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Video Card & Monitor Purchase Mistake

Posted on 2011-02-15
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Last Modified: 2013-11-08
Hello Experts,

I recently asked a question on video cards, and I got some good advice from jimsweb, aleghart,  and couple of other experts.

The original question asked whether any of you guys were aware of any video cards that would allow three monitors.

A few suggestions came back - the easiest solution seemed to just purchase an additional card and attach the third monitor to it.

Therefore, I bought a  Sapphire Radeon HD 4350, I then bought a AOC e943Fws 18.5" Widescreen LED Monitor.

Today I attempted to install the new card only to find out that my Dell doesn't support additonal video cards. Further more when I called Dell the tech support person said there isn't a video card that supports 3 monitors at all. However, I'm quite sure you experts wouldn't have suggested it among your recommendations if it were not possible, so I don't think the Dell representative knew what he was talking about.

Any, I'm a little screwed, because I have a new video and monitor and I can't use either of them.

At one point I thought I might have been saved because the video card can accept HDTV, but unfortunately the monitor is VGA.

Can you guys come with any suggestions, other than returning the items?


Cheers

Carlton
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Question by:cpatte7372
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LVL 14

Expert Comment

by:athomsfere
ID: 34897853
What make is the Dell?

It should be possible, though not always the easiest or most reliable.

As a secondary note, most of the newer ATI 5xxx cards support Eyefinity, with 3 monitors per card, or 6 monitors with two cards.
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LVL 31

Expert Comment

by:Frosty555
ID: 34897901
To my knowledge most computer systems support only *one* video card. Either you use the onboard video card, or you install a discrete video card into the PCI-E or AGP slot and the system will use the video card, and NOT the onboard graphics anymore. All of my attempts in the past of installing several video cards have always failed - one of them is picked as the video card, and the other one is never used.

The only exception to this that I've found is if you had two video cards in an SLI or Crossfire setup. This requires two identical SLI/crossfire compliant video cards, and an SLI/crossfire compliant motherboard (which is typically the case if you have 2 or more PCI-E x16 slots on the board).

I can be wrong... when I google "three monitors" I find guides like this one which suggest that it IS possible to just "add another video card and it will all work", but I haven't personally had any success with it:

http://www.mahalo.com/how-to-set-up-three-monitors/

It may be that this is something specific to the motherboard you are using - a good quality ASUS board might support it while an OEM dell board might not. You might be out of luck here...

Can you link your old question?
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Author Comment

by:cpatte7372
ID: 34897960
My PC is a Dell Dimension E520

Cheers
0
 

Author Comment

by:cpatte7372
ID: 34898007
Frosty

The ID of my old question is ID: 26785835 |

And here is the link

http://www.experts-exchange.com/Hardware/Components/Video_Cards/Q_26785835.html

Cheers
0
 

Author Comment

by:cpatte7372
ID: 34898218
Frosty

I checked out the link, but I don't think its going to help me.
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LVL 25

Expert Comment

by:RobMobility
ID: 34898297
Hi,

I believe that it either uses an integrated Intel HD video adapter of ATI X1300 PCie or Nvidia 7300 PCIe video cards as standard.

I would suggest that you swap the new card for an ATI HD 5000 series card supporting EyeFinity and install this in the PCIe slot, replacing the existing card if appropriate.

Regards,


RobMobility.
0
 
LVL 1

Expert Comment

by:hemantdgr8
ID: 34898314
Sorry to ask as this may have been stated before, however, when you said that your Dell does not support additional graphic card, does it mean that it does not support external card and only has internal graphics. Because if you already have another external graphic card installed and your new ATI Radeon supports 3 displays simultaneously (It does DOES), you can just remove the old one and plug in the Radeon...
I am asking this because your Dell Dimension E520 comes with various options and one of them is just with the internal graphics where the customer will not be able to install any external graphic card as the motherboard does not have the port for same.
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LVL 25

Expert Comment

by:RobMobility
ID: 34898363
Hi,

According to AMD, any HD5000 series from HD5450 to higher cards supports EyeFinity:

http://www.amd.com/us/products/desktop/graphics/ati-radeon-hd-5000/Pages/ati-radeon-hd-5000.aspx

You'll need to make sure that the video card outputs are compatible with your monitors - i.e. you may need to use HDMI, DVI, DVI to D-sub dongles and/or displayport dongles to support your monitor setup.

Regards,


RobMobility.
0
 
LVL 31

Expert Comment

by:Frosty555
ID: 34898374
Okay from reading your previous question, it sounds like your current situation:

- Dell Dimension E520 desktop computer

- 1x Unknown brand PCI-E graphics card that you had before and confirmed you could connect dual displays to
- 1x newly purchased Sapphire brand ATI Radeon 4350, which has a DVI, VGA and HDMI output ports.

- 1x AOC e943Fws LCD display monitor which is VGA input only
- 1x Unknown LCD display that you had before, which I assume is VGA input

If your dell disables the onboard video card when you install a discrete one, I don't think you'll be able to hook up three monitors.

There are some video cards which have "DualLink DVI Ports" - where each DVI port can have two discrete displays on it, and you can buy a special splitter which splits the single DVI port into two. Potentially maybe some of the higher end video cards which have 2x of these ports could support up to four monitors?

However, that doesn't really help you, you said your monitors are both VGA, and in the case of DualLink you can't use a DVI->VGA adapter in that scenario.

I'll poke around and look at some video card specs and see if there's something I can find but it looks like you should return those items - your LCD screens need to be DVI, and your video card needs to support the multiple DVI displays.
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LVL 25

Expert Comment

by:RobMobility
ID: 34898412
Hi,

I note you only have a 305 watt PSU - make sure that any card you have bought/buy will not overload the PSU with the other components.

lower spec HD5000 series are designed for HTPCs are thus low power, but not for gaming etc.

According to AMD, the HD4300 series only has 2 display controllers, not the 3 of the HD5000 series:

http://www.amd.com/us/products/desktop/graphics/ati-radeon-hd-4000/hd-4350/Pages/ati-radeon-hd-4300-specifications.aspx

Regards,


RobMobility.
0
 
LVL 14

Expert Comment

by:athomsfere
ID: 34898419
Also worth noting is that not all ATI 5xxx cards support eyefinity.
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LVL 25

Accepted Solution

by:
RobMobility earned 500 total points
ID: 34898426
Hi,

You could consider a low cost USB to VGA dongle - won't perform as well as the video cards, but might give you a 3rd display with your existing setup:

http://www.google.co.uk/products/catalog?hl=en&q=usb+video+card&wrapid=tlif129778875689810&um=1&ie=UTF-8&cid=4892653317943015340&ei=Wq9aTd6iD9CXhQfy6rH-DA&sa=X&oi=product_catalog_result&ct=result&resnum=3&ved=0CDEQ8wIwAg#

Regards,


RobMobility.
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LVL 25

Expert Comment

by:RobMobility
ID: 34898456
Hi,

This claims multiple monitor support using multiple adapters:

http://plugable.com/products/uga-2k-a/

Regards,


RobMobility.
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Author Comment

by:cpatte7372
ID: 34898516
Frosty,

Thanks. Please let me know what you find after you've poked around.

Rob,

If Frosty doesn't find anything I think the VGA dongle maybe my only option.

What a bummer....
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LVL 25

Expert Comment

by:RobMobility
ID: 34898572
Hi,

As a thought, have you tried changing the BIOS to enable the onboard video as well as the add-in card so that you can use the integrated Intel card as well as the PCIe card? I believe that might be possible?

In the BIOS, set the Primary Video card to onboard - you'll need to plug in your VGA plug into the motherboard video output.

If I am reading the manual correctly, you'll also get a display from the PCIe card?

See page 116 of http://support.dell.com/support/edocs/systems/dime520/en/OM_en/NH730A01.pdf

Regards,


RobMobility.
0
 

Author Comment

by:cpatte7372
ID: 34898584
Frosty,

While you helping me, I thought I would let you know that I have

1x AOC e943Fws LCD display monitor which is VGA input only - just purchased
1x Unknown LCD display that you had before, which I assume is VGA input
1x DVI Display monitor.

I want to be able to hook up the newly purchased AOC e943Fws LCD display monitor.


Cheers

Carlton

0
 

Author Comment

by:cpatte7372
ID: 34898650
Rob,

There is only one slot for a PCI graphics card and that is taken by the card that the PC came with.

I thought there was another slot where I could insert another anothre PCI Graphics card, but it looks as though I was wrong.

Thererfore, it would appear my only option is to purchase a pci card that with three ports for three monitors, or use your suggestion of a dongle
0
 

Author Comment

by:cpatte7372
ID: 34898915
Rob,

The USB 2.0 Video Card sounds ideal. I know it supports more than one monitor but looking at the picture not sure how it accomplishes more than one monitor?

Anyway, going to see if they have it here in London.

0
 

Author Comment

by:cpatte7372
ID: 34898928
Rob

To me, you would need a USB 2.0 Video Card, per monitor. Is that correct?

Cheers

Carlton
0
 

Author Comment

by:cpatte7372
ID: 34899040
Rob,

Unless Frosty has any other suggestions I think the best and easiest solution is the low cost USB to VGA dongle.

I only need a third monitor to look at stock prices through a spreadsheet.

Cheers

0
 
LVL 32

Expert Comment

by:aleghart
ID: 34900307
USB video adapter is 1 unit per monitor.  The speed, I hear, is terrible, as it is using CPU cycles, not its own GPU to render the graphics.

The specs on that Dell E520 show (1) PCI-E 16x slot for add-on graphics card (taken, I'm assuming?) and (2) PCI slots.

To me, that says you can swap your own PCI-E graphics card for theirs.  That gives you 2-3 monitors, depending on the card.  You also have 2xPCI slots for graphics cards (yes, they still make them).

The specs on your card say it support 2 video outputs.

So, have you swapped the PCI-e cards already?  That upgrades you from 1 monitor to 2.  Then, scavenge a PCI card from your pile of leftover parts.  Your HD4350 only takes 22W at full output, so you should be able to power up another graphics card.  Or is that a special low-output Dell PSU?
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LVL 70

Expert Comment

by:garycase
ID: 34903110
Unfortunately, aleghart suggested a PCIe x16 card on your other thread -- which I assume is what you purchased.     Like most commercial systems, your E520 only has a single x16 slot, although it does have an additional PCIe x1 slot and a couple of PCI slots.     If you had purchased a PCI video card, it would work fine for the 3rd monitor, although it's easier to configure if you make sure it uses the same unified driver as your current video card (not a requirement in XP -- but necessary in later OS's).

Another alternative, as suggested in the previous thread, is to buy an EyeFinity card.    These DO support 3 simultaneous displays, but you'll need to use an ACTIVE DIsplay Port adapter for the 3rd monitor (unless, of course, you purchase a monitor that support DisplayPort -- which isn't the case here).

There are other alternatives [a USB-based video adapter;  a Matrox Dual/Triple-Head-2-Go; etc.],   but your best choice is to either use an Eyefinity card [a PCIe x16 card that you replace your current video card with] or to buy a PCI video card [the least expensive option at this point -- and it will easily support a VGA monitor such as your new AOC].
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LVL 70

Expert Comment

by:garycase
ID: 34903125
r.e. your comment "... There is only one slot for a PCI graphics card ..."  ==> No.   There is only one slot for a PCI Express x16 graphics card;  but the system has two additional PCI slots and one additional PCI Express x1 slot.    A PCI graphics card will work fine -- but NOT PCI Express.     Something like this will work fine:
http://www.misco.co.uk/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=413687&CatId=2906
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Author Closing Comment

by:cpatte7372
ID: 35026200
Bought the dongle .. working like a dream. cheers
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