Forum Thread

Please help me find a budget video card that will support a 3 monitor display

Bowser1313 33 18 December 8, 2015 at 03:40 PM
Posted this in the wrong forum and realize that this should be here so apologies to anyone who saw this in the find a deal forum.

Need help adding a little life to system that's a little long in the tooth but running too well to toss.Hopefully someone in the know can give a few pointers as to how best to set up a triple monitor display.

I'm currently running an old Gateway FX6710-01 w an Intel Q9400 processor, USB 2.0 (not 3.0), Window 7 Pro (64bit), 8 gig of ram, w a new-ish Kingston SSD drive as my primary OS HD and the stock 1 TB drive repurposed as my storage drive. I use this computer primarily to surf the web, do basic office work (Excel/Powerpoint/Word), graphic design (photoshop and illustrator), compose music and trade stocks. The Radeon HD 4850 it came with gave up its ghost about two years ago, so I popped in an ATI Radeo HD 4500. I think this is a weak card, but it's better than the integrated video and has been running two monitors w the desktop extended into both via windows without issue for the past few years. The only games that I play are Chess and a very 16 bit looking version Axis & Allies, so I'm obviously NOT a gamer.

While I can plug in the third monitor via the remaining DVI port, the Radeon card can only power two of the monitors at any one time and disables whichever monitor is not the main display when I extend the display to the third monitor. I thought it might be possible to have the Integrated VIDEO drive the 3rd monitor and went into the BIOS and set the integrated VGA to static instead of dynamic at 256 MB, but that still doesn't seem to work while the video card is installed.

The monitors I'm using are 2 Dell U2412 and one U2413 w the resolution on all 3 set to 1920 x 1200. While I am clearly not a gamer, I want to make sure whatever card I get can still run 1080p HD video without crashing.

A little googling let me to something called Eyefinity vs Crossfire vs a usb solution , but lost me when people started talking about displayport vs mini display port w active adapter vs passive and the various card series. The info I found here elaborated on that a bit, but was over a year old (though I'm not the best at searching through forums and might have missed a more recent one.) Basically I'm not sure if I should just add a weak card to an open PCI slot (and what card should that be) or if I should grab a better card that has 3 out-puts or if there's something else. And what the best value card would be.

SD's tend to know their stuff, so please let me know what's recommended and what some of the least expensive options are since I don't want to drop much $$ into a system this old, but am not ready to upgrade yet. Thanks in advance for the help and happy holidays.

4 Comments

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#2
I had a similar obsolete setup and requirement as you, and I ended up going with the nvida 750ti. Works pretty well with my 3 1080p setup. I don't do any gaming, so I cant help you there, but it does multiple excel instances and Visual Studio instances without any issues.
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#3
I would go the route of adding a new & improved video card instead of another weak one. This way when/if you upgrade your pc in the future, you could swap this card in your new rig.

As mentioned above - This EVGA - GeForce GTX 750 Ti 2GB GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 Graphics Card [bestbuy.com] - is currently $140 at BestBuy and supports 3 monitors and resolution up to 4096 x 2160 and has excellent reviews. specs here [evga.com]
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#4
First off, thanks for the suggestions.
The topic of extending the life of "obsolete" hardware that still is very responsive and works well for everything it needs to do (except gaming) doesn't seem to get much love at SD.
So I appreciate the suggestions.

I went and bought the PowerColor HD6950 currently on sale at SD.
SOmeone suggested adding a USB to HDMI/VGA adapter and skipping the video card altogether.
But I figured my USB is only 2.0 so I may have an issue if I'm watching a video that monitor since I'm not sure what the USB max bandwidth is and I'm keeping the resolution pretty high.
Plus I think this card is probably the best card my system can support given that the mobo has got PCI-E 2.0 (x16) and only a modest PSU (and I like the idea of maxing it out at a $50 pricepoint)

http://slickdeals.net/?lno=1&trd=PowerColor+Radeon+HD+6950+AX6950&pv=&au=&sdtid=8355805&sdop=1&sdpid=80387821&sdfid=9&mon=1&ref=1&u2=http%3A%2F%2Fflash.newegg.com%2FProduct%2FN82E16814131682

I figured this would give better performance and help it last another few years.
Do you think this is a good, cost effective solution?

Also I have plenty of DVI and HDMI cables, but no display port cables since I've never needed them. My Dell monitors seem to have DVI, HDMI and Display port.
Any idea what the best setup would be?
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Last edited by Bowser1313 December 9, 2015 at 03:30 PM
#5
Quote from Bowser1313 View Post :
Also I have plenty of DVI and HDMI cables, but no display port cables since I've never needed them. My Dell monitors seem to have DVI, HDMI and Display port.
Any idea what the best setup would be?
At 1920x1200@60Hz, they're functionally identical. Use whatever you have on hand.
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