Connecting Multiple Monitors to A PXIe Controller

Updated Aug 13, 2018

Reported In

Hardware

  • PXIe-8880
  • PXIe-8840

Issue Details

I have noticed several PXIe controllers have multiple monitor ports and support the use of dual monitors.
  • The PXIe-8880 has a single DisplayPort. Is there a way to connect multiple monitors to a PXIe-8880?
  • The PXIe 8840 has 2 DisplayPorts, can I connect more than two monitors?

Solution

The answer will depend on the specific controller. 

For example, according to the NI PXIe-8880 User Manual, the PXIe-8880 has an AMD Radeon™ E6460 Embedded GPU with a DisplayPort 1.2 output. The PXIe-8880 supports up to two monitors connected to the DisplayPort 1.2 output.

According to the DisplayPort standard, DisplayPort 1.2 enabled-products feature a multi-stream technology that allows independent streaming to multiple video displays from a single video output, through the use of monitor hubs or daisy-chainable monitors.
 

Additional Information

“Daisy chaining” is a term that describes the ability to connect a series of devices together using a single connection between each two devices.  The new DisplayPort v1.2 daisy chainable displays have both a DisplayPort input and a DisplayPort output. The DisplayPort output connects to the next downstream display.  This cabling arrangement, with one DisplayPort cable between each set of monitors, provides a less cluttered system configuration.

GPUs usually have an inherent limitation in how many simultaneous displays they can drive; some can drive up to three displays, while others can drive four or even six. According to the AMD Radeon™ E6460 Embedded GPU datasheet, the AMD Radeon™ E6460 Embedded GPU supports up to 4 monitors. However, this would require using multiple output types (VGA, DVI, DisplayPort 1.1a/1.2); since only the DisplayPort 1.2 output is enabled in the PXIe-8880, it will support a maximum of two independent displays.

Even though DisplayPort 1.2 offers the higher pixel rate available, there is a limitation in how many pixels can be sent down the display pipe. This means that while using a single display allows resolutions of up to 3840x2160 or 4096x2160, using two displays limits the maximum resolution for each monitor to 2560x1600.

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