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The vain quest for three monitor functionality

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  • The vain quest for three monitor functionality

    Hello everyone. First and foremost, I would like to say that, I love linux. I have used linux on random computers around my house for a number of years, and I would KILL to have it on my desktop. Well, here I am, again, going to format my computer and I desperately would like to use a linux distribution to do so. I have one simple problem though. I have two ATI video cards (an X1900XT and a radeon 9250) and three monitors. In years past I have been told over and over it is impossible to have this work. I have toiled and searched in vain on the internet to find an answer to this and have turned up with nothing. So, I was wondering if someone might be able to answer my plea for help. Maybe, just maybe, someone here has the answer that I so desperately look for? Maybe someone can free me from the confines of the beast that is Microsoft and send me down the path of free open source operating systems.

    Thank you for your help.

    ~D4rk m0nK3y

    P.S. if I need to clarify my question... I want to know if I can use the aforementioned video cards to do a THREE SCREEN SETUP (yes all of them working not just two).

  • #2
    in theory: yes, should have worked for years using the Xinerama extension.

    In practice, multi-GPU-setups receive few testing and not much work, and the Xinerama extension has quite some overhead when you're using fullscreen-3D over multiple monitors.

    I doubt that any distribution will support a multi-GPU setup out of the box right now. tweaking is needed.

    You'll often get more speed with just a single GPU and three monitors attached. That needs a signal splitter like the matrox triplehead2go though. It's not too cheap, but you'll save a windows license

    It's a bit difficult to give you further information, since you didn't tell us what kind of setup you're planning, what features you need and most importantly, what problems you ran into.


    • #3
      Hmm lets see if me answering those questions helps...

      - I have been trying for one big desktop across all three monitors.

      - One problem I ran into was getting xinerama to work. I could edit my xorg.conf all day and it would still default to randr. From my understanding, because randr does not have gpu object support, one big desktop across all three monitors is not possible (using randr!).

      - I really have done quite a bit of tweaking with my xorg.conf to try to get xinerama to work but to no avail? I've read most of the guides and tutorials on the internet for using xinerama and honestly none of them have helped. So, maybe if you have a good one that you know of I'd like to see it?

      - As for the matrox thing.. I considered it a number of times but because I already own windows it doesn't exactly save me any money... if I'd only known better when I was younger...

      (BTW the setup is quite simple. I have one 17" viewsonic monitor connected to my radeon 9250 (1280x1024). I have a 22" chimei CMV221D and another viewsonic 17" connected to my radeon x1900xt. (1680x1050 & 1280x1024))
      Last edited by d4rk_m0nkey; 03-25-2009, 08:31 AM.