Windows 98 supports Multi Displays. This means that you can add up to nine monitors to one PC. For a normal PC, depending the remaining free PCI slots this means about three extra screens. Imagine. One main front view, two side views and a panel or GPS view. This is why FS98 designers added the "undock window" option under the right mouse button! FS98 is ready for the trick. With the release of Windows98 many of us can experiment with the multi-monitor possibility's. Normally the number of display's is limited to the number of free PCI slots, but in future we can expect special multi display graphical boards. STB has one on the market ( the MVP Pro SE )

The first real 3D board for games with two monitor connectors was the Matrox G400. In August 2000 MAtrox released the bit cheaper G450. 3D performance is not stunning, compared to the newer Geforce boards but it is a convenient board.

I received the following comment about the G400 board:"I recently installed a Matrox G400 into my Pentium II, 400Mhz system. It performs superbly. Frame rates of 130+ in 3D mode ( about 70 in 2D) My card has 2 monitor outlets so I'm using a 19" for the main screen, and a 14" for the latest FSnavigator, which is, by the way, a wonderful free program. This is the best setup I have ever had in 12 years of Flighttsimming. I would highly recommend it."

I will give some brief information about the multi display issue. More information about this issue can be found at a dedicated page including W98 setup screenshots. A new very good multi monitor site is available now! And I found a third one with a searchable database of configurations.

Realtimesoft offers a free utility to enhance multimonitor support and give good information about this issue.

And what about this triple or quad flat monitor solution. For only $6500........

It's important to know that if you have a AGP slot you need the AGP and a PCI card. Or, if you don't have a AGP slot both video adapters need to be PCI.

First you need to install a primary graphical card and check if it works fine. It's weird, but sometimes you can best use the Windows98 drivers for this card and not the manufacturers driver.

Basically you need a primary graphical adapter and a secondary adapter.

The primary adapter will mostly be the standard AGP or PCI board in your system. Most new AGP and PCI boards can function as primary adapter.

In Windows 98 the PRIMARY display is the one that displays the LOGO when Windows starts. This PRIMARY monitor also shows the system BOOT messages. Currently, the PRIMARY DISPLAY supports all the features that Windows 95 users have become accustomed to. In addition to the standard 2D acceleration, the PRIMARY monitor also supports 3D (via Direct3D) and VIDEO (TV). FULL SCREEN DOS sessions are also locked to the PRIMARY display. The SECONDARY display does not currently support these enhanced features, but is quite useful as additional desktop space for running most Windows applications. Selection of a PRIMARY DISPLAY is based on Plug and Play configuration. During PnP configuration, the PCI and AGP slots are initialized one at a time in a specific order. This order may differ from one motherboard/BIOS to another. Typically the first display adapter which is initialized by PnP will be allocated a complete set of VGA and accelerator resources. If other display adapters exist in the system they will not be allocated VGA resources because this would cause a conflict, however, PnP resources (memory aperture, block I/O and IRQ) will be allocated. All evidence currently indicates that the display adapter with VGA resources will become the PRIMARY display. So, if your AGP board is selected as secundary adapter you need to change the bios settings.

STB Velocity 128 however doesn't have appropriate drivers for Multi Monitor, so you can't use this one!

Now you need to add the second video board. This needs to be a PCI board. Windows98 includes a text file with a listing of the graphical boards supporting multi monitor, Windows98 includes special drivers for those boards. I have the boards list available in a small file in case you want to know if your old board will work as a secondary adapter.

I installed multi display based on a Diamond Viper 330 and a Diamond Stealth 3d 3400 on a Dell Pentium II 350, 64Mb (had to replace the STB Velocity 128 AGP by the Viper 330 PCI as the Velocity doesn't support multi display). I used the final Windows98 drivers. I noticed a remarkable drop of framerates using the secondary display as map or outside view. A flightplanner on the secondary (like NAV1.9) doesn't affect framerate. I am sure new dedicated drivers from manufacturers will increase performance in the near future.

Reports have been send to me stating that best results can be obtained by using boards with the same chipsets. For instance: Use a Viper 550 AGP as primary and two Viper 550 PCI as secundary boards. This results in best performance. The speed advantage is probably caused by the (simple) fact that the system can use the same driver for all boards.


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