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Quick video question

Posted on 2013-05-11
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Last Modified: 2013-05-28
I'm having a mild case of Neural Vapor Lock.

Got a system with a DVI-I dual link card, and need to display on 2 VGA monitors in extended mode.
DVI to VGA adapter to 1 monitor works good.

My question -- do I need a DVI Y-cable with VGA adapters to the monitors, or can I just get a VGA Y-cable and use the single DVI/VGA I already have plugged into the card?
Or will either way work?
Rez will probably be not over 1024 x 768.

I don't need links, just which will work.
Thanks.
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Skyler Kincaid earned 125 total points
ID: 39159087
What is the model of the card? You want to start with making sure that it will support two monitors in extended mode. Most Y adapters only support mirror mode.

If it is a dual link card like I am thinking of you should be able to get an adapter that will plug in and have two VGA plugs on the other end.

Post the model number and I will let you know.

To answer your last two questions directly; most Y splitters only support mirroring and not extending.
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by:_
ID: 39159117
Card make is unknown and I can't crack the case till later next week. Pretty sure it's a PCI-E though.
Card has 1 DVI-I dual-link port and a S-video port.

I can get Extended with 1 monitor on the dvi/vga, and the other with the S-video (and a composite adapter). But the S-video/composite only shows up as black and white.

I know a vga Y-cable will clone, but can't remember if it will extend (though I don't think so).
I'm pretty sure a dvi dual-link will extend, but don't remember for sure (hence the NVL).

If push comes to shove, I will tell them they have to get another video card.

More background:
This is at a church. They just got this "new" computer to replace the existing setup. The second monitor is "remote" and was connect via coax (through a composite to RF converter, but had video noise). Actually it's 3 monitors, One is primary and two are cloned extended.
I have been piecemeal upgrading the security and computer system they have over the last couple of months.
One of the members decided to "help", and got them all excited about this new computer setup using vga, without me getting to check the specs, first.
Their prerogative.

I'm now trying to get it working without causing the guy too much grief, he was just trying to be helpful. Don't you just luv people that think they know what they are doing just because they deal with computers at their work.

And having to buy a new card is not what they are expecting from this deal.
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by:Dave Baldwin
Dave Baldwin earned 100 total points
ID: 39159167
Y-cables just create a duplicate image... if it works.  It can also interfere with the communication between the video cards and the monitors that is used to set the resolution.  Better would probably be one monitor connected to one side of the Y and a video/VGA buffer amp connected to the other side.  The amp can drive the other two monitors without affecting the monitor used to operate the computer.

If they want differing resolutions on the monitors, then a Y-cable and single video output won't work.

The coax was probably grounded somewhere along the path to maximize noise injection.
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by:speed_54
speed_54 earned 100 total points
ID: 39159333
It does sound like a single head video card. Dual head video cards have either 2 dvi ports or 1 vga & 1 dvi port. So yes you are right in saying the card is not up to what you need and yes you are right (and everybody else) that a splitter only mirrors displays. Note that it will also decrease the overall brightness and picture quality on both screens. What you could do is buy another graphics card with dual head, and give it as part of your tithes and offerings.
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by:Skyler Kincaid
ID: 39159467
I have ten cards I could send you :)

Here is a link to a cheap one that will do the trick:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=14-130-608

We use these and they work great. Anything with S Video is legacy.
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by:_
ID: 39159563
OK. Thanks guys. That's about what I thought.
Let me go see what I can find at the flea market...

>> ...give it as part of your tithes and offerings.

It's not my church. I got asked to help  via a family member, and being a little bored at that moment, said yes.
   ; )
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by:speed_54
ID: 39159936
Maybe they could give you the money back as part of their tithes & offerings
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by:_
ID: 39160004
I have a different plan in mind.  By the time I have all their bright ideas  and what-nots sorted, they will spreading the word I'm a genius. And I will be tapped into my own little client base.
{bg}

Anyway, I just heard the other guy is bringing in a dvi Y-cable to get this working. And when that doesn't work, I picked up a nice little EVGA GeForce 9400GT at the flea market a couple of hours ago.
Drop that in, hook it all up, and rock and roll.    

Then once again, I'm the genius !!    {wink}
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by:Dave Baldwin
ID: 39160265
Yes, you are.
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by:Delphineous Silverwing
Delphineous Silverwing earned 125 total points
ID: 39161320
I realize that you have found a work-around, but just to throw in my two cents.  If the DVI port is nothing but pins, versus having one or more blades, then it is likely a dual-monitor DVI port and you simply need the correct DVI to dual VGA cable.

Dual Monitor DVI cableDual Monitor DVI port
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by:me
me earned 50 total points
ID: 39161380
Like Delphineous said, I have used a single dvi port with a dvi to dvi-vga splitter to produce extended desktops.  It would only stand to reason that with this you could then hook up a vga y-splitter to clone the vga desktop to another monitor.
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by:_
ID: 39161894
minor updates:

- standard dvi-i port (has a blade)

- had a chance to take a closer look at things this morning. It's a flippin' Dell SFF. The 9400GT doesn't even come close to fitting in there.

I hope this guy is lucky. Because if that Y-splitter doesn't work, HE can go hunting for a low profile 2 port card that will fit in it, for next to nothing.

A quick look around shows either double wides with dvi-i ports or the a single DMS-59  port (no-blades) with a splitter (like Delphineous mentioned). Even a cheap 512 MB one like this one ($99.00) cost more the the computer did:
http://h30094.www3.hp.com/product.aspx?cache=1643184045&culture=en-US&sku=10295509

From what I can tell, the DMS-59 can do analog.

I have a couple of contingency plans worked out, so I think I am going to just sit back with a bowl of popcorn, and watch the fun.    : )
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by:speed_54
ID: 39162039
You are an evil man. You would do well in the lounge
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by:_
ID: 39162137
Thank you, sir.  Kind of you to notice.      ; )
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by:_
ID: 39169928
Giving xKincaidx the Accept, since he answered the original question first.
And splitting with others that made relevant contributions.

Here's what we ended up doing:

The guy didn't get a Y-splitter to try, and this needed to be working tonight.
So we went to the local Tiger Direct (formerly CompUSA) store to see what they had.
After looking at cards, cables, and 1 IN /x Out boxes, and talking to a tech that actually knew something, we went with the USB to DVI-I video device as the cheapest, easiest, and guaranteed to work option.

After a little playing with cable configs and Windows monitor settings, we ended up with the Primary screen on the card's DVI port and the Extended screens on the USB.
Then set the programs they are running, to use the USB.

Other than the USB screens not kicking in until Windows has almost finished loading (non-fatal issue), it works pretty good.

Thanks for the help.    : )
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by:Dave Baldwin
ID: 39169990
Cool, interesting question, thanks for the points.
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by:Horn E. Towed
ID: 39202114
Nice solution
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by:_
ID: 39202862
An update, just in case anybody is interested. You outta see what I have done to it now.

The pastor broke out 2 more 52" flat panels and another 15" flat panel.
So now I have three 52" screens running, and three monitor on the desk in the "control booth".

I made a s-video to composite cable that will carry the color signal and plugged it into the multi input 15" monitor and set it as Primary, for Windows stuff.

I have the video card dvi adapted down to vga and feeding a 1 In/ 4 Out box which drives two 52" screens at the front of the church (the congregation see them) and the 2nd desk monitor.

And the USB video adapted down to vga and a Y-cable to drive a 52" at the rear of the church and the 3rd desk monitor.
The program they are using can be set to clone the 52"s so every body sees the same thing, or you can peel off the rear monitor for the pastor to use like a "teleprompter", flash him messages, or post jokes and funny pics to try to throw him off his sermon (yeah, I know. I'm going to hell for sure).

So I'm about done with this part of the project, and they are happy (unless they keep after me to run it for them during services).

Next up: adding a video feed to the mix.  See you in the next Q...
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