X58 motherboard with four pci-express slots
Three ATI 3650 Pci-Express video cards with a total of 6 DVI ports
500GB Hard Drive
Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit (purchased, not RC)
3 Viewsonic 22" monitors and one Dell 24 inch monitor all running DVI cables.
I have three of the video cards in the computer to run multiple monitors. Windows 7 has a feature where when you plug in a monitor, it auto detects it and then enables it and sets its proper screen resolution. The problem is that when I plug in more than one monitor, I get inconsistent results.
Here are some examples:
Example 1 that happens: I have two monitors plugged in and I plug in a third monitor. It enables it within Windows 7, but the monitor does not actually turn on. If I restart the computer, somtimes it will stay enabled and boot up with all three monitors on. sometimes when I reboot it, it again shows all three enabled but only two are actually on. This happens also when I plug a fourth or fifth monitor on. Sometimes two or three monitors will be on whereas one or two others will not be on but will show enabled in display properties.
Example 2 that happens: Sometimes when I plug in a second, third, or fouth monitor, it will actually show an additional monitor as disabled. For example, if I have three monitors plugged in and it shows three monitors enabled (regardless if all three are on and working), and I plug a fourth monitor in, then it enables the fourth monitor, sometimes it turns on, sometimes it doesnt, and it also shows a "generic non-pnp monitor" as number FIVE. Even though only four displays are plugged in. I've seen this happen even if I plug in a third monitor (shows four, with 3 or number 4 disabled). If I try to enable that FIFTH "ghost" monitor, and click apply, it says "cannot save settings." You can see an example of this as an attachment. When I plugged in another monitor, it shrunk 2 and there is also a 5 the same size but disabled. Strangely enough, the 2 says the pnp monitor and 5 says the model number of the monitor. However, enabling 5 does not actually enable it and says that it cannot save settings.
I have tried downloading the latest drivers from ATI 9-10 as well as Catalyst Control Center as well as Hydravision from ATI and also Ultramon multiple monitor software. I have tried deleting the ATI 3600 drivers WDDM 1.0 (maybe 1.1) from device manager, only to reboot and then it installed the drivers, reboot again and it brings back all of the whacky settings.
I have a couple of times got all four monitors enabled and all four monitors on where the cursor moves across them properly. EXACTLY what I want to have happen. If I restart it almost always comes back on as EXAMPLE 1 where only two of the four monitors will turn on, but it shows them enabled in display properties, or if all four monitors do come back on, they are not in the same order that I had them in and it actually shows FIVE in display properties.
To make this all even stranger, believe it or not, i've even had it boot and one of the monitors is BLACK & WHITE. What is so strange about this is that the Windows 7 logo when booting, the color Windows 7 logo, is indeed COLOR on that screen, but once it is actually in Windows 7, it is BLACK & WHITE. If I do a restart, it sometimes comes back in full color. What this means is that there is color while Windows is loading, and then once in Windows one of the monitors is BLACK & WHITE throwing out the possibility of a bad video card.
Has anyone else experienced anything like this? Is there KNOWN issues with Windows 7 and ATI video cards or drivers? How about Windows 7 and Viewsonic or Dell monitors? This is extremely frustrating and looking for some guidance on the subject matter. I believe that the drivers, whether Windows WDDM default or ATI's are simply not correct with Windows 7. I never had this problem with Windows XP.
PLEASE See "win7_monitors.jpg" file to see what I am talking about concerning EXAMPLE 2.
Edit: I need to add that on example 1, where it shows enabled but the monitor does not come on, I have noticed that about 50% of the time when I put the Windows 7 into SLEEP mode, and take it out, the monitor(s) that were off are now on.