Multiple video cards?

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by vic38, Jun 4, 2020.

  1. vic38


    System specs:
    Dell XPS 8900
    Core i7-6700 @ 4GHz
    32gb DDR4 RAM
    Intel HD Graphics 530 (integrated)
    AMD Radeon RX 480 8gb
    256gb SSD
    2TB HDD

    I have no monitors connected to the integrated graphics ports. I have the following 5 monitors (all at native resolutions) connected to the RX 480:
    DP port 1: 1920x1200; daisy-chained 1080x1920 (portrait orientation)
    DP port 2: 1920x1200
    DP port 3: 1920x1080
    HDMI port: 2160x3840 (portrait orientation)

    This monitor configuration is somewhat unstable. When the computer wakes from sleep, sometimes all the monitors wake up, sometimes 1 will not wake (not always the same monitor) - I can usually wake the sleeping monitor by going into Windows 10 Display Settings, where Windows thinks the monitor is connected and awake, disable the monitor and then re-enable it. Even when the computer is running, very occasionally a monitor will drop out and go to sleep.

    All the cables work fine with fewer monitors, so it's not obvious that it's a cable quality problem. But maybe when you're pushing the system, cable quality requirement is higher?

    Is it possible this config is too much for the Radeon card? If that's the case, what is the best option for making this 5 monitor setup more stable? If possible, I'd like to add a 6th monitor.

    I could move 1 or 2 monitors to the integrated graphics ports and enable integrated graphics in BIOS, but I'm guessing this is likely to result in BSOD's - this is what happened every week or so on my last couple of Dell XPS systems where I used both integrated and discrete graphics simultaneously.

    Maybe add another card without large power requirements (so that I don't have to upgrade PSU from stock unit)? Maybe something like the Nvidia NVS 510? Or should I go with another AMD card to avoid potential AMD-Nvidia incompatibilities?

    Or should my current config work fine, if I use higher quality DisplayPort cables?
  2. "Sleep" can be an issue with multi-monitor, especially with 2 or more video cards. Suggest NOT combining AMD and Nvidia cards.... they may work together or not.

    If you have more than one video card, they ideally should both be the same model. In your case, get another RX 480. If you want to switch to Nvidia, several good choices to easily run 8 monitors, if you care to.
    apdxyk, JesseJamesFinn1 and vic38 like this.
  3. vic38


    If I get another RX 480, I suppose I'd have to upgrade the PSU from the stock 460W unit? I do have a Corsair CX550M (550W) laying around that I think has the same dimensions.

    Maybe that would be enough for two RX 480's if I'm not doing any gaming, CAD, video editing? Multi-monitors is only for trading, which is 2D graphics.

    What are the Nvidia options to run 6 or more monitors off one card? And can they support a 4k monitor? One of my 5 monitors is 4k, and now that I've gotten used to it, I'd hate to give it up and replace it with 2 HD monitors to display same info.
  4. Presuming your mobo has at least 2x PCIE x16 slots... you can use 2x, 4-port Nvidia cards to run up to 8 monitors, no worries... like NVS 510, Quadro P600/P620/P1000/P2000. All are excellent. (Later/newer ones are faster and with more VRAM, of course.)

    All of which will run UHD resolution... 3840x2160, or better.
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2020
    vic38 likes this.
  5. KCalhoun

    KCalhoun Sponsor

    Good news, you do not ever need multisport gfx cards ever again, just use external usb adapters just $50 each. That's what I use for my 5 monitor setup, works great

    Last edited: Jun 4, 2020
    Turveyd and JesseJamesFinn1 like this.
  6. Turveyd


    Loads less hassle, slightly more draw time so maybe not if your a high speed scalper, no playing games on the USB driven monitors for sure.

    What I was going to suggest.

    Seen some 1 USB in and 4 ports out, but that'll slow the refresh down even more sharing the data across 4 screens.
    KCalhoun likes this.
  7. If I count correctly, this makes for a total screen size of (1920+1080+1920+1920+2160) horizontal x 3840 vertical pixels = 9000 x 3840 pixels. Is this RX480 card powerful enough to drive that amount of pixels?
  8. vic38


    I'm not sure how the pixel math works with monitors of different resolutions.

    And I'm not sure what the max the RX480 is capable of since the specs for graphics cards tends to focus on properties relevant to gaming/CAD/video editing/etc., not the relatively low performance (2D rendering) across multiple screens that trading setups require.

    I have a pair of Nvidia NVS 510 cards on the way. I'll remove the RX480 and install the pair of Nvidia cards and see if that resolves the issue; at the very least it should allow me to add another monitor. Funny how the solution might involve going backward in terms of graphics chip performance and vRAM (8gb to 2 x 2gb).
  9. No worries. The VRAM usage for 4x, UHD monitors in a trading rig in W10 is generally ~ 1.2GB... so video cards with 2GB VRAM are adequate.... and you'll have 2 of them. If you're running HD resolution, the VRAM usage is only ~350MB. (Video requirements for a trading rig are low.)
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2020
    vic38 likes this.
  10. Your daisy-chained monitors may have some limitations, but the video card was designed to run all ports at 3840x2160. The refresh rate could be an issue for gaming but not for trading. (Video requirement for trading are low.)
    #10     Jun 6, 2020