Can an H81 motherboard drive dual monitors (over DVI & HDMI) without dedicated GPU?

LMF5000

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Oct 31, 2011
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Take for instance the Asus H81M-A. It has 1x DVI, 1xHDMI and 1xD-sub. Would I be able to connect one monitor to the DVI output and one to the HDMI output, and run two monitors at 1920x1080 using just the integrated GPU of an Intel Core-i5?

Background: I'm speccing the components for some new workstations to be used by a team of technical writers at work. They'll need to have dual monitors for productivity, but will mainly be running Word and inkscape, so nothing an iGPU can't handle (the work is currently done on laptops with external monitors). I'm trying to see whether it would be possible to do this without the cost and power consumption of a dedicated GPU.

The intel ark page for the H81 says it supports two monitors, but I read on older forums that that it could mean one analog output (via VGA) and one digital output (via DVI *OR* HDMI, but not both independently).

If this is the case, would a VGA cable will work well at 1920x1080? We currently use HDMI with the laptops... I might have to opt for an inexpensive dedicated GPU (like a GT 740) just to use its dual digital outputs.
 
Feb 25, 2011
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At this point, it would surprise me if they didn't. A boring office PC with integrated video and dual monitors is kinda standard-corporate-issue.

If a motherboard has three outputs (DVI/VGA/HDMI is common) some might only be able to drive two of them at a time, though. (I've seen that in specs before. Wonder if maybe that's what those forum posts were referring to?)
 

LMF5000

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At this point, it would surprise me if they didn't. A boring office PC with integrated video and dual monitors is kinda standard-corporate-issue.

If a motherboard has three outputs (DVI/VGA/HDMI is common) some might only be able to drive two of them at a time, though. (I've seen that in specs before. Wonder if maybe that's what those forum posts were referring to?)

Yes, that's what they meant. My question is, with modern hardware can the mobo drive the two digital outputs (DVI + HDMI) at the same time, or would I have to use VGA for the second monitor?
 
Feb 25, 2011
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Yes, that's what they meant. My question is, with modern hardware can the mobo drive the two digital outputs (DVI + HDMI) at the same time, or would I have to use VGA for the second monitor?
It's going to depend on the motherboard. The H81 chipset isn't the bottleneck.
 

UnholyCarcass

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I'm pretty sure you will be fine being able to run dual monitors with the LGA 1150 i5's integrated graphics.
 

tcsenter

Lifer
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Check the user manual for the board for supported configurations or configuration limits. Some board implementations could be shared digital output. i.e. you could be limited to one digital output or the other, but not both simultaneously. The chipset and CPU support two digital outputs at the same time. Even if it won't POST on the secondary output (whichever is designated secondary), it should be possible to enable in Windows through the Intel driver.
 

LMF5000

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Check the user manual for the board for supported configurations or configuration limits. Some board implementations could be shared digital output. i.e. you could be limited to one digital output or the other, but not both simultaneously. The chipset and CPU support two digital outputs at the same time. Even if it won't POST on the secondary output (whichever is designated secondary), it should be possible to enable in Windows through the Intel driver.

Thanks, I think the last part of your post answers my question with "yes". All I need is for two monitors to work in windows, no need to POST on dual monitors. I did check the motherboard manual but didn't find anything. Will go through it again just to be sure.
 

tcsenter

Lifer
Sep 7, 2001
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Well the specs page for HM81-A on ASUS website lists in the display or graphics support:

"Dual independent displays support with HDMI/DVI and D-Sub"


The use of the slash between two outputs has in the past typically indicated a shared output arrangement. So it may not support HDMI AND DVI at the same time. Can't say for sure.
 

LMF5000

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Well the specs page for HM81-A on ASUS website lists in the display or graphics support:

"Dual independent displays support with HDMI/DVI and D-Sub"


The use of the slash between two outputs has in the past typically indicated a shared output arrangement. So it may not support HDMI AND DVI at the same time. Can't say for sure.

That's exactly what's causing the confusion. I checked the mobo manual again, they don't clarify it anywhere. ASUS support is no help - the live chat is always unavailable and the email support needs a serial number, which I of course don't have because I haven't bought it yet.

Ideally I'm hoping for a reply from someone who has a similar set up and can tell me that it definitely does or does not work on his :).
 

tcsenter

Lifer
Sep 7, 2001
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Yeah, sorry, I can't help more, right back where you started. The Intel H81 chipset isn't the issue since it only supports analog interface to the display engine. Multi-monitor (and digital interface) support will be in the CPU, which should support up to 3 independent displays with any 3rd Gen and later Core i5. But I think it still leaves the board implementation in question.

Then again, a lot of people are having problems with the Intel driver(s) using dual monitor configuration even with officially supported digital configurations. e.g. https://communities.intel.com/thread/39881?start=0&tstart=0

Might I suggest an add-in graphics card?
 

LMF5000

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Oct 31, 2011
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Yeah, sorry, I can't help more, right back where you started. The Intel H81 chipset isn't the issue since it only supports analog interface to the display engine. Multi-monitor (and digital interface) support will be in the CPU, which should support up to 3 independent displays with any 3rd Gen and later Core i5. But I think it still leaves the board implementation in question.

Then again, a lot of people are having problems with the Intel driver(s) using dual monitor configuration even with officially supported digital configurations. e.g. https://communities.intel.com/thread/39881?start=0&tstart=0

Might I suggest an add-in graphics card?

Funnily enough, my home desktop has a main display connected to the Nvidia GPU via HDMI and a secondary display connected to the i7-3770k via VGA on the motherboard and works fine. My work laptop has Intel and Nvidia GPUs and has an external monitor connected over HDMI and set up through the Intel graphics settings program. No problems with either to date.

I suppose a dedicated GPU is the safest option. I can go for a cheaper motherboard (or even a high-powered AMD CPU with no integrated graphics) and buy an inexpensive GPU with dual digital outputs with the budget saved on the motherboard side of things.

I also prefer this for symmetry reasons - trying to run one display on HDMI and one on DVI would cause image differences. I know this because my home setup has a monitor that takes both inputs and a GTX670 with both outputs. I had once connected both an HDMI and a DVI cable between GPU and monitor and then swapped input source on the monitor back and forth to see if there was a difference. There was - the colours and contrast were flatter with DVI compared to HDMI, despite it being the same hardware and same settings at the same time. So one more point for a dedicated GPU with two DVIs or HDMIs.