3 Monitors For XP

My boss is wanting to start using 3 monitors at the office.  This is not for gaming, but for spreadsheets, pdf's, etc.  What video card should I purchase?  I do not need anything fancy.  He just wants to be able to put a different spreadsheet on all 3 monitors or a spreadsheet, pdf & Internet Explorer on each separately.  He is running XP Pro SP3 and will not upgrade to Windows 7.

I do not care about gaming.
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We need to know more about your machine. Is it old enough to only support AGP or PCI graphics, or is it new enough to support PCI Express? Also, most video cards are able to support up to 2 monitors. This means you will most likely need 2 video cards, each supporting 2 monitors; but you can run just 3. This also means his pc's mb needs to support 2 video cards.

Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
You have a choice - you can get one card which will probably be more expensive, OR, if the computer supports it (two PCIx16 slots - they don't have to be configured in SLI/etc), get two cards.  You may be able to use a Dual card (dirt cheap) and a USB based Video adapter (I'd be careful and definitly stay away from SIIG products; I bought one and it had several major limitations that a competing brand didn't seem to (sorry, not sure the competing brand, this was a while ago and while I never got the SIIG card working as I wanted, I never returned it or pursued a new USB card).
khuff71Author Commented:
I do not have all of those answers today.  His pc is about 1 year old.  
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Then it should support PCIe.

This card supports 4 DVI outs and has a decent rating, although I personally do not have experience with it.


The comments say it works with XP, but the system requirements state it needs a lot of power.

Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
Dell?  HP?  IBM?   Joe's Neighborhood Computer Shop Build?

And age doesn't really matter... SLOTS matter.  The more expensive it was the more likely it'll have two x16 slots.  If it only has 1, then you can get a multi- (more than 2) head card or dual head card and (a USB based adapter OR a PCI/PCIx1 video card - Performance, as noted, won't be great, but for spreadsheets and other basic business apps, it should be more than fine)

One other possible config - I have a Dell OptiPlex 320 that has a dual head card in it and an onboard card - they are able to run together and I have 3 monitors on this system.  I have a NEWER Dell OptiPlex 330 that has onboard video and one x16 slot - I can put a card in the x16 and get dual heads... but that shuts off the onboard card... so I can't use both.  BIOS/tech issue.

Another point, using a multi-monitor card (more than 2 monitors) will likely require a bigger power supply; using two graphics cards that aren't too powerful will likely NOT require a bigger power supply (by bigger I mean most systems come with a 300-400 Watt power supply.... it may be necessary to upgrade that to a 500 watt with a more capable SINGLE card.  Even dual cards MAY require more power.
Rob KnightConsultantCommented:

You have a few options at your disposal:

1. A PCIe Video Card supporting 3 simultaneous displays - something like and ATI HD5450 with Eyefinity (I believe it must have a DisplayPort socket) would work here (http://www.amazon.com/HIS-Silence-Eyefinity-Displayport-H545H1GDL/dp/B00365DY4U/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=electronics&qid=1301316076&sr=8-1)

2. Use a USB to VGA or DVI adapter (http://www.osoo.co.uk/StarTech_USB_DVI_VGA_External_Multi_Monitor_Video_Adaptor_Graphics_Adaptor_HiSpeed_USB_16_MB_DVI(199441).aspx)

3. Use something like a Matrox DualHead2Go or TripleHead2Go (www.matrox.com)

4. Use some other video splitter which will split a high resolution video signal to 2 lower resolution signals.



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