Multiple Monitors - Multiple PCI-e

March 30, 2009 at 18:01:21
Specs: Windows XP, 4400/2 Gig
Hi Guys,

I've spent too much time with some inept techs (not quite as inept as I) trying to figure this out. Here's the deal:

I've been running two monitors on a Geforce 7600 PCI-E card with no trouble. I now need to run 3 - 4 monitors so today I purchased a new Geforce 9500 and a new 630 watt power supply. My Gigabyte mother board has primary and secondary PCI-e slots. With the new PCI-e card installed in the primary slot I am able to happily view two monitors. However, the monitors hooked up to the 7600 PCI-e card which is in the secondary slot have no picture/signal.

I've done some troubleshooting including the following:

Switch the cards - and the only card that works is the one in the primary slot.

Install PCI-e card in the secondary slot with the primary slot empty - no signal on the attached monitors. I've checked, checked and rechecked all the connections. Both cards work just fine in the primary slot but not the secondary slot.

I've checked the motherboard documentation and confirmed that the two slots I'm working with are indeed PCI-e slots.

I'm stuck. Everything I've read indicates that both cards should work and that I should be able to view four monitors. I'm not trying to run in SLI mode - I don't care about that. I just need to be able to work with the MS office Suite of programs on the multiple monitors. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!


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#1
March 30, 2009 at 20:35:23
Which Gigabyte mboard model?

Have you installed the drivers for the mboard's main chipset?

When you plug in both cards
- do 4 displays show up in Display Properties?
- does each card have two entries under Display Adapters in Device Manager?

Are you using the same NVidia drivers for both cards?


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#2
March 31, 2009 at 07:06:35
The board model is a GA-M55SLI-S4.

I don't know anything about drivers for the main chipset. I built the computer about a year ago and a tech friend did the software and driver work. I suspect the drivers have been installed.

When I plug both cards in only the card in the primary PCI-e slot shows up in the display properties. Under display adapters I have only one entry for the primary PCI-E card.

I'm not sure on the drivers - the PNY tech had me download and install the drivers for the 9500 and he said those drivers would work for both cards. I don't know if he is accurate. Thank you very much for your help.


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#3
March 31, 2009 at 08:56:01
"The board model is a GA-M55SLI-S4."

There are two revision series of the GA-M55SLI-S4 mboards - Rev. 1.x, and Rev 2.x

Mboard manual for Rev 1.x
Starting page 17 of the pdf or the printed manual

You MUST set the SLI jumper on the mboard to SLI mode - otherwise the second PCI-E X16 slot is disabled.
If you don't want to use SLI, don't connect the separate jumper between the cards (that may not work anyway when the video chipsets of the two cards are different).

Bios Setup settings
starting page 38 of the pdf or the printed manual

Make sure Init Display First is NOT set to PCI

[The card(s) will still work in Windows if that is set wrong, but Windows won't be able to use the advanced features of the card(s).]
.......

Mboard manual for Rev 2.x

The same things - starting page 19 and page 40 of the pdf or the printed manual.
.........

"I suspect the drivers have been installed."

OK , I'll assume they have been.

"Under display adapters I have only one entry for the primary PCI-E card."

You should have two entries, or two sub entries, for the primary and secondary graphics controllers on the card because it has two monitor ports.

"I'm not sure on the drivers - the PNY tech had me download and install the drivers for the 9500 and he said those drivers would work for both cards. I don't know if he is accurate."

The same video chipset drivers from the same chipset maker often support many different video chipsets.
You are less likely to have video related problems when that's the case.

Did you un-install previously installed NVidia video drivers and associated programs in Add/Remove Programs BEFORE you installed those drivers?
You MUST do that to get Windows to load basic VGA drivers, and have the card (display adapter) in a basic VGA mode, THEN you install the specific drivers.


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Related Solutions

#4
March 31, 2009 at 09:11:14
Thank you again for your kind help! I'll go over all that you gave me and make any necessary changes.

You are correct that I do have two sub-entries for the primary slot. I suspect that after I switch the jumpers that the second will show up.

I did uninstall the NVidia drivers before installing the updated drivers. Thanks again and I'll report back as soon as I make the changes.


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#5
March 31, 2009 at 09:41:43
"You are correct that I do have two sub-entries for the primary slot."

The number of entries that show up depends on the video chipset, not the slot you have the card in.
E.g. If the chipset supports one monitor, you see one; if it supports 2 you see 2; if it supports 4, you see 4., etc.

"I did uninstall the NVidia drivers before installing the updated drivers."

Good.

Make sure you unplug the case or otherwise switch off the AC to the case/power supply before and while you move the jumper.

By the way, in the real world X8 mode performance is about 80% or more of what it is in X16 mode, not 50%.


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#6
March 31, 2009 at 10:58:18
Victory!!!!!

It was the jumpers!!! Changed them to SLI mode and everything is now working perfectly!! Thank you!! Its very kind of you to share your time and knowledge. Thank you!


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#7
March 31, 2009 at 11:29:03
I'm / we're glad to hear you solved the problem!

I had no idea what your problem was until I looked at the mboard manuals. I've never installed more than one PCI-E video card for others and I don't have any myself. When I searched for : multiple monitors I found "hits" on the web that indicate you can install up to 5 video cards and support up to 10 monitors on one mboard in XP, and the video chipsets don't have to be all the same or be made by the same video chipset maker..


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