GDI+ Gauges - Running Multiple External Monitors w/ Multiple Cards

#1
Hi all,

I asked this in another forum as an adjunct to another question, but this is probably a much more suitable forum... :rolleyes:

Can FSX handle *multiple* graphics cards in a single system?

This relates to gauges in respect to the following: I wish to develop an aircraft with a *very* detailed 2D panel system using GDI+ vector graphics. I would, if possible, like to keep everything in 1 system, rather than running multiple PCs.

I would, ideally, like to have a 1GB graphics card driving 2 widescreen monitors for my "main" external view.

Then, I would like to run 3 or 4 monitors to displaying the gauges - this would involve running an additional quad head card, or 2 additional dual head cards.

Assuming all the cards are from the same manufacturer and range (ATI FireGL or NVidia GeForce), just a lower spec, would they play nice together or not?

Additionally (and perhaps most importantly), would FSX support 2 or 3 graphics cards in 1 system driving 5 or 6 monitors?

The alternative is to program the gauges as external applications ("a la" Project Magenta)...

Best wishes, and many thanks for any advice.

Martin
 
#2
Hi Martin,

I remember that multiple monitor support in FS is actually a function of Windows more so than FS. You can "undock" windows in FS and have them span multiple monitors.

The two Nvidia video cards in my system can drive one or two monitors each (each has 2 DVI outputs). I can configure this through the video driver and ask Windows to "span" the desktop on all monitors.

There's also a utility out there (wideview by L. Napolitano) that allows multiple FS instances to "sync" views on multiple monitors driven my multiple networked PCs.

Hope this helps,

Etienne
 
#3
Hi Etienne,

Yes that is very helpful thank you!

As a further question - is there a limit on how many gfx cards Windows can handle (apart from the hardware limit as to how many PCIX/AGP etc slots the mboard has)?

Thanks,

M
 

n4gix

Resource contributor
#4
Keep in mind there is also an excellent software video driver solution called MaxiVista. http://maxivista.com

I've been using it to drive up to nine external monitors via my LAN w/o problems.

Monitors connected to their own "client computer" are treated as "virtual monitors" by the MaxiVista "host computer," thus making Windows think that it has up to 10 monitors available.
 
#5
Thanks Bill. I'll take a look at Maxivista.

Where does 3D acceleration happen? On the graphics card of the client computers or in software?

What is the performance like with MV and FS?

Cheers,

Martin
 

n4gix

Resource contributor
#6
Thanks Bill. I'll take a look at Maxivista.

Where does 3D acceleration happen? On the graphics card of the client computers or in software?

What is the performance like with MV and FS?

Cheers,

Martin
Well, since there's a "free demo" available, the best way is to look... ;)

From their FAQ: "Hardware acceleration is not supported by MaxiVista"

As far as Windows is concerned, the client video card is just another piece of hardware installed. It's unaware that the hardware isn't on its motherboard! :cool:
 
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#7
From looking at their website, they claim there is NO DirectX or OpenGL support on the virtual VGA screens. Haven't tried it though to see if that's true or not :->
 
#9
I don't know if this helps a bit, but I'm running FSX with two 22" monitors in dual view mode (WinXP SP2, Nvidia gfx) and it works perfectly. Performance drop of few frames can be noticed, but nothing more than that.

In FSX, dual view mode works in both 2D or 3D cockpit. You're expected to set resolutions for both monitors and simply start FSX. When you come to flying, just start the gauge (i.e. GPS, SHIFT+3), and simply move it over the boundaries of first display.

I've tried SPAN mode, too! This is the mode where two monitors acting like one very big (i.e. I run 2048x768 with these two giants). In other words - your standard 2D or 3D view is splitted horizontally, so you can look pilot's and your friend can look at copilot's instrument block.

I have never made it work under FS2004. :(
Something I've dreamed of, few years ago... :D

Good question is - what we can get if we come to three or more displays?
I guess - as long as Windows can handle more displays through it's own display properties (this should be tested, of course!), FSX (but only FSX) can handle them as well (I assume).

Unfortunately, this feature of FSX has one bug - if you call no matter which option from the main menu (regarding these which disables DX view, like MAP, or Aircraft dialog, settings and so on), secondary display can start to flash (some colours does that). My quick solution to that is simple switch from fullscreen to windowed mode (ALT+ENTER), and back again. As you probably noticed, FSX does not require to detach windows from main application in order to move it on random display or any other place on screen - which is very good.

Sorry if I made some grammar mistakes. English isn't my native. :rolleyes:

I hope this helps a little, at least.

Regards,
Dragan
 
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