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G5 PCI Bandwidth - can handle 3 monitors?

Posted on 2003-11-24
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Last Modified: 2013-12-27
I have a G5 Dual 2 GHz which has an ATI RADEON 9600 Pro 64MB AGP Video card. I am using both outputs of the card to run two monitors in dual monitor mode, so that the two monitors act as two independent displays

Now, I'd like to add a 3rd monitor that mirrors the display of Monitor #1. I am concerned about PCI bandwidth, since I use the computer primarily as a native digital audio workstation, with a MOTU 424 card and three MOTU 2408mkIII interfaces . I don't want to add unnecessary traffic on the PCI bus that would compromise my main work. I am under the impression that the possible solutions are:

1. Adding an older PCI graphics card (something like an ATI Rage Orion, which is a simple 16 MB PCI graphics card) on the PCI bus, hoping that the card would not need a lot of CPU power or PCI bus bandwidth to achieve my goal

OR

2. Take the output of the ATI RADEON 9600 card that feeds monitor #1 and run it through a DVI splitter (such as the DVI splitter made by Gefen)

http://www.gefen.com/kvm/product.jsp?prod_id=1403

which will split the DVI signal into two without using the computer at all, but costs $299 US.


So, will the increase PCI bus traffic that is added by the additional PCI video card compromise my audio system performance such that it should be avoided, or would it be so insignificant with the G5 that it is not worth worrying about? I have a spare ATI Rage Orion on the shelf here, solution #1 would be the low cost one, but I want to do whatever is best.

Thanks in advance for your response.

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Question by:hertzgordman
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weed earned 250 total points
ID: 9815594
You wont even notice a difference. In fact you could fill the PCI slots with video cards without noticing a difference. Personally I'd go with option #1. We used to load up old 9600 machines (6 pci slots) with video cards and monitors for Photoshop work. No performance hit.
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by:hertzgordman
ID: 9818068
Thanks! That's pretty helpful. I'd like to  post this as a follow-up:

Thanks Weedman, I'm going to take your advice. It is certainly the lowest cost (and most flexible) solution. Keep in mind that DAW (Digital Audio
Workstation) work is real time, so the computer is rendering effects, playing virtual instruments, playing MIDI while streaming audio and video from disk (Firewire and SATA). I was under the impression that  Video bandwidth on the PCI bus was a processor hog. Am I being overly cautious or conservative?

Thanks again for your help.
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Expert Comment

by:weed
ID: 9822456
I think youre being overly cautious. It's common for video folks to have multiple video cards etc. People do it all the time and its not a problem.
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Expert Comment

by:dlpro
ID: 10154122
Hi hertzgordman,

How did the 3rd monitor work out for you? I want to do the identical thing. What kind of card did you finally purchase for the 3rd monitor?

Thanks
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