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  1. #1
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    Dual Monitors & Graphics Card

    I am in the process of ordering a new Dell Desktop Computer System.
    Currently looking at the XPS 8700.

    That system will have 2 Monitors.

    Do I have to upgrade the graphics card because I will have 2 Monitors instead of just 1 monitor?

    Even if I don't "have to", should I do so anyway to get better performance?

    I am assuming that a separate graphics card would be preferable to an "integrated" graphics card?

  2. #2
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    Look at the system specs on the XPS 8700 and find out what graphics card(s) are installed
    and make certain you have a card that can handle two monitors.
    You'll also want to take a close look at the monitors you've chosen as well. (DVI vs HDMI) and plan accordingly.
    Not to mention a PSU that can handle the power requirements for SLI/crossfire if that is the way you are going.

    Quite often Dell will allow you some leeway in the build if you're ordering it online.

    For two monitors you'll have to have a GPU card that can actually support two monitors, or go with a system where by you can
    install two GPU cards in either SLI or crossfire.

    With SLI or crossfire you'll definitely have support for two monitors, anything else you'll have to research carefully.
    Last edited by CLiNT; 2015-01-15 at 14:35.
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    Steven,

    I'm currently running dual monitors on a Dell XPS8700 that's 1.5 years old using the graphics card that came with it. The only caveat is that one monitor is hooked up via HDMI and the other DVI. My computer has an AMD Radeon HD 7500 Series video card. HTH
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    The Video card that comes with the Dell XPS 8700 is an AMD Radeon HD R9 270 2GB GDDR5, but I can put any video card I want in it.

    The specs for the card that comes with the Desktop is at http://www.amd.com/en-us/products/graphics/desktop/r9 - Scroll to the bottom & click on Specs

    Under the line of "AMD Eyefinity Technology (Maximum Displays)", it states "Up to 6 displays with the use of a DP MST"

    And under the line of "AMD Crossfire Support (Maximum Number of GPUS and Crossfire Bridge Interconnect Required), it states "2, bridge required"

    This card sounds like it is really a video card for gamers.
    And although I am NOT a "gamer", I will play some slot machine games & other games on that Desktop. But, the Desktop will be used primarily for a small business.

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    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    Looks like you're good to go then, just make sure your monitors support the Display Ports on the card.
    You'll need the hub if you're going to go with ALL those monitors.

    This card sounds like it is really a video card for gamers.
    And although I am NOT a "gamer", I will play some slot machine games & other games on that Desktop. But, the Desktop will be used primarily for a small business.
    Then the card should fulfill your needs nicely.
    Last edited by CLiNT; 2015-01-15 at 17:51.
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    Steven,

    This card should be all you need as per your specified uses. See this review. HTH
    May the Forces of good computing be with you!

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    THANK YOU BOTH for your knowledgeable input !

    It is greatly appreciated.

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    Quote Originally Posted by StevenXXXX View Post
    ...Even if I don't "have to", should I do so anyway to get better performance?...
    Once you have both monitors connected (and assuming you are running Win7 or Win8) go to Control Panel/Display and fiddle with the settings to get the results you want.

    Note that there is a great difference between the "duplicate the display" and "extend the display" settings.
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    The AMD Radeon R9 270 Video Card (NOT the R9 270X) has the following display outputs:
    1 HDMI Port
    1 Display Port
    2 DVI Ports

    Although the Video Card has only 1 HDMI port, there is another HDMI port on the Desktop itself coming out of the back.

    The Two (2) Dell UltraSharp 24 Monitors (Model U2414H) I am purchasing with the Dell XPS 8700 Desktop system have the following connections:
    2 HDMI (MHL) connector
    1 Mini Display Port
    1 Display Port (version 1.2a)
    1 Display Port out (MST)
    1 Audio line out (for speakers)
    4 USB 3.0 Ports - Downstream (4 at the back, 1 with battery charging)
    1 USB 3.0 Port - Upstream.

    Further, the Two (2) Monitors each come with the following cables:
    DP Cable (Mini-DP to DP)
    USB 3.0 upstream cable (enables the USB port
    on the monitor)

    Although the Monitors do NOT come with an HDMI Cable, if I connected via HDMI to both monitors, all I would have to purchase additionally would be 2 short HDMI cables.

    So, with the above available connections, what is the best way to connect my Two (2) Monitors to the 1 Video Card?

    If I go with the HDMI connection, could you suggest suitable 6 foot HDMI cables I could purchase.

    I am currently looking at the C2G High Speed HDMi Cable with Ethernet sold by Dell for $6.99 each & sold by Amazon for $4.86

    Amazon also has a pair of Amazon Basics HDMI cables for $9.99 for 2 cables.
    Last edited by StevenXXXX; 2015-01-16 at 20:02.

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    Steven,

    I currently connect one monitor w/HDMI and the other with DVI and it works perfectly. I'd recommend either Amazon Basics or MonoPrice cables. Expensive cables are a waste of money IMHO. HTH
    May the Forces of good computing be with you!

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    Quote Originally Posted by RetiredGeek View Post
    Steven,

    I currently connect one monitor w/HDMI and the other with DVI and it works perfectly. I'd recommend either Amazon Basics or MonoPrice cables. Expensive cables are a waste of money IMHO. HTH
    My original thought was to connect both monitors using HDMI - 1 Monitor to the HDMI Port on the Video Card & the 2nd Monitor to the HDMI Port directly on the Desktop.

    But, now I wonder whether I would get better performance if both Monitors were connected directly to the Video Card - 1 to HDMI & the 2nd to DVI?
    Last edited by StevenXXXX; 2015-01-17 at 10:28.

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    Steven,

    In most cases when you install a standalone video card it disables the builtin video on the CPU and the connectors attached to the MB. So yes you'll get better performance if both are connected to the video card! HTH
    May the Forces of good computing be with you!

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    Quote Originally Posted by StevenXXXX View Post
    My original thought was to connect both monitors using HDMI - 1 Monitor to the HDMI Port on the Video Card & the 2nd Monitor to the HDMI Port directly on the Desktop.

    But, now I wonder whether I would get better performance if both Monitors were connected directly to the Video Card - 1 to HDMI & the 2nd to DVI?
    I would suggest first connecting one monitor to the VGA card using a HDMI cable (screen one in display settings). Then connect the second monitor using a DVI cable (screen two in display settings). In "Display Settings" make screen one the main screen (w/ taskbar & desktop shortcuts etc. and for screen two choose "extend the display" (no taskbar or shortcuts). It usually works best with screen one on the left and screen two on the right.

    Note that the onboard VGA will be disabled when you are running with the AMD VGA card, so you won't get a display signal from any onboard VGA ports.
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    Quote Originally Posted by RetiredGeek View Post
    Steven,

    In most cases when you install a standalone video card it disables the builtin video on the CPU and the connectors attached to the MB. So yes you'll get better performance if both are connected to the video card! HTH
    THANKS for pointing that out & of course you are absolutely correct.

    Since I am now limited to the ports on the Video Card, would it make any sense to use an Adapter (either Display Port to HDMI or DVI to HDMI) to be able to still use HDMI cables to connect to both monitors.

    Or should I just connect 1 of the Monitors via HDMI & the 2nd Monitor via DVI or Display Port?

    Of the 2 (Display Port & DVI), which would be the best to use?

    And of course, the Video Card does have 2 DVI ports. Should I just use those 2 ports, or should I put at least 1 Monitor on HDMI?

  19. #15
    Super Moderator RetiredGeek's Avatar
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    Steven,

    I'd use which ever ports I had the cables for and my monitor's supported. I can see no good reason to by new cables if you don't have to. I certainly can't tell which of my monitors is running DVI and which is HDMI. HTH
    May the Forces of good computing be with you!

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