View Full Version : Video Cards

07-12-2008, 02:25 PM

I guess this is the appropriate forum since it is not actually LW specific.

Anyway, I'm aware of hooking two monitors into a single card and using SPAN to treat both as a single desktop. What nifty things can be done if two cards are in a PC? Three/four monitor capability? Giant Desktop. Second Desktop?

By the way, the reason I ask is that I just bought another NVidia 8400GS off eBay for $16. My current 8400GS has both HDMI & DVI outputs but not enough space to fit both a HDMI and a DVI adapter for my monitors. The new one has DVI & DSUB outputs.

07-12-2008, 02:33 PM
Googling just revealed that Vista doesn't support SPAN view.

This is a real bummer.

07-12-2008, 02:34 PM

You can have three or four monitors if you like. I read in an article back under Windows 2000 that it would support as many video cards as you have open slots.

The key comes in that older PC's had one AGP slot. Any other card therefore was restricted to PCI. Newer PC's have multiple PCIe slots (that is ALL the new Mac's have) so yeah, plug until your heart's content.

That's my understanding of things anyway.


07-12-2008, 02:45 PM
Windows can only run one desktop at a time, meaning the whole shebang at once.
What you can do though is, for one, drag shortcuts from one monitor to another, so each monitor is a different setup, and you can move your quick launch and taskbar over to your second monitor. It's sort of like having two desktops.
The older nvidia drivers nview program offered the ability to have a different b/g picture or color per monitor, but I can't seem to find a way now for that.
I now use one 8800 GTS with two monitors plugged in. At one time I tried two separate video cards, with mixed, and sometimes weird results.
If you have a decent video card, it's good enough for two reasonably sized monitors. I have a 24" and a 19" plugged into this card, at 1680x1050 and 1280x1024, and the 8800 gts has plenty of power for that. For that matter, my 8600 gts had plenty of power to have, say, Modeler on one monitor, and Layout on another.

07-12-2008, 02:51 PM
Thanks guys!

I may have spoke too soon about span.

Set up multiple monitors

When you connect an additional monitor to your mobile PC, Windows automatically detects the monitor and displays your computer's desktop. You can then choose how you want your desktop to appear and customize the display settings, such as screen resolution and color depth.

Manually connect the monitor to your mobile PC.

If Windows can't identify the monitor, open the New Display Detected dialog box by using one of the following methods:

Press the keyboard shortcut that turns on an additional display.

The FN+F5 keyboard shortcut is used for this purpose on many mobile PCs. To determine which keyboard shortcut turns on an additional display, check the information that came with your mobile PC, or go to the manufacturer's website.

Click to open Windows Mobility Center.

Then, on the External Display tile, click Connect display.

Windows Mobility Center is available only on mobile PCs.

In the New Display Detected dialog box, select one of the following display options, and then click OK.

Mirrored. Mirrors, or duplicates, your desktop on each display that you connect. Mirrored is the default display option. This option is useful if you plan to use your mobile PC to give a presentation on a projector or a fixed display in a conference room, such as a wall-mounted plasma display or TV-type monitor.

Extended. Extends your desktop across all of the displays that you connect. This option is useful if you want to increase your desktop area.

External display only. Shows your desktop on each display that you connect, but not on your mobile PC display. This option is useful if you're using a mobile PC and you want to conserve battery power. You can also use this option when you play a DVD on a mobile PC that supports full-screen video playback on only one display.

If Windows can't identify the monitor that you connect, it automatically applies the last display settings that you used for that type of monitor and asks whether you want to keep the settings. Click OK to keep these settings.

If you click Cancel or do nothing, the Display Settings dialog box appears so that you can manually choose the display settings.

To select different display settings at any time, open Display Settings in Control Panel.

Not sure if "mobile PC" will have an impact. I'll see when the new card comes in.

07-12-2008, 03:04 PM
Anyway, I'm aware of hooking two monitors into a single card and using SPAN to treat both as a single desktop. What nifty things can be done if two cards are in a PC? Three/four monitor capability? Giant Desktop. Second Desktop?

I have 2 really cheap and old cards in this internet machine I am typing on.
A 5200 and a GeForce 440 or something like that.
The 5200 runs 2 19" monitors and the 440 runs one 15" monitor, although it use to run two 15"ers.
I use to have the onboard hooked up to another monitor but I turned that off.

Hmm some cool things, (prob not for LW)
I can run a different resolution on each monitor allowing to test web webpages look like on different set ups.
Windows let's you set one monitor as the primary and this is where the pop ups and messages default to, but if you want you can dig into the nvidia driver settings and change this to any monitor.

You can place the monitors anywhere you like to adjust if one monitor is higher or a smaller size than the others. So when you move your mouse horizontally across monitors it stays level and doesn't jump up and down.

note that the above can also be done just by hooking up 2 monitors to a dual card.

Other things with the task bar like IMI said.

I will say, imo, running multiple monitors is one thing XP (Vista(?)) does really well with either a combination of a couple cheap cards or a nice dual set up.
Stick the cards in, hook up a monitor and activate it in Display Properties.

07-12-2008, 06:02 PM

I just bought a NVidia 9800 with 512MB on it, it works flawlessly on Windows Server 2008 64bit and lightwave is a blast with it :)

And this all for a price around 200 (excl. taxes)...


07-15-2008, 06:51 PM
I'll be buying a new card soon, probably the GeForce 8 series.

I haven't installed a graphics card since I went from CGA to EGA. Is it just a matter of swapping out cards, booting and loading software? And uninstalling the old? (I'm a little nervous.)

Oh, and a dual monitor system is amazing. I'm in agony in my new job with just one monitor. I'm used to Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, and Premiere with the candy on one side and the dialog boxes on the other. Yummy!

Not a big difference for me with LW, but it's nice to browse/play games while I have a test render going.

07-19-2008, 12:43 AM
Just installed my $16 8400GS.
Finally have my two 19" widescreens working ($145 each).
Here's a pic.

07-19-2008, 06:05 AM
Look at all that desk space! Would you believe I'm using two 19" CRTs still? (It's been a hard few years.)

07-19-2008, 01:14 PM
Look at all that desk space! Would you believe I'm using two 19" CRTs still? (It's been a hard few years.)

Yeah, I feel it was a fabulous $316 investment.
Someday, if prices drop enough, I'd like to have a huge widescreen above those two.


oh, yeah, my keyboard is on a pull-out drawer below the desktop.