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Ask Slashdot: Hardware Accelerated Multi-Monitor Support In Linux?

timothy posted about a year ago | from the 32.174-ft/s^2 dept.

Graphics 278

An anonymous reader writes "I'm an Engineer with a need for 3 large monitors on the one PC. I want to run them as 'one big desktop' so I can drag windows around between all three monitors (Windows XP style). I run Debian and an nVidia NVS450. Currently I have been able to do what I want by using Xinerama which is painfully slow (think 1990s), or using TwinView which is hardware accelerated but only supports 2 monitors. I can live without 3D performance, but I need a hardware accelerated 2D desktop at the minimum. What are my options? I will happily give up running X and run something else if I need to (although I would like to keep using Xfce — but am open to anything). I am getting so desperate that I am starting to think of running Windows on my box, but that would be painful in so many other ways given my work environment revolves around the Linux toolset."

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Multi-Monitor Support in 2013?!? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44399631)

Windows figured this out in the late 1990s, and you're telling me that Linux still can't do it right in 2013?

I would say I'm surprised, but that seems about right for Linuks.

Re:Multi-Monitor Support in 2013?!? (0)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | about a year ago | (#44399697)

Even Windows took a step back with XP. In 9x, you were able to use any mix of video cards for each monitor. With XP, the driver model changed and you had to have the same card (or similar cards, but the drivers themselves had to have the support)

Re:Multi-Monitor Support in 2013?!? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44399711)

Let's hope for Wayland

Re:Multi-Monitor Support in 2013?!? (3, Interesting)

Zeussy (868062) | about a year ago | (#44399865)

I'm confused by this. I have 7 monitors on one machine, 3 connected to an AMD Radeon, the other 4 connected to a Nvidia Geforce (using a matrox triple head 2 go, to make 3 appear as 1 monitor to the card). And it all works seamlessly. Even have 3d applications/meda players spanning across them and it works. (Not quite sure how the 3D side of things work, backbuffer from one copied to the other?)

Re:Multi-Monitor Support in 2013?!? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44399943)

that's because it was fixed in vista or 7. Probably vista when they switched to the new driver model.

Doesn't stop the zealots from spouting nonsense.

Re:Multi-Monitor Support in 2013?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44400015)

Iwas just going to suggest the matrox TripleHead2Go, but it's apparently limited to 5760x1080 (3x 1920x1080) or two screens combined to 3840x1200 (2x 1920x1200). I'd say that doesn't qualify as three big screens.

Does anyone know how multiple screens daisy-chained via their display-port outputs appear to the system?

It's really a pity that functionality that's been available since 15 years on SGI Onyx [sgi.com] computers hasn't found its way into all desktop systems.

Btw, is there any good reason why the idle power consumption of graphics cards increases significantly when more than one (or in some cases two) monitors are connected?

Re:Multi-Monitor Support in 2013?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44400205)

Does anyone know how multiple screens daisy-chained via their display-port outputs appear to the system?

They appear as separate monitors.

Re:Multi-Monitor Support in 2013?!? (-1, Flamebait)

interval1066 (668936) | about a year ago | (#44399885)

Ok, Linux needs help in the video department, but its more the fault of the manufacturers who want to keep their code licensed in such a way that it exludes OSS. Intel has been good, but the support from all the major gpu vendors could be better. And I know what OP means by developing on Linux; doing development on Windows is like keeping one arm tied behind your back after doing Linux development, target platforms aside.

Re:Multi-Monitor Support in 2013?!? (1)

thecross (1313393) | about a year ago | (#44400209)

Oh, the days of using separate video cards for 2D and 3D support. It was "cool" to have a setup like that, but somehow I was never interested and held out for the TNT2.

Re:Multi-Monitor Support in 2013?!? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44399761)

Multi-monitor isn't the problem here. Hardware-acceleration is the problem.

Last time I checked, officiak nVIDIA driver is the only one which implements 2D render acceleration which is still marked as experimental (for like 10 years), and that is only partially supported by other GUI functionalies, such as multi-monitor - most applications/toolkits don't even know it. Hardware-acceleration except 3D for gaming is difficult with X-window because:

1) You need X-window to have that acceleration API
2) You need X-window drivers (per-vendor) to implement the acceleration API
3) You need various X-window extensions to make use of the acceleration API
4) You need GUI toolkits to provide a layer of higher-level acceleration API to support the acceleration API in X-window and make use of it
5) You may also need GUI apps to make use of the higher-level acceleration API

It cannot change overtime, and since nobody cares about hardware acceleration except gamers, there can be no acceleration for your regular 2D/GUI work, no progress in the field for so many years. About 3 years ago I can still notice that quick-scrolling on webpage appears to be much slower on x-window than winodws (using opera browser), though it doesn't hurt usability.

Re:Multi-Monitor Support in 2013?!? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44400299)

It cannot change overtime, and since nobody cares about hardware acceleration except gamers, there can be no acceleration for your regular 2D/GUI work, no progress in the field for so many years. About 3 years ago I can still notice that quick-scrolling on webpage appears to be much slower on x-window than winodws (using opera browser), though it doesn't hurt usability.

Wayland.

Why Wayland? As you noted, X sucks (even according to the opinion of the X server's own maintainers). [youtube.com]

Get a Mac, it just works ... (1, Informative)

perpenso (1613749) | about a year ago | (#44399907)

Get a Mac. Are you sure your toolset is Linux specific? Odds are your apps and tools run fine under Mac OS X. Some info from Apple:
http://movies.apple.com/media/us/osx/2012/docs//OSX_for_UNIX_Users_TB_July2011.pdf [apple.com]

Re:Get a Mac, it just works ... (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44400079)

No, it doesn't just work. I have a very nice triple monitor Mac setup. Besides the obvious price issue, here are my two major complaints (there are other more nitpicky ones I won't get into).

1. Sound. I had to download a third-party app called Soundflower to get the sound to work the way I want. (Actually, the way I want is for the sound of the app on a given monitor to come from that monitor's speaker, but that's asking for unicorns so I just settled for using left and right monitors for stereo.)
2. Fullscreen. Fullscreening any app on a monitor blanks out the other two monitors.

Re:Get a Mac, it just works ... (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44400227)

2. Fullscreen. Fullscreening any app on a monitor blanks out the other two monitors.

You'll be pleased to know that apple announced that fixing this is one of the major new features of Mavericks [apple.com] .

Re:Get a Mac, it just works ... (1)

timeOday (582209) | about a year ago | (#44400177)

MacBooks can't even drive 3 displays, and nobody would buy a Mac Pro right now. If starting over, waiting a few months, and spending well over $10K is an option, the new round Mac Pro with three 4k displays would make an awesome workstation. But otherwise I think just installing the NVidia driver on his existing setup will fix the problem he has.

Re:Get a Mac, it just works ... (1)

ericloewe (2129490) | about a year ago | (#44400221)

The new round Mac Pro is an absurd product, as has been amply discussed.

Re:Get a Mac, it just works ... (1)

timeOday (582209) | about a year ago | (#44400301)

It is strange that there are no hard drive bays. But with so much fast external connectivity (via Thunderbolt 2), it won't be a dealbreaker IF the requisite Thunderbolt 2 peripherals are actually available. I got an early Thunderbolt MacBook Pro and have been very disappointed with the lack of compatible peripherals. I still plug in 7 different connecters when I arrive at work every morning.

Re:Get a Mac, it just works ... (1, Interesting)

Midnight_Falcon (2432802) | about a year ago | (#44400275)

build a hackintosh. for $1k-$3k you can have 4 monitor support and OS X :)

Re:Multi-Monitor Support in 2013?!? (3, Interesting)

Tripkipke (840128) | about a year ago | (#44400135)

It can... [youtube.com]

Re:Multi-Monitor Support in 2013?!? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44400413)

Linux cannot support it. The required DMA-BUF functions are GPL only kernel calls.

Congratulations! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44399641)

Subby, you have posted the stupidest Ask Slashdot question ever!

Re:Congratulations! (2, Insightful)

mwvdlee (775178) | about a year ago | (#44399669)

Followed by the stupidest answer ever!
Congratulations to the both of you.
Well, mostly to the answer, as the question really isn't that stupid at all.

Re:Congratulations! (2)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about a year ago | (#44400463)

Sweet, it's like Stack Exchange, but with ad hominem attacks.

You've only got one real choice here (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44399649)

Wait for Wayland.

Re:You've only got one real choice here (3, Funny)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about a year ago | (#44399841)

Yes, because Wayland has the magic pixie dust which makes the drivers support things that they never did before.

Re:You've only got one real choice here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44400289)

And a pony! Don't forget the pony!

I do this currently.. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44399663)

A pair of nvidia 9800gtx cards gives me quad DVI on which I run three monitors. The option you are seeking is basemosaic. I don't have the config in front of me or I would include it.

Re:I do this currently.. (5, Informative)

amginenigma (1495491) | about a year ago | (#44399721)

I also do not have the config in front of me, but mosaic is what you are looking for in your xconfig. Bit of googling (ftp://download.nvidia.com/XFree86/Linux-x86/256.35/README/sli.html) on that should point you in the right direction. And yes once configured it's as 'easy as Windowz...'

Re:I do this currently.. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44400133)

So let me get this straight... Once I get past the excruciating configuration steps it's easy as Windows? Did you seriously just compare them?

The problem with lunix is all the stuff you just 'hand-waved' past: obscure commands, poorly written documentation, and a billion config files spread all over the hdd. You linuks types don't seem to understand that ease of use on windows and linux are no way, shape, or form comparable.

Stop lying to yourself and get a real desktop os.

Re:I do this currently.. (-1, Troll)

sideslash (1865434) | about a year ago | (#44400363)

u mad steve?

Re:I do this currently.. (4, Informative)

Mad Merlin (837387) | about a year ago | (#44400471)

That's not necessary anymore. Kepler based cards (GTX 600 and 700) support up to 4 monitors. I'm posting from 3 monitors connected to a GTX 670.

Windows (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44399667)

You get the best of everything by running Linux inside VM on Windows.

Re:Windows (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44399751)

Yeah? Anyone managed to get TGIF running in a CentOS 6 VM under Win7? On my native install, TGIF worked fine, and shows up in the drop down menus. On the VM install, make completes without error, but TGIF is not in the menu, and it will not start. I am checking each install package by package, but I have not found any differences yet. So, I am not convinced a VM gives the best of everything.

Re:Windows (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44400039)

What kind of retarded FUD is that?

A VM gives you what normal hardware gives you and is certainly not capable of producing such obscure errors as preventing an entry from appearing in a menu.

WTF. Take your stupid cargo-cult reasoning and stop using computers. You're too stupid.

Re:Windows (0)

interval1066 (668936) | about a year ago | (#44399901)

No, I'll windows in a vm before I run linux. I get so much more usefulness out of linux than anything else.

Re:Windows (1)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | about a year ago | (#44400305)

The reverse often works better for games and Windows specific software auch as Outlook or a great deal of CAD software. If your software needs the bare metal performance of vendor supported access to the graphics, such as many games require now, then I've found virtualizing the Linux to be far more efficient.

You are mistaken (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44400025)

You get the best of everything by running Linux inside a VM on OSX, if not using the underlying Unixness.

You tried arandr already? (4, Informative)

tramp (68773) | about a year ago | (#44399689)

arandr is a standard package in Debian and can be used with Xfce too. http://packages.debian.org/unstable/main/arandr [debian.org]

Re:You tried arandr already? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44399831)

I use xrandr with Arch and Xfce and it works fine: https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Xrandr, so I suspect arandr for Debian will achieve the same results. How did this get past the /. moderators?

Re:You tried arandr already? (2)

russbutton (675993) | about a year ago | (#44399877)

I use xrandr with Windowmaker. Works fine for me. I rotate one of my monitors so I can view long listings and docs. Love the screen real estate!

You are Xcrewed! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44399695)

I've seen youtube videos of people doing this sort of thing with Compiz, but our best hope is for XOrg to just die and let Wayland fix this once and for all. I personally gave up on this sort of "cool" setup and switched the dark side of Unix and PC, yes Mac OS.

huh? but this is working for at least 3 years now! (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44399703)

This works out-of-the-box with any number of monitors (well, as many as the number of CRTCs provided by your GPU) for ATi Radeons (both free and proprietary drivers) and Intel (free drivers).

Now, embedded Intel usually only has two CRTCs, but the newer Radeons have at least three, up to six.

You just need to configure the viewports using your preferred desktop environment or directly using xrandr or the x.org config.

Re:huh? but this is working for at least 3 years n (1)

MikeBabcock (65886) | about a year ago | (#44400467)

Works out of the box for me too on an NVidia based card running dual screens.

What driver do you use ? (5, Informative)

Coeurderoy (717228) | about a year ago | (#44399719)

You might be using the open source driver and not the nvidia driver.
We use Two GTX220 or GT650 and plug three or four terminals withouth any hassle, but we do use the proprietary nvidia driver.

And the result is quite fast (we typically test our games on two full HD monitors while running our development tools in one or two others.

I suspect the NVS450 is also more expensive than our setup :-)

BTW we use either debian or ubuntu depending of the whim of each developper.

Re:What driver do you use ? (1)

CnlPepper (140772) | about a year ago | (#44399939)

Games development on linux? Do you work for Valve?

Re:What driver do you use ? (2)

Mike Frett (2811077) | about a year ago | (#44400215)

CnlPepper, yes real Game development. Especially when Leadwerks (Kickstarter) comes out, which allows you to make AAA quality Games for Linux IN Linux. Also Unity3D can export to Linux. Ogre (Torchlight) is OK if you want something free.

Re:What driver do you use ? (2)

houghi (78078) | about a year ago | (#44400241)

he official software also comes with nvidia-xconfig for the initial config, nvidia-settings to be run as root for the settings and nvidia-smi for the CLI part.
I use openSUSE and after adding the NVidia repo, I do the following:
1) Close X
2) As root, run nvidia-xconfig
3) Log back in as standard user
4) Open a terminal, su to root and run nvidia-settings
5) Configure anything as I desire
6) Restart X

I have a GeForce GT 520 (1GB) and a GeForce 8400GS (0.5GB) with 2x1920x1200 and 2x1920x1080. Both GPU's run at below 30% and I never had any issue with it being slow.

glxgears -fullscreen runs at 60FPS. Good enough for my eyes.

Re:What driver do you use ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44400351)

OP here.

I am running the binary nVidia drivers. Can you please post a sample x conf file with it working?

For those that misunderstood me, I do have the three monitors working. It's just that I can't get hardware accelerated graphics and my desktop is painfully slow.

Option "BaseMosaic" "boolean" (1, Informative)

Marrow (195242) | about a year ago | (#44399729)

Try the README.txt

no good 'out of box' experience for Linux (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44399737)

I'm afraid there's simply nothing for Linux that will easily do what you want.
Multi-monitor - even with only 2 outputs - support is bad.. personal anecdote:
- Debian Wheezy with 3.9 kernel from Sid
- Lenovo 2011 era laptop (Thinkpad Edge E420)
-> when connecting both internal screen (LVDS) and to a beamer for presentations, if the output is set to beamer only and the VGA cable is removed, display will not be reset to LVDS only, making the laptop unusable
-> when connecting three displays (VGA + LVDS + HDMI), really bad things happen (outputs black) if the laptop goes to suspend..

Re:no good 'out of box' experience for Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44400001)

Not in my experience (10+ years Linux experience - 30 years Unix). I have been using dual displays with Linux (nVidia 8800GT video card) since 2007. I can run (using nVidia proprietary drivers) two full-screen HD (1080p) videos simultaneously without stutter (unless I have resource-intensive background processes going at the same time). I am currently running Scientific Linux 6.4 (a clone of RHEL 6.4) with the 2.6.32 kernel. Not even close to "state-of-the-art", but very efficient! Of course 8 3GHz cores helps! :-)

Why not a VM? (1)

starfire83 (923483) | about a year ago | (#44399743)

If Linux is coming up short for multi-monitor support (especially 2+ on a single card), definitely plop Windows 7 on your box then run Linux in a VM using your choice of VirtualBox, VMWare Player, or Virtual PC. The only snag I can think of to that is that the VM may not be able to take advantage of your screen real estate if you need tools visible on more than one screen. At which point, you could always clone that VM and run other tools in that one if you have the hardware resources.

It's kind of surprising to me that in 2013 Linux is still having issues with more than two monitors running from a single card (which the NVS450 is capable of four total).

Re:Why not a VM? (1)

egr (932620) | about a year ago | (#44399789)

VMWare supports dual monitor on guest Linux OS just fine. I am unsure about three monitors however.

Re:Why not a VM? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44399895)

We routinely drive 4 30" monitors on Linux workstations using 2x nvidia cards and nvidia's proprietary drivers, as well as 2 xAMD cards and their open source drivers. Nvidia delivers more hw acceleration in a 4 monitor setup, but both work just fine. The idea of needing windows to do this is positively neandrathalic, and suggests an astroturphing motive on the part of the comment that preceeded yours.

Re:Why not a VM? (1)

ericloewe (2129490) | about a year ago | (#44400239)

VirtualBox supports a lot of monitors with Linux guests, too. Can't vouch for how well it works, though, I only needed one monitor at once...

2 video cards with twinview (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44399745)

Get yourself a gamer motherboard that has two PCI-e slots, put two video cards that has two video ports out each, and you can have up to four monitors with full hardware acceleration.

Newer card, or newer distro (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44399757)

Some newer kepler cards have >2 CRTC, probably some newer radeons too. If you want a multi card support use the most recent fedora or ubuntu, which have some support for this with the open source drivers, the secondary gpu wouldn't be used except to display, and will be slow since it will use system memory and tear badly, but it may work.

Re:Newer card, or newer distro (1)

dan_at_sqlite_org (2982613) | about a year ago | (#44399807)

I have three HD screens running with 3d acceleration here. Slackware 14, XFCE, nvidia GT640, closed-source driver. Worked out of the box.

OSX? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44399763)

You like and need linux/unix, you want support for 3 monitors, you're thinking of running Windows but hate the idea. Did you think about OSX and home-brew for package installation?

any nvidia MDT device (2)

zeldor (180716) | about a year ago | (#44399783)

http://www.amazon.com/computers-accessories/dp/B0089WM7XE [amazon.com]
with the nvidia drivers version 304 or newer.
Have 2 machines each with one of these cards. drives 3 monitors one of which is even in portrait mode.

Almost works for me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44399793)

I have a Nvidia GTX 680 and three HD monitors. Everything works great with Twinview as far as acceleration. My only issue is that I cannot get a window from Wine (or a game like Nexuiz) to be larger than one monitor. I can move the window so that it crosses two monitors, but it won't get larger than 1920x1080. I've asked in various forums about this, but have had no useful replies.

Run windows... with linux VMs (0)

HockeyPuck (141947) | about a year ago | (#44399825)

Use the right tools for the job.

You need three monitors which is easily supported by windows.

You need the linux based toolsets to also do your job.

So why not just run windows and fire up a linux VM to run your tools in?

Re:Run windows... with linux VMs (5, Informative)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about a year ago | (#44399871)

So why not just run windows and fire up a linux VM to run your tools in?

Because Linux does support it out of the box. I have no idea what the user has done, but me and many other posters find that the nvidia drivers support multiple accelerated monitors with no trouble whatsoever.

There seems to be some odd issue with his setup. This therefore seems to me more of a question for a slower, more persistent help problem where he can post debugging output and have some experts look at it.

Re:Run windows... with linux VMs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44399917)

I've never had that setup work by default on Linux. It always required an hour of fuckery until it worked. It does not support it out of the box at all, you need at least the proprietary driver to get something decent (as usual).

Re:Run windows... with linux VMs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44400033)

CentOS 6 supports three monitors plugged into the same nvidia board with the nouveau driver no problem.
I don't know what this thread is about.

Re:Run windows... with linux VMs (0)

msobkow (48369) | about a year ago | (#44400087)

Only an hour? Ah, I remember the good old days of spending an entire day getting the Xconfig files right for one monitor...

Re:Run windows... with linux VMs (1)

MikeBabcock (65886) | about a year ago | (#44400481)

As far as I know, you can load as many NVidia cards into your box as you have PCIe slots to handle them and load those with as many monitors as they can handle and get full acceleration on all of them on Linux.

What you may not get is 2D acceleration which Windows got favoured with years ago by drivers that are OS specific.

Re:Run windows... with linux VMs (0, Troll)

Adnonify (2964415) | about a year ago | (#44400051)

Because nobody wants an unstable host system for their VM's. Get over it, windows sucks.

Re:Run windows... with linux VMs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44400229)

Unstable? Have you actually used windows in the past decade?

Get that fanboii crap out of here.

Go with NVIDIA (1)

bongey (974911) | about a year ago | (#44399849)

After weeks of trying to get AMD/Gigabyte motherboard and video card to drive 4 displays on linux, it just didn't work.
Tried 3 different distros, god knows how many xorg confs and driver combinations.
In the end I broke down and bought a NVIDIA GTX 760 for the following reasons.
*Drive 4 displays in Linux no problem with HW Acceleration.
*4 displays can be driven at 1920x1080.
*OpenCV has Cuda support , nothing for OpenCL yet.
*Openscenegraph has Cuda library, nothing for OpenCL yet.
*The Nvidia settings manager actually works.
*Xrandr is is working correctly.

I am happy now, it just worked. I want to tell NVIDIA **** you also about the linux/drivers /open source issue but there shit is just working and I will pay for working linux driver.

Re: Go with NVIDIA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44400069)

Not a solution, I have a 3gig nvidia card on a asus g75vx and i can't get 2 monitor working or even one 30 inches 2560x1600p

Re: Go with NVIDIA (1)

Denis Bergeron (2884689) | about a year ago | (#44400077)

Not a solution, I have a 3gig nvidia card on a asus g75vx and i can't get 2 monitor working or even one 30 inches 2560x1600p

There's something missing. (-1, Troll)

jimicus (737525) | about a year ago | (#44399855)

Where are all the Linux advocates who jump out and say "Why would you want to do that? You must be some special kind of moron to need that in the first place" when you ask a genuine question about something that is trivial on every other OS out there but a royal PITA on Linux?

Re:There's something missing. (1)

iggymanz (596061) | about a year ago | (#44400279)

many people do this (and with more than three monitors) on Linux, just a matter of the right card and driver; you're imaging a massive response to the non-issue you fabricated between your ears?

Re:There's something missing. (1)

jimicus (737525) | about a year ago | (#44400459)

just a matter of the right card and driver

I specifically said "trivial" for a reason. If I have to hunt out a particular model of graphics card (which may or may not still be on the market by the time someone who's had some success reports it in a public forum, I identify the need for it and go looking), then it's not trivial.

Matrox (1)

rkoot (557181) | about a year ago | (#44399857)

I'd say, ditch the nvidia setup and acquire a matrox video board. http://www.matrox.com/graphics/en/products/graphics_cards/ [matrox.com] Linux supports matrox boards very nicely with all bells and whistles. Especially if you're only interested in hw accell 2d.

Re:Matrox (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44400297)

There are no FOSS drivers for semi-recent (never than G450) Matrox cards; while a non-free driver existed some time ago, it was absolutely horrible and I doubt it'll still exist. That said, 3d capabilities (which the author mentioned as requirement) for any Matrox card is close to non-existant.

AMD (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44399859)

Get an AMD card... the multi-monitor support is great on Linux with their proprietary driver. I used a FirePro V4900 to drive 4 monitors for a while (but it has relatively poor 3D performance) and recently upgraded to a FirePro W7000 which has support for up to 6 (4 DisplayPort outputs which you can daisy-chain with monitor/hub support). While my experience has been mostly with the FirePro series, I think the consumer cards are just as good in this department.

I just used (4, Informative)

mocm (141920) | about a year ago | (#44399863)

the nvidia-settings tool to set up 4 monitors on my GTX670, there is no problem with speed and I get hw accelerated 3d on every screen. The driver is NVidia's 310.19. I used the TwinView Option on the Layout selection screen and could put the monitors into the wanted configuration with the GUI. I can move windows between the monitors and xfce gives me panels on the separate monitors.
The screen section in the xorg.conf looks like this:
Section "Screen"
        Identifier "Screen0"
        Device "Device0"
        Monitor "Monitor0"
        DefaultDepth 24
        Option "TwinView" "0"
        Option "Stereo" "0"
        Option "nvidiaXineramaInfoOrder" "DFP-0"
        Option "metamodes" "DFP-0: nvidia-auto-select +0+0, DFP-1: 1920x1200 +1920+1080, DFP-3: nvidia-auto-select +1920+0, DFP-4: nvidia-auto-select +0+1080; DFP-1: 1920x1200 +0+0; DFP-1: 1920x1200 +0+0"
        SubSection "Display"
                Depth 24
        EndSubSection
EndSection

and the server layout:

Section "ServerLayout"
        Identifier "Layout0"
        Screen 0 "Screen0" 0 0
        InputDevice "Keyboard0" "CoreKeyboard"
        InputDevice "Mouse0" "CorePointer"
        Option "Xinerama" "0"
EndSection

Re:I just used (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44400377)

It's not 1995 - I remember fiddling with X config files to get the best out of my Matrox 2 Millennium (?) card, and a Cirrus Logic card before then. That was excusable back then, but not today.

AMD/ATI isn't as bad as it used to be (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44399879)

My Ubuntu workstation has an HD 7950, using proprietary drivers installed from the Settings menu. Currently running three 1080p monitors, two of which are rotated portrait mode. Any HD 7xxx series card is supposed to be able to run up to six monitors, though you usually only get four outputs (six requires monitors that support DisplayPort daisy-chaining).

Oh, and I occasionally play DotA 2 on Steam for Linux on this as well. Apart from trying to start on the wrong monitor, it works very well.

Was simple for me with Nvidia (2)

Agent ME (1411269) | about a year ago | (#44399925)

I feel like I'm missing something; this was dirt-simple for me.

I used to have a computer with an Nvidia card. I had Ubuntu on it. I had the Nvidia drivers installed. I had the nvidia-settings utility installed (which for some reason wasn't included by default). I plugged in the extra monitors. I opened nvidia-settings. I clicked "Detect Monitors". I enabled them. Suddenly I had several monitors without having to touch a single config file.

Re:Was simple for me with Nvidia (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44400329)

So you have more than 2 monitors plugged in at the same time?

Can you get a compositor running? I can't... Can you post your X conf file please?

AMD/ATI? (1)

Just Brew It! (636086) | about a year ago | (#44399961)

Until a few months ago at work I was running triple-head on an Ubuntu 10.04 LTS desktop with an ATI Radeon something-or-other card. Hardware acceleration was supported. The third head was analog, but AFAIK that was just a limitation of the sub-$150 graphics card I was using (only 2 digital ports), not something inherent in X or the drivers. I was surprised to discover that triple head was even possible with an inexpensive card.

I did need to install a beta version of the proprietary drivers, and IIRC it took a bit of finagling with xrandr in a startup script to get the heads to consistently come up in the correct order (stupid Catalyst Control Center!), but once I got those issues sorted it worked reasonably well.

as often the user is the problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44399963)

http://lmgtfy.com/?q=twinview+four+displays – and well, you see, that you should be fine if you buy a new graphics card which supports more than 2 3d-accelerated displays and has equivalent performance. instead you flame citing linux as being so "90s", complaining that your _2D_ quadro card isn't fast enough. You could call up nvidia and tell them – maybe they will send you something better suited (quadro 6000) or they'll just laugh at you...

Re:as often the user is the problem (1)

dbIII (701233) | about a year ago | (#44400473)

Or the answer is to do what I did with a machine where people insisted on quadro cards - just put in two of them if you can't hook up more than two screens on one card.

Radeon HD FTW! (1)

dj.delorie (3368) | about a year ago | (#44399985)

I've got four monitors (one is 2560x1600) on a single Radeon HD 6870 and it does everything you want. Running Fedora 17 with the proprietary ATI drivers, FVWM2, with a single desktop and 3D hardware acceleration. I tested F19 with Gnome and free drivers too.

full screen terminals! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44399987)

Nothing will be faster.
If you need windowing, check out emacs!

I've run 3 windows on UNIX before, but each had a dedicated graphics card, hence a dedicated X/Windows server. That means that drag-n-drop between the monitors was not possible.

There are display-sharing tools that work on all 3 main platforms, but I don't know how fast they are.

I'd look into what the airplane simulator crowd uses as a starting point. I've seen 6 monitor setups and the Linux simulators are top-of-the-line.

I know nothing about linux (1)

NEDHead (1651195) | about a year ago | (#44400035)

But if more than 2 monitors is the issue, why not get 2 of the latest really big/high res ones and stop whining?

Simple, forget the kiddie cards, go displayport (1)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | about a year ago | (#44400037)

The biggest issue is that everything but displayport sucks donkeyballs. So get a firepro card from AMD with 6 display ports and run it with the linux native driver. Works fine for me. I use XFCE myself with such a setup with 3x 2560x1600. I have tried to do it with HDMI and such but run into all kinds of weird issues where displayport just works right every time.

I am to lazy to search for mine but it isn't even a 3D card so it was pretty cheap and fits in any PC (no extra power needed). If you want 3D you are going to run into driver issues on Linux but AMD's work station cards can do the trick if you can afford them.

Re:Simple, forget the kiddie cards, go displayport (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44400189)

Oh my god. You have just solved it. That is amazing. Thank you for the heads up, now I see the future of video cards.

nVidia artificially restrict their driver on Linux (1)

Timmmm (636430) | about a year ago | (#44400371)

This is worth a read:

http://hackaday.com/2013/03/18/hack-removes-firmware-crippling-from-nvidia-graphics-card/ [hackaday.com]

It seems nVidia restrict you to two monitors on Linux whereas you can happily use three on Windows. I have no idea why other than that they are clearly bastards.

Is this for real or to pretend there is a flaw? (1)

dbIII (701233) | about a year ago | (#44400427)

The posters question is answered the exact same way on MS Windows or linux, hardware that supports the number of screens desired and a driver downloaded from the hardware vendor. Whether it's two low end cards to do four screens or it's one relatively high end (as in more than $100 instead of dirt cheap) card that's what will do the trick. I've done it with both ways with no problems on linux and only a few problems on MS Windows with two cards (limited options for cloned screens, so normally not a big deal).
The post looks to me like a windows fanboy trying to score points by writing about a flaw that isn't there, but maybe it really is someone that got some bad advice about twinview or made an assumption based on the name. Considering how multi-monitor behavior on MS Windows still sucks I find it a bit much if it is a fanboy post. Matrox handled it better with their tool on Win2k than Microsoft does with Win7. Having to reboot to get the correct monitor resolution on a DVI connection is ridiculous - the guys writing the VGA part of the resolution tool got it right so why not the other programmers and where the fuck where the guys that were supposed to test the software before release?

ATi + Debian (1)

Alioth (221270) | about a year ago | (#44400431)

At work I have a multimonitor setup running Debian 7 / Gnome 3. Works perfectly. I'm using an ATi graphics card (can't remember the model) and the proprietary drivers, it's accelerated and works very well. Setup was very straightforward - run the setup for the ATi drivers, then select in the GUI how you want your displays.

FVWM pager? (1)

gweihir (88907) | about a year ago | (#44400441)

I am not happy if I do not have at least 6, better 9 virtual desktops with quick switching. The FVWM pager gives you customizable edge-scroll, easy dragging of windows between desktops, multi-desktop spanning windows, etc. One reason Linux does not have multi-monitor out of the box is that it is almost never needed, different from Windows, where one cluttered desktop is the norm.

Eyefinity (2)

hawkeyeMI (412577) | about a year ago | (#44400451)

Just get a Radeon Eyefinity model, with 4-6 mini-DisplayPorts on it. Works great. Been running like this in Debian with 4 monitors for years now using fglrx drivers.

Hardware solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44400477)

This seems easy. Just get one of the Matrox TripleHead2Go:
http://www.matrox.com/graphics/en/products/gxm/th2go/displayport/

Why multiple monitors? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44400485)

Seriously, why more than one 19" - 27"ish monitor when a single 32" would spare you the borders of the smaller screens?

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