How hard is it to install a second video card in a PC?


#1

I’ve never really opened up a PC and moved parts around, so I wanted to ask for some advice.

The video card on my work PC currently supports two displays. Having two monitors is great, but I do need at least one more at work because I’m constantly running reports and doing sales analysis and stuff and just need a third screen.

So if I want to get a new video card, can I just open up the PC, slot it into a separate PCIe slot and be good to go? Or is there more setup involved than that?

Any advice is well-appreciated!


#2

Yeah. That’s it… It’s really simple.
Just make sure you have an extra spot

If you’re just looking for a third monitor though, it might be cheaper to invest in a DVI splitter.
http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8&q=dvi+spliter#q=dvi+splitter&hl=en&prmd=ivns&source=univ&tbm=shop&tbo=u&sa=X&ei=w8QdTp6BGJPUgQfHu4XECQ&ved=0CIABEK0E&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.&fp=d599ad166a8123ac&biw=1280&bih=963


#3

You don’t always need 2 video cards to view more than 2 screen. It depends on what video card you already have. Also if you do end up buying another video card you need to place a bridge that usually come with most video cards. (SLI Nvidia or Crossfire ATI) also you cant just buy any graphics card it has to be the same one that you have. But it can be from another manufacturer. Ie. a Xfx gts 250 can work with a EVGA gts 250. Good luck!


#4

Depending on whether you have a motherboard that supports AMD (ATI) or nVidia video card, you’ll need a board that says it’s either Crossfire or SLi ready respectively. You’ll have to check that out for yourself as we don’t have your PC specs.

Could help more if we had more idea what kind of board you’re running and your specs and so on.


#5

Really depends on space inside your case, mobo, and the size of the video cards. Really you don’t have a lot of option in most setups on “how” you do this as video cards are pretty plug’n play. In my experience it’s more a “it will work” or “no way and hell this is going to fit” type situation. But assuming you aren’t using two gigantoid cards (assuming nvidia by the way you describe you need 2 cards for 3 monitors) like GTX 480 or GTX 580 they should fit in most setups relatively easy. Really only design and tinkering is if you have stuff in slots nearby you can move or if you have slots between 2 PCIe x16 slots and you can move them around to give extra room for the cards.

Installing a graphics card is VERY easy plug it in make sure the connection/latch is tight on the PCIe x16 slot and your good.

This is typically something you kinda have to consider when designing the PC from parts or you just luck into it. Hope it works out, again assuming your using a smaller card you shouldn’t have much issue assuming motherboard is compatible with 2 cards.

You could consider getting something like a cheap 5000 series ATI or higher as they all support 3 monitors per card, but you’ll have to gauge which one is best based on desired gaming performance.


#6

dont forget about the powersupply. if youre going with two. make sure your PSU can support it.


#7

I don’t know a lot about my work computer so I had to dig around for programs that will tell me my specs…

Board: Dell Inc. 0TP412
Serial Number: …CN7082189AB0FK.
Bus Clock: 800 megahertz
BIOS: Dell Inc. A08 08/14/2008

Is that the info you were looking for?


#8

Yaaaaaa… your probably gonna have to go with replacing your current card with an AMD card. If it’s a work computer odds you have SLI/CrossFire support are slim not to mention the addition PSU requirements. Corporate computers are typically done on a bare minimum basis.

Anything 5000 series and onwards will work, I’d actually check to see if your computer has a full-size card or not. You might have to get one of the lower end versions of the card that are smaller as many corporate computers use very small cases. Probably can get away fairly cheaply though in that case.

Be honest if it’s a Dell and you don’t know the parts a pic, of the computer case open with the internals showing would be the only way to tell 100%. ,Get me that and I can find you a cheap card if it’s only for generic use (I’m assuming no gaming/3d modeling or anything requiring major dedicated GPU use).

Edit: Also the splitter thing only allows for mirroring a screen, OP wants to have 3 independent screens.


#9

For 2 video cards, they do not have to be matching for a 2nd display. XP and Windows 7 supports multiple non-matching separate video and sound cards.
The ability to support 2 different video encoders was removed from Vista. All you need is a free card slot. PCI-E cards for PCI-E slots, AGP for AGP cards and so on.
Hell even if you do not have a open dedicated video slot like AGP or PCI-E you cans till get cards for regular PCI slots. Bewared because PCI slot video cards do not perform as well as there AGP and PCI-E counterparts. There are also a few USB video “cards” on the market.

Video cards only have to be matching for Cross fire or SLi configuration.

If it is just for reports at work it does not have to be fancy, any of the above solutions in this thread will work.

I would first check to see if your Monitor supports more than 1 output. Some video cards out of the box supports 2 DVI, VGA or display port connections


#10

I checked in Device Manager and this PC runs an NVIDIA Quadro NVS 290. Not sure if that’s important.

I wish I knew more about this stuff, it feels like I’m shooting in the dark here.


#11

That’ll do now I just need to know if your monitor’s support VGA,DVI, and/or HDMI?

What you probably want is
http://www.google.com/products/catalog?q=5450+eyefinity&hl=en&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.&biw=1680&bih=906&um=1&ie=UTF-8&tbm=shop&cid=7325533817448544149&sa=X&ei=QtYdTrKsEMvUgAfB-azbCQ&ved=0CHQQ8wIwAw

with an adapter for the display port to some other format like DVI

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&DEPA=0&Order=BESTMATCH&Description=display+port+to+dvi+adapter&x=0&y=0

one of these. If you’d rather have VGA or hdmi i believe adapter exist for those as well. To use 3 monitors the card must have a display port.


#12

Right now they’re all plugged in via VGA, but they support DVI as well. I don’t have a third monitor at this moment yet (although I’ll probably just take one from some other empty desk in the office), so I assume the third monitor will also run VGA or DVI.


#13

OK, I’m going to repeat this.

IF ALL YOU’RE LOOKING FOR IS TO HAVE A THIRD MONITOR:
Get a DVI splitter… They cost $10-20.
You can get
1DVI - 2DVI
1VGA - 2DVI
1DVI - 1VGA+1DVI
etc
You have a selection
Also, you don’t need the same card unless you’re running SLI or CF.

You can also get a box splitter that cost a lot more, BUT you can hook 4 monitors up to one port.
http://www.amazon.com/StarTech-com-ST124DVIA-4-Port-Video-Splitter/dp/B003WV5DPQ

Here’s more…
http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Delectronics&field-keywords=dvi+splitter&x=0&y=0


#14

However, … using a splitter again only MIRRORS the image. As in it will be the same image on each screen regardless. If you want another screen that operates independently (as in more real desktop space or to have different windows than on the other two) you need hardware that supports that. A splitter won’t work for what OP wants.

You use things like splitters for streams when you want the same image in two places or for display stands with multiple screens that want the same image like a wall of tv’s you see at Wal-Mart. Not for 3 independent images.

for VGA this is probably what you want http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16812340010&cm_re=display_port_to_vga--12-340-010--Product. Really just check the ends on the picture and make sure you get them giving you the right Male/Female combo. Probably round you out about a little over $100 after shipping but their might be rebates so might be a bit cheaper. A word of warning if you go looking for a cheaper version of that same card. I picked that one over cheaper one’s because it has a display port. On this cheap model some manufacturer’s do not include the display port, if you get one without the display port it will NOT support 3 monitors. That’s why getting a monitor that supports displayport or an adapter is necessary for this setup.


#15

Umm… no it wont. I’m using one at work right now, and I have two independent monitors.

By holding Winkey+P, you can select how you want the dual setup to be, whether dupilicate or extend. Just select extend.


#16

I already have two monitors, using a splitter.

My video card doesn’t support three monitors.

Also, WinKey + P does nothing for me because I’m running XP and Winkey + P for monitor display settings wasn’t introduced until Windows 7.


#17

Ahh, gotcha. I didn’t realize that you had a splitter. I was under the impression you had two ports and didn’t realize you can hook a splitter up to it.

NP.


#18

Ya 2, when you go past 2 monitors you need some sort of dedicated hardware support. Think windows natively supports what your talking about even without a graphics card, but never really messed around with it. Always just used 2 different hdmi chords for my setup.


#19

Wait, so you’re saying I should get a Display Port to VGA adapter to use a third monitor?


#20

I’m saying you need to get an adapter for this setup OR since you mentioned you haven’t gotten the 3rd monitor yet try to get one that supports display port.

The adapter can be displayport -> hdmi, displayport->vga, or displayport-> dvi. It doesn’t matter as long as your monitor supports it.

The issue lies in that the only cards that support 3 monitors without needing 2 of them are ATI cards. For this feature to exist on the card it must have a display port (Just how ATI did it). Since the card I recommended was a cheap one not all versions support the feature you need (There are many manufacturers for each type of card so not every ATI Radeon 5450 is the same). So if you go looking for another ATI Radeon 5450 and see “oh it’s $35 I’ll get it instead of the $75 one he recommended” you might find out that it doesn’t work with 3 monitors.

Edit:
Here’s a cheaper and better card that will do it as well.

ATI Radeon 5570
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814102875&cm_re=ATI_radeon_5570--14-102-875--Product

$65 is a pretty good price to be honest. Sapphire is also a pretty good brand. With this, adapter, and rebate you can probably make it out for a bit over $80.