3 VGA monitor Eyefinity?

By StopMakingSense · 18 replies
May 27, 2013
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  1. I recently acquired 3 older Dell 17" VGA monitors. Which got me thinking: Is it possible to create a 3-monitor Eyefinity setup with these? From what I've read, as long as the AMD video card has 2 x DVI-I ports and a DisplayPort, it should be possible. I could use DVI-to-VGA adapters and DisplayPort-to-VGA adapter, like this one:


    The video card I've been looking at is the XFX Radeon HD 6770::


    It seems like the sticking point is finding a good video card with DVI-I as opposed to DVI-D. If anyone has any recommendations or advice, please let me know.

  2. GhostRyder

    GhostRyder This guy again... Posts: 2,198   +593

    If your trying to run just a high resolution setup, your options are going to be limited with VGA conection as that type is limited in the resolutions supported. Now you could setup a Eyefinity display doing that because it says here that the 6770 Link will support up to 5 eyefinity displays.

    Your resolution will be limited to ANALOG: 2048 x 1536, but yes that should work using the adapters is no problem, you just may not get the picture quality your hoping for, but it should work.

    Hope this helps
  3. St1ckM4n

    St1ckM4n TS Evangelist Posts: 2,922   +630

    I did this on an NVIDIA card but it wouldn't work with more than 1 monitor on VGA (adaptors included). Maybe it was because of the resolution limit as mentioned above - who knows.
  4. Jad Chaar

    Jad Chaar Elite Techno Geek Posts: 6,515   +974

    A VGA to DP is kind of a wreck. DP has much higher bandwidth and provides better quality than VGA, but if that is all you have, than go for it.
  5. GhostRyder

    GhostRyder This guy again... Posts: 2,198   +593

    It really depends on the cards a lot of times. The problem being that many cards have very specific requirements to handle their multi-monitor setups. For this particular card, it seems to have the auto support for 5 monitors and the outputs seem fine for making 3 way eyefinity though based on my history with my 6990's, you may have some trouble using both of the DVI slots in a 3 way setup (You may not, but if you do that might be the problem). I would definitely try and yes the HDMI and Display port first then pick one of the 2 DVI's if your going to pick up the connectors because you may have an issue with one of them. I have an issue running eyefinity on my 3 monitor setup with my HD 6990s because it did not like the third monitor using a DVI-HDMI on the DVI straight port. But when using the mini-Display port DVI adapter and the DVI to HDMI, it was fine.
  6. StopMakingSense

    StopMakingSense TS Rookie Topic Starter

    This might be more of a headache than it's worth :oops:

    I understand the limitations of running a digital signal to analog monitors, but these are Dell E177FPc monitors with 1280 x 1024 resolution. If using 2 DVI ports on a video card for Eyefinity is unreliable, what about the HDMI port? From what I understand, HDMI to VGA simply won't work, right?
  7. GhostRyder

    GhostRyder This guy again... Posts: 2,198   +593


    No it's fine, I've seen people do it before

    And remember I have a odd card in general so yours may work fine using the dvi's, the 6990s have a dvi and 4 mini dp's so it's probably something to do with the way the dvi on mine works. I would say just find the adapters local if you can so you can return is there's an issue. But hdmi to VGA is not common so you may have trouble finding those not online.
  8. Jad Chaar

    Jad Chaar Elite Techno Geek Posts: 6,515   +974

    The DVI slots shouldnt give you an issue, but there is a DVI-D and a DVI-x (forgot what they call it), so that may effect performance, but that only really occurs if you are running 3D.
  9. StopMakingSense

    StopMakingSense TS Rookie Topic Starter

    JC713, AFAIK, there are three types of DVI connecters:

    1. DVI-A: pure analog
    2. DVI-D: pure digital (single or dual-link)
    3. DVI-I: integrated analog and digital (single or dual-link)

    Thanks everyone for the advice. I'm going to buy the adapters and give it a try. I was wary of trying the HDMI-to-VGA route, so it's good to hear it's worked for others.
    cliffordcooley likes this.
  10. Jad Chaar

    Jad Chaar Elite Techno Geek Posts: 6,515   +974

    I forgot about the DVI-A, right!
  11. antonmorse

    antonmorse TS Rookie

    you can definitely use 3 VGA monitors for Eyefinity. I have had 3 22inch monitors running in Eyefinity for a few years now, and I highly recommend it, I would not want to be without it now, for my racing sims, FPS games, and for the extra desktop space.

    I first used an HD5750, then added a second card to boost power (as you do get a drop in framerate with 3 monitors), then recently upgraded to an HD7950.
    Yes it can be a pain getting the right combination of adaptors/cables, but it really is worth it.
    The two DVI to vga adaptors should be fine, along with the active adaptor you mention.
    For some strange reason I never needed an active adaptor for my HD5750, never could work out why, but I now have one for my HD7950. (I bought 2 or 3 cables before I gave in and bought the active adaptor, doh !)
    If for some reason all three monitors do not work, I recommend making sure the cables are all fully wired. (you can get cheaper cables with less wires in, my eyefinity setup failed when I tried to use one). Good luck, I'm sure you will be happy with the result :)
  12. St1ckM4n

    St1ckM4n TS Evangelist Posts: 2,922   +630

    IMO I wouldn't spend more than $30 to get this working. VGA has a noticeable quality loss over DVI. Also eyefinity sucks for productivity (e.g. doing anything non-gaming) as the desktop doesn't differentiate between the multiple screens.

  13. antonmorse

    antonmorse TS Rookie

    Well, one of my monitors is actually now connected through the dual DVI - there may be a very slight quality difference, but in my case it is really not noticeable - I couldn't put up with it if it was noticeably better in a third of the view; also for me, the gain in 3 screen sim-racing far outweighs any perceived drop in quality.
    I have no problem using the desktop for non-gaming, I am able to set up different applications in each monitor area. No they are not specifically differentiated between, but most programs 'remember' their window size and location on exit, so for example my email & internet browser always appear in the same screen. Works for me,
    And it can be done for $30 :)

    Another bit of info I missed out:
    firstly, the resolution is only limited by your weakest monitor resolution.
    Mine are all 1920 x 1080, so I am running a resolution of 5760 x 1080.
    (Actually with bezel correction, it is 5890 x 1080).

    and secondly, now that I think about it I believe it IS possible to differentiate between screens, just by switching back to 'normal extended' mode, so you can have 3 identifiable desktops when not gaming.
  14. GhostRyder

    GhostRyder This guy again... Posts: 2,198   +593

    Yea, I would suggest going to extended mode for non-gaming, but eyefinity is great for gaming and even on VGA, you should be fine, you just might not get it as bright looking on the VGA signal as you would DVI.
  15. beyondtool

    beyondtool TS Rookie

    I have a PowerColor HD7950 and 3 VGAs will not work, even 2 VGAs will not happen without a second videocard. The problem is that this card has 2 DVI ports, one is DVI-D and one is DVI-I. If you use a passive VGA to DVI-I adaptor (like the bundled one with this card) this will only work on the DVI-I dual link port. This port uses the videocard to convert from digital to analog and the DVI-VGA adapter is just a pass through. The second port DVI-D port does not have this functionality. Even using a Display port to DVI and then adding a DVI-I to VGA connector will not work as the HD7950 can only output 1 analog VGA signal through the DVI-I port (I am not aware of any modern eyefinity cards that have 2 VGA outputs, but I guess they may exist).

    I suppose you could get a HDMI to VGA or DVI-D to VGA digital to analog converter, however I haven't had any luck with these in the past and the quality ones are expensive. There is the difficulty in the videocard detecting the supported resolutions of the converter and then the convertor itself outputting the appropriate supported VGA resolution to the monitor (the cheap ones only support 560/720/1080 resolutions which many VGA monitors are not going to support). Once you are paying over $50 for a decent working result you may as well get a second hand monitor with DVI/HDMI/Display port or invest in a new monitor.

    There is also the possibility of a Display port to VGA like this Apple one: http://store.apple.com/au/product/MB572Z/B/mini-displayport-to-vga-adapter
    From the reviews most people can't get this to work with VGA monitors at all. Any Digital to analog VGA converter is going to be a crapshoot unless you are paying top dollar or happy to spend months messing around ordering different adapters and trying different configurations.

    I am irritated that despite carefully reading ATI's technical specs on eyefinity it is not clear enough what is needed for it to work and I've wasted time and money trying to get 2 VGA monitors to play ball. Basically for triple head eyefinity you need one Display port monitor OR an ACTIVE display port to DVI/HDMI monitor (as listed on the AMD support page), then a combination of 2 Digital monitors (DVI/HDMI/Diplay Port) or 1 digital monitor and 1 analog VGA monitor. I have not had any success with any other configuration.
  16. antonmorse

    antonmorse TS Rookie

    Well all I can do is assure you that I HAVE run 3 VGA monitors, first on an HD5750, then again in crossfire but still from the same card, and now on my HD7950 (admittedly on the HD7950 I am now using the DVI slot on one of the monitors). I have an active adaptor on the miniDP port, and the other two monitors are plugged into the DVI slots. I would not give up - my Accell B101B-002B UltraAV Mini Display Port to VGA Adapter was £24, and Amazon also sell a DVI-D to VGA active for £23 (you can always return it if it doesn't work). But it CAN be done.
    I agree it is a right pain getting it to work, I have bought several useless adaptors & cables before finally succeeding, but I wouldn't be without my Eyefinity now.
  17. beyondtool

    beyondtool TS Rookie

    So you have one monitor using the DVI-I output with an adapter to VGA, one DVI-D monitor using the DVI-D port and a mini display port to VGA adaptor which is converting analog to digital. I might look into this Accell Mini Display Port to VGA Adapter as it may solve my problem. Is there any noticable loss of quality with this adaptor?

    Bah! The Accell Mini Display Port to VGA Adapter seems to be UK and US only and suppliers wont ship to Australia. The ones on eBay cost between $60 - $100 to deliver here.
  18. beyondtool

    beyondtool TS Rookie

    Well I figured if someone else manage to get eyefinity working with VGA I would persevere. I bought an Apple mini display port to VGA cable, but I found it has some sort of hardware protection and was listed in device manager as "fake" and would only output 640 x 480 res under Windows 7. I took it back and tried another adapter this one from **** Smith: http://www.dicksmith.com.au/apple-computers/ds-mini-dp-to-vga-adaptor-dsau-xb1503 Worked immediately on first boot and is active, all 3 displays work and correct resolution was detected. Quality is perfect I can't tell any difference between the standard VGA signal and this cable.
  19. antonmorse

    antonmorse TS Rookie

    Yep, it is excellent quality for me too. Glad you got it working.

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