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Old Dec 13, 2012, 08:57 PM   #1
jkheit
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10 Screens on a Mac Pro

Hi All:

I'm trying to figure out how to get 10 screens working together like one big desktop on a Mac Pro.

Currently I have a 12core 2010 Mac Pro with 2 ATI 5770 cards driving 6 30" cinema displays. Each of these cards are double wide.

I want to connect 4 65" LED displays.

Does anyone have an idea how I can do this? The Mac Pro has only 4 slots. The two 5770s take up 3 spaces (because of their doulbe wide size). The last slot has a OWC solidstate drive there. I guess I could remove that and use just a regular SATA SSD if need be, but would love to get this done with just 3 slots.

So some thoughts. There are two possible ways (ideal, and less ideal) that I can think of:

IDEAL way:
The ideal would be to find a single wide card that supports 5 or 6 displays, and use that. I know that some people have had success flashing single wide cards, but it's not clear if all the ports are usable. See here for an ATI card with 3 ports, single slot, that's been flashed:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Apple-Mac-Pr...item23240af2e7

Also, it's not clear if you could get 4 of those cards working to drive all 10 screens.

However, there are single wide 5/6 display cards like this:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...&SID=u00000687

Has any seen or know of a 5 port card like the above that has been flashed to work in a Mac Pro?


LESS ideal way:
My guess is there are some PCI expansion chasis, and I can just put in 2 more regular ATI 5770s there. I found this:
http://www.jmr.com/en/products/14/3-slot-pcie-extender/
and this
http://www.magma.com/catalog/classic-pci-expansion

I'm not sure how well these extenders work.

EVEN LESS ideal way:
Perhaps getting another Mac or PC and somehow VNC'ing in is an option, but this likely would be too laggy to run video from one computer to the other. The ideal is to just treat the system like one giant screen, but I'm open to hearing any experiences/suggestions on getting this to work.

Thanks so much!
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Old Dec 13, 2012, 09:02 PM   #2
BigJohno
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Don't think it possible.... Do you need to have different things on each screen or are you mirroring? At school my teacher has a switcher and she can project her screen on 30 pc's.
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Old Dec 13, 2012, 09:18 PM   #3
jkheit
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Originally Posted by BigJohno View Post
Don't think it possible.... Do you need to have different things on each screen or are you mirroring? At school my teacher has a switcher and she can project her screen on 30 pc's.
Yea, I need to display different things. The 4 large screens need to be their own large desktop.
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Old Dec 13, 2012, 09:46 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by BigJohno View Post
Don't think it possible.... Do you need to have different things on each screen or are you mirroring? At school my teacher has a switcher and she can project her screen on 30 pc's.
I think there may be another option, but I'm not sure if any of the current video cards 5770, support this:

http://cirago.com/wordpress/products...ters/hdx3dp01/
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Old Dec 13, 2012, 10:01 PM   #5
MacVidCards
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6870 cards have supported 4 displays for awhile now.

Many Nvidia cards from 6 series do as well.

So 2 @ Double wide cards giving you 8 displays. A single additional card with 2 ports (single wide) and you have 10.
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Old Dec 13, 2012, 10:26 PM   #6
jkheit
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Originally Posted by MacVidCards View Post
6870 cards have supported 4 displays for awhile now.

Many Nvidia cards from 6 series do as well.

So 2 @ Double wide cards giving you 8 displays. A single additional card with 2 ports (single wide) and you have 10.
This is great. Are any 6870's know to work plug-n-play on the Mac Pro without any flashing? Are there any single slot versions that work? Are these cards known to be quiet, or are there particular brands that are known to be quiet?

Thanks so much!
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Old Dec 13, 2012, 10:52 PM   #7
jkheit
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Originally Posted by MacVidCards View Post
6870 cards have supported 4 displays for awhile now.

Many Nvidia cards from 6 series do as well.

So 2 @ Double wide cards giving you 8 displays. A single additional card with 2 ports (single wide) and you have 10.

Does anyone know if people have tried a single slot 6850 card, and if it worked/supported 4 displays. Something like this would work:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...=1sp4ko5rd3sde

I could leave the 5770 in slot one, for 3 displays, and then put the above in slots 2 and 3, and that would give me a total of 11 screens...
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Old Dec 13, 2012, 11:09 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by jkheit View Post
Does anyone know if people have tried a single slot 6850 card, and if it worked/supported 4 displays. Something like this would work:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...=1sp4ko5rd3sde

I could leave the 5770 in slot one, for 3 displays, and then put the above in slots 2 and 3, and that would give me a total of 11 screens...
After reading up on it, it seems that the 6850 supports 3 displays. So perhaps I could do one 6870 (4 displays) in slot one, and then 2 single slot 6850's or 5770's in slots 2 and 3. This would give 10 displays.

I have 2 questions then:

(1) What is the quietest 6870 card people have successfully used in a Mac Pro?

(2) What is quietest single slot 6850 or 5770 card successfully used in a Mac Pro?

THANKS!
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Old Dec 13, 2012, 11:53 PM   #9
phantax
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You could drive those 3 TV's from a single DVI port using something like a Matrox TripleHead2Go.

The PowerDesk software for the mac isn't as good as the windows one for managing the separate screens, but if you can't get the software to work properly, if you can make due with them being treated as one large 5760x1080 (3x 1920x1080 or whatever) screen then it should work for your purpose.
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Old Dec 14, 2012, 01:06 AM   #10
MacMilligan
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I believe both nvidia and amd only support 2xscreens over DL-DVI, to get the other two screen per card you need to use the DisplayPort connections. You can get active DP->DL-DVI if you need them for high resolution screens. If they will be 1080p, then you can use passive adapters.

The other option depending on your resolution is to use a Matrox Triple head to go, but those are pricey.

I'm curious, what do you do with 10 screens? Stock trader, security, or something?

Also, will you need single slot GPUs? That narrows the list quite a bit.
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Old Dec 14, 2012, 05:14 AM   #11
Lesser Evets
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Keep this thread updated for what you finally do. I'm curious if the Pro can indeed support so many monitors.
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Old Dec 14, 2012, 01:54 PM   #12
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Matrox dual head or tripple head is worth looking at, pretty expensive though but if you have that many monitors then you have a large budget anyway!

http://www.matrox.com/graphics/en/pr...go/digital_se/
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Old Dec 14, 2012, 10:01 PM   #13
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