Advice on connections for a new monitor

Started Mar 11, 2013 | Questions
masplin
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Advice on connections for a new monitor
Mar 11, 2013

Hi

I have just bought a new Dell U2713H 2560x1440 pixel monitor which has every connection under the sun. My pc's graphics card isn't up tot the job so I need to upgrade. To add to confusion i am also buying a data crunching workstation and plan to link both machnes to this monitor through a KVM switch.  My main activity (when not crunching nunmbers) is processing RAW pictures through Lightroom.

So the question is should I go with the cheap option of buying a powerful enough card with dual DVI connections (plenty of old gaming ones around) and equally lower priced dual DVI KVM switch?  The alternative is to buy a card with displayport connections and a much more expensive KVM Displayport switch. Will I notice for what I'm doing as not gaming or playing HD video etc just photo editing.

The workstation number crunching box comes with Displayport connections as standard. If the advice is Dual DVI is sufficient can I get a connector to convert dispalyport to Dual DVI?  The card I've been offered with both DP and DVI is a lot more expensive for some reason.

Thanks for any advice

Mike

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AndyCS
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Re: Advice on connections for a new monitor
In reply to masplin, Mar 11, 2013

Great monitor, I have 1 too. Minimum spec for connection at highest resolution is dual link DVI and I know this works fine. I personally use Display port but that just personal preference. You dont need a high end graphics card for photo editing just ensure it has dual link DVI output (DVI-DL)

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Tom_N
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Re: Advice on connections for a new monitor
In reply to masplin, Mar 11, 2013

masplin wrote:

If the advice is Dual DVI is sufficient can I get a connector to convert dispalyport to Dual DVI?

There are several converters that do that.  They are all expensive compared to a simple DisplayPort or Dual-Link DVI cable - it'll cost you maybe $60 to $200 for one of these converters, with a typical price being $100 to $150.

Is there any reason why you don't want to take advantage of the switch built into the monitor?  I.e., plug new PC video card into dual-DVI port; plug workstation into DisplayPort; then use the external switch box just to switch the USB peripherals (keyboard, mouse).

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masplin
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Re: Advice on connections for a new monitor
In reply to Tom_N, Mar 11, 2013

Oh now I hadnt thought of that!!!!  So presumable a couple of button presses on the monitor to change the video feed and a box to switch the USB peripherals. that seems really obvious so why do poeple buy switches???  Guess it's a bit more seemless if expensive.

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Tom_N
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Re: Advice on connections for a new monitor
In reply to masplin, Mar 11, 2013

It's a bit more convenient with the KVM switches - plus, years ago, "multiple switched video inputs" wasn't nearly as common a feature on monitors as it is today.  You needed an external switch then.

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skyglider
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Re: Advice on connections for a new monitor
In reply to masplin, Mar 11, 2013

masplin wrote:

Oh now I hadnt thought of that!!!! So presumable a couple of button presses on the monitor to change the video feed and a box to switch the USB peripherals. that seems really obvious so why do poeple buy switches??? Guess it's a bit more seemless if expensive.

The reason folks buy KVM switches is because of using a wired keyboard and mouse.  One monitor with one keyboard and one mouse.  Toggle the KVM switch and all 3 are switched to the desired computer.

Using the monitor to select the input video signal will require you to manually swap keyboards and mouse.

If you're using a wireless keyboard and mouse, then they still have to somehow be switched to work on the computer that the monitor is displaying.

Sky

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Eric Carlson
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Re: Advice on connections for a new monitor
In reply to masplin, Mar 12, 2013

As I've mentioned in the past, why not just remote from 1 PC into the other, like with Remote Desktop, VNC, etc.? That way, you don't have to do any monitor or keyboard switching? That's my favorite way of accessing other PC's from my main PC.

Also, what type of connector does your current PC have? Are you sure it is not compatible? If all it has is a VGA output, then perhaps you are correct, but if it has DVI or HDMI, it might support the monitor. If you are trying it with DVI, make sure to use the included dual-link DVI cable, and not a single-link cable.

I have no problem running 2560x1440 on low-end hardware via HDMI or DVI. My netbook works fine via HDMI, and my GeForce 8400GS video card has no problem via DVI. So if your current video output doesn't support it, then even the cheapest (like $20) new video card will.

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masplin
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Re: Advice on connections for a new monitor
In reply to Eric Carlson, Mar 12, 2013

I'm buying a cheap Nvidia 8800 Gt card off ebay for $25 which i'm told by Dell wil lbe good enough.

Another good idea about Remote Desktop which I have never used. So with remote desktop do I conenct the 2nd pc to one of the other monitor ports, but instead of switching the peripherals use Remote desktop to control the box?

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Bob Collette
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Re: Advice on connections for a new monitor
In reply to masplin, Mar 12, 2013

With Remote Desktop (RDP), all you need for the "remote" computer is for it to be connected via ethernet (either wired or wireless).  When you RDP into the remote computer, you use your "local" keyboard, mouse, and monitor.  No need to switch anything.  Currently, I have an old computer that I'm using as a media server.  It's sitting down in my basement.  Just the computer: no monitor, keyboard, or mouse connected.  When I want to change something, I RDP into it from my desktop or laptop computers and make whatever changes I need.  The only thing you can't do via RDP is to make changes that would "kill" your network, since you're dependent upon the network to control the remote computer.

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Iain Oglesby
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Re: Advice on connections for a new monitor
In reply to masplin, Mar 12, 2013

If you go the route of using a converter from DP to DVI make sure you get an active converter, these generally run off a USB port in additional to the video connectors. If you don't you only get single link DVI resolution of 1920x1200, some cables state they are dual link which just means there are the extra pins but you need the electronics to split a DP into the 2 streams on a dual link DVI and back again.

I have a USB DVI KVM with sound for 4 computers and it is the best solution for me again make sure that the KVM supports dual link. Some of the solutions offered here are good and may suit your needs but I find the switching on the Dell monitor is cumbersome and slow and still require you to swap over the keyboard and mouse. Using RDP can also restrict display performance but it all depends on your application of this technology.

I have a active DP to dual link DVI converter used when connecting a laptop with only DP external connectivity, this works fine through the KVM.

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masplin
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Re: Advice on connections for a new monitor
In reply to Iain Oglesby, Mar 12, 2013

I was about to ask whether the Remote Desktop resolution is going to be quite poor. I'm only numnber crunching on the 2nd box, but run big excel spreadhseets so poor resolution coudl create quite lot of eye strian.

I'm going to get dual DVI ports on both PCs then I can try the remote desktop route and upgrade to a full KVM soltion if required. Thanks for everyones advice.

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Eric Carlson
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Re: Advice on connections for a new monitor
In reply to masplin, Mar 13, 2013

masplin wrote:

I was about to ask whether the Remote Desktop resolution is going to be quite poor. I'm only numnber crunching on the 2nd box, but run big excel spreadhseets so poor resolution coudl create quite lot of eye strian.

I'm going to get dual DVI ports on both PCs then I can try the remote desktop route and upgrade to a full KVM soltion if required. Thanks for everyones advice.

No, the resolution will be exactly the same with remote desktop.

You keep mentioning dual DVI ports: Are you using dual monitors? Note that Dual-Link DVI is a single DVI connector. A single DVI port can be either single-link or dual-link (most modern DVI outputs are Dual-Link), and you need one dual-link DVI port and one dial-link cable for your monitor.

I'd still be interested to know what video outputs your current computer already has.

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Tom_N
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Re: Advice on connections for a new monitor
In reply to Eric Carlson, Mar 13, 2013

Eric Carlson wrote:

You keep mentioning dual DVI ports: Are you using dual monitors?

The OP has (or is getting) two computers, and wishes to use one (new monitor + keyboard + mouse). One of the computers had DisplayPort output. The other apparently did not have suitable output (DisplayPort or dual-link DVI), thus the talk of buying another video card that could support the new monitor's native resolution.

The "interesting" part comes in minimizing the cost and maximizing the convenience of the (new video card + new KVM switch + new monitor) setup. Basically, converting from DisplayPort to dual-link DVI is expensive; and KVM switches that switch DisplayPort inputs are also expensive. Using the monitor as a video-only DisplayPort / dual-link DVI switch might be possible, but would be less convenient than a solution placing all of the switching in a KVM switch.

My impression is that the OP was now thinking of getting new video cards (with dual-link DVI output) for both computers; downgrading the one with DisplayPort (so to speak) to better minimize the cost of the KVM (if he gets a KVM; he might not now that people have suggested Remote Desktop). Each computer would have a video card with dual-link DVI output, and a dual-link DVI cable running to the KVM. The KVM would have a dual-link DVI cable running to the new monitor.

You do bring up a good point - if the OP is going to do this, he should check that the KVM switch in question does take dual-link DVI input and does switch it properly. I could imagine there being cheap switches that only switched single-link DVI ("fewer wires == a few pennies of savings"), and that wouldn't make sense for this application.

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masplin
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Re: Advice on connections for a new monitor
In reply to Eric Carlson, Mar 13, 2013

I was told by Dell I needed dual DVI to suport 2560x1440 resolution. i think single is limited ot 1900x1200. Current card is ATI HD Radeon 4300/4500 which I told is not up to the task.

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masplin
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Re: Advice on connections for a new monitor
In reply to Tom_N, Mar 13, 2013

Well sumamrised. The KVM I was looking ast is the Aten CS1782A but thats £100.

Aten CS1782A

So my solution is buyan Nvidia 8800 GT card for my old PC for £20 off ebay. Get a card with both Displayport and Dual DVI on the new box.  Try remotedesktop first.  If tht isn't good enough check the feed switching on them onitor itself to see if viable and if not buy the KVM switch.

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Iain Oglesby
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Re: Advice on connections for a new monitor
In reply to masplin, Mar 13, 2013

I would check with the manufacturer of the card before deciding, I have an old Dell laptop in a docking station that uses a Radeon x600 and it works fine at 2550x1440, this is 8 years old and would expect it to have much lower performance than the one stated. Dell I have found will says things that saves the technician time especially if they think it might result in a sale.

Going back to my comment about RDP, I didn't mean to imply that it wouldn't work at the full resolution of the monitor but the refresh rates across rdp can be compromised and depending on the OS can be very slow. Windows Vista, 7 & 8 have much better RDP technology but I would still expect compromises, it all depends on your actual use. Displaying fast moving images at full resolution I would expect image tearing as it struggles to push such a large resolution down the network link. If you are not doing this then you should be fine.

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Eric Carlson
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Re: Advice on connections for a new monitor
In reply to masplin, Mar 13, 2013

masplin wrote:

I was told by Dell I needed dual DVI to suport 2560x1440 resolution. i think single is limited ot 1900x1200. Current card is ATI HD Radeon 4300/4500 which I told is not up to the task.

Dual-link, not dual connectors: Big difference. If that video card has a DVI output, it is likely dual-link, and will likely work.

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