Can I run 8 to 12 Monitors from one Laptop ?

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Can I run 8 to 12 Monitors from one Laptop ?

Postposted on Tue Oct 22, 2013 9:55 pm

Hi,

I would like to run at least 8 monitors & possibly 12, from a Dell Precision M6800 mobile Laptop Workstation.

Monitors I want to run are Dell U2412M ( 1920x1200 ) Ultra Sharp Monitors.

The specs for the Laptop are :

Intel Core i7-4700MQ Processor

(17.3") UltraSharp FHD(1920x1080)

8GB (2x4GB) 1600MHz DDR3L

AMD FirePro M6100 w/2GB GDDR5

2.5 inch 500GB Solid State Hybrid Drive

Is it possible to do it & if yes, what other hardware, software do I need besides monitors ?

Thanks
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Re: Can I run 8 to 12 Monitors from one Laptop ?

Postposted on Tue Oct 22, 2013 10:13 pm

Err im pretty sure that isn't possible.

Something about laptops only having 2 possible display outputs at the same time (for example, and HDMI/Dp/VGA port external monitor and the laptop's screen simultaneously)

Buuuut things may have changed as of late and i might be wrong.

Besides, 8 to 12 monitors would require special hardware and a full size desktop hard, since even the 'special' (multi-output version of a card) can only power like 6 displays or so. most normal cards can only power 4 tops.

Wait until someone more knowledgeable comes around, but im pretty sure that's the situation.
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Re: Can I run 8 to 12 Monitors from one Laptop ?

Postposted on Tue Oct 22, 2013 10:22 pm

As far as distinct monitors ... it's only possible with certain specialized hardware. If you want to know how to do it call your vendor (Dell/HP) and they can help spec everything out for you.

If you want 12 identical monitor, you can use a matrix switcher that has 1x12 and then it will display on 12 monitors identical.
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Re: Can I run 8 to 12 Monitors from one Laptop ?

Postposted on Tue Oct 22, 2013 11:25 pm

Extremely critical question: Do you want to display the same thing on all of the monitors, or are you wanting an 8-12 monitor setup where each monitor can display something different, and/or be part of a single large extended desktop?
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Re: Can I run 8 to 12 Monitors from one Laptop ?

Postposted on Tue Oct 22, 2013 11:29 pm

Hmm... you might be able to get close to 4, but I think 8-12 might not be possible. You could look into one of these:
http://www.hardwareheaven.com/reviews/1 ... ticle.html
that would seem to get you three displayport monitors at least.

Dell also offers a dock http://accessories.dell.com/sna/product ... u=331-6304 that appears to offer DVI along with VGA as well so that might get you two more for a total of (maybe?) 5.

Oooh...maybe you could use one of these: http://www.villageinstruments.com/tiki- ... age=ViDock
with something like this: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6814129274
...and maybe another one or two of those displayport hubs and it looks like you maybe COULD get 12 or more displays going.

I have no idea if any of that would work or not, they all seem like fringe ideas/solutions to begin with and you could probably build a pretty small form factor PC with two of those 6-port video cards in it and have it be a more manageable contraption to lug around (and cheaper!!) that any combination of splitters, adapters, etc. I guess the question is why do you need to use that specific computer to drive this rig when 12 monitors is DEFINITELY not a portable solution in the least?
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Re: Can I run 8 to 12 Monitors from one Laptop ?

Postposted on Tue Oct 22, 2013 11:31 pm

For eight different displays:
Matrox sells the TripleHead2Go DP Edition which gives you three displays off of the built-in DisplayPort. You could also run five of these USB 3.0 to DisplayPort adapters on a powered hub to get a total of eight separate displays. It would be a bit of a Frankenstein setup but it should *technically* work as long as the Matrox box plays nicely with the USB adapters and everything gets enough juice to work properly.
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Re: Can I run 8 to 12 Monitors from one Laptop ?

Postposted on Tue Oct 22, 2013 11:46 pm

deputy dawg wrote:For eight different displays:
Matrox sells the TripleHead2Go DP Edition which gives you three displays off of the built-in DisplayPort. You could also run five of these USB 3.0 to DisplayPort adapters on a powered hub to get a total of eight separate displays. It would be a bit of a Frankenstein setup but it should *technically* work as long as the Matrox box plays nicely with the USB adapters and everything gets enough juice to work properly.


I hadn't thought of the USB3 route - not sure how it would handle the bandwidth through a hub like that, but maybe! With the monitors the OP states he wants to use and the resolution they run (1920x1200) I think he could only run 2 off the Triplehead at their native resolution. I wonder if there is anything that would stop someone from using, say, 2 USB3 hubs with 10 of these http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6815158301 to get 12 or so displays. I would suggest DVI as the monitors come with those cables included, but I'm not sure cost is really a consideration if you're thinking of using 12 monitors on a $2k laptop.
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Re: Can I run 8 to 12 Monitors from one Laptop ?

Postposted on Tue Oct 22, 2013 11:59 pm

frumper15 wrote:I hadn't thought of the USB3 route - not sure how it would handle the bandwidth through a hub like that, but maybe! With the monitors the OP states he wants to use and the resolution they run (1920x1200) I think he could only run 2 off the Triplehead at their native resolution. I wonder if there is anything that would stop someone from using, say, 2 USB3 hubs with 10 of these http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6815158301 to get 12 or so displays. I would suggest DVI as the monitors come with those cables included, but I'm not sure cost is really a consideration if you're thinking of using 12 monitors on a $2k laptop.


Whoops, didn't notice the resolution limitation from the TripleHead (couldn't they have squeezed in just a few more lines of pixels?! :P). I guess DVI adapters would work just as well as DP, but, according to the manufacturer, both devices only support up to five adapters on one computer.

Edit: that external PCI-E enclosure combined with that video card you posted may be the best option.
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Re: Can I run 8 to 12 Monitors from one Laptop ?

Postposted on Wed Oct 23, 2013 12:11 am

well shoot, I missed the max 5 limit on those (couldn't they just have let twice as many work? ;). Maybe a combination of the external expresscard box, with 5 of the USB3 monitors, and then the internal monitor plus two external connected to the laptop directly where does that get us... 14!!! I'm sure there won't be any driver issues or performance problems to eve worry about either.
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Re: Can I run 8 to 12 Monitors from one Laptop ?

Postposted on Wed Oct 23, 2013 3:57 am

Some excellent ideas guys.

Let me see if I first understood that ViDock 2, 3, 4 & 4 plus gadget. Does it house the Video Cards ? If yes, does it house 4X or 8X or 16X ?

If it does then I cab plug in 3 of AMD FirePro 2460 Video Cards & each has 4 Mini DP Ports that I can connect to 12 monitors & catd does handle 1920x1200 resolution.

Any idea of the cost of the ViDocks & where can I buy them ?
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Re: Can I run 8 to 12 Monitors from one Laptop ?

Postposted on Wed Oct 23, 2013 5:18 am

All ViDock supports only one graphics card.

Your Dell Precision M6800 has one ExpressCard slot and thus you can only support one ViDock.

The ViDock will accept a 16x card, but the ExpressCard interface it uses is limited to PCI-E 2.0 1x. The limited bandwidth of this setup is unlikely to impact your usage.

You can buy the ViDock here. Before you buy one, you'd need to pick a video card to go into it.

Since you are only able to run one ViDock you're going to need to pick a video card that can support lots of displays first.

This card would seem to fit the bill. It gives you six displays out, isn't too pricey, and doesn't require PCI-E Power connectors. The $199 ViDock 3 Overdrive would work fine with this card.
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Re: Can I run 8 to 12 Monitors from one Laptop ?

Postposted on Wed Oct 23, 2013 6:37 am

Ok, ViDock is out then since it can support only 6 monitors.

So I need something similar to ViDock that would support more than one card. 3 at least since I want to use AMD FirePro 2460 Low Profile card which has 4 DPs & thus will run 4 monitors each.
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Re: Can I run 8 to 12 Monitors from one Laptop ?

Postposted on Wed Oct 23, 2013 6:40 am

Don't think such a beast exists.

I don't believe it is technically feasible. ExpressCard provides a single PCI-E lane. No way to split that out.
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Re: Can I run 8 to 12 Monitors from one Laptop ?

Postposted on Wed Oct 23, 2013 12:54 pm

What is your intended use for all of these monitors? Depending on how/if you answer JBI's question, you would be still be hope for you.
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Re: Can I run 8 to 12 Monitors from one Laptop ?

Postposted on Wed Oct 23, 2013 1:45 pm

I don't know if the GPU in your laptop is Displayport 1.2 compliant or not, but if it is, you should be able to daisy-chain monitors off the displayport on the laptop - up to 4 it would seem. Those plus the built in screen and (maybe) one off the VGA port could get you 5 or 6 and they should be quick-ish running off the GPU (assuming compliance with 1.2 spec).

Any of these Dells support Daisy chaining, but only the 1920x1200 or lower seem to support 4. The higher res panels get you more desktop in one screen but fewer screens supported.
http://www.dell.com/ed/business/p/dell-u3014/pd
http://www.dell.com/ed/business/p/dell-u2413/pd
http://www.dell.com/ed/business/p/dell-u2713h/pd
http://www.dell.com/ed/business/p/dell-u2913wm/pd - this one's really strange - not sure how many you could daisy-chain on that one

more info on that process: http://www.pcworld.com/article/2035700/ ... dness.html
http://support.amd.com/en-us/kb-article ... yPort.aspx
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Re: Can I run 8 to 12 Monitors from one Laptop ?

Postposted on Wed Oct 23, 2013 2:24 pm

frumper15 wrote:Dell also offers a dock http://accessories.dell.com/sna/product ... u=331-6304 that appears to offer DVI along with VGA as well so that might get you two more for a total of (maybe?) 5.


It has two DVI/Displayport and one VGA, among others.

The dock isn't going to expose any more functionality then what the laptop already has. If the laptop can only drive two displays, then with the dock it will only be able to drive two displays.

IBM used to make a dock that would allow a video card to be installed, and that would let the laptop drive as many displays as the card would support.

I need to check, and see how many displays the Precisions will drive. I have a M6700 that I could try.
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Re: Can I run 8 to 12 Monitors from one Laptop ?

Postposted on Wed Oct 23, 2013 10:21 pm

just brew it! wrote:Extremely critical question: Do you want to display the same thing on all of the monitors, or are you wanting an 8-12 monitor setup where each monitor can display something different, and/or be part of a single large extended desktop?


OK, let me give you as much info as I can so that you could help me better. I do have very high hopes that there is a solution unless if it is the GPU or CPU that matters or not.

First I need all twelve monitor to display different things or run different applications where I can do multi-tasking.
For example I might run word on one, browse on second, watch video on third, run several different apps on others etc.

Next I am already running above mentioned 12, Dell U2412M ( 1920x1200 ) Ultra Sharp Monitors using following configs :

It is a Dell workstation T-7500 which has six core Xeon E5645 2.4 GHz processor.
It had AMD FirePro V4800 Video card which I tossed out.
It has 1 16X slot, 2 8X slots & 1 4X slots.
I plugged in 3 AMD FirePro 2460 Low profile Video cards each having 4 Mini Display Ports thus each running 4 monitors & 3 of them are running 12 monitors. These video cards don't have Fan making them more reliable.

Now I would like to run those 12 Monitors but using Dell Laptop mentioned in my post.

(1) The question is, would it's CPU & GPU handle 12 Monitors. Meaning how strong or weak are these CPU & GPU compared to desktop workstation that I am using.
(2) Is there a PCIe expansion box available that I can use to plug in the 3 AMD FirePro 2460 cards that I am using currently. I mean remove them from desktop & use them for Laptop.
(3) If there was such an expansion box available, would this Laptop handle it ?

OK, would this info help now ? If not what else you would like to know ?
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Re: Can I run 8 to 12 Monitors from one Laptop ?

Postposted on Thu Oct 24, 2013 2:08 pm

The best thing to do is call Dell, and ask the techs how many monitors the laptop can drive. The Dell techs are pretty knowledgeable, and they can look up the documentation.

Laptops, traditionally, haven't handled more then 2 monitors, but hardware may be better now.

If you had a Thunderbolt port, this would be easier.
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Re: Can I run 8 to 12 Monitors from one Laptop ?

Postposted on Fri Oct 25, 2013 6:30 pm

Can you please explain how thunderbolt would help ?

There are Laptops available with Thunderbolt.
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Re: Can I run 8 to 12 Monitors from one Laptop ?

Postposted on Fri Oct 25, 2013 6:39 pm

Thunderbolt, in theory, allows you to daisy-chain devices off another, so in theory, you could hook up monitors in series.

In theory.

Either that, or there's some Thunderbolt monitor breakout box that I'm not aware of. But that would be possible. In theory :)
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Re: Can I run 8 to 12 Monitors from one Laptop ?

Postposted on Fri Oct 25, 2013 8:32 pm

morphine wrote:Thunderbolt, in theory, allows you to daisy-chain devices off another, so in theory, you could hook up monitors in series.

In theory.

Either that, or there's some Thunderbolt monitor breakout box that I'm not aware of. But that would be possible. In theory :)


Can same be done with USB 3.0 ?
Because there are USB 3.0 Hubs available in 7 & 10 ports.
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Re: Can I run 8 to 12 Monitors from one Laptop ?

Postposted on Sat Oct 26, 2013 10:37 am

Thunderbolt allows for stuff to be directly attached to the PCIe bus, so if you could find a breakout box, if might be possible to add more video cards. There are boxes for Macs that do that, but the way the Windows video card driver model works might prevent this arrangement from working.

I've heard about a couple of USB video cards along time ago, but the reviews have never been great.
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Re: Can I run 8 to 12 Monitors from one Laptop ?

Postposted on Sat Oct 26, 2013 10:47 am

In theory you could have multiple GPUs hanging off of USB 3.0 that would be OK for non-demanding (no or minimal 3D) applications. Plug enough of these in, and maybe you can get to 12 heads. Whether you'd be able to get them to all play nice together with each other (and Windows) is an open question, however.
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Re: Can I run 8 to 12 Monitors from one Laptop ?

Postposted on Wed Oct 30, 2013 5:07 pm

Here's what you can do: buy an ExpressCard-to-PCI external box, and a Matrox lot'a'monitors card.

ExpressCard-to-PCIe:

ViDock
ExpressBox (max 55W)

These came from Google searches, so there are probably other vendors out there, since as far as I can tell, ExpressCard is for the most part a direct extension of the PCIe bus, so all you're paying for is a lot of wiring.

And then, you can install something like this Matrox card in it.

In theory, this approach should work. Caveat emptor.
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Re: Can I run 8 to 12 Monitors from one Laptop ?

Postposted on Wed Oct 30, 2013 9:44 pm

This is a bad plan. This will not work out well. Where you are aiming is too far past what can be delivered.

If you are planning for anything more demanding than a static image or series of slides, you will not be able to deliver what you want with that laptop.

Start over, with a desktop, and things are more feasible, but this is still stretching the limits.

Citation: Having built several 'video walls' in the past, and being a fairly serious multimonitor (3+ display) enthusiast.
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Re: Can I run 8 to 12 Monitors from one Laptop ?

Postposted on Thu Oct 31, 2013 7:42 am

frumper15 wrote:I don't know if the GPU in your laptop is Displayport 1.2 compliant or not, but if it is, you should be able to daisy-chain monitors off the displayport on the laptop - up to 4 it would seem. Those plus the built in screen and (maybe) one off the VGA port could get you 5 or 6 and they should be quick-ish running off the GPU (assuming compliance with 1.2 spec).

Any of these Dells support Daisy chaining, but only the 1920x1200 or lower seem to support 4. The higher res panels get you more desktop in one screen but fewer screens supported.
http://www.dell.com/ed/business/p/dell-u3014/pd
http://www.dell.com/ed/business/p/dell-u2413/pd
http://www.dell.com/ed/business/p/dell-u2713h/pd
http://www.dell.com/ed/business/p/dell-u2913wm/pd - this one's really strange - not sure how many you could daisy-chain on that one

more info on that process: http://www.pcworld.com/article/2035700/ ... dness.html
http://support.amd.com/en-us/kb-article ... yPort.aspx


So I dug into this a little bit after seeing this thread pop up again and according to this page: http://www.amd.com/us/products/workstat ... ily.aspx#1 your laptop GPU does in fact appear to support Displayport 1.2 so you should be able to, in theory, daisy chain a few monitors together and have someone decent performance and good compatibility. If you want to go beyond that I believe it will be an expensive and painful endeavor. It sounds like you already have a desktop solution that works well (-ish?) so the desire to move this to a laptop is going to require significant time and resources (read: $$$) because I don't know that your current monitors or GPUs could be used while achieving your target number of displays. If you get the Daisy-chains working you could add that crazy 8-head Matrox card morphine linked to with it, but I have no idea how well that would perform or if it would even work at all.
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Re: Can I run 8 to 12 Monitors from one Laptop ?

Postposted on Thu Oct 31, 2013 9:12 am

I agree, a new system would be MUCH better for you. Here's a not-so-pretty solution:

(hacked up) ViDock (or similar) + AMD HD5870 Eyefinity Edition + (hacked up) power supply + 6X Ciargo Displayport-to-3 DVI adapter

Open the ViDock (or whatever you choose) to allow better cooling, tie the power supply to power up with the ViDock and use that for GPU power, and each adapter can run up to TWO monitors at 1200p (though there are 3 DVI, DP does not have the bandwidth to run all of them at your monitors' native resolution). And, when you wize up and just build a desktop, you can use that GPU with those adapters.

If you want to go REALLY wild, use a laptop with thunderbolt...
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Re: Can I run 8 to 12 Monitors from one Laptop ?

Postposted on Sat Nov 02, 2013 8:45 am

From the diuplicate thread...
dan99t wrote:Hi,

I am running 12 Dell U2412M ( 24 inch, 1920x1200 ) monitors using 3, AMD FirePro 2460 Low profile Video Cards. Each card has 4 Mini DP ports & runs 4 monitors each. I am using Dell workstation & it has 4 PCIe slots.

I am not running any games or very intensive programs. Just the stock market charts, 12 of them, each one is a different stock.

Now I am inspired by this video on you tube where this guy is running 8 monitors from a Laptop using only USB 3.0 seven port Hub.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ncaCRHJvR8

So Now I want to run those 12 monitors from Dell M6800 Laptop workstation but in a little different way by using external PCIe slots.

The problem is to get 3 PCIe slots & solution I found is to use an external “ Nestor NA211A-NB “ PCIe expansion box that can be connected to Laptop using Express Card.

http://www.netstor.com.tw/_03/03_02.php?OTc=

Each slot runs at 1X bandwidth.

This Nestor box costs around $ 780.00.

So before I start on this venture, could someone tell me if this is possible or am I going to run into bottleneck ?

Thank You.

I'm not sure what the point of using the Netstor box is. The system won't be any more portable than the desktop solution you're using now, and the added complexity increases the risk of unexpected problems. All else being equal, it should be superior (both in performance and stability) to a USB-based solution though.

Why are you doing this? Are you trying to get rid of the desktop system and consolidate everything onto your laptop?
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Re: Can I run 8 to 12 Monitors from one Laptop ?

Postposted on Sat Nov 02, 2013 9:53 am

I did confirm yesterday that a M6700 with a Nvidia graphics can run three monitors via a Dell Eport Plus dock. The GIS guys were excited.
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Re: Can I run 8 to 12 Monitors from one Laptop ?

Postposted on Sat Nov 02, 2013 10:44 am

I just have to ask:

Why in the name of all that is holy do you want to do this?

12 monitors, even the very newest low power LED, are going to burn some watts.

What is the advantage of trying to get a laptop to do what is so simple for a couple high-end graphics cards in a desktop to do?

Well, there is some transition going from 7XXX series...there used to be a FLEX 7950 that had six mini-display ports..but here is a 7970 with 4, plus two =6 total.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6814127736

another showing six off one card / without any special splitters or additional hardware.

http://www.asus.com/Graphics_Cards/MATR ... /#overview

Once the new 290 and 290x launch, I'm sure there will be many more.
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