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Old 12-07-2009, 01:29 AM
Victor Soich
Default trying to understand the interplay between video cards and 3 monitors in linux

Hi all,

I want to build a system for the first time. I'm a bit fuzzy on how
video cards and 3 monitors work. I will be asking my questions
pretending money is no object. What I mean by that last statement is
that I want to get 3 30" monitors, the LG W3000H, which costs
$1,159.99 at newegg.com


but realistically, I will maybe buy one 30" LG W3000H, and use two
existing monitors that I own. For the purposes of answering my
inquiry, please pretend that I will have three 30" W3000H monitors.

According to the specs of the W3000H monitor,


it's recommended resolution is 2560 x 1600, and it's connection is
DVI-D (Dual Link).

I want to run the three monitors at "full blast", i.e. 2560 x 1600.
So, presumibly I need two video cards like the

ASUS EN9600GT SILENT/2D/512MD3 GeForce 9600 GT 512MB 256-bit GDDR3
PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card - Retail
Silent V-Cool Heatsink with Dual DVI Output

whose specs are:


This card has 2 x DVI ports and supports Dual-Link DVI. So I guess if
I get two of these cards, I'll have 4 x DVI ports, and I can hook up
the 3 monitors mentioned above. Is that true?

Will I have enough "power" to run the 3 monitors? The Memory Size is
512MB? Will the monitors run at "full blast" so to speak. I
understand I'll have to configure some sort of xorg.conf file, but
what I'm really interested in knowing is if these two video cards
working somehow together will be able to power the 3 monitors. The
max resolution on the individual card is Max Resolution 2560 x 1600.
Since one monitor's resolution is 2560 x 1600, does that imply that 3
monitors running at 2560 x 1600, won't work with 2 video cards whose
individual Max Resolution is 2560 x 1600. Do I have to get more video
cards, or do I have enough?

These video cards I'm talking about use the NVidia chipset ? Do I
have to use the SLI technology from NVidia to run the two video cards

Furthermore, I'm leaning towards NVidia because they seem to work
better in Ubuntu linux. However, from what I can tell,
ATI is ostensibly, more open source, but their implementation of their
open source drivers are bad. Since I'm new to this stuff, I am
leaning toward NVidia, and hoping it'll "just work" when I finally try
to install ubuntu linux. Should I be dissuaded from this, i.e. should
I go with ATI, or to avoid headaches, should I stick with NVidia?

I cited specific components, i.e. monitors, and video cards above.
What I want to do is build a system that runs ubuntu linux with 3
powerful monitors ( my eyes suck....) and I figure I need two video
cards working together ( and I don't know if I have to take into
account NVidia's SLI technology, and/or ATI's Crossfire technology )
somehow. I want to know what kind of components I need, so that I
don't have to worry that I bought the wrong, or not powerful enough,
cards. I really don't want the hassle of having bought my video
cards, and monitor(s), and then having to return them because they are
not fully supported under linux, and/or not powerful enough cards.

Anyone who has gone through this "hassle" of trying to get 3 monitors
to work in ubuntu linux, please steer me clear of "bumps in the road".

Thank you,
Victor Soich

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