Second video card for third monitor?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Kiscica, Apr 22, 2008.

  1. Kiscica macrumors newbie

    Apr 22, 2008
    New York

    My Mac Pro came configured with the 8800 GT, to which I've connected two 30" HP panels. I've also got an old but very serviceable 24" Dell which I would like to use as a third monitor, rotated 90 degrees (i.e. in portrait orientation).

    The 24" would be for shoving mail, documentation, etc. windows to the side (incredibly, I find myself running out of desktop space even with two 30-inchers - never would have imagined it) so I don't need extraordinarily high performance - buying another 8800 GT would be overkill (and it's not 100% clear to me that I could run that configuration, anyway).

    At the same time it looks like I can't just rummage in my junk box and pick out a video card, since your typical el cheapo card doesn't have Mac firmware/drivers. So I'm unsure of the best way to get that third monitor up and running. This Mac Pro is actually the first desktop computer I've ever had that I didn't put together myself -- and I'm loving it! -- but I'm also in somewhat unfamiliar territory here as I'm used to crappy mix-and-match generic PC hardware.

    I just looked at Apple's site and they have an "ATI Radeon HD 2600 XT Graphics Upgrade Kit" listed at a reasonable-sounding $129. Can I just get one of these, shove it in there next to my existing 8800 GT, hook up my third monitor and be up and running? If so, are there any caveats? Any negative performance implications from running two different video cards at the same time? Importantly - would the ATI card support 90 degree (portrait) rotation of the image - independently of the other two monitors?

    If I can't or shouldn't take this route, is there any other way I can get a third monitor hooked up?

    As a relative Mac newbie I greatly appreciate the opportunity to appeal to the collective expertise of so many Mac mavens...

  2. Tallest Skil macrumors P6

    Tallest Skil

    Aug 13, 2006
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
    Just pop it in there. It'll work. You could, in fact, run two 8800 GT, but many people here will take out their envy on you by asking why.
  3. Kiscica thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 22, 2008
    New York
    Thanks for the reply! No, believe me, I don't want to run two 8800 GT's - looking for the least expensive solution.

    So, I won't run into any performance problems from adding the second video card, right? I mean, the second one won't slow down the first, or make it impossible to use the 8800's 3D optimizations, etc, will it? Sorry for the naive questions but this is territory I've never strayed into... And can anyone confirm that I will be able to run the third monitor in portrait mode off the 2600?

    Thanks again for the advice,
  4. jemo07 macrumors regular

    May 6, 2006
    Madrid, Spain
    I will try that same config today, I can follow up and let you know how it is working. I have a 2007 model so I do have the 7300 as an alternative for the third monitor.

  5. Mackilroy macrumors 68040


    Jun 29, 2006
    I don't have an 8800 GT (yet), but I am running two cards and two monitors, and you can indeed run portrait mode on one monitor without it affecting the other monitors/card at all.
  6. Kiscica thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 22, 2008
    New York
    Thanks everyone for the advice. I got the 2600XT yesterday, installed it, and - except for a disconcerting failure to boot the first time I powered up - everything is running smoothly. Being surrounded by over 7.4 square feet of desktop space is novel, but I'm definitely getting used to it :)

    Now I just need to find a good color calibration device and/or software. While I'm not doing exacting pre-press work or anything, I find the slight color differences between the three monitors to be a bit distracting, and haven't been able to eliminate them entirely by hand/eye calibration....
  7. dgdosen macrumors 65816


    Dec 13, 2003
    First off - two 30" monitors and you run out of desk space? I'd say you should learn to use Spaces! I plugged Spaces into an extra button on my mouse and now I can zip around multiple desktops with ease.

    Second - I have three monitors (3 x 20" 1600x1200) and I bought my Mac Pro with a single 8800, and just added the Radeon card - and it works... I don't play games much, so I can't tell a bit of difference. No problems on this end - I even run two of the monitors in portrait mode, so you're good to go....
  8. xraydoc macrumors demi-god


    Oct 9, 2005
    I have an nVidia 7300 installed in my machine to run two 20" Dell 2001FP 4:3 monitors periodically in addition to my main display (24" LG 246W) attached to the 8800GT. There's a picture posted somewhere on the PowerMac/Mac Pro picture thread. No problem with 90° rotation, either.
  9. jerms9500 macrumors newbie

    Jun 22, 2011
    Trying to add 3rd monitor to MacPro

    I have a Mac Pro Dual-Core Intel Xeon 2.66 GHz and am looking to get a 3rd monitor up and running. I installed a 2nd video card, a NVIDIA GeForce 7300 GT to hook up the 3rd monitor. It's currently connected via a DVI to VGA adapter.

    The Mac says it recognizes that there is a 3rd monitor hooked up and the 3rd monitor turns on with the mac purple light burst and stars background image showing. But the mouse cursor won't move over onto the 3rd monitor nor can I drag any open windows over to it. Is there a fix for this or any troubleshooting I can do?

    Or do I need to use a Mini DisplayPort + USB to Dual-Link DVI Adapter as well?

    This seemed like as easy, simple task to do at first. Thought installing a 2nd video card would do the trick, so any advice would be helpful. Thanks.
  10. chedda macrumors 6502

    Apr 17, 2006

    The display preferences panel is quite powerfull. I n the arrangement tab you can drag and position your displays to your liking also you can grab the white menu bar above file, view etc and place it on any of your screens making it the main monitor. I think a little play in the arrangements tab will fix your problem. Some apps do not like being split over 2 screens if they are different cards your main screens should be okay as they they use the 8800.
  11. IceMacMac macrumors 6502

    Jun 6, 2010
    I have a 30 and two 23 inchers and would have a hard time ever going back. Applications like Flash, After Effects and others have tons of panels...and it's nice to have most of the them right at your finger tips...and/or have a little screen real estate left over to monitor e-mail or have a script open in word, etc.

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