Triple monitor setup with ATI 4870

malcolm233391

macrumors member
Original poster
Oct 20, 2009
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0
So I want to connect 3 24" 1920*1080 monitors to my Mac Pro. I already have 1 connected through the Mini DisplayPort to DVI to HDMI.
Now I still have two monitors left and 1 DVI-I Dual Link port open. What kind of splitter can I buy to connect this 1 port to my two
monitors? And yes I know I should just add a GT 120, but I'd like to know what kind of splitter would work. Does best buy carry any of these? Thanks guys.
 

nanofrog

macrumors G4
May 6, 2008
11,719
2
Dream on! No card is going to give you three monitors with two ports.

Suck up to the GT120 for the 3rd monitor.
It can be done with a splitter (DVI Distribution Amp, simple example), but it's not going to work as the OP wants. The second monitor off the primary port is a slave, totally dependant on the primary's settings (resolution, frequency,... - i.e. you need monitors with the same specs, so that may not be a problem in this case). Where it is a problem, is it displays the same image. They're used for multiple monitor displays with the same content on screen in a store for example.

So if it's to have different graphics per monitor, a separate port is required, and means a second graphics card is necessary. ;)
 

UltraNEO*

macrumors 601
Jun 16, 2007
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近畿日本
So I want to connect 3 24" 1920*1080 monitors to my Mac Pro. I already have 1 connected through the Mini DisplayPort to DVI to HDMI.
Now I still have two monitors left and 1 DVI-I Dual Link port open. What kind of splitter can I buy to connect this 1 port to my two
monitors? And yes I know I should just add a GT 120, but I'd like to know what kind of splitter would work. Does best buy carry any of these? Thanks guys.

Well, it's technically possible but whether our Mac's will support it is another thing, both output from your ATI4870 should offer DVI-D. What you need to to buy a DL Spliter but you'd be displaying the same desktop on both displays that's outputted from one port - essentially viewing the same source on two displays or a display/projector combination.

The other option is to get a multi-display array, it'll split a single output into several sections creating an array, great for concerts, large-scale electronic billboards...


....geeks who like flight-sims (imagine)



However, if you want to have one main desktop and several extended desktops, you'll need one DVI/mDP output for each of the displays and its it's for more than two displays, you'll need a second video card.
 

nanofrog

macrumors G4
May 6, 2008
11,719
2
The other option is to get a multi-display box, it'll split a single output into several sections creating an array, great for concerts, large-scale electronic billboards...
Yeah, if you have 5 cards*, and a DVI Distribution Amp capable of driving 16 monitors. :eek: So add in a second MP too. :D :p

....geeks who like flight-sims (imagine)
3 cards*, 1 MP. Much easier. :D (Even leaves a spare port).

* Dual port models of course. ;)


...you'll need one DVI/mDP output for each of the displays...
Nice and simple. :D :p
 

UltraNEO*

macrumors 601
Jun 16, 2007
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近畿日本
Yeah, if you have 5 cards*, and a DVI Distribution Amp capable of driving 16 monitors. :eek: So add in a second MP too. :D :p
No No, a DVI Distribution Amp will take a single output and split it over several displays, up close the image is blurry but man they're expensive!!
Gefen does a cheap 1:4 module ($400), though it's not really useful for commercial applications.


If you want quality, get a Kramer Distribution Amp only USD$636.00. Does the same as the Gefen but high quality. Or if you like something on a grand scale, grab one of those 1:20 modules, just under $1000 (US)

 

nanofrog

macrumors G4
May 6, 2008
11,719
2
No No, a DVI Distribution Amp will take a single output and split it over several displays, up close the image is blurry but man they're expensive!!
Gefen does a cheap 1:4 module ($400), though it's not really useful for commercial applications.


If you want quality, get a Kramer Distribution Amp only USD$636.00. Does the same as the Gefen but high quality. Or if you like something on a grand scale, grab one of those 1:20 modules, just under $1000 (US)

I was basing it on the 9 center-most group each having a separate image (1/9 of the intended center image) + 1 surrounding image on 16 screens. So 10 separate image outputs. Dual port cards would result in 5 cards required. You still need a separate port for a different image, as they're not slaves as the surrounding monitors are.

As per Gefen, or any other make of DVI dist. amp, I've not used them. I'm only aware such equipment exists. The Gefen unit was the first one that popped up in a search. ;) :p
 

UltraNEO*

macrumors 601
Jun 16, 2007
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近畿日本
I was basing it on the 9 center-most group each having a separate image (1/9 of the intended center image) + 1 surrounding image on 16 screens. So 10 separate image outputs. Dual port cards would result in 5 cards required. You still need a separate port for a different image, as they're not slaves as the surrounding monitors are.
True, but wouldn't that depend on the user's setup?

As per Gefen, or any other make of DVI dist. amp, I've not used them. I'm only aware such equipment exists. The Gefen unit was the first one that popped up in a search. ;) :p
Yeah, the Kramer stuff is aimed towards a more professional market, most people will probably not buy them, use them or have any need for them. I've never owned any of them but there have been associates who use them on a daily basis.
 

MacVidCards

Suspended
Nov 17, 2008
6,096
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Hollywood, CA
With any luck, sometime in the next 9 months, it will be possible to have a single Mac videocard run 3 screens.

The 5700 and 5800 cards from ATI can do it on a PC...RIGHT NOW.

Soon, they will be selling a single card that can run 6 Mini Displayport screens at once.

With any luck we will have at least one of these cards running in OSX by summer.
 

nanofrog

macrumors G4
May 6, 2008
11,719
2
True, but wouldn't that depend on the user's setup?
As I said, it was based on Dual port cards being used, as they're currently the most common. As The Rominator pointed out, there's the possibility of cards with more ports available to be had, and a good chance that one will be able to run in a MP, though it may require injectors or a flash. No idea if Apple would allow say 2x DVI ports + MDP on say a Mac ed. 5870 for example (or others, such as 3x MDP's or 2x MDP + 1x DVI). Or some other port type, such as HDMI or a full size DisplayPort, and not hard to implement. Though I wouldn't bet on either any time soon.

Yeah, the Kramer stuff is aimed towards a more professional market, most people will probably not buy them, use them or have any need for them. I've never owned any of them but there have been associates who use them on a daily basis.
Might be fun to set something like that up though. ;) So long as it's a client footing the bill. :D :p
 

UltraNEO*

macrumors 601
Jun 16, 2007
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近畿日本
Might be fun to set something like that up though. ;) So long as it's a client footing the bill. :D :p
Yeah, the possibilities are endless.. Here's a few 30" ACD's in action, are you counting?


Not entirely sure where.. but man, that would make a lovely Home Cinema set up if they removed the boarders.


I think this one's at Stamford.

 

nanofrog

macrumors G4
May 6, 2008
11,719
2
Would this work? The Matrox Graphics Triplehead2go
http://shopmatrox.com/usa/products/datasheet.asp?ID=858
If you're interested in Surround Gaming, then I think it can (Mac compatibility listed for the software), but pay attention to the resolutions (3 units @ 1680 x 1050 for the Digital Edition or DP Edition for 16:9 or 16:10 format). Main page for the Triple HeadToGo line.

Check out this video as well. It's nice, but it's not the same as having 3 dedicated monitor ports. The graphics should show you what I mean (image stretched horizontally).

UltraNEO*, those are rather sweet. I'd hate to see the invoices though... ;) :p
 

malcolm233391

macrumors member
Original poster
Oct 20, 2009
43
0
If you're interested in Surround Gaming, then I think it can (Mac compatibility listed for the software), but pay attention to the resolutions (3 units @ 1680 x 1050 for the Digital Edition or DP Edition for 16:9 or 16:10 format). Main page for the Triple HeadToGo line.

Check out this video as well. It's nice, but it's not the same as having 3 dedicated monitor ports. The graphics should show you what I mean (image stretched horizontally).

UltraNEO*, those are rather sweet. I'd hate to see the invoices though... ;) :p
Yea I noticed. I think its going to go 1 Mini Displayport to DVI to HDMI and the Triplehead2go to split the remaining DVI-I dual link to the two other remaining monitors.
 

nanofrog

macrumors G4
May 6, 2008
11,719
2
Yea I noticed. I think its going to go 1 Mini Displayport to DVI to HDMI and the Triplehead2go to split the remaining DVI-I dual link to the two other remaining monitors.
If you're planning to use all 3 in a panoramic view, especially for gaming (motion graphics), it's not going to look right. Not sure on the resolution (more associated with the stretching due to the software than actual pixel resolution), nor the syncronization of frames (i.e. one is smooth, the other pair choppy in comparison).

More details on use would help. But the second card (say the GT120 for $149USD) is actually less expensive than the TripleHead2Go ($300USD for the Digital Edition from newegg).
 

malcolm233391

macrumors member
Original poster
Oct 20, 2009
43
0
Its not for gaming just a extended workstation so I think the resolution issues wont become a big issue. I just looked at the compatibility list and it looks like it supports the Mac Pro. I'll let you guys know how it works out and if I'm able to run 3 1920*1080 displays with 1 card.
 

nanofrog

macrumors G4
May 6, 2008
11,719
2
Its not for gaming just a extended workstation so I think the resolution issues wont become a big issue. I just looked at the compatibility list and it looks like it supports the Mac Pro. I'll let you guys know how it works out and if I'm able to run 3 1920*1080 displays with 1 card.
That's fine, but why go the more expensive product ($300 for the Matrox TripleHead2Go vs. $149 for the GT120 from Apple)? :confused:

What's the reasoning? Slots?
 

malcolm233391

macrumors member
Original poster
Oct 20, 2009
43
0
That's fine, but why go the more expensive product ($300 for the Matrox TripleHead2Go vs. $149 for the GT120 from Apple)? :confused:

What's the reasoning? Slots?
I heard some applications such as final cut pro don't work properly with two graphics cards and I don't know what kind of issues I would run into on boot camp. I would also have to get new power pins right?
 

nanofrog

macrumors G4
May 6, 2008
11,719
2
I heard some applications such as final cut pro don't work properly with two graphics cards and I don't know what kind of issues I would run into on boot camp. I would also have to get new power pins right?
Not sure about FCP, but there's others on the forum that can answer that one for you. Best to get that info first before buying anything anyway.

As per the GT120, no you won't need anything to deal with the power. It gets what it needs from the PCIe slot (up to 75W). :) That's one of the reason's it's the card used in base systems (goes with Apple's "green" mantra). ;)
 

Cindori

macrumors 68040
Jan 17, 2008
3,523
371
Sweden
A matrox triplehead gives you 1 display stretched on 3 screens. Only using card outputs, you get 3 different screens. So if you FullScreen an application, it will only show on that display. With the matrox, it stretches over all three.

That's why it is expensive. And that is why you get one.
 

malcolm233391

macrumors member
Original poster
Oct 20, 2009
43
0
A matrox triplehead gives you 1 display stretched on 3 screens. Only using card outputs, you get 3 different screens. So if you FullScreen an application, it will only show on that display. With the matrox, it stretches over all three.

That's why it is expensive. And that is why you get one.
YES! That's why I'm getting one. I believe it tricks the system into recognizing the two screens as one monitor.
 

nanofrog

macrumors G4
May 6, 2008
11,719
2
A matrox triplehead gives you 1 display stretched on 3 screens. Only using card outputs, you get 3 different screens. So if you FullScreen an application, it will only show on that display. With the matrox, it stretches over all three.

That's why it is expensive. And that is why you get one.
It's more to do with the software in actual function.

Think of the ATI HydraVision software that can run on the HD4870 (the Windows side; not sure if they included it in OS X on the Mac side, as there's no drivers or additional software available directly from ATI). It's not quite the same though. 1 DVI port can handle 2x monitors in Single Link mode, not 3.

The hardware can't do it on it's own though. There has to be software intervention to make it work.

Anyone know if Apple's included support for this in OS X?

I'm not sure, but I'd presume they did, as they'll sell multiple cards with their systems, and advertise that it's capable of doing it.
 

gugucom

macrumors 68020
May 21, 2009
2,136
1
Munich, Germany
As per the GT120, no you won't need anything to deal with the power. It gets what it needs from the PCIe slot (up to 75W). :) That's one of the reason's it's the card used in base systems (goes with Apple's "green" mantra). ;)
I can confirm that. This is why traders use it for 8 screen setups.
 

nanofrog

macrumors G4
May 6, 2008
11,719
2
I can confirm that. This is why traders use it for 8 screen setups.
I knew it was, as I double checked the specs some time back.

What I don't know, is if OS X has the ability to "stretch/tile" a single image across multiple graphics cards. I presume it does, but I don't know for sure, and it seems to the heart of the matter for the OP. A "Yes" could save s/he $151USD. ;)
 

Cindori

macrumors 68040
Jan 17, 2008
3,523
371
Sweden
Basically what you're suggesting is that we all have eyefinity, not on single cards but even cross cards, in our mac pros without even knowing it.

I'm afraid I'm calling BS on that one
 
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