Running Four Monitors with SLI Video Cards

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by centralline, Sep 30, 2005.

  1. I wonder if anybody is using this new type of video card to run four monitors for trading.
    I look at the SLI specs and see that you can tie two dual-port cards together (Nvidia for example) to make four video outputs. They sit in two PCIe X16 slots, connected together by a short connector.

    I consider this setup but the cost holds me back. I have to upgrade my motherboard to be SLI compartible, buy new memory and new CPU with new socket type.

    I wonder if this setup is anywhere faster than using a Matrox PCI quad card to justify for the upgrade cost.

    Any input is appreciated.
  2. gnome


    It probably is faster in a benchmark sense. But as "video speed" is not a significant variable in trading, the speed alone would not justify the cost and effort.
  3. Chagi


    Whether or not it would be faster is dependant on the application. Keeping in mind that I haven't built or used a set-up featuring SLI yet, here is what I can tell you:

    - For gaming there is definately a benefit, two matching cards running in SLI mode on an SLI motherboard with the bridge connector attaching the two cards is indeed significantly faster than running a single card. In practice this is a very expensive proposition though, since (as you mentioned) you would be looking at motherboard + two video cards + very beefy power supply necessary.

    - For 2D applications (web surfing, charting, trading, etc.) there would be no performance benefit, aside from the ability to run more than 2 monitors.

    The only reason that I would consider a motherboard featuring dual PCI Express x16 slots is the ability to drive more than 2 monitors, I'm not a hardcore enough gamer to want/need to run SLI for gaming purposes.

    By the way, if you have a motherboard with a free PCI Express x1 (or greater) slot, check out this thread, Matrox is coming out with a new card soon:
  4. Depending on what you are doing, your video cards make a tremendous difference in performance. I have 10 machines for trading, I tried to cut corners once, will never do it again. For your trading machines, you want the best you can afford. That means the best of everything, a good video card should be top of your list.
  5. I would agree with you that no shortcuts should be taken on your trading systems. However, there is no sense in buying the best video card you can afford. For trading, you simply need high quality video cards preferably with a unified driver set. For multi-port cards, it wouldn't spend more than I would have to get either a Matrox Millenium or nVidia Quadro class of video cards. These are very stable and have excellent drivers. There is no sense in getting a Matrox G450 or a Kofax card. The extra power and 3D rendering capabilities are a waste for current trading applications.

    You would have to dig deeper into your pockets if you need dual head cards that run resolutions higher than 1280x1024.

    I hope this advice helps.
  6. wow, that's excellent advise...

    I often heard of one of these products, whether Matrox or nVidia as not being compatible or cross compatible when one (regrettably) mixes and matches their cards on their MB (motherboard)....

    I'm not sure which one it was, and would appreciate any comments regarding those known problemmatic issues with these monitor cards....

    now, to add to the discussions....

    having single pipelines to each monitor and not overtasking the cards by using splitter cables or doubling up on the cards is the way to go. one would not want to risk system failures and risk outtages due to being cheap and penny foolish on such an essential thing as the monitors underlying their system configuration.
  7. gnome


    There probably are not nearly so many "conflicts" as people think. While I've not yet tried to mix Matrox and Nvidia,
    either along with ATI has always been able to work for me.

    The biggest source of trouble is old schmutz on the HD, especially old video drivers. One should be prepared to do a fresh install of the OS if there is video trouble when adding new cards. The fresh install will almost always cure the ills.
  8. I agree. Much of the trouble is software based. There are many combinations of chipsets, MB's and hardware to list the conflicts.
  9. Thank you all for your advises.
    Looks to me there is no benefit for going to SLI.
    I will look for the other option.
  10. There's not much advantage to going SLI, but there is a lot of advantage to having two PCIe x16 slots if you're running multiple monitors. It depends on how much information you ask your cards to render. With PCI, I had to shut down a lot of graphics items at 9.25 a.m. to get real-time feeds. Twice a massive surge of volumen in an issue I was trading froze my computer.

    PCI slots share a single bus, and having a lot of monitors running off PCI is like having a single two-lane road. At rush hour, you risk having a traffic jam. PCIe gives you a dedicated 16-lane superhighway. No need to use SLI, if you have two PCIe slots then you can use two cards instead of an expensive quad-port, or if you want more than four monitors you can do that. You don't HAVE to use SLI on an SLI motherboard -- the BIOS has a dual-view option.
    #10     Nov 2, 2005