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Thread: Cheap Three Monitor iGPU Build




  1. #1
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    Default Cheap Three Monitor iGPU Build

    Hi all,

    I'm putting together a cheap 3 monitor build and I want to use the Intel iGPU as Haswell has support for running 3 monitors. I would like to use the ASRock H81M-HDS mobo and Intel Pentium G3220 for it. For the OS I plan to run Linux, probably Ubuntu or Fedora or maybe Arch as those have the best support for the Intel graphics on Linux.

    I would like to confirm that such a setup is possible on the hardware level and I have a couple questions:


    1. Does this motherboard support all 3 outputs at once? It has DVI, VGA and HDMI and I want to be sure 2 of them aren't wired together in an "either or" situation where they might not be all supported at once.
    2. The CPU appears to support 3 monitors based on this Intel Reference document but it has the following note:
      Independent Digital Displays: 3 (with restrictions on display types)
      Do these restrictions apply to the 3 outputs on the motherboard: DVI, VGA and HDMI?


    I'm not totally opposed to buying a Z87 if necessary but I don't plan to use any of those features, so that's why I went for H81.

    Thank you all!

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    Default Re: Cheap Three Monitor iGPU Build

    I've been doing more research and that Intel document I linked to does not apply to the CPU I selected because the CPU is the Pentium brand rather than the Core brand.

    And I can't find anything that says what 3 monitors for the Pentium HD Graphics support means under Haswell. This document clearly separates the Pentium brand from Core brand, but doesn't contain anything useful:

    Graphics — Supported Graphics APIs and Features

    Clicking on the Intel® Pentium® Processors 3000/G3000 Series with Intel® HD Graphics link takes me a generic support site which does not mention what the HD graphics support is.

    I guess the safe bet would be to move up to a Core i3 but I'm almost doubling the CPU cost as the cheapest i3 is $130 vs. $70 for the G3220.

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    Default Re: Cheap Three Monitor iGPU Build

    I just found this document which appears to be what I am looking for, but it was last updated in 2012 with Ivy Bridge CPUs and does not contain any Haswell information. It also doesn't go into what type of connections are supported:

    Intel® HD Graphics for Pentium® and Celeron® Processors: Guide

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Cheap Three Monitor iGPU Build

    You've tried hard to find the information you need, but I think I found some that will end your search.

    Note that the H81M-HDS specs say "three graphics output options", not triple monitor. Checking the H81 chipset specs here: ARK | Intel® H81 Chipset (Intel® DH82H81 PCH)

    We find it only supports two monitors, sorry to say. That is with any processor apparently.

    Haswell chipsets that support three monitors are: B85, H87, Q87, Q85, and Z87. Or all of them except for the H81.

    Beyond that, how well the G3220 could drive three monitors is questionable, since its graphics are not even at the Sandy Bridge processor 2000 and 3000 IGP level. If you are looking for max resolution, I would not expect anything beyond 1920 x 1200 on any output, and possibly less than that.

    All of the ASR B85 chipset boards support triple monitor. If you were thinking of gaming with the G3220 graphics, get at least a Haswell i3 with the 4400 graphics. But you won't be gaming at 1920 x 1080 with those graphics, or even the best of the latest Intel IGPs.

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    Default Re: Cheap Three Monitor iGPU Build

    Hi parsec,

    Thanks for the information, that appears to be exactly what I needed.

    I found the B85M-HDS which I think will work perfect for my needs and it's only $8 more than the H81 mobo. It also advertises concurrent 3 monitor support so I'm quite comfortable now that it will work.

    I think the G3220 will be fine for my needs as I do not plan on gaming. My main uses will be web browsing, programming and watching video. My max resolution is 1920x1080 and I don't plan to upgrade to 4K monitors for a long time as they are still way too expensive. I think this CPU will easily feel fast for a few years.

    Thanks!

  6. #6
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    parsec is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Cheap Three Monitor iGPU Build

    Sure, lately you must read (and find first) the fine print about mother board and chipset specs. We see people that don't do their homework and don't get what they really wanted all to often.

    For your needs, you'll probably be Ok, but an i3-4130 or i3-4330 with the 4400 or 4600 IGP would be better, but about twice the price of the G3220.

    Yeah, I don't think many of us will be buying 4K monitors in the near future...

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