Multiple Displays

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Multiple Displays

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Multiple Displays

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This topic explains how to setup multiple displays with the NVIDIA Control Panel. The previous topic describes how to change a resolution, the next ones how to frame lock displays and update the graphics driver.
As with all display settings, we recommend to close Pandoras Box before applying any changes.

Separate Displays versus Mosaic

With Windows XP it was possible to set multiple displays to either "Horizontal span" or "DualView". With Windows 8.1, these terms have changed: "Horizontal span" is replaced by "Mosaic" whilst "DualView" has no name in the NVIDIA control panel so this manual describes the mode as "separate" displays. The meaning and recommendation for Pandoras Box however have not changed fundamentally.

Mosaic is NVIDIA's software technology that abstracts multiple physical displays into a larger virtual display. In other words, it spans one desktop image across multiple displays. NVIDIA calls the result the Mosaic display and reports only one display with an accordingly large resolution to Windows and other application like Pandoras Box. In the tab Configuration > Render Engine you will see only one output adapter. If you like you can subdivide it here again to have individual access. In regards to the image build-up, it might be of interest, that the (virtual) large display is also output like this. For example, if you combine outputs horizontally, the result is, that the graphics card writes each line across all outputs before switching to the next one. This is of advantage for some applications including (soft-edge) projections. Additionally, this means that the outputs are frame locked. The downside of this mode is, that Mosaic sets the same resolution and frame rate to all connected outputs, hence it is mandatory that there is at least one timing shared by all monitors and / or projectors. Lastly, please note that the Pandoras Box render engine can only render across multiple graphics cards (GPUs) if they are set up in Mosaic mode. And using Mosaic with multiple GPUs is only possible with a sync board. Hence, the OCTO Server, that is equipped with a sync card and two graphics cards, needs to be set up in Mosaic mode if you like to use all eight outputs!

In short: If you like to render fullscreen on multiple displays which are set up with the same resolution and refresh rate, it is recommended to use the Mosaic mode for them. This ensures synchronous playback and best video rendering quality.
For the OCTO Server (with two graphics cards) rendering fullscreen on both GPUs is only possible when they are part of the same Mosaic display.

Without the Mosaic mode, the outputs count as separate displays that can be set to individual timings. For Compact Players and some custom hardware Mosaic is not available and this output setup is the only possibility.

Setting up Multiple Displays as Separate Displays

In the menu "Set up multiple displays" you can influence the layout of your screens or projectors. The rectangles depict an output and show its position according to the entire desktop size. You can drag the icon to a new position. Note that it makes sense to set up the resolution first, as the rectangle size depend on it.
You can also right-click an icon to choose for example to make it to the primary screen. This is the screen that displays the Windows desktop with its icons and the taskbar.

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In the menu "View system topology" you can check your resolution, frame rate, and output layout. With the above setup, it looks similar too this:

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Setting up Multiple Displays in Mosaic Mode

Please select the menu "Set up Mosaic" and click on "Create new configuration".

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The next steps will define how the Mosaic mode combines the displays; or in other words how the virtual (Mosaic) display spans across the physical displays. First, select the number of displays and their layout to define the display topology, then confirm the note with the check box and click "Enable Mosaic".

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Now, you could already click the "Finish" button, or adjust the Mosaic mode with the tabs:
- 2. Select displays
- 3. Arrange displays
- 4. Adjust Overlap and bezel correction

Switch the tabs using the "Next" and "Back" buttons.

Regarding the second tab, you might encounter difficulties selecting the displays, and unfortunately the information text is not always very accurate. If this is the case, the following steps might help solving the problem.
First bear in mind, that Mosaic sets the same resolution and frame rate to all displays, hence it is mandatory that there is at least one timing shared by all monitors and / or projectors. It is not necessary to set the resolution first (with the "Change resolution" menu ) before activating the Mosaic mode. However, this could ensure, that the desired timing can be chosen for all displays. The "System topology" lists all displays with their current timing and proves to be a good overview. As with all EDID issues, EDID managers (like the discontinued EDID Link) help communicating EDIDs correctly.
If you cannot select all displays that are connected to one graphics card using different connector types (e.g. DVI and DisplayPort), try to adopt them so that you use one connector type only. And in case you are working with multiple displays connected to multiple graphic cards (e.g. the OCTO Server) try to connect them to the same ports. For example, if you use the first DVI port on the first GPU, make sure, that you are also using the first one on the second GPU instead of using another (free) port.

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If the Mosaic mode is set up successfully, the menu "Set up Mosaic" will look like the below image. Note that the "Modify" button lets you change the current Mosaic mode and "Disable" brings you back to the state where each display is handled as a separate one.

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With an activated Mosaic mode, the menu "View system topology" looks like this.

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