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The Monitor Wall

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#1
Since I started using the other thread as a 'build thread', figured I'd move my progress to the correct forum.

At work, we had 15-20 old monitors, mostly Dell 15", just laying around. I always wanted to do something with them, and only recently did I decide what I actually wanted to do. I figured, why can't I chain these all together and make something out of them? I initially figured it would be pretty expensive as I figured I'd need a huge eyefinity setup or similar. I decided to ask on here, and a few members informed me about the Nvidia Quadro cards and others that use the DMS-59 connectors. My only other fear was that a system would conflict using video cards in parallel in a non-SLI/Crossfire setup. Well, they didn't, in Windows 7 or XP. So I decided to go through with it completely. And here we are thus far.


One of the monitors de-bezeled...they all are similar but slightly different. These I will have to use a Dremel and cut off the part where the monitor buttons hang, and move them to the rear. The other ones I will have to cut off the part where the VESA mount dock connects and two other small tabs to get them as flush as possible.


First video card, after going through 2 not fully working ones. Setup in my kitchen because why not:



Second video card. One full PCI-e and the other a 1x. I decided to however go full for the rest and depending on how they work switch the fourth one to a full as well.



Took the cards to work (one of these was the non fully working one) since I had a machine there with one full PCI-e and then a 1x slot and tested them. Wes is a coworker. :)



De-bezzeled the rest of the monitors at work besides the 4 I have at home.



I decided screw it, I've got nothing else to do today. Measured up and went to go get a piece of wood. 5/4 x 6 x 8' works great...except the one I got, which I didn't notice until I got home, has a crack at one end of it so I feel like that side isn't gonna be able to be used. Oh well. But I can basically cut them to 4' pieces and I can cut them in half to get two of them, now I'll need two instead of one to finish though.

I will be putting holes for the vesa mounts all the way through the wood and using a longer screw to screw where the vesa mounts are. I am then going to use a heavier bolt to bring the boards all together in a 4x4 configuration, with 16 monitors total. There will be 4 pieces of wood holding 4 monitors each, then 3 in the middle holding all the 16 together.

My crappy workspace outside in my 1 car garage..my Trans Am isn't in there right now because I've been driving it to work so I have a bit of space.




I should have all the parts below Thursday to finish this, and basically all that will be stopping me then is the mounting of them. I have all these parts to make the PC:

GIGABYTE GA-990FXA-UD3
AMD Phenom II X2 555 BE
4gb DDR3
Corsair TX 750w
120gb OCZ SSD
4x Nvidia Quadro 440 NVS video cards (3x PCI-e 16x, 1x PCI-e 1x right now)
Crappy old case I have laying around

That is it so far! I will hopefully be getting into this by next weekend. The first step will be making sure all the monitors work together. When I get the first monitors all mounted up, the last three rows should come easily. Then it will just be bolting them together which won't be that hard. I just need to line them all up, and since I'm pretty anal that's going to be a big PITA I fear. We shall see!
 
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#2
So what do you plan on showing on your huge monitor wall? Will it be just a work toy or can you actually use it for something work related( I don't know what). This is a cool project.
 
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#3
Anything we want. Initially it started out as a fun thing, then when I chained the 8 together, people at work started to get interested and most of it is funded that way. We will use it to display our builds possibly, do product demos on, display our application stats, whatever. It's kinda also just something to have and say "Look, we built this."

I work at a 'start up' FWIW.
 
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#4
Its a cool project, even better if you will be able to get practical work value for it too. All we need now is a picture of the thing completed.

What will the total resolution be?
 
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#5
The only thing I'm worried about is it being really laggy. The two computers I tried it on both seemed to be really laggy. Both were older machines but they still didn't handle it well..I might be able to speed it up disabling Aero or maybe the fresh W7 install will help. I ordered some stuff and hope to have it somewhat starting to go together this weekend. I also will need to paint the monitors black to aid with the whole coming together effect so it hides the grid better than grey.

All monitors are 1280x1024 I think...and hope because I really want them all to be the same. So I guess 5120x4096 adding them together.
 
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#6
The only thing I'm worried about is it being really laggy. The two computers I tried it on both seemed to be really laggy. Both were older machines but they still didn't handle it well..I might be able to speed it up disabling Aero or maybe the fresh W7 install will help. I ordered some stuff and hope to have it somewhat starting to go together this weekend. I also will need to paint the monitors black to aid with the whole coming together effect so it hides the grid better than grey.

All monitors are 1280x1024 I think...and hope because I really want them all to be the same. So I guess 5120x4096 adding them together.
That is higher than 4k. I dont' know what those graphics cards are meant to support for resolution but that is a lot of pixels.
 
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#8
Good luck with the displays! you heading into uncharted territory there buddy, I've had multiple varying problems just running 3 monitors lol! Nvidia is the way to go for multi-monitors despite AMD having more functionality. I ran into an issue with a 270x that would not out-out display to a 3rd monitor, no matter how I had it connected it refused to display the 3rd monitor.

Another issue I had was with 120hz monitors, this is more unique though, in that I needed a special DVI/Display port convertor in order to run 3x 120hz displays off a single graphics card.

Rest assured though I've had that motherboard running 6x GPUs at once! in Windows 7 granted they were not running displays :)
 

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#9
I work at a 'start up' FWIW.
You should read The Lean Startup by Eric Reis if you haven't already... before you make too many mistakes by working on things that probably aren't that important and won't help the company succeed. Not to say the project doesn't sound cool, but cool doesn't always mean success when it comes to start-ups. I've been down this road recently and have been reflecting on how the last project failed due to over architecting the project and not focusing on just the important things first (as opposed to solving all problems now.) Just thought I would throw that out there since it sounds like you're spending work time on this. Either way, I'm reading that book now and it's a good read. It's useful for just about any person who is part of a start-up or a small software development team.
 
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#10
Good luck with the displays! you heading into uncharted territory there buddy, I've had multiple varying problems just running 3 monitors lol! Nvidia is the way to go for multi-monitors despite AMD having more functionality. I ran into an issue with a 270x that would not out-out display to a 3rd monitor, no matter how I had it connected it refused to display the 3rd monitor.

Another issue I had was with 120hz monitors, this is more unique though, in that I needed a special DVI/Display port convertor in order to run 3x 120hz displays off a single graphics card.

Rest assured though I've had that motherboard running 6x GPUs at once! in Windows 7 granted they were not running displays :)
These cards run 2 per DVS-59 port and seems to work well. I've had 8 going with no hitches so I think 16 will be easy. We may see come this weekend!

You should read The Lean Startup by Eric Reis if you haven't already... before you make too many mistakes by working on things that probably aren't that important and won't help the company succeed. Not to say the project doesn't sound cool, but cool doesn't always mean success when it comes to start-ups. I've been down this road recently and have been reflecting on how the last project failed due to over architecting the project and not focusing on just the important things first (as opposed to solving all problems now.) Just thought I would throw that out there since it sounds like you're spending work time on this. Either way, I'm reading that book now and it's a good read. It's useful for just about any person who is part of a start-up or a small software development team.
There's a reason I put start up in quotes. We've been around since 2000 and are privately funded. What I do on my own time is my business, and that's primarily what this is. This has nothing to do with what we produce and even less on the time spent actually on the job. I do DevOps work as well as fixing all in office hardware.
 

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#11
There's a reason I put start up in quotes. We've been around since 2000 and are privately funded. What I do on my own time is my business, and that's primarily what this is. This has nothing to do with what we produce and even less on the time spent actually on the job. I do DevOps work as well as fixing all in office hardware.
It wasn't meant as an insult. I still think it's a worth while book to read and was serious when I said:
It's useful for just about any person who is part of a start-up or a small software development team.
 
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#12
This looks to be a very fun project for you :toast: Congrats on your work:respect: Will be waiting for the pics.
 
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#13
cool
 
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#14
Should have everything waiting for me when I get home. Got all the adapters I needed today...and I realized I might run into a problem. The cables may not be long enough...and I may need to get a few VGA extender cables....that's gonna suck if so. All cables are ~6 feet so there MAY be JUST enough at least temporarily..but we'll see. These are all except two (four VGA) because I am taking those home to test the hardware tonight:

 
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#16
Subbed. I've been watching this and I'm tempted to save up and do something like it.
 
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#17
Need more PICTURES!!!. :banghead::banghead::banghead::banghead::banghead::banghead::banghead::banghead:
 
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#18
Subbed. I've been watching this and I'm tempted to save up and do something like it.
I think the hardest part would be getting the monitors. But if you found a school sale or old office sale, I think you could find a few. Or if you're rich, chain a bunch of 24"+ 1080p monitors together. Lol.

Teasers...system is together. No hitches thus far. Cards are already heating up sitting there so this might require some big old fans on the side...maybe a fan wall for the monitor wall. ;)

Initial getting everything in the case. I don't do cable management even on my own PCs..so suck it nerds. :p



All video cards in and running:





This looks promising...



 
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#19
I had the system running for a good hour/hour and a half and temps didn't seem to get above 63* C...but only one card is running one monitor. We'll see what happens. After I got back from walking the dog...

One down.



How it sits on the rear.



Aww snap that looks like two:



Is that..a third?



A fourth? You don't say...









So the problem I'm running into is that I'm somewhat of a self appointed perfectionist/a bit OCD. I really like things to be even and the way I want them...and these aren't. I'm doing this on a shit little section of my shit one car garage with basic hand tools. I'm measuring the stuff by hand, sort of eyeing it as far as measurements, no level, a crappy Harbor Freight drill, and this cheap wood. It's not turning out exactly how I hoped, meaning too it is a lot tougher to get everything lined up then when I first measured it all out and plotted it out on the wood. I bought this piece as sort of a test piece so that's fine..but I'm not sure how I am going to get the other pieces lined up exactly how I need them. I've had to redrill/make the holes bigger on this one and while it seems to be stable, it's not exactly how I want it. Maybe I'll rough mock all of them up and redo them sometime in the future, I'm not sure yet. I want to get it together this weekend if I can. So kind of conflicted.
 
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#20
All video cards seem to work..here's my ghetto little setup to test. I was going to start drilling the other board today but my 'perfection' side is getting the best of me..gonna take everything into the office this weekend and work on it there so that way I have all the monitors there and everything. At worst I get them all setup on a table/cube and displaying without actually being in the wall formation, at worst I end up taking all this stuff to my grandfather's shop and getting it done correctly there in a week or so...I did buy a level and that seemed to help keep the other test piece I was trying out straight..we'll see.



 
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#21
You need a huge panoramic photo for what you have set up right now.
 
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#22
You need a huge panoramic photo for what you have set up right now.
Good thing with Google you can pick how big you want to search for a picture. Even searching for 4k+ pictures is easy.
 
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#24
..but I'm not sure how I am going to get the other pieces lined up exactly how I need them. I've had to redrill/make the holes bigger on this one and while it seems to be stable, it's not exactly how I want it. Maybe I'll rough mock all of them up and redo them sometime in the future, I'm not sure yet. I want to get it together this weekend if I can. So kind of conflicted.
I would lay your monitors face down lined up the way you want, I'm a lot OCD that way too. Then make a template of the mounting holes. I like to use cheeeep masking tape making it 5-7 layers thick. Simple to transfer to your back brace & you drill right through
 
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#25
I would lay your monitors face down lined up the way you want, I'm a lot OCD that way too. Then make a template of the mounting holes. I like to use cheeeep masking tape making it 5-7 layers thick. Simple to transfer to your back brace & you drill right through
That sounds like a great idea. I'm going to try that tomorrow at work.