Anybody successfully runs 10+ monitors in Win7?

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by Bolimomo, Mar 10, 2011.

  1. Has anybody set up 10 or more monitors running in Windows 7 (64-bit Ultimate edition)?

    My video cards: EVGA 8200 GS cards. All of the same model.

    For 8 monitors with 4 video cards: Win7 was happy and ran perfectly. Yesterday I tried to add a 5th card. At first Windows kept locking up and crashing. I only found out that the card I used was bad. I put in a different one (tested as good). This time, no blue screen, but...

    Windows took a long time to come up from each reboot. Windows 7 sees all 10 monitors all right. But... CPU spent around 20% (i7-950 quad core processor) just tracking the mouse movement. Whenever I drag the mouse across the screen back and forth, it sent the CPU usage up high. This is not good. Back to 4 cards 8 mons, perfectly happy. During idle, CPU was less than 1% busy.

    Some weird thing with Windows. Sort of like the monitors placed in Portrait. If it jams the CPU to 20% busy when nothing (no app) is running.

    I read somewhere that said ther is no pre-determined limit on the number of monitors Windows 7 supports. It can be up to the video card vendors.

    If anybody has been successfully running Windows 7 with 10 or more monitors, please share your experience. And what video card(s) [make/model] do you use?
  2. I saw a picture online of W7 running 64-monitors.
  3. What does the GPU manuf say about this?
  4. Don't think the GPU manuf has anything to say about it... it's an OS issue.
  5. cokezero


    You maybe running out of bus bandwidth. The bus bandwidth is shared and with 5 video cards the chipset may not be able to handle it. If this is the case the solution maybe to upgrade to the newer sandy bridge with P67 chipset which could have higher bandwidth (I'm not sure though, please research), or you can use fewer video cards.

    I've been running 9 monitors with 2 of these

    and 1 of this:

    This setup is capable of 10 monitors. I didn't throw in the last monitor because I'm running 3 x 3 LCDs which is a perfect rectangle and I don't want to ruin it with an extra one :)

    The beauty of these cards is that it has PCIe 1x model so that you can plug it in a server which commmonly comes with a lot of PCIe 8x or 4x slots. It also has PCI and PCIe 16x models so you don't have to worry about running out of slots in most boards. I've mixed and match PCI models with PCIe 1x models and they work seamlessly. Haven't tried PCIe 16x though as my server doesn't have a PCIe 16x slot.

    Make sure you don't mix firePro with fireMV because they needs two different drivers and I got blue screen when I tried to mix them. The name of the 2260 is fireMV but in fact it uses a firePro driver so you can mix and match with other firePro cards.
  6. cokezero


    Come to think about it in your case the easily solution maybe to simply replace one of your Nvidia two port cards with a four port model so that you can eliminate 1 video card.

    Nvidia video drivers have excellent compatibility unlike ATI so that you can mix and match most of the models using the same video driver. Just make sure the new 4 ports card uses the same driver as your other 2 ports card and the chance of this setup working is high.
  7. as mentioned, you are going to max out your bus speeds - and with 10 monitors why not just run 4 & 6 on two machines?

    If you want a single keyboard then you could use something like Synergy across 3-4 machines even. You have been around the block enough to know you have to pay to play - time to cough it up and buy two high-end 6-port video cards...

    If I were you I'd get a dual-cpu setup and run lots of ram as well.
  8. Thanks for the suggestions Scataphagos, Cokezero and TJ. You guys are probably right. Some bus bandwidth issue. Never thought that might be a showstopper.

    Well TJ I already have 3 i7 boxes. 2 each drives 6 monitors. This is the third one I just set up. Driving 8 mons. I still have 4 to 6 mons that I want to hook up. But 3 i7 boxes are enough. CPU speedwise they are plenty good. Network bandwidth okay. Just can't get more damn displays per box.

    3 desktops, 3 separate keyboards. I like it that way. :) Plus my laptop.

    I hooked up some SIIG USB-to-VGA adapters. They worked okay as the 9th monitor. I am sure the 10th one will work okay. I don't prefer this route because the adapter only goes to 1680 x 1050. On my 23" mon. I am missing a chunk of display.

    I might need to try the route of using quad cards.
  9. I may have found the cause of the performance issue with driving 10 monitors from my box.

    With my MSI Big Bang XPower motherboard, the manual said:

    1 or 2 PCIe x16 slots occupied: will run each @ x16
    3 or 4 PCIe x16 slots occupied: will run each @ x8
    5 or 6 PCIe x16 slots occupied: will run each @ x4

    So when I plugged in the fifth card, all cards were running at x4 speed. I think that's why the performance suffered significantly.

    Question to the community: Have your ever run your graphics card at the PCIe bus at x4 speed? Would x4 be adequate for the graphics display?

    On the thought with quad cards:

    I searched for EVGA cards. Couldn't find any model that offers 4 video outs. It seems only a few cards offer 4 and upward number of video outs. And their prices are quite a bit higher. (I got my EVGA cards at $19 with rebate, $39 without). A quad card can easily cost >$300. So I would need to spend $600 extra just to do an equivalent of what I have now, and $900 to support 10-12 monitors. (More expensive than the PC itself.). This doesn't make economic sense. I would be better off buying 2 to 4 USB-to-VGA adapters. I know this would work. $70 each, that would be $280 to support 4 more monitors.

    Or buy another motherboard that will drive all PCIe x16 lanes at x16 speed (or at least x8).
  10. Motherboard will probably be cheaper than buying a few new quad cards but its up to you. I wouldn't want to run quad cards at x8 - you want x16.
    #10     Mar 12, 2011