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Tips To Setup Multiple Monitors

MultiMonitors

Ok so you want to have more than one monitor.  That's OK. But now ,  how do you get there?

 

 

 
I had no problems installing  two, three or four monitors, but when I wanted to add my new 40 inch smart TV I ran into a brick wall (so to speak).  You see most video cards support 2 montiors and my machine had 2 PCIe slots (one PCIe x16 slot and one PCIe x4 slot).  While this is relatively straight forward adding just one more screen was a bit of a problem.  The new graphics chip set was designed to support up to 5 monitors.  It was the graphics card manufacturer that set the limit to 2.  Even if the card has one DVI (Digital more and DVI later), one HDMI and one VGA (analog)  connector your limit is 2 monitors...

 

After much searching I realized the only solution was what is called a DisplayPort.  The VGA, DVI and HDMI  interface connectors are already considered LEGACY.  Yeah right,  they are already obsolete.   DisplayPort is a digital display interface developed by the Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA). The interface is primarily used to connect a video source to a display device such as a computer monitor, though it can also be used to carry audio, USB, and other forms of data.  The VESA specification is royalty-free. VESA designed it to replace VGA, DVI, and FPD-Link. DisplayPort is backward compatible with VGA and DVI through the use of adapter dongles.


The first version, 1.0, was approved by VESA on May 3, 2006.[3] Version 1.1a was approved on April 2, 2007 followed by the current standard 1.2 on December 22, 2009.  You can daisy chain multiple monitors in a display and obtain a setting  like this sample of a  Quad LCD 4 Monitor Stand Desk Mount Adjustable Tilt Free Standing up to 28"

 I like to think of it as a large matrix of memory  or pixels and you can assign portions of the matrix to a monitor.  Just how many monitors depends on the pixel resolution you are using. The more pixels per monitor means less monitors.


See below:


Display Resolution                           Maximum number of monitors
Standard 60 frames per second           DisplayPort 1.2 Standard
⦁    1680 x 1050                                             5
⦁    1920 x 1080 or 1920 x 1200                      4
⦁    2560 x 1600                                             2
⦁    3840 x 2160 UltraHD (4k)                          1
⦁    4096 x 2160 (4k x 2k)                               1      


Ok, enough about DisplayPort I need to develop another article about that.  Back to the problem.
First I looked around and found that cards were being sold as 3 monitor cards.  This would resolve my problem but  in reality they were only 2 monitor cards.


These Graphics Cards can be expensive ($300 to $700 or more). Here it's a fair price for a new Dell/nVidia Quadro NVS 420 NVS420 512MB 4 Monitor Professional Video Card - K722J

 However, for the budget minded, a used one could be an alternative.  But what kind?  What I found was the nVidia Quadro.  This one was not new technology.  After all, DisplayPort has been around for at least 8 years.  My next step was finding out if the graphics card was supported by Windows 8.  Apparently Windows 8 was the opportunity for manufacturers to discontinue supporting their older (legacy) technology.  I found that the nVidia Quadro NVS 420 was still supported. You also need to get a dongle for 4 monitors

 

I also found out later that this was a DisplayPort Card and my Dongle was for a display port.  With my GeForce 210 This combination would give me support for 6 monitors. I could now connect my 40 inch Smart TV via HDMI. I can even add a Second Quaddro nvs 420 graphics card for a total of 8 Monitors.  

Follow-Up

I very quickly discovered not all DVI interfaces are equal. Here they are:

    DVI-D (digital only, single link or dual link)


    DVI-A (analog only)


    DVI-I (integrated, combines digital and analog in the same connector; digital may be single or dual link)

It appears that my nVidia Quadro 420NVS card was DVI-D and none of my 4 matching VGA flat screens would work. My old monitors were not DVI-D ready.

  

I could have bought DVI-D to vga ACTIVE Adapter for about $25 each or 4 used monitors with a DVI-D connection. This low cost upgrade could easily have gone out of budget. But on the bright side, I am finally finished with all VGA legacy devices. Another great choice will be the use of 4 LED TV with a very thin frame to enloy a seamless panoramic view.

I hope you found this journey informative.

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