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Can't manage 2 monitors on one GPU?

I just bought an AGP card (GeForce FX 5500, 256mg) to put into my P4, 2.4mhz Dell Dimension 4550 with 756MB of RAM running XP SP2. The card has a VGA and DVI port, so I wanted to add a second monitor, using a DVI-VGA adapter for the second LCD. The documentation that came with the card is scant at best, so I'm hoping someone can provide some feedback.

Problem 1. No matter how I configure things in display settings and in the nvidia desktop software, I cannot get the vid card to treat the monitors as separate. In the nvidia software, it bundles both monitors together (Dell and Sony). That is, when I'm identifying the primary monitor, the drop down menu items lists BOTH monitors as one item (Dell and Sony). The SAME option is in the drop down for the seconday monitor. Further confirming this is that when I ask for the monitors to be "identified" in either display settings or nvidia desktop, both monitors are labelled the same way (e.g., both display as "1" or "Dell FP")

I found some documentation on the nvidia web site that seems to indicate that there is an issue in that the drivers will not recognize both ports as independent - and this issue will not be fixed. This sounds nuts to me, so I might not be interpreting it correctly.

Problem 2. For whatever reason, this 256mb card does not perform better than my old 64mb card: I drag a video window and it trails, stutters and "tears". Plus, my PC seems slightly slower with this card.

What gives, folks? Is it simply not possible to configure two separate monitors so my desktop spans both with this setup? And barring a second monitor, why is my performace actually worse?

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More info:

In reply to: Can't manage 2 monitors on one GPU?

Problem 1: Who makes your FX 5500, like what manufacturer? Just because a card has two outs (VGA and DVI) doesn't mean it can always support dual monitors.

Problem 2: It's not really the amount of memory that a video card has that determines its potential. The FX5500 is pretty old now, what with nVidia on their 8000 series. Probably shoulda gone with something like a 6600. Also remember this, running two monitors at the same time will greatly reduce the performance.

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Answers to your questions!

In reply to: More info:

Answer 1: Inland, which I think is Microcenter's "private label" brand.

Answer 2: Yes, I knew the FX5500 was pretty old by now, but I was looking for a boost in performance for things like basic photo editing (in Picasa and similar apps) as well as better performance in running a couple of graphics intensive apps at once...like Picasa and a streaming video or a web cam application. I'm not playing graphics intensive games, using Photoshop or editing video. I thought something like the FX5500 might be sufficient, but I might be wrong!

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My guess is that ...

In reply to: Answers to your questions!

this card was not designed for what you wanted to do. It may have two different output but not at the same time. Also I think those dual displays card normally come with the software for that purpose (extending display) or maybe XP has that capability.

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you're probably right

In reply to: My guess is that ...

XP can deal with multiple displays and furthermore, this card came with nvidia's "nview" software to configure multiple displays. It seems that all nvidia GPUs can support multiple displays, but not all video cards are configured to do so. I've been looking for another video card online and it is surpringly difficult to tell which cards can support multiple displays...it isn't explicit in most of the retailer's descriptions or tech specs.

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Dual Monitors..

In reply to: Can't manage 2 monitors on one GPU?

I have the option on both of my PC's..
I like my KVM Switch..IOGEAR MINIVIEWmicro
I use two PC-towers and One Keyboard and One-Monitor..the Scroll Lock Button switches between the two machines..I usually only run one machine at a time..but have started and grabbed some file while on the internet w/the other..
Consider the KVM Switch.

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