Multiple computer monitors?

By Ivensbrownj ·
My client would to utilize several LCD computer monitors thoughout a cafe that we operate for him. He would like to utilize 1 computer to operate these, however he would like different things on each of the screens (ppt's) can this be done? If so what do I need? Thanks

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Depends on how many they want involved

by OH Smeg Moderator In reply to Multiple computer monitor ...

A multi head Video Card would do if there where not a lot required and the distance from the system wasn't too great.

But it really depends on How Many and How Far they need to be from the system generating the video.


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Reponse To Answer

by Ivensbrownj In reply to Depends on how many they ...

Thanks - most probably 4-5 monitors and anything unto 50-100ft away if not more. Any help with products would appreciated - I have no clue when it comes to this area.

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RE: anything unto 50-100ft

by OH Smeg Moderator In reply to Multiple computer monitor ...

That's way too far away to drive from a computer you'll have to look at something else here to use. as a Video Generator.

I'll have a look around and post back with what I've found available.


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Some suggestions

by blackepyon01 In reply to Multiple computer monitor ...

I've been using multiple monitors on my computers since I was putting my own systems together from spare parts as a teen (from around year 2000), so I'll share some suggestions with you.

I'd use a mid-range dual core or higher with 2GB of ram or better to be able to run multiple presentations simultaniously. The more you run at once, the more will be demanded of the system.

IMPORTANT: When using multiple video cards in Windows Vista, be sure that you use identical cards, as Vista does not allow you to install more than one video driver. Windows 95, 98, 2k, Me & XP did not have this issue, you could use whatever

different combinations of video card you wanted. I heard that Windows 7 would be a lot nicer with this sort of thing, but I haven't been able to confirm yet.

For a system that would run 4-5 displays:

---USB Video adapters:
You could use a normal computer with multiple USB VGA dongles (basically a video card on a USB stick). Put a few of those on an ordinary system, and you'd have an instant multi-video workstation. However, your video bus speed is limited by the speed of USB2.0, thus movies wouldn't work to well, and it may get CPU intensive.
Probably the cheapest solution, but I've never used one of these USB VGA dongles myself, so I don't know how well they preform, let alone multiples of them.

===Single Video Card system:
Any generic system with an open PCI-E(x16) slot free, and the "AMD Radeon HD 6990 Graphics card" (4GB ram, up to 6 monitors from one card). Card would be a bit pricey though, starting around $700

===Multi-Video Card system:
-Motherboard (ASUS P6T7 WS SuperComputer). Has 7 PCI-E(x16) slots, supports up to 4 multi-output video cards at full bus speed (or potientally all 7 at half speed, though you will notice a drop in framerate playing video)
-Use any cheap dual-out video card (~$75 each) * 4 for 8 monitor outputs

===Cheap Multi-Video Card system. I use a similar setup on my home computer (4 monitors)
-Use any motherboard that suports SLi or Crossfire (will have 2 or 3 PCI-Ex16 slots that clock down to x8 when in SLi or Crossfire mode as they have a shared bus).
-Use cheap dual-out video cards of your choice (2 or 3 depending on the MB).
-Set the MB's jumpter to it's SLi or Crossfire mode, but don't use the video card bridge adapter. Many modern motherboards can autosense, so setting the jumper may not be nessesary.

Methods of deployment:

===Video over distance:
-You can purchase 50' VGA or DVI cables, (though they can get pricey). Greater distances may require a VGA or DVI multiplier (~$60)
-look up "VGA over LAN" solutions for transmit over larger distances (can get even more pricey, but depending on the need, may be worth the effort)

===Multiple simultaneous PPt presentations:
I haven't actually tried this with multiple sessions, but it should work. Launch multiple sessions of Microsoft Power Point for however many displays you want to run. For each session, in the slide show ribbon, click the "set up slide show" button and set to display on one of the other monitors (uncheck the presenter view, it'll get in the way).

Something else you may be interested in if running video over these displays:
VLC player is an open source video player that is has low impact on system performance, can play almost anything, and best of all (IMO) can route the video output to another monitor or to a detatched window. Also has some options for setting different
sound device outputs (could come in handy, but I haven't tested that function yet). If you decide to give VLC a try, I have experience getting it to work on external displays on both XP and Vista and could offer some setting suggestions.

As a personal preference, I'd run display 1 as my primary. The customers wouldn't see this one. You do all your work on this display, and all dialog boxes will pop up by default on this display. For the other display outputs, I would use a VGA or DVI multiplier to split into 2 identcal signals. One is connected to a monitor in the office where the PC is located and the other goes to the screen in the cafe that the customers see. Do this for each and you'll be able to see and work without needing to look arond the cafe to see what you did or where the mouse went. It's a bit more pricey with the extra monitors and the multipliers, but it can make working with it a lot more friendly.

This stuff is right up my alley, so I'll be monitoring to see how it develops. Sorry for the length

For whatever you decide to go with, always look up customer reviews first to see if the product has any known issues before you buy (I've leaned that the hard way).

If you wish to contact me directly regarding this stuff, I can be reached at

Good luck :)

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Maybe try this

by doug m. In reply to Multiple computer monitor ...

I work for a school district and we use a system from a company called Magicbox, Inc. Perhaps something from them would be better than trying to run multiple monitors from a PC. They provide a box that can be programmed to run messages, PowerPoint's, etc. As for different messages on each monitor, I'm not sure since we run the same msg. on all TV's throughout the school, but I imagine they could do it.

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