Dual-GPU graphics cards typically belong at the very high end of the market, often combining two of the fastest graphics chips available, but it doesn't have to be that way. Case in point: Via subsidiary S3 Graphics is at the Digital Signage Expo in Las Vegas today demonstrating its Chrome 5400E x2, a bona-fide dual-GPU card geared for multi-display applications.
Feature highlights of the Chrome 5400E x2 include, in Via's words:
Support for up to 8 simultaneous displays Up to 4 independent video streams HD screen resolutions of up to 1080p H.264, VC-1 and WMV-HD hardware acceleration Support for Span, Extended and Clone view configurations Built-in Genlock support for synchronized source timing
The company says it will "initially" offer samples of the Chrome 5400E x2 to U.S.-based original design manufacturers next quarter. That "initially" may be a hint that we'll see the card pop up in other places later—a potentially interesting proposition for non-gaming PCs that need to use many displays. Since S3 typically prices its Chrome graphics cards below $100—single-GPU ones, that is—the 5400E x2 probably won't break the bank, either.
AMD also offers cheap desktop cards with support for many displays. However, the $99 Radeon HD 5670 can only support up to four of 'em, and even today's highest-end Radeons can deal with six displays at the most.