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Multiple monitors from one computer

Posted on 2008-10-22
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Last Modified: 2013-11-06
Hi Experts,

we have 5 22" Dell monitors, I am about to purchase a computer that will display on those 5 monitors.

my client has a hair salon and would like to display pictures of hair cut on those five monitors , but different pictures at the time , like a different sliding show or rotating images. how can I accomplish that with one computer? or do I need to purchase 2 computers? and which video cards would work the best for me , I don't want to spend crazy money on it , I just want to display images on those five monitors. now my other issue is that 2 monitors will be placed 25 feet away from the 3 others. do I need to boost the signal or would it be fine if I just buy video extension cords.
Thanks
DAvid
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Question by:taverny
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rindi earned 300 total points
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You could do this pretty easily with Linux installed on the PC, and the images used as wallpapers. I for instance have an old Dell laptop with a docking station and the newest KDE version of Linux Mint installed. An external monitor is connected to the docking station and the system is setup to span the display across both monitors. I have configured the Desktop to use different Wallpapers in a slide show and the pictures are shown in random order in 1 minute intervals. The laptop's display and the external monitor now shows a different background picture and those change every minute. It works without hitch.

http://www.linuxmint.com/

I think matrox makes good Grafic adapters with multiple heads, but I don't know if they have a card that has more than 4 heads.

Also I'm not sure about the distance. Generally you should just go to a PC shop and see what length the longest monitor cable is they have.
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by:Callandor
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Get two Matrox Parhelia cards with three heads each http://www.realtimesoft.com/multimon/reviews/parhelia/ and extend the desktop.  Bring up separate windows with slideshows on each window in the five monitors.  A good quality VGA cable will work at 25 feet; I have used 30-ft and 50-ft ones from ramelectronics: http://www.ramelectronics.net/computer-parts/computer-cables/monitor-cables/vga-connector-cables/svga-monitor-cable-mvc-90105/prodMVC90105.html
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by:taverny
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Hi Rindl,
Thanks for your response.so basically I just need a simple machine PC with no Windows on it and I just have to install linux . Correct? I am sure the machine needs enought Ram to process those images.I will make sure I get that.
I had never installed linux or use linux . I should be able to figure out how to install it, but here is my other question can I remotely connect and control this workstattion over the internet or LAN , since I will not leave a keyboard or mouse at the station.
Is the wallpaper slide show included in the linux mint or do I need to download it from somewhere else. If like you said I only need a computer and the proper video cards , then I might be able to purchase 2 station one running with 2 monitors and one running with 3 monitors.
you said tha tyou are familiar with the Matrox card , can you please give me a model number that you know or may be the card that I should get for a 2 monitor and a 3 monitors.
Thanks so much
DAvid
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by:taverny
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another question do I need the light or the Full edition from Linux Mint?
thanks
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by:rindi
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Mint is a very easy to install distro.

Linux is also an OS that is very often managed remotely, so yes, you can connect to it and manage it that way.

Callandor has posted the matrox card I was thinking about. You will need a PC that can handle the two cards (1 AGP slot for the first card with AGP, and another PCI slot for the matrox card for PCI). Make sure one of the cards is for PCI, as mainboards usually only have one AGP slot.
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by:taverny
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Callandor,
sorry I just saw your post after posting mine.
my question is what slide show are you using ,is it already in window or a separate program.
also when using a card like that can't I use the video output from the motherboard has an extra output?
Thanks
DAvid
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by:taverny
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Ok so know I have 2 solutions , which one do you think would work better , windows or Linux for this task?
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by:Callandor
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You can use most free picture viewing programs, such as IRFanview and Adobe Image Viewer - they typically have a slideshow option.  Most motherboard video ports will not work with a separate video card, so you can't use both.
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by:Callandor
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Windows or Linux will work; Linux will be cheaper, since it is free, but you need to understand how to use it.  I use Ubuntu 8.04, which is easy to install and use.
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by:rindi
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If you use the motherboard's video port, then you can't use an AGP card. It should work together with PCI video cards, though.

I'd get the KDE elyssa Community edition:

http://www.linuxmint.com/edition.php?id=28

I prefer Linux as it is free.
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by:taverny
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Hi guys,
I finally got my computer with the 4 screens. I actually ordered it with XP on it since I feel more comfortable with it. I used the picasa slide show , but I don't have too much control of the settings. I have try the IRFanview but this doesn't display different images on different screen.
Do you know another software that would do the job. Let's say I have screen A B C and D . I would like to have 4 differents pictures on each screen and then have picture A move to B , B to C, and C to D and have a new picture load into A.
Do you know any of a program that do that?
Thanks again
DAvid
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by:rindi
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If you open a separate instance of irfanview on each display you should be able to get an individual slide-show running for each. This might get difficult to get done remotely though.
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by:taverny
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I thought about that but that's gonna be complicate to time all the slide show. I am sure there is something out there that would do the job
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by:taverny
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Hi guys,
I am back to this again. I was able to show different pictures on each monitors by using the google slideshow. my only problem is that I can't control the pictures showing on different screens.
basically one screen needs to show a set of differents picture from the other monitors( 2 different screen save at the same time..
do you have an idea on how to accomplish this task .
Thanks
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