Four Displays for Under $70
The GeForce GT 520 isn’t known for its gaming power but the addition of a pair of IDT chips from Galaxy gives the GPU new life.
Running multiple displays on your PC is becoming a trend that everyone is trying to jump on board with thanks in large part to the push of Eyefinity from AMD over the past few years. Gaming is a great application for multi-display configurations but in truth game compatibility and game benefits haven’t reached the level I had hoped they would by 2012. But while gaming still has a way to go, the consumer applications for having more than a single monitor continue to expand and cement themselves in the minds of users.
Galaxy is the only NVIDIA partner that is really taking this market seriously with an onslaught of cards branded as MDT, Multiple Display Technology. Using non-NVIDIA hardware in conjunction with NVIDIA GPUs, Galaxy has created some very unique products for consumers like the recently reviewed GeForce GTX 570 MDT. Today we are going to be showing you the new Galaxy MDT GeForce GT 520 offering that brings support for a total of four simultaneous display outputs to a card with a reasonable cost of under $120.
The Galaxy MDT GeForce GT 520
Long time readers of PC Perspective already likely know what to expect based on the GPU we are using here but the Galaxy MDT model offers quite a few interesting changes.
The retail packaging clearly indicates the purpose of this card for users looking at running more than two displays. The GT 520 is not an incredibly powerful GPU when it comes to gaming but Galaxy isn’t really pushing the card in that manner. Here are the general specs of the GPU for those that are interested:
- 48 CUDA cores
- 810 MHz core clock
- 1GB DD3 memory
- 900 MHz memory clock
- 64-bit memory bus width
- 4 ROPs
- DirectX 11 support
The physical card itself is pretty small and doesn’t require any kind of external power to run. The heatsink and fan combination is very quiet and we didn’t notice any noise when being driven to its graphical limits and especially not when simply running a four display desktop.
The connections on the Galaxy MDT GT 520 are NOT standard DVI ports and you should not try to connect a standard monitor cable directly to the graphics card. Instead, these interfaces connect with included dongles that allow for two displays per connection.
Each of these specific connectors is powered by a separate IDT chip, the VMM1403, that actually interfaces directly with the integrated outputs of the GeForce GT 520 GPU. These processors allow the card to power more than the standard two monitors with some custom logic and the ability to split the bandwidth allocated to it into different channels.
The flexibility that the IDT offers is pretty substantial – it is the same one used on the other MDT series cards that support three or even four displays off of a single GPU channel. Most of the configuration happens in hardware rather than software which eases the installation process as well. Users will be able to connect and disconnect monitors on the fly while in Windows without having to open up the control panel or any external software.
Obviously included in the box are a pair of dongles that allow it to connect a pair of DVI displays to each port on the back of the card.
All four inputs support DVI-D and DVI-I monitors though the resolution is limited to 1920×1200 for each connected display.
The dongles do add a bit of a tangle behind the computer though it is easily manageable. Here you can see the hardware connected and installed outside of the PC.