How do I connect 8 Monitors to This Desktop ?

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How do I connect 8 Monitors to This Desktop ?

Postposted on Tue Sep 20, 2011 7:28 am

Hi,

I have XPS 8300 Desktop from Dell with following specs.

I didn't foresee that I would need 8 monitors when I ordered this PC.

But now I do. I want to connect 8, 24 inch Dell U2412M monitors with Max Resolution of 1920x1200 on each of those 8 Monitors.

I don't play any games at all but do watch Videos.

What hardware changes do I need to make to connect 8 Monitors to it ?

I have not bought the monitors yet.

Dell XPS 8300

One PCIe 16 slot

3 PCIe 1 slots ( One is Free ) ( Other 2 have sound card & TV Tuner Card & I can throw them away if those slots are needed )

460 Watt Power Supply

i7-2600 Processor (3.4GHz, 8MB Cache)

Chipset Intel® H67

8GB (4X2GB) DDR3 SDRAM 1333MHz Memory

NVIDIA GeForce GT530 - 1GB GDDR3 (VGA/HDMI/DVI)

Windows - 7 Ultimate ( 64 bit )


Thank you all.
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Re: How do I connect 8 Monitors to This Desktop ?

Postposted on Tue Sep 20, 2011 8:02 am

just for clarification...u have the GT530 installed and an additional free PCIe 16 slot, or the one slot you have has the GT530 in it?
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Re: How do I connect 8 Monitors to This Desktop ?

Postposted on Tue Sep 20, 2011 8:12 am

Fernando!
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Re: How do I connect 8 Monitors to This Desktop ?

Postposted on Tue Sep 20, 2011 8:24 am

I'm guessing you don't have much of a budget constraint considering you're looking at about $2,700 in monitors alone, so I think the most elegant solution for you would be something like this:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6814129184
with one of these riding shotgun:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6814161354

I think keeping both AMD/ATI should alleviate any potential driver compatibility issues you might run into. Since all your monitors appear to have Displayport on them, you'll probably only need to get a few more adapters or cables to make the eyefinity card work and then you'll have one on DVI from the pcie 1x card.

Not sure about your power supply - 460watts might be OK if you don't have a ton of hard drives as well. I'm not sure about Dells anymore - it used to be that their power supplies weren't standard pinouts, but I imagine that is probably not the case anymore. If you're considering replacing the PSU, a good quality 550-650 watt unit will serve you well. Again, not sure if you even need that, though. Looking at Dell's website for the XPS 8300, you can get a single Radeon 6870 as a build option, so I would suspect the power supply should have appropriate connections (2x6 pin) and power reserves to run the eyefinity and the pcie 1x card without issue.

Curious question - how are you going to arrange 8 monitors so they're somewhat useful without having to swing your head back and forth constantly?
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Re: How do I connect 8 Monitors to This Desktop ?

Postposted on Tue Sep 20, 2011 8:31 am

You have two options: one big card and one little card (or two), or four small cards. I assume you want a digital connection to all of the displays. Those Dell monitors have DisplayPort and DVI, which is good, and HDMI can easily be converted to DVI, however on many cards the HDMI port's signal is shared with a DVI port- which is bad.

For the first route, an AMD Radeon 5800/6800 GPU supports six independent displays, however not all cards have the outputs for that many. For example, a Radeon HD 6870 has two mini-DisplayPorts, two DVI ports, and an HDMI port. The HDMI port is shared with one of the DVI ports, so forget about it. The DisplayPorts on a 6800 card are DP 1.2 ports, which means you can dasiy-chain two monitors off each of them. This gives you four DisplayPort connections and two DVI connections on one card, for six displays.

I am not certain a Radeon 6870 will fit in that Dell case, however. It would also likely necessitate a power supply upgrade.

There's also an "Eyefinity 6" version of both the 5870 and 6870; these cards will have six mini-DisplayPorts, which will simplify wiring for you, but these cards are very rare and very expensive: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6814129184

Newegg does have one interesting card, a Radeon 5770 with five mini-DP ports, for only $129.99. With this card, you'll need two PCIe x1 cards, but that is probably doable with the Dell's power supply. It will also definitely fit inside the Dell.

Link: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6814150566

For PCIe x1 cards, your options are limited.

The cheapest x1 cards on Newegg that I'm sure can drive two digital displays are an Nvidia Quadro NVS 300 and an AMD FirePro 2270, both of which offer a DMS-59 (dual DVI) port for $114.99. The cheapest dual-DP card is an AMD FireMV 2260 for $129.99. There are cheaper x1 cards, but they only have one DVI port and an HDMI port, and I doubt both can be used simultaneously.

Links:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6814133372
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6814195103
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6814195068

These cards are so low-end in terms of performance that even a consumer Dell PSU ought to be able to power three or four of them. They should be fine for desktop apps and watching videos, though.

I don't know if the GTS530 you've got in there can use both its DVI and HDMI ports simultaneously; if not, you'd better replace it, too. If you want to keep everything identical (which isn't strictly necessary), the PCIe x16 versions of the three cards linked above will be cheaper than the x1 versions.

If you're really serious about doing this, I would buy that 5-port Radeon 5770 along with two of either the FirePro 2270 or FireMV 2260 cards (whichever port connector you prefer to use, DVI or DisplayPort).
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Re: How do I connect 8 Monitors to This Desktop ?

Postposted on Wed Sep 21, 2011 8:43 pm

Great Ideas Guys. Very Professional people. I wish I had found this forum much earlier. Thank You all so much.

Let me first answer some questions.

I have only one PCIe x 16 slot & it is occupied by current GeForce GT 530.
There are 3 PCIe slots out of which one is free & other 2 are occupied by Sound Card & TV Tuner Card.
My Chassis is big enough to fit & Run ATI 6770 & ATI 6870 cards because Dell is giving an option to select one of them.
So I guess 460 Watt PSU would be ok if there was only one PCIe x 16 card.
I will be arranging monitors so that I will have 4 monitors at bottom & 4 on top of them to avoid turning the head around.

frumper15

You are right, I don't have much budget constraint & most important thing is that whatever you guys suggest should work with the current motherboard and have enough video memory & PSU etc to drive 8 monitors smoothly. The reason is that I am not a much of a tech person & I rely heavily on Dell support, so the video card should not cause other problems in my Dell PC.

I have some questions :

Is it better to have 2 GB Card Vs 1 GB card ? Does it affect the performance when I have 8 monitors ?
Is one brand better than other ? It seems that PowerColor & Diamond cards are much more expensive than XFS & VisionTek, especially 5870 cards.
Both 5870 & 6870 are available with 6 Mini Display Ports & 2GB but 5870 is more expensive than 6870. Any technical reason ?

Both of your suggestions look good & fair Price. But will my PSU support them together ?

FuturePastNow,

Your ideas are excellent too.
I think Radeon 6870 will fit in my case. See link below where dell gives an option for Radeon 6870.
http://configure.us.dell.com/dellstore/ ... d=xps-8300

Question :

Can you mix AMD ATI card with NVIDIA card you suggested ?
Is using DP port better than using DVI Port ?
Using 5770 card, it gives only 1 GB Video memory. Is that enough to drive 5 monitors ? Does Video memory matter when it comes to multi monitors ?
Also ATI 2260 is a good choice too but it has only 256 MB memory. Is that enough to drive 2 Monitors ? OR would it share the memory from say 6870 which has 2 GB if I use that card ?
If yes then 6870 & 2260 would give 8 mini DPs & would simplify the whole setup. Would I need bigger power supply & if yes how big ? Also would my motherboard support them together ?
Please advice.

Thank You Guys, You are the best.
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Re: How do I connect 8 Monitors to This Desktop ?

Postposted on Wed Sep 21, 2011 10:37 pm

Video memory does matter with multiple monitors, since the Windows Aero desktop is comprised of 2D textures that each take up a little bit of space. If you do not play 3D games, though, 256MB should be enough for two monitors under most circumstances.
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Re: How do I connect 8 Monitors to This Desktop ?

Postposted on Wed Sep 21, 2011 10:53 pm

Using a 6870 and one of those x1 FirePro or FireMV cards together should not be a problem. The Dell's power supply may or may not be able to handle two cards, but I think it will, since those x1 cards don't use much power.

I've never tried running two monitors off one mini-DisplayPort, I only know that AMD says it is possible with the 1.2 ports. Here's the explamation of how that works: http://www.anandtech.com/show/3987/amds ... e-market/3

It looks like you'll need something called a "MST hub" and I can't find any online, but it's late and my eyes hurt. They may not be available yet.
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Re: How do I connect 8 Monitors to This Desktop ?

Postposted on Fri Sep 23, 2011 3:09 am

FuturePastNow,

Thank You again.

MST hubs are not available yet.

Also I don't see anywhere on specs that 6870 is DP 1.2 or not.
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Re: How do I connect 8 Monitors to This Desktop ?

Postposted on Fri Sep 23, 2011 3:24 am

If gaming isn't important, it might be worth looking at the Matrox M9188, an octo-display graphics card

http://www.matrox.com/graphics/en/produ ... ductTabs=1

No idea how much it costs though!
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Re: How do I connect 8 Monitors to This Desktop ?

Postposted on Fri Sep 23, 2011 6:23 am

Norphy wrote:If gaming isn't important, it might be worth looking at the Matrox M9188, an octo-display graphics card

http://www.matrox.com/graphics/en/produ ... ductTabs=1

No idea how much it costs though!


I think they're the thick end of £1,500. I'd just like to have enough desk space for 8 monitors!
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Re: How do I connect 8 Monitors to This Desktop ?

Postposted on Fri Sep 23, 2011 7:57 am

http://support.dell.com/support/edocs/s ... /index.htm
http://support.dell.com/support/edocs/s ... techov.htm
http://support.dell.com/support/edocs/s ... /power.htm

For those interested. No good stats on the PSU that I can find. I have an XPS 8300 at home and I put a GTX 460 in there, overclocked. It provides 2 x 6pin power connectors, if memory serves. Decent space for a video card but the chassis can only hold two HDDs.

Probably an AMD Eyefinity and 1x AMD like someone pointed out would work perfectly fine. I wouldn't mix nvidia and AMD drivers.

Otherwise I have read that the PSU is nothing special and you can replace it with any ol' aftermarket one. If you're just watching 8 screens of video then any modern card, even "slow" ones will work just fine.
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Re: How do I connect 8 Monitors to This Desktop ?

Postposted on Fri Sep 23, 2011 9:17 am

I'm biased by my natural inclination to look for the cheapest way to do things, but the Eyefinity-6 card genuinely isn't a bad option in this case, especially as there's a $299 one on Newegg now. That's cheaper then three of the dual-display x1 cards. It even comes with the adapters needed to connect all six displays.

Link: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6814131447

It will work in the Dell; aside from the fact that a 6870 is offered by Dell as an option, if its power supply will run a GTX 460, it'll run a Radeon 6870.
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Re: How do I connect 8 Monitors to This Desktop ?

Postposted on Fri Sep 23, 2011 9:25 am

kyboshed wrote:
Norphy wrote:If gaming isn't important, it might be worth looking at the Matrox M9188, an octo-display graphics card

http://www.matrox.com/graphics/en/produ ... ductTabs=1

No idea how much it costs though!


I think they're the thick end of £1,500. I'd just like to have enough desk space for 8 monitors!

http://www.google.com/products/catalog? ... 2986778868
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Re: How do I connect 8 Monitors to This Desktop ?

Postposted on Fri Sep 23, 2011 10:10 am

At that price I'd better be a successful quant (Matrox and multi-displays for hard-core traders go back at least to the founding of Tech Report).
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Re: How do I connect 8 Monitors to This Desktop ?

Postposted on Fri Sep 23, 2011 11:39 am

That Matrox card looks pretty sweet, but almost $1,800 for a graphics card....if there is something else that will work, I just don't see spending that. It says it will drive 8x DVI too, which is something eyefinity cards couldn't do if memory serves, but I don't think that's the case here. I say go for the $300 powercolor 6870 Future found for you from the egg and a 1x card that will drive 2 displays (no fan or power connection if possible to simplify) - I still think this looks like a good option: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6814161354

Question - would switching to a double-wide graphics card block the open 1x slot? I would just hate to think you would unexpectedly have to ditch either your sound or tuner card, although usb tuners are readily available and I believe the machine has integrated sound you could switch to as well. Yep - just as I thought, it looks like you're going to lose a slot http://www.hardwareheaven.com/reviewima ... inside.jpg

Not the end of the world, and like I said, you could pretty easily (no cost for the sound) get that functionality back after you pull one of the other cards.

Maybe this hasn't been asked yet - why 8 displays? Could you make do with 6? Maybe 6 higher resolution screens instead of 8 1920x1200? Can you share what the application will be?
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Re: How do I connect 8 Monitors to This Desktop ?

Postposted on Sun Sep 25, 2011 12:09 am

Realy great ideas that made me think a lot & also offered some great choices. Very thankful to all of you.

Let me answer some questions first but I am not sure if it would convince many of you unless you are daytarding stocks & futures markets. :

Why 8 screens & not 6 ?

It is all about the info. More monitors display more charts & more info that can give you an edge depending on your style of trading. Being a daytrader, I don't get enough time to switch between windows to make a decision.

In fact right now I have 12 charts open for each instrument on a single screen ( 9 Minimized ) & I have to remember what each of those charts is telling me with only 3 charts squeezed on a single screen. It gets messy & confusing.

So to tell you the truth, I need more than 8 monitors. Something like 12.

That being said, if somehow I can fit in two 6870 eyefinity in there, I can expand in future. I don't mind changing PSU. But being a non tech person, I would like to keep the original motherboard to keep Dell warranty & their support in case I get into trouble. What I like about Dell is that with one phone call they come out next day & replace the parts at no cost. I am used to it for last 8 years with 3 dell systems.

Also some trading computer companies who sell trading computers are using only ATI Radeon MV 2460's. They are not cheap & have only 512 MB Video Memory. Anyone knows why ?

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6814195099

Also if I was to use them, can I play regular movie videos with those cards in ?

If yes, can I use one of those 16 to 1 converters as shown in link below & use two of 2460s ?

http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications ... No=6049640

With that I have two PCIe x 16 slots & would make things easier but not cheaper.

Thank You
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Re: How do I connect 8 Monitors to This Desktop ?

Postposted on Sun Sep 25, 2011 12:25 am

What about using multiple smaller PC's and then using Mouse Without Borders to control them all? Imagine 8 30" monitors? The next step up beyond that would be to use multiple projectors and have a whole wall to be your screen. Even 4 of these would be amazing.
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Re: How do I connect 8 Monitors to This Desktop ?

Postposted on Sun Sep 25, 2011 8:09 pm

Usacomp2k3 wrote:What about using multiple smaller PC's and then using Mouse Without Borders to control them all? Imagine 8 30" monitors? The next step up beyond that would be to use multiple projectors and have a whole wall to be your screen. Even 4 of these would be amazing.


Interesting idea & thank you but :

The financial software ( 2 of them ) are licenced on a month to month basis for only one system. So using multiple PCs is not possible unless I pay for every PC, the software is installed.
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Re: How do I connect 8 Monitors to This Desktop ?

Postposted on Sun Sep 25, 2011 9:18 pm

Hmm....if you needed 12 screens I think you're either going to need a mobo with 2x 16x pcie slots and then use 2 of the eyefinity cards, but interestingly, I think you could get 10 if you were to use that firepro card with the 1x to 16x pcie adapter you linked. If i understand it correctly, pcie can use anywhere between 1 and 16 lanes from the same slot - in other words, you can use a 16x card in a 1x slot, with an obvious drop in performance. however, if you're just displaying charts, etc. I don't think it would be an issue. So, in theory, you could get the eyefinity card with 6x displayport outputs that would give you 6 "high performance" displays and then get the firepro card with another 4x outputs. If you wanted, you could probably add another card down the road for a total of 14 displays. Actually, if you didn't go with the doublewide 6870, you could pack 4 of the firepro cards in there for a total of 16 display outputs.

As far as 2gb of video memory vs. 512mb, for your application, I don't think you would notice one bit of difference. Assuming that adapter works well enough to get from the 1x slots to the 16x slots, I think you might be better off with 2 of the firepro cards to start with. I'm assuming you would value stability of the potential to game with this rig - and I think the firepro would get you that over the Radeon

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Re: How do I connect 8 Monitors to This Desktop ?

Postposted on Sun Sep 25, 2011 11:00 pm

frumper15 wrote:Hmm....if you needed 12 screens I think you're either going to need a mobo with 2x 16x pcie slots and then use 2 of the eyefinity cards, but interestingly, I think you could get 10 if you were to use that firepro card with the 1x to 16x pcie adapter you linked. If i understand it correctly, pcie can use anywhere between 1 and 16 lanes from the same slot - in other words, you can use a 16x card in a 1x slot, with an obvious drop in performance. however, if you're just displaying charts, etc. I don't think it would be an issue. So, in theory, you could get the eyefinity card with 6x displayport outputs that would give you 6 "high performance" displays and then get the firepro card with another 4x outputs. If you wanted, you could probably add another card down the road for a total of 14 displays. Actually, if you didn't go with the doublewide 6870, you could pack 4 of the firepro cards in there for a total of 16 display outputs.

As far as 2gb of video memory vs. 512mb, for your application, I don't think you would notice one bit of difference. Assuming that adapter works well enough to get from the 1x slots to the 16x slots, I think you might be better off with 2 of the firepro cards to start with. I'm assuming you would value stability of the potential to game with this rig - and I think the firepro would get you that over the Radeon

Have fun with whatever you decide



Exactly what I was wrestling with in my mind but not being the tech person, I assumed it can't be done.

But you guys being pros, I wouldn't mind trying exactly what you are suggesting.

Here is what I am thinking & please do correct me if I am wrong.

Start with 2 Fire Pros. One in in PCIe 16 slot after removing the current GeForce 530 card.

Second Firepro in PCIe 1 slot with 16 to 1 adapter. This way I can have a setup with 8 monitors.

If that works then I can expand to 12 or 16 monitors in which case I will have to throw away both sound card & TV tuner card & I don't mind doing that as long as I can switch on onboard sound card.

So 3 questions :

(1) Would it be possible to turn the onboard sound card ?

(2) With this setup, would I still be able to watch movie videos etc ?

(3) What if 16 to 1 converter doesn't work ?

Thank You
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Re: How do I connect 8 Monitors to This Desktop ?

Postposted on Sun Sep 25, 2011 11:16 pm

One more thing :

On " TigerDirect " and CDW, there are two FirePro 2460s with different price.

Can you guys tell me what the technical difference is ?

http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications ... CatId=3598

http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications ... 2&CatId=28

http://www.cdw.com/shop/search/results. ... nd+it.y=35

Thanks
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Re: How do I connect 8 Monitors to This Desktop ?

Postposted on Mon Sep 26, 2011 12:51 am

I'd have thought fitting 8 monitors on the table would have been the real problem! XD
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Re: How do I connect 8 Monitors to This Desktop ?

Postposted on Mon Sep 26, 2011 9:31 am

georgetok wrote:Here is what I am thinking & please do correct me if I am wrong.

Start with 2 Fire Pros. One in in PCIe 16 slot after removing the current GeForce 530 card.

Second Firepro in PCIe 1 slot with 16 to 1 adapter. This way I can have a setup with 8 monitors.

If that works then I can expand to 12 or 16 monitors in which case I will have to throw away both sound card & TV tuner card & I don't mind doing that as long as I can switch on onboard sound card.

So 3 questions :

(1) Would it be possible to turn the onboard sound card ?

(2) With this setup, would I still be able to watch movie videos etc ?

(3) What if 16 to 1 converter doesn't work ?

Thank You


Sounds like a plan. And there's a return policy from most places so your exposure to risk is limited--if it don't work, return it. You may affect your Dell warranty by putting in aftermarket stuff, I'm not sure on the fineprint with that.

1) I don't know why you have a discrete sound card. If you take out the existing one, see if Windows just doesn't automatically detect the built-in one and just start working. I think it should. Don't have a discrete sound card in my XPS 8300.

2) Any modern card should be able to play "movies". Youtube, intros from companies you're researching, hardcore porn, whatever. Don't worry about it.

3) Then keep lookin'!
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Re: How do I connect 8 Monitors to This Desktop ?

Postposted on Mon Sep 26, 2011 9:32 am

Pax-UX wrote:I'd have thought fitting 8 monitors on the table would have been the real problem! XD


Probably mount them to the wall?
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Re: How do I connect 8 Monitors to This Desktop ?

Postposted on Mon Sep 26, 2011 9:35 am

georgetok wrote:One more thing :

On " TigerDirect " and CDW, there are two FirePro 2460s with different price.

Can you guys tell me what the technical difference is ?

http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications ... CatId=3598

http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications ... 2&CatId=28

http://www.cdw.com/shop/search/results. ... nd+it.y=35

Thanks


Part Number
(R) Retail: 100-505610 (R)
(M) Multi Pack: 100-505611 (M)

Just different SKUs. I think one is intended to be bought in bulk and volume discounts applied, the other comes in a pretty box.
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Re: How do I connect 8 Monitors to This Desktop ?

Postposted on Mon Sep 26, 2011 9:16 pm

Scrotos wrote:
georgetok wrote:One more thing :

On " TigerDirect " and CDW, there are two FirePro 2460s with different price.

Can you guys tell me what the technical difference is ?

http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications ... CatId=3598

http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications ... 2&CatId=28

http://www.cdw.com/shop/search/results. ... nd+it.y=35

Thanks


Part Number
(R) Retail: 100-505610 (R)
(M) Multi Pack: 100-505611 (M)

Just different SKUs. I think one is intended to be bought in bulk and volume discounts applied, the other comes in a pretty box.



Talked to TigerDirect & sales guy said the cheaper one is on back order & could take 7 to 21 days before it ships.

The expensive one ships directly from manufacturer's warehouse within 24 hrs.

So extra $40.00 bucks because they ran out of stock & can't figure out why they want more when they are not doing any work.

Anyone knows why ?

Also the retail should be more expensive but here the bulk is more expensive. Go figure that.
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Re: How do I connect 8 Monitors to This Desktop ?

Postposted on Mon Sep 26, 2011 10:27 pm

Don't try too hard to make sense out of TigerDirect/CompUSA pricing, you'll just give yourself a headache. As far as I can tell, their pricing strategy employs a random number generator. Sometimes their prices are pretty good (matching or even beating Newegg); other times, they are totally out in left field.
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Re: How do I connect 8 Monitors to This Desktop ?

Postposted on Tue Sep 27, 2011 7:20 am

georgetok wrote:Talked to TigerDirect & sales guy said the cheaper one is on back order & could take 7 to 21 days before it ships.

The expensive one ships directly from manufacturer's warehouse within 24 hrs.

So extra $40.00 bucks because they ran out of stock & can't figure out why they want more when they are not doing any work.

Anyone knows why ?

Also the retail should be more expensive but here the bulk is more expensive. Go figure that.


You can give CDW a shot, too, they may have them in stock. I can ask my sales guy but probably the price difference is due to things like how much of a break per-unit they get from AMD direct and maybe under the non-retail SKU they are forced to buy them in quantities of 100 or 1000 and the price stays high because they bought them for their warehouse at X dollars per unit so even when the price drops later on, they still have the high cost on the books and can't really cut the margins to dump them. Which is funny since they can get the retail units one at a time when they get cheaper and that just makes the bulk purchase look less and less enticing. Probably have to wait until a certain amount of time passes so they can write them off as a loss for taxes and dump them below cost or something like that.
Scrotos
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Re: How do I connect 8 Monitors to This Desktop ?

Postposted on Tue Sep 27, 2011 7:55 am

frumper15 wrote:If i understand it correctly, pcie can use anywhere between 1 and 16 lanes from the same slot - in other words, you can use a 16x card in a 1x slot, with an obvious drop in performance. however, if you're just displaying charts, etc. I don't think it would be an issue.


Right-o. The problem with sticking an x16 card in an x1 slot is that x1 slots are almost always closed-ended, preventing the longer connector from being inserted. However, if you know what you're doing, you can actually cut an x16 connector down to x1 length, and it will work.

http://www.invisiblerobot.com/pcie_x1/
FuturePastNow
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