn't come with this video card.

          Hope that information helps some.

          quaxo



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          Re: Need dual monitors plus TV video out.
          « Reply #9 on: September 08, 2011, 08:18:58 PM »
          This video card might work for your computer:

          http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/searchtools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=6798045&csid=_21

          It's a PCI Express x16 card, with dual monitor capability (one DVI, one VGA) and HDMI video out as well.  It is a low profile card, so it might just fit the mini tower case size.  I've worked with the Dell mini tower computers before (in a school district... they had several hundred of them).  The design was pretty tight inside, but some low profile cards did fit.  We went through a number of cards to find one, with a single DVI port and an S-Video out port. 

          Nvidia GeForce cards do not support more than 2 monitors at a time even if they have 3 ports, including this card. This is one situation where Nvidia is behind ATI/AMD, as they don't have anything like Eyefinity. Check the reviews and stats on that card and you will see.

          For example:
          Quote
          "As with most GeForce video cards, the ENGT430 offers two output signals so you can connect up to two monitors. This is one area that NVIDIA still lags behind AMD."

          Or this guy, who had to install 3 of those cards to get 6 displays running. (If they displayed on 3, he would only need 2.)

          And this:
          Quote
          Asus GeForce GT 430 1GB DDR3 PCIe, DVI, HDMI & VGA
               Interface Type:     PCI Express 2.0
               Interface Speed:     x16
               Multiple Monitors Support:     Yes
               Max. Monitors Supported:     2

               Chipset:     NVIDIA GeForce
               GPU Series:     NVIDIA GeForce 400

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          Re: Need dual monitors plus TV video out.
          « Reply #10 on: September 08, 2011, 09:34:44 PM »
          I want to add that with the GT 430, you should try to find a GDDR5 version (Gainward is one of the manufacturers that makes GDDR5 GT 430s-they are rare) with twice the memory bandwidth compared to the DDR3 version, which costs the same.
          The GT 430 is not meant for extreme gaming, but it has great overclocking potential-I overclocked mine from 700 clock, 1400 shader, and 1600 mem to 850 clock, 1709 shader, and 1800 mem stable. The DDR3 version's mem clock is 800 stock, from what I've read.


          I have to agree that the 2 monitor limit is a problem.
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          Qkix

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            Re: Need dual monitors plus TV video out.
            « Reply #11 on: September 09, 2011, 06:24:29 PM »
            Right-O, thanks for the information!  I guess it's a more complicated situation than I imagined, but I'm further along than when I started.  The power supply problem never entered my mind.

            It's a mini-tower so a full-height PCIe card should fit.  The room I use it in is about the temperature of a walk-in reefer, so cooling shouldn't be a problem; I have to wear a jacket most of the time.