Dell XPS 8500 – 3 Monitor Setup

Okay, so the guide says that it is possible.  This particular model shipped with an nVidia GeForce GT 620.  It sounds good on the surface, but discovered that with an i7 processor and 8 (sort of) cores running in this screamer, that this video card is worth a whopping 40 bucks.  Really?  With an i7 processor and a 2 terabyte SATA 6.0Gb/s drive in here, a $40 graphic card?

MSI Eyefinity R6450

MSI Eyefinity R6450

Well, most of my work is in coding anyway, so it’s not a huge deal. Though, I do drive 3 monitors.  Gotta have serious copy paste room.  On the GT 620, there are 3 outputs – one each DVI, VGA and HDMI.  So I ran the DVI, VGA and then without an HDMI adapter, slapped up a USB2 (ugh) video convertor.  Actually runs pretty decent but it could run faster if I happened to have a USB 3.0 video adapter around.

Now, the manual says that the onboard VGA could be used and I HAVE done that very successfully on other machines before. But this one? Not so much.  Get a dire warning about the multi-monitor setting when trying to use it . There is a setting in the BIOS that supposedly enables the onboard and one would THINK that by enabling that, one could use the onboard in addition to the nVidia, but no. In that configuration, I only get the onboard and the 620 isn’t even recognized and does not show up in device manager (under Windows 7).

So now, I have two options – well maybe 3. 

  1. Figure out what the heck the deal is and why I can’t use the onboard, though I *was* pretty persistent the other day and tried everything I could think of.
  2. Order an HDMI to VGA convertor – which I did. That’s probably the easiest if it works properly.
  3. Best option – replace the $40 video card with a REAL video card – using the AMD EyeFinity DisplayPort technology.  That’s where I’ll likely end up going one day. Started doing some research on THAT technology, but it was going to require a BIG spoon to get through all the geek sauce around that particular project.

Definitely need to take some time to get my head around the DisplayPort stuff. That definitely sounds like the way to go.  Thinking this monitor stand, this 22″ monitor, this EyeFinity and I should be good to go… Thanks to the fine folks at AMD for helping me through figuring out what I need – and it isn’t even that expensive – well, the card at least.. Try out their Eyefinity Setup page.


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