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New MacPro - 3 Video Cards to feed 8 monitors?

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Todd Perchert
New MacPro - 3 Video Cards to feed 8 monitors?
on Nov 1, 2012 at 4:30:31 pm

I had originally posted in the Apple OS forum, because there is no Apple Hardware forum, but haven't gotten much response. I'm thinking this may be a better forum for this question...

We are looking at putting 3 ATI Radeon HD 5770 cards in one new Mac Pro. I would like to get confirmation that this configuration will work. Plan is to run Module8 to 7 external monitors and have 1 monitor for desktop. So that would be 8 monitors running off of the one MacPro. I'm surprised that Apple sells a second x16 card to go into the second slot (x4, mechanical x16), but they say it's fine to run up to 6 monitors. So, if the one card runs in the x4 slot, I'm thinking a third may run in the second x4 slot. I do know I would most likely have to put in a different power supply to get 3 PCIe 6 pin power to the cards - I assume the stock psu won't have 3.

I realize there are other issues with this setup, but I am just trying to find out the MacPro part of the equation at the moment.
Can anyone confirm that a config like this would actually work?
Thanks!
TC


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Thomas Leong
Re: New MacPro - 3 Video Cards to feed 8 monitors?
on Nov 1, 2012 at 6:45:16 pm

Hello Todd,

You may get a better answer at http://vjforums.com/ where there are lots of Module8 and Mac users.

Off the cuff, I'd say it depends also on Module8 - whether it will recognise/see the 3 graphics cards and work with all their outputs. In the Windows world, for one software I have, the manufacturer has stated it works only with one gfx card, but others I have will work with multiple gfx cards provided the OS can 'see' them.

Thomas



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Todd Perchert
Re: New MacPro - 3 Video Cards to feed 8 monitors?
on Nov 1, 2012 at 7:59:12 pm

Thanks Thomas. The software states it can work with them. I'm going in order first. The MacPro is my first concern. If it can't do it, then there's no point in going any further with this route. My local Apple dealer, and the Apple site, states that they only sell MacPros with a maximum of 2 cards supporting 6 monitors - that's all the further I get with them. If we were looking at a PC, I would have no problem. :)
TC


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Philip Haynes
Re: New MacPro - 3 Video Cards to feed 8 monitors?
on Nov 3, 2012 at 10:00:34 am

Todd

I would recommend looking at the Datapath x4(http://www.datapath.co.uk/products/multi-display-products/datapath-x4), which would be ideal, or some Matrox Triple Head To Go.both of which could be hired from a rental house like VER or similar

What you have not mentioned is what will be the resolution, and frame rate of the files to be played and the software to drive this playback, as they will all have a impact of the viability of what you want to achieve, also with all setups like this you should always test, test, and test to be sure that everything will work as expected before going to site. OH and with that many files on the go a SSD would be your only way to get playback to happen.
In truth I would really look at playback from 2 machines as it would provide some redundancy, as what is possible vs what is a sensible show safe system can be 2 different beasts

hope that is of some help

Phil
Philip G Haynes
Live Visual Design and Direction


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Todd Perchert
Re: New MacPro - 3 Video Cards to feed 8 monitors?
on Nov 6, 2012 at 7:16:53 pm

Thanks Phil! We had looked at TripleHeadToGo and it looks great to split one image, which may be an option to go. Looks like the Datapath x4 does the same thing. Just requires the video to be prebuilt with each section of video being rendered into one file.
It's possible we may have to look into that. The Datapath looks good.

I don't like that with the way we are currently looking, we would have to have small files (image size) and have them scaled up. That's not ideal unless we were going from 720 to 1080, but I think the scaling will need to be more drastic.
We have a few options, not sure yet what may be affordable/feasible for us. May be fewer monitors at this point.
Thanks!
Todd


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Thomas Leong
Re: New MacPro - 3 Video Cards to feed 8 monitors?
on Nov 7, 2012 at 8:49:06 am

Hi Todd,

8 discrete outputs do tax the hardware on playback at high resolutions. Suggest you opt for less in order to get more, and duplicate the other outputs with a suitable distribution amp. In a VJ type situation when drinks have been flowing, and the music is thumping, a couple of scattered duplicates should not matter :)

Thomas



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