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Windows 7: 3 Monitor Setup

13 Feb 2011   #1
psychotron

Home 7 64 on Alienware and Asus. W8 on Lenovo.
 
 
3 Monitor Setup

I currently have my new system built, W7 installed and I have my one monitor up and running. I have another new monitor on it's way and a third one I have not hooked up yet. My question is will I be able to use all 3 monitors independently? By that I mean I want one to be my main windows monitor with my desktop, the second I will use for video playback and the third I will have a weather radar system displayed. Will I be able to do this using Windows 7, if so can everything be achieved with just Windows 7 or will I need third party software? Also, all monitors need to have different resolutions, can this be done? Lastly, I want to connect my main monitor via HDMI and the other two through the two DVI's, will this then allow my main monitor to have it's sound through the monitor speakers and my other two through my sound system?

My mother board has no onboard video. I have only one XFX Radeon HD 6950 2GB video card with 2x DVI, 1x HDMI and 2x Mini DisplayPort which I believe is some sort of VGA adaptable connector. My main monitor, ASUS VW266H 25.5" has 1920x1200, ASUS VH236H 23" has 1920x1080 and the Gateway FPD1775W 17"has 1280x720. Any other specs you might need are in my profile. Thank You


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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13 Feb 2011   #2
profdlp

Main - Windows 7 Pro SP1 64-Bit; 2nd - Windows Server 2008 R2
 
 

Everything else you asked will work just fine.

This, however, won't:
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by starbreaker View Post
...I want to connect my main monitor via HDMI and the other two through the two DVI's...
For three monitors off of one card you MUST us a Display port connection for at least one of them. You can get an adapter to go DVI=>Display Port but it MUST be an Active adapter.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 Feb 2011   #3
Brink

64-bit Windows 10 Pro
 
 

Hello Starbreaker and Steve,

You will have to use say a DVI (monitor) to Mini-DisplayPort (graphics card) connector for the 3rd monitor to work on a AMD card.

However, it will only need to be an "active" MDP adapter if you wanted to be able to have the 3 monitors act as 1 monitor (Eyefinity feature). Otherwise, a "passive" MDP adapter will work to have the monitors display independently.

Hope this helps,
Shawn
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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13 Feb 2011   #4
psychotron

Home 7 64 on Alienware and Asus. W8 on Lenovo.
 
 

Thank you for the quick reply. Just a follow up if I may. I can run my main monitor for video/audio with the HDMI and have the sound through my monitor speakers, then run one monitor with a DVI for video and the third with the display port connection for video and those two will use my system sound together? Second, what exactly is a "active" DVI to Display Port adapter? And will any video quality be lost on that monitor?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 Feb 2011   #5
profdlp

Main - Windows 7 Pro SP1 64-Bit; 2nd - Windows Server 2008 R2
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Brink View Post
...However, it will only need to be an "active" MDP adapter if you wanted to be able to have the 3 monitors act as 1 monitor (Eyefinity feature). Otherwise, a "passive" MDP adapter will work to have the monitors display independently....
Au Contraire, mon frere.

I set mine up right around New Years using an AMD 6870. I did my research in advance, but didn't factor in that my card has two Mini Display Port sockets. The adapter I bought was a "normal" sized DP to DVI. No one in town had the Active mini DP in stock so I took a chance on a passive one. It worked, but only for any combination of two monitors. The third one would be detected but was not allowed for usage. Amazon sent me an active mini DP adapter and it was up and running in no time.

HD5450 Triple Monitor Support Problem

Here's AMDs list - but caution, they include passive ones, which work fine for two monitors:
AMD Eyefinity Validated Dongles
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Feb 2011   #6
profdlp

Main - Windows 7 Pro SP1 64-Bit; 2nd - Windows Server 2008 R2
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by starbreaker View Post
Thank you for the quick reply. Just a follow up if I may. I can run my main monitor for video/audio with the HDMI and have the sound through my monitor speakers, then run one monitor with a DVI for video and the third with the display port connection for video and those two will use my system sound together? Second, what exactly is a "active" DVI to Display Port adapter? And will any video quality be lost on that monitor?
For sound, I would defer to someone who has actually done it. My understanding is that it is possible, though you might have to dive into Windows audio settings and tell it exactly what plays through what.

As for adapters, I bought this one, which is the mini:

Amazon.com: Accell B087B-006B UltraAV Mini DisplayPort to DVI-D Single-Link Active Adapter ATI Certified (Black): Electronics

Make sure you know whether you need the mini or the regular connector. There are powered adapters that leach some juice off a USB Port but they are not necessary except for resolutions above 1920x1200.

As for quality, I messed around with different monitors on different connecters and believe that the DP=>DVI Adapter connection looks slightly better than the straight DVI. This is probably just my 51-year-old eyes playing tricks on me, though.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Feb 2011   #7
Brink

64-bit Windows 10 Pro
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by starbreaker View Post
Thank you for the quick reply. Just a follow up if I may. I can run my main monitor for video/audio with the HDMI and have the sound through my monitor speakers, then run one monitor with a DVI for video and the third with the display port connection for video and those two will use my system sound together? Second, what exactly is a "active" DVI to Display Port adapter? And will any video quality be lost on that monitor?
The main difference between active and passive is, and active adapter has its own signal clock generator, a passive one does not.

It's just easier to remember that if you only want independent displays, then you can use a passive adapter. These are usually the ones that come packaged with the card.

If you want to use the Eyefinity feature to have the 3 monitors display as one, then any over 2 must use a active adapter.

I've only been able to get sound for the whole system to come out of one of my monitors like this though.

Video quality will be the same in all HDMI, DVI, or DisplayPort connections though.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Feb 2011   #8
profdlp

Main - Windows 7 Pro SP1 64-Bit; 2nd - Windows Server 2008 R2
 
 

I'm not trying to belabor the issue, but after running all over town six weeks ago trying to get this to work* I am confident in what I'm telling you about Active vs Passive. I've attached AMDs brief on the subject. (See pages 7 & 8)

Of course, technical papers can be wrong sometimes, but I have personally explored this issue in more detail than I anticipated when I started out and my own experience bears out what they say.

Just for the sake of clarity, there are actually three types of adapters you can use. (Leaving the mini/non-mini stuff out of it, which would actually take it to six.)

1) Passive
2) Active
3) Active & Powered


*Twice, actually. Once to buy all the wrong stuff and a second time to take it back for a refund.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Feb 2011   #9
psychotron

Home 7 64 on Alienware and Asus. W8 on Lenovo.
 
 

Dongle, that's a funny word. Thanks again pro, I assume a single link vs the double is what I need between the active adapters available. Rock on friend!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Feb 2011   #10
profdlp

Main - Windows 7 Pro SP1 64-Bit; 2nd - Windows Server 2008 R2
 
 

Double Link allows for higher color depth at higher resolutions than you'll ever need or likely ever can use. Single Link is fine. I was concerned about that, as well, when in my travails I ran across the Single/Double business and was afraid I might lose some quality on one of the monitors.



Quote:
WHAT ARE SINGLE AND DUAL LINKS ?

The Digital formats are available in DVI-D Single-Link and Dual-Link as well as DVI-I Single-Link and Dual-Link format connectors. These DVI cables send information using a digital information format called TMDS (transition minimized differential signaling). Single link cables use one TMDS 165Mhz transmitter, while dual links use two. The dual link DVI pins effectively double the power of transmission and provide an increase of speed and signal quality; i.e. a DVI single link 60-Hz LCD can display a resolution of 1920 x 1200, while a DVI dual link can display a resolution of 2560 x 1600
Source: All About DVI
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 3 Monitor Setup




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