Thursday, September 1, 2011

Tech Note: Three Monitors on an ATI FirePro V4800

ATI FirePro V4800 1 GB DVI/2DisplayPort PCI-Express Video Card 100-505606 - RetailI recently ordered a Dell Precision T1600 for someone with an ATI FirePro V4800 in order to have a three monitor setup on their workstation.  There was no information at the Dell site about the needs for doing three monitors just that the card could support three.  It has one DVI slot and two Display Ports.  By default it came with one DP-DVI converter so I added a second to the purchase of the computer. 

Once I had the computer in hand and was trying to setup the three displays I was surprised to find it wouldn't work.  The card could see all three monitors but it could only display two at a time.  After looking up the card at ATI's site and being confused by why they said was necessary to get three monitors to work I had to call and here is the deal.

If you want to have three monitors here is what you need.  One monitor plugged into the DVI slot.  One monitor plugged into the DP-DVI Passive adapter that comes with the card.  One monitor plugged into a DP-DVI Active adapter that you have to buy separately.  ATI provides a web page with approved dongles for their cards. 

I ordered the Accell DP-DVI Single Link Active adapter and hooked it up today.  Everything worked fine.  I'm a bit frustrated with Dell that they don't provide better information and offer the needed adapter when buying the computer.  When I was searching for a solution to this problem I saw quite a few Dell owners who were having the same issue. 

7 comments:

  1. I have a Tech Notes question. I am thinking about buying a new desktop for my family. It would be mainly used for schoolwork, but there would also be a significant amount of gaming involved. It would also be part of a Fios wireless network in our house. In your opinion, what are the main features we should be looking for in a desktop?

    ReplyDelete
  2. If you are doing gaming you want fast processor, lots of memory, and most importantly a good video card. There are a lot of good reviews out there that focus specifically on gaming computers so I would look for some of those. A good place to start is consumersearch. They take all the reviews out there and package them down into choices for you. They also talk about the top competition and where they looked for reviews.

    If you focus on getting a good gaming computer it will do anything else you want without a problem.

    If it's a desktop and you need it to be on a wireless network, just make sure you get a wireless card for it. It's usually an add on option.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Quick addition to this - had a similar issue with some new work computers, but found 2 workarounds:

    1) Windows 7 only: A new option in the BIOS called "Multi-display" (under video). This will allow you to connect 1xDVI, 1XDP and 1xVGA (on the motherboard). Granted, it's VGA and it reserves some of your system RAM, but you get 3 monitors (Best feature of Dell/Windows 7 to date!)

    2) Get the latest catalyst drivers for the V4800. Something on it has changed, and although I'm not 100% sure of what the change is - it will allow you to use the DVI port and 2xPASSIVE DP-DVI connectors on the V4800 card. No active DP-DVI connector required.

    Driver info:
    Catalyst driver version: 2011.0718.3.41330
    Driver packaging version: 8.85.7.1

    HTH.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Go to Device Manager, expand Monitors and scan for hardware changes on all three monitors. Reboot and all three monitors should become active. Hope this helps.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hi, I have a Optiplex 990 with an ATI FirePro V4800. It was working fine with 3 monitors, then it stopped after a software update. After many attempts to fix, the solution was to install two Startech DP2DVIS Active Display Port to DVI adapters. Hope this saves someone some time!

    ReplyDelete