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Help me understand the low end PCIe video cards

Posted on 2006-10-28
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Last Modified: 2010-04-12
I'm currently running an AGP dual output card to drive my two monitors on my development system.  I'm getting a new system with no AGP - just PCIe 1 and 16.  The board has built in (shared memory) video - but I want to run two monitors (19" vga)  Many higher end cards come with twin DVI - and its obvious that those must support two monitors - (but maybe not analog)  Besides - I have no real need for that kind of card - I don't game or watch TV - I'm really boring - I just program!

But the cheap cards (and otherwise that's all I need) for PCIe all (or most) come with 1 vga and 1 dvi.  Do <all> such cards support dual monitors?  (using a DVI -> VGA adapter)

This MSI RX700SE-TD256E Radeon X700 SE when you go to the manufacturers site mentions
"Dual integrated display controllers" for instance.  But some others don't.  Some come with a DVI to VGA adapter - even though there's already a vga subD - I assume that means you use the adapter for the second vga monitor.  This link is to the NewEgg page for thiscard:  http://tinyurl.com/y3um62

If you have some guidelines for me to understand and pick a decent $50-$70 PCIe 256mg card that will support two vga monitors - earn some easy points and help me out.  TIA
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Question by:DMTrump
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garycase earned 1000 total points
ID: 17827685
Most cards with dual outputs support dual monitors.   And if the cards have DVI outputs you can simply use a DVI-VGA adapter if you want to use a VGA monitor.    As you've correctly surmised, if a card with dual outputs (one VGA, one DVI) comes with a DVI-VGA adapter you can be SURE it will work with two monitors => there's no other reason to ship the DVI-VGA adapter with it :-)

I'd suggest staying with ATI, Sapphire (ATI-based cards at a lower price), or eVGA (for nVidia cards) => they're all very well made and very reliable.  (there are, of course, other excellent cards -- those are just what I like to use)

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by:garycase
ID: 17827691
... here's a very nice card that's $1 over your budget :-)   http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16814130025
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by:garycase
ID: 17827695
... and an equally nice ATI-based card that's within your budget:  http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16814102053
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by:garycase
ID: 17827697
...  either of those cards would work very nicely for what you've suggested.   I tend to be partial to ATI-based cards;  but both are excellent cards and support dual monitor desktops very nicely.
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by:DMTrump
ID: 17827709
Thanks, that's just the confirmation I wanted.  I've been in this business a long time and I've learned never to assume!  
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Author Comment

by:DMTrump
ID: 17827712
I have always had very good luck with ATI - (using one now)  I think I'll go with that Sapphire card!  Thanks!
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by:garycase
ID: 17827717
I agree ... there have been many video cards made with two outputs that could NOT support both at once (especially in the early days of DVI outputs).   Not very many (if any) PCI Express cards like that ... but the safest indicator of dual monitor support is the inclusion of a DVI-VGA adapter (or two -- some cards have dual-DVI outputs; and come with two adapters).
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by:garycase
ID: 17827720
... crossed posts with your last one (r.e. the Sapphire card) ==> I agree the Sapphire card is a good choice :-)

... and You're welcome.

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