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Dual display DVI...nVidia, Matrox or 3dLabs?

Posted on 2005-03-28
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Last Modified: 2010-04-25

I want to use 2 LCD monitors. I have looked at video cards from nVidia Matrox & 3dlabs that can do this. I don't need cutting edge, and plan to spend ~$200

Does anyone have experience with any of these. Which has software that works the best. I have experience with nvidia, and it works great. The 3dlabs card is cheaper. Matrox Phaelia looks pretty cool. What to do?
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Question by:hgj1357
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Expert Comment

by:davidis99
ID: 13649066
If you want a single card that can run dual displays, there are a number of nvidia based cards that can provide dual output for under $200, and many that can do so for under $100.  (I've got several laptops at my office, and my desktop, running dual monitors using a Jaton nvidia FX5200 card that runs a bit under $100.)  (Jaton Video 228PCI-Twin - graphics adapter - GF FX 5200 - 128 MB).  

That card is PCI;

http://www.cdw.com/shop/products/default.aspx?EDC=567326

while the Wildcat (I'm guessing this is the card you're looking at) is AGP, and 3dlabs is traditionally a very good vendor for 3D graphics cards,

http://www.cdw.com/shop/products/specs.aspx?EDC=441451

while Matrox is better for 2D products, though they do have very flexible drivers.

http://www.cdw.com/shop/products/default.aspx?EDC=493074

In part, the type of card you get is going to depend on what type of monitors you have (are they VGA or DVI connectors) and whether you're putting this card in a PCI, PCI Express, or AGP slot, as well as what type of performance you want out of the card.
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by:hgj1357
ID: 13649160
I have 2x DVI's one is 1680x1050 the other is 1024x1280 (landscape)

Specifically I am looking at:

NVIDIA 128MB-DDR Quadro4 900 XGL [ebay]
Matrox Parhelia 128MB Dual [ebay]
3Dlabs Wildcat VP560 [CDW]

I say 'looking at' although I don't know what these look like.

At work I have an nVidia Quadro and I like the software very much. It allows me to set defaults for each application;  excel in montor 2, cad in 1 etc. It also allows me to have dialogue boxes on one monitor with the application in the other (very useful for MS Access).

I have used 3dlabs cards before and been impressed. Same for Matrox.

I am more concerned with the multi-monitor software they use than the hardware itself.
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by:hgj1357
ID: 13649181
I should point out that when I said:

"I have used 3dlabs cards before and been impressed. Same for Matrox."

I meant single head cards. I've not used these two in dual mode.
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LVL 15

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davidis99 earned 750 total points
ID: 13708341
I've been satisfied with Matrox and Nvidia dual display options - I've used Matrox cards for a variety of dual display options for years with Windows 98, NT, 2000, and XP. while my experience with Nvidia dual display is only fairly recent.   For comparison purposes, you may want to look at the manual for the Matrox Millenium/Parhelia cards by downloading it from:

http://www.matrox.com/mga/support/user_manuals/parhelia_pseries/home.cfm

in the language you prefer (which I'm going to guess would be the link to the english version.)
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LVL 5

Expert Comment

by:J-A-L
ID: 13713763
Your best bet could be as little as an ATI 9550 with dual head (VGA + DVI) or a 9600, or 9800 Pro... but in US dollars, the
nvidia 6600GT is a good bang for the bux... lots of power and has dual head.  Can't go wrong with either ATI or Nvidia.

Jeff
at yourtechonline.com
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Author Comment

by:hgj1357
ID: 13713786
I need 2x DVI, so these products will not work.
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