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rhodges

Multiple panels on multiple monitors: CAUTION!

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I realize that this is a hardware post, but it so directly related to flightsim use that I thought it might be allowed in this forum due to high exposure. I guess this post could be considered anywhere from needing to be snuffed from this forum, to being worth a sticky.In FS9 (and FSX), like many others I have implemented multiple monitors,(two off of a primary AGP card, and a third off of an old PCI card). I have become adicted to being able to put throttle quadrants, radio stacks, overhead panels, and other secondary windows visable on the secondary monitor from the primary card along with the GPS ready at the click of a mouse button. I usually have FSNAV on the third monitor. With VatSim ATC, a different set of secondary windows is usually implemented for obvious reasons and I have often wished I had a forth monitor setup.With the birth of FSX, and due to some hardware problems with my present system, I have tried to carefully research a good hardware upgrade for improved FS performance. In my research for components I am about to purchase, THE FOLLOWING RED FLAG HAS BEEN RAISED:My original intention was to purchase a 8800GTX Primary Video Card, and something like a 7950XT secondary card which would provide the potential use of four monitors in the traditional application of multiple monitors as was possible in the past (Non SLI configuration). MY INTERPRETATION of what I am reading is that THIS MAY NOT WORK! Whether in SLI mode, or as independent video cards, my understanding is that two video cards in a dual PCI Express x16 slot Motherboard MAY NEED TO BE MATCHED, which would mean in my case, two 8800GTX cards may be mandatory, or lower quality MATCHED cards would have to be chosen. At this stage, I am not sure if this applies to all combinations or not. It may be that it only applies to applications where the driver would not be compatible with both cards. In any case, a good deal of caution and research would be advisable before getting out the credit card or check book. I cannot help but wonder how many others have made what appears to be my mistake in consideration or purchase of video cards that may not do what we thought they would do (Assuming my interpretation is correct). Any confirmation by the knowledgeable and experienced in this matter I am sure would be appreciated by all. Nothing would make me happier than to be informed that this interpretation is false.Respectfully:RTH

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IN a nutshell & the short version- absolutley yes the cards need to be matched. You can fry both cards and possibly your motherboard if youre unlucky- with or without SLI

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Thanks for the reply:Note that this original post is about one and three-quarter years old. A lot of water (and hardware) has gone under the bridge since that time.On my particular system (realizing that this is system specific), dual identical 8800GTX cards did not work out either. Either card would work fine in either slot, but not together. Too long ago for this old memory to remember all of the specifics. Present System specs. are attached to the bottom of this post.My solution was to go to a single 8800GTX as my primary with a X1550PRO256PSB PCI card as my secondary, and it has flown beautifully ever since with a three or four monitor application. A great deal less expensive too with the exception of the NewEgg restocking fee. Also of course resulted in reduced power consumption and heating as well.Now, one wonders what the next generation will provide and what will be able to be retained.Happy flying:RTHASUS P5N-E-SLI MotherboardIntel E6600 Core2 Duo CPUZalman CNPS7700-CU RT CPU Fam4 GB KST DII800 MemoryWinXP ProNVIDIA VCG8800GTX 768MB Primary Video Graphics Card21

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First, you don't need to purchase two video cards. FSX will not work with SLI anyway. Just get the most powerful card you can afford. I'm using EVGA's NVidia 8800 Ultra with 768Mb of cached memory.Second, the person who recommended the Matrox device is spot on. With one 8800 video card I'm driving 4 flat panel monitors - 3 for the scenery and one for the cockpit. (3 monitors connect (via the device) to one DVI out on the card and the 4th monitor connects to the other DVI out, again via the device)When an aircraft has a VC the 3 monitors will display both scenery and the VC. You can use the 4th monitor for popups or for other programs like moving maps or flight planners or whatever. If you're using a 2D panel, you can undock the panel from the scenery and slide it down to the 4th monitor. Before you undock it however, you need to "squeeze" the panel window down to one monitor's width. The panel display here looks very good. Now you have full scenery in the top 3 monitors and the panel down below displayed on the 4th monitor.I recommend the digital version of the Matrox TripleHead2Go device as this unit provides not only a digital signal but also matched screen displays across the multiple monitors. In other words the lines all match. I've been using this device since it came out with no problems.fb

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>... FSX will not work with SLI anyway.I don't believe that an application or game needs to specifically support SLI or Crossfire. This is implemented in the operating system's drivers and an application is unaware of whether or not a graphics driver is using parallel GPU processing or not. However, most of the bench marks I

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Sorry Ron, but FSX was not designed to take advantage of SLI. This has been documented in a number of places. This issue was also "fleshed out" during BETA testing. Just because driver software is in memory does not mean an application can take advantage of it. Also, hardware design will not assist an application if that software does not recognize the hardware capabilities.Perhaps a future version of FS will use these design functions. Note: In my opinion, fps is the worst indicator of FS performance. The data used to present fps is constantly changing as you move through FS. The interactions between software and hardware are so complex that using fps to determine whether or not your hardware and software optimizations are affecting the performance of FS (positive or negative) is a waste of time.The best way to determine whether or not your settings/hardware are helping FS is to look at it. If you're moving through FS and you can see sharp scenery and the motion is fluid then it doesn't matter what the fps indicates. My own rule - don't look at fps data. Look at the display. :-)fb

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I need to clarify my remarks concerning SLI. The statement that FSX does not work with SLI is partially incorrect. Actually SLI works no matter what application is running. The problem is that SLI does not "help" FSX until you reach ultra-high resolution settings. So for most people, SLI is not a necessary hardware function for flight simming.If you are going to use the TripleHead2Go digital device then SLI will not help with improved performance. The number one displays are "stretched out" multiplying the resolution of one monitor by 3. For example, my system uses 1280x1024 which gives you an effective resolution of 3840x1024 (a screen expansion technique). This is not ultra-high resolution so SLI does not help.Sorry for the mis-statements. You can read further about this issue in Phil Taylor's blog.fb

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Agree with fbass. My new computer is a Q9650 @3.00GHz with a single nVidia GTX 280 w/1024mb ram. I run a 3-wide 19" monitor display with the TH2G at 3840 x 1024 resolution off one port on the card, and a 24" ViewSonic LCD off the other port. At times I have numerous secondary windows open on the 24" monitor (FS Commander, FS Widgets Browser Edition, etc) and still can crank up FSX with a Texture_Max_Load=4096 for the FEX SHD high-definition clouds, and can also set my LOD Radius manually to 8.0 in the FSX.CFG file for photoreal scenery (which presents an amazing view) or even non-photoreal scenery if I want autogen drawn farther out (whether I get away with this depends on the complexity of the scenery area and my autogen slider setting, but I have found very few areas where it doesn't work).In any of the cases above, SLI would not be beneficial in FSX. One high performance video card can handle it all if your computer is set up and maintained correctly (and you have a CPU to match also, as FSX is still CPU intensive).FalconAF

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>The statement that FSX does not work with SLI is partially >incorrect. Actually SLI works no matter what application is >running. The problem is that SLI does not "help" FSX until you >reach ultra-high resolution settings.Thanks fb. This is all I was saying essentialy.The fact that most people do not run high enough resolutions to see a benefit from SLI leads many to an abridged statement of it doesn't work. The intent of the statement is to tell others that it isn't worth trying and in that spirit I shouldn't have butt in here. :) As that is really all the the OP needed to know. But I did see a bench mark of FS using SLI that did show an increase in fps on large monitors. So I thought that it might be a disservice to those with ultra high resolutions to say that it FS, or any app for that matter, needs to be "designed" to use SLI.I did offer the possibility, with nothing to back it up,:) that the TripleHead2Go Digital Edition

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Not completely true.Both cards do have to be matched at driver level...So is it perfectly possible to run a 7950 and a 7300 of Nvidia alongside eachother. They use the same driver.mixing a 8800 and a 7950 is NOT possible because there was a conflict of drivers.Of course, when you mix two different cards you cannot use them in SLI-mode.I have used the 7950/7300 combination for almost two years without problems.Luc BrusselmansBelgium

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Ummmm, I think that was pretty well covered in the original post when the following was said:"It may be that it only applies to applications where the driver would not be compatible with both cards."Thanks for the reply:RTH

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