Ever seen that movie Swordfish with Hally Berry(sp?) and John Travolta? I like that movie. Appeals to me. Hackers… security… mmm… even if it is a little.. outlandish in parts. Anyways, my favourite scene is when he goes to the big house and sits in front of that computer with 8 or 10 monitors attached to it… his “hack station”. Whoah. That’s my kinda machine.
Anyways, my primary desktop machine is my dual 1.8GHz G5… nothing overly fancy in terms of the hardware itself (it’s a few years old now) but it does everything I need. It’s always run two 20” LCD displays but the other day for kicks I decided to try stuffing another video card in that box.. just cuz I can and because I have some spare monitors kicking around that aren’t being used. I got the Mac edition Radeon 9200 PCI card (I suppose I could have gone for a higher-end AGP card to replace the nvidia card that’s in here now but my idea was to expand, not replace).
Well, after sticking that puppy in there, hooking up another 19” and 20” LCD monitors, I’m feeling rather swordfish. I thought dual-head was the bomb (and I’ve been doing that for years, starting off with two 15” CRT monitors running off old 8MB PCI cards “back in the day”). I do have to admit, however, that it worked a lot smoother than I’ve ever experienced with X. Turned it on and bang, there they were. Minor tweaks (optimal resolutions and re-placement) but that’s it. Otherwise, it works quite well.
Only downside is that Quartz Extreme doesn’t run on the PCI cards (Apple disabled it for performance reasons I guess… PCI bus is too slow and I don’t have the faster PCI express or whatever it’s called). So that’s disappointing. I tried this program called PCI Extreme which is supposed to enable Quartz Extreme support on the PCI card, but (although System Profiler tells me it’s now enabled) it didn’t do much for performance. WoW stutters like crazy on those displays, but when I move it to my primary (original) monitors, it works great (despite the fact this nvidia AGP card is a 64MB card and the radeon is 128MB). Oh well. Works great for more terminals which is what I really wanted (I routinely have about a dozen or more terminals open at a time).
So I’ve been using this since last night and it is so nice. Like I said… I feel swordfish. Need a few more to get the “full effect” but dangit… four monitors on one box is more than a reasonable person would ever use so I guess I’ve got my “geek on” with just this. =) Who the hell needs multiple machines when you can run four monitors off a single machine? I’ve always envied my friend Kurt with his triple-display Windows setup… but now I‘m the man! Muwuhahahah!
Sure would be nice if I could get Quartz Extreme working properly on that PCI card tho… it seems unnaturally slow for some stuff, like WoW and iPhoto. For just plain old “text”-ish stuff (terminals, browser, etc.) it does pretty good tho.