Can I run 8 to 12 Monitors from one Laptop ?

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

Postposted on Sun Nov 03, 2013 5:14 am

just brew it,

My apologies for starting a new thread. I wanted members to look at it from a new angle since I did a lot of digging & came up with a new idea of using 3 Cards outside the Laptop. But you are the boss.

Now let me answer the burning question that everyone is puzzled about & that is why in the world I want to do this ?

First I am not getting rid of the desktop. I am using it daily for over a year without a hitch.

I want to travel & demonstrate my research on 12 monitors to various people with the condition that they will have 12 monitors ready for me when I get there & thus I have to carry only my Laptop & something like Nestor.

As in following video, If someone can run 8 monitors from a Laptop with just a USB 3.0 hub for $35.00, how hard could it be to run 12 ?

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

The question is, how much bandwidth an express card can suck up from Laptop to feed it to 3 AMD FirePro 2460 external cards.

My applications are not gaming or videos, just data ( Numbers ) streaming from laptop in real time. That is why the cards are low profile & without fans because they don't generate that much heat.

So people what do you think of this new idea of using " Nestor NA211A-NB " PCIe expansion box to get 3 PCIe slots using Express Card to connect to Laptop ?

http://www.netstor.com.tw/_03/03_02.php?OTc=
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Re: Can I run 8 to 12 Monitors from one Laptop ?

Postposted on Sun Nov 03, 2013 5:28 am

Why do you need to use 12 monitors for the demonstration? Nobody is going to have 12 monitors that are compatible wth whatever you come up with, but everyone has projectors.
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Re: Can I run 8 to 12 Monitors from one Laptop ?

Postposted on Sun Nov 03, 2013 7:54 am

Besides the projector idea (keep in mind you can carry one with you), there's also the fact that if you're carrying 3 external PCIe cards, you might as well carry a small mini-tower PC.
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Re: Can I run 8 to 12 Monitors from one Laptop ?

Postposted on Sun Nov 03, 2013 9:54 am

OK, it makes a little more sense now. However, you're going to have a sizable external card cage in addition to the laptop, plus the extra cabling and power cord to go with that. When you factor in the need to individually pack everything to make sure it doesn't get damaged while being transported, you're not really making things any easier than if you were just taking a desktop system on the road.
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Re: Can I run 8 to 12 Monitors from one Laptop ?

Postposted on Sun Nov 03, 2013 9:57 am

Yeah, I just can't imagine any case where this makes sense.

If you need the professional grade graphics cards, there are again, multiple examples with 6x output per cards.

hence, as Morphine said, a portable PC becomes just as convenient as a laptop.

Trying to shoehorn whatever technology into a laptop...that then is outputted to 12 high resolution screens...just does not seem proportional.
It screams, not an elegant,not simple, and hence not professional.

JMHO. YMMV. :D :wink:

(Yes, these abbreviations and smiles also scream not professional...irony intended)
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Re: Can I run 8 to 12 Monitors from one Laptop ?

Postposted on Sun Nov 03, 2013 10:41 am

Even if you had that hypothetical Thunderbolt laptop (like a Macbook of some sort), you'd still be dependant on the fact that you'd need Thunderbolt-equipped displays, so you'd be back in square one.

So, in my opinion, for your scenario, the best options are a small computer with Matrox or AMD Eyefinity cards (or something akin to these), or just bring a nice projector with you. If you're really crazy and have the cash, buy a 4K projector. They're cheap at $4-5K :)
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Re: Can I run 8 to 12 Monitors from one Laptop ?

Postposted on Sun Nov 03, 2013 10:47 am

[Edit: morphine beat me to it!]

Ummm, unless it's been mentioned elsewhere, can't the OP upgrade that laptop to one with a Thunderbolt port and just "daisy chain" display's together?

I've seen laptops outside of Apple with TB on them, and I'm sure it works in the same way as it does on a MacBook Pro with a Windows laptop instead...
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Re: Can I run 8 to 12 Monitors from one Laptop ?

Postposted on Sun Nov 03, 2013 11:31 am

The problem with Thunderbolt is, he's said that he wants to be able to visit prospective customers and use (up to) 12 of their existing monitors to give a demo. So he's going to need something that is capable of driving DVI/HDMI/DisplayPort (and maybe even analog VGA). He's going to need to drag a suitcase full of adapters with him to ensure he's got the ability to physically hook everything up no matter what combination of monitor inputs they've got. Hopefully he isn't planning on supporting analog VGA, or he's also gonna need a big pile of active DisplayPort to VGA adatpers.
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Re: Can I run 8 to 12 Monitors from one Laptop ?

Postposted on Sun Nov 03, 2013 5:07 pm

I still have some real concerns about that Nestor unit working through an ExpressCard slot.

Their desktop PCIe card interface has multiple lanes, no issues there.

ExpressCard has a single lane so I remain a little confused as to how you're going to successfully power three PCIe slots with that. It might have it's own logic chip to provide lanes to each of the slots in the enclosure, but then the single lane of ExpressCard becomes a pretty serious bottleneck as the singular interface for all that data. I've dug through their documentation and my quick glances didn't find any straightforward info about how the product is built.
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Re: Can I run 8 to 12 Monitors from one Laptop ?

Postposted on Sun Nov 03, 2013 6:02 pm

...which kind of brings us back around to, the only way to do this in a way that is guaranteed to work well is probably to use a desktop system.
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Re: Can I run 8 to 12 Monitors from one Laptop ?

Postposted on Tue Nov 05, 2013 5:11 am

I will try my best to explain the setup & why am I doing this but the hardest part would be explaining why 12 High Resolution monitors each displaying different info.

The easiest way I can think is MRI. When a doctor scans your brain with MRI it generates many slices of brain each containing different info. This is the best I can do.

About the cables, each FirePro card comes with mini DP to DVI converter & all 12 fits in a small 5x3x5 or smaller box. Their monitors all have DVI connectors & cables.

I have same concern as Ryu Connor of running 3 cards with x1 now that the picture is becoming clearer with everyone’s help.

The only thing I can think is that my software need very limited bandwidth because it is just receiving prices of stocks which of course changes every millisecond but still I think it can’t be more than few MBs.

X1 will deliver about 500 MB each way & thus about 40 MB/Sec per monitor which is more than enough if my logic is true ? Am I right ?

I am also intrigued by following video where this guy runs 8 monitors two of which are running videos, using just one USB 3.0 port & 7 Port USB 3.0 Hub. That is what got me going on this project.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ncaCRHJvR8

I looked into your suggestion of Desktop & found that I will have to go with Dell 7610 Workstation which has 3 PCIe x16 slots & will do the job but it is a Huge Machine to carry with it’s packing box. I own one similar Dell that I am running 12 monitors now & it is impossible for me to carry on a flight.

Magma has a similar box with 3 PCIe slots & Thunderbolt interface. Would that do the job ? I will have to then go for an HP Laptop which has Thunderbolt.

http://www.magma.com/expressbox-3t
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Re: Can I run 8 to 12 Monitors from one Laptop ?

Postposted on Tue Nov 05, 2013 9:59 am

dan99t wrote:I have same concern as Ryu Connor of running 3 cards with x1 now that the picture is becoming clearer with everyone’s help.

The only thing I can think is that my software need very limited bandwidth because it is just receiving prices of stocks which of course changes every millisecond but still I think it can’t be more than few MBs.

The bandwidth of the raw data is irrelevant in this case. What matters is how much data you're trying to pump into the display adapters' frame buffers. This will depend a lot on the nature of the application generating the images.

If you're trying to update 12 1920x1080 displays smoothly at 60 Hz the required raw bandwidth is:

1920 x 1280 x 3 bytes per pixel x 60 Hz x 12 monitors = 5.3 GB/sec

This is well beyond the capabilities (by an order of magnitude!) of a single lane PCIe connection.

All is not lost however; this is an absolute worst case calculation. It assumes you're regenerating the entire frame buffer for each update (which would be a very inefficient way of coding the application), that the contents of every display must be updated at 60 Hz (dropping to a sub-multiple of the monitor's native refresh rate, e.g. 30 Hz or 20 Hz, would reduce the bandwidth accordingly), and that the application is not taking advantage of the hardware 2D acceleration capabilities of the GPUs.

But it does illustrate that a poorly coded application and/or buggy video drivers could cause this application to choke if all of the displays are being fed through a single PCIe 1x connection, and you are interested in getting the smoothest possible (60 Hz, the native refresh rate of the monitors) updates of the displayed images.
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Re: Can I run 8 to 12 Monitors from one Laptop ?

Postposted on Tue Nov 05, 2013 10:00 am

dan99t wrote:(snip)
I want to travel & demonstrate my research on 12 monitors to various people with the condition that they will have 12 monitors ready for me when I get there & thus I have to carry only my Laptop & something like Nestor.

As in following video, If someone can run 8 monitors from a Laptop with just a USB 3.0 hub for $35.00, how hard could it be to run 12 ?

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

(snip)
My applications are not gaming or videos, just data ( Numbers ) streaming from laptop in real time. That is why the cards are low profile & without fans because they don't generate that much heat.

(snip)


So why not just do that? Why not just use the USB solution that you can see demonstrated in that video? One issue I have is they use a 7 port USB hub and say they're using all 7 ports, but the documentation and product pages for all the different types of adapters clearly state a max of 6 are supported in combination. The last one must be used for a drive or something - but I digress. Anyways - the performance they show in that video seems like it would be appropriate for what you describe as your application including what looked like fullscreen video on one of the monitors. I would probably stick with VGA adapters here as that is going to be your lowest common denominator on screens that you would be expecting your hosts to provide. It's not just $35 though - it's $35 for the hub, plus $50 for each adapter - $335. The vga adapters appear to be limited to 1080P so it won't drive your Dells at full res. Scratch that - go for the DVI adapters http://plugable.com/products/uga-3000 that say they support higher resolutions over DVI/HDMI and include VGA adapters - but for a higher cost - now your total would be $395.

That would give you 7 screens if you include the laptop display. Morphine reports you can use a dock and get three from the laptop itself, so you would be at 9 total with pretty good flexibility. If you really need 12, another USB option may allow you to pass the 6 screen limit off another USB3 port. I really don't think the application you describe is going to be particularly performance constrained, I think compatibility will be your biggest battle and it's going to be even worse if you don't know what monitors you're walking into. If this is in a professional application you might want to simply invest in a custom padded case that will let you ship 12-14 monitors to the location ahead of time - having a known solution will be worth whatever the shipping costs would be vs. fighting with monitors for hours before a presentation.
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Re: Can I run 8 to 12 Monitors from one Laptop ?

Postposted on Tue Nov 05, 2013 2:31 pm

I'd still go via the route of building a small desktop in a Lian-Li / Silverstone / whatever case, and two AMD Eyefinity x6 cards. Some cursory Googling led me to this HardOCP thread, where more than one user reports using 10+ monitors at once: http://hardforum.com/showthread.php?t=1674502
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Re: Can I run 8 to 12 Monitors from one Laptop ?

Postposted on Wed Nov 06, 2013 2:59 am

frumper15 wrote:
dan99t wrote:(snip)
I want to travel & demonstrate my research on 12 monitors to various people with the condition that they will have 12 monitors ready for me when I get there & thus I have to carry only my Laptop & something like Nestor.

As in following video, If someone can run 8 monitors from a Laptop with just a USB 3.0 hub for $35.00, how hard could it be to run 12 ?

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

(snip)
My applications are not gaming or videos, just data ( Numbers ) streaming from laptop in real time. That is why the cards are low profile & without fans because they don't generate that much heat.

(snip)


So why not just do that? Why not just use the USB solution that you can see demonstrated in that video? The vga adapters appear to be limited to 1080P so it won't drive your Dells at full res. Scratch that - go for the DVI adapters http://plugable.com/products/uga-3000 that say they support higher resolutions

That would give you 7 screens if you include the laptop display. Morphine reports you can use a dock and get three from the laptop itself, so you would be at 9 total with pretty good flexibility. If you really need 12, another USB option may allow you to pass the 6 screen limit off another USB3 port. If this is in a professional application you might want to simply invest in a custom padded case that will let you ship 12-14 monitors to the location ahead of time - having a known solution will be worth whatever the shipping costs would be vs. fighting with monitors for hours before a presentation.


That seems to be the best option right now.

But can you plug in another hub in another USB 3.0 to get 6 more & 12 in total ? Is that what morphine suggests ?

The Laptop I have picked has 4 USB 3.0 ports & 1 Display Port.

In that case would following scenario work ?

(1) Run 12 Monitors using 2 USB 3.0 Hubs & DVI adapters as shown in youtube video.

(2) Run 6 Monitors from USB Hub + 3 more from remaining 3 USB 3.0 Ports + 1 Using Display Port = 10 Total

(3) Buy a Display port hub currently available outputs 3 DP & can run 3 monitors + 6 more using USB 3.0 hub + 3 more from remaining 3 USB 3.0 ports = 12 Total

Are these combinations possible ?

I also like your idea of shipping the monitors but in that case I might as well ship a desktop too ?
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Re: Can I run 8 to 12 Monitors from one Laptop ?

Postposted on Wed Nov 06, 2013 3:21 am

Something else that you guys might know more about.

The Laptop has AMD FirePro M6100 Video card & it has PCIe 3.0 x16 bus interface.

It says you cab run upto five monitors.

http://www.amd.com/us/products/workstat ... ily.aspx#3

Can more be done using this card ?
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Re: Can I run 8 to 12 Monitors from one Laptop ?

Postposted on Wed Nov 06, 2013 4:41 am

I also like your idea of shipping the monitors but in that case I might as well ship a desktop too ?

Yes, you could, but putting a small form desktop in a suitcase isn't a big deal.

Not to be a drag, but the problem isn't just that you need 12 monitors on site, you also need to have a space/mount that let's you lay them out the way you want, which I assume isn't all 12 sitting in a row on a flat table.
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Re: Can I run 8 to 12 Monitors from one Laptop ?

Postposted on Wed Nov 06, 2013 6:40 am

peartart wrote:
I also like your idea of shipping the monitors but in that case I might as well ship a desktop too ?

Yes, you could, but putting a small form desktop in a suitcase isn't a big deal.

Not to be a drag, but the problem isn't just that you need 12 monitors on site, you also need to have a space/mount that let's you lay them out the way you want, which I assume isn't all 12 sitting in a row on a flat table.


Hard to find a small desktop with 3 PCIe x16 OR x8 slots.

Monitors have special stands readily available. I want a layout of 6x6
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Re: Can I run 8 to 12 Monitors from one Laptop ?

Postposted on Wed Nov 06, 2013 7:37 am

Why three slots? 2 Eyefinity cards will do fine. This one here is a single-slot solution, $240, grab two, done.
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Re: Can I run 8 to 12 Monitors from one Laptop ?

Postposted on Fri Nov 08, 2013 10:30 pm

morphine wrote:Why three slots? 2 Eyefinity cards will do fine. This one here is a single-slot solution, $240, grab two, done.


Simply because I have 3, AMD FirePro 2460 Low profile cards with No Fan Cooling, each drives 4 monitors smoothly with video & all the applications I need. AMD claims that these cards are specially designed for stock market applications. Also I don't do gaming.

Morphine can I run 6 monitors using 6 port USB 3.0 hub plus 3 mote using DisplayPort 3 port hub on a Laptop totaling 9 ?
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Re: Can I run 8 to 12 Monitors from one Laptop ?

Postposted on Sat Nov 09, 2013 7:58 am

dan99t wrote:Morphine can I run 6 monitors using 6 port USB 3.0 hub plus 3 mote using DisplayPort 3 port hub on a Laptop totaling 9 ?

I honestly have no idea :(

Running displays off of USB never struck me as a particularly good idea due to bandwidth constraints (plus problems with drivers), though it may fit your intended purpose.
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Re: Can I run 8 to 12 Monitors from one Laptop ?

Postposted on Sat Nov 09, 2013 9:06 pm

Running displays off of USB never struck me as a particularly good idea due to bandwidth constraints (plus problems with drivers), though it may fit your intended purpose.[/quote]

The only thing that got me excited was that youtube video of pluggable technology where he shows how to run 7 monitors using just USB 3.0 hub.
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