Need advice on a video card to support 4 monitors.

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by Bluedog, Aug 14, 2011.

  1. Bluedog

    Bluedog

    I know this has been addressed many times in the past, but there are lots of new products in the market now and I need up to date information! So please don't tell me to use the search button!

    I need a video card for my new HP Z200 workstation to support four 21" monitors with Windows 7, please advise what my options are and what type of a video card I should get.

    Thanks.
     
  2. There are basicly two ways you can go: One way is to buy a newer AMD eyefinity card and buy 4 new monitors that all support the Displayport standard. Then you daisy-chain the monitors together and connect them to the displayport port on your video card. The disadvantage here is that displayport monitors are considerably more expensive.

    Or you can go with a 2-card solution, assuming you have a spare pci slot in your computer. Buy 2 video cards that can each support 2 monitors and connect 2 monitors to each card. Make sure the 2nd card you buy matches the type of pci slot you have free. Unless you already have 4 displayport monitors , this will probably be the more affordable solution.
     
  3. I pulled up the technical specs of the HP Z200. You have the following expansion slots:

    1 PCIe Gen1 x1 mechanical (x1 electrical)
    1 PCIe Gen2 x16 mechanical (x16 electrical)
    1 PCIe Gen1 x4 mechanical (x1 electrical)
    1 PCIe Gen1 x16 mechanical (x4 electrical)
    3 PCI (full-height/length)
    1 22-in-1 Media Card Reader (optional)

    http://h10010.www1.hp.com/wwpc/ca/en/sm/WF06a/12454-12454-296719-4270226-4270226-4100568.html#null

    For a low-cost solution, you can acquire 2 PCI based dual video cards. PCI is an older bus standard. They don't sell new PCI video cards any more. But you can find some on EBay. 2 dual cards will drive 4 monitors. Prices are probably under $20 for each card.

    Something like this: (Look for "PCI" and"Dual")

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ATI-Radeon-9250...009?pt=PCC_Video_TV_Cards&hash=item3f0cb2ad49


    If you buy a quad card, it can cost you $400+ for one card.

    I did not recommend 2 x PCIe X16 video cards (the current standard) because this HP box has only one X16. The other one is X4. I am not sure if the second card will work.
     
  4. bone

    bone ET Sponsor

    That particular box was never designed for your intention.

    It is a 'WorkStation' in name only - you get what you pay for.
     
  5. Thanks.. nice to know there is a one-card option for 4 monitors w/out needing displayport monitors.

     
  6. Bluedog

    Bluedog

    Thanks guys and thank you Bolimomo for getting this info!

    This is great information! I just can not believe this PC has only ONE X16 slot! :eek:
     
  7. Bluedog

    Bluedog

    I am just beginning to realize that!! I didn't do my homework when I was buying this PC and I guess the fact they called it "Workstation" had an influence on my decision to buy it! :(
     
  8. Bluedog

    Bluedog

    Well, at least this card is half the price of the "Matrox M9148 LP PCIe x16" card!
     
  9. I always advocate multiple dual cards instead of quad cards or hex cards for a few simple reasons:

    1. Inexpensive acquisition:

    1 quad card = e.g. $300, per monitor price = $75 per monitor
    2 dual cards = e.g. $20 each, per monitor price = $10 per monitor

    2. Replacement costs:

    If a quad card goes south, replacement = $300.
    If a dual card goes south, replacement = $20.

    3. Equipment failure risk:

    If a quad card goes south, outage = 100%
    If a dual card goes south, outage = 50%
     
    #10     Aug 15, 2011