Most elegant way to run 4 (up to) 1080p monitors off a NUC?

Discussion in 'Video Cards & Monitors' started by trackhappy, Dec 13, 2018.

  1. trackhappy

    trackhappy Member

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    Hi guys,

    Been a while since I've made a thread! I need to stop by OCAU much more often than I do.

    Anyway, I'm currently moving house, and am about to get a ripper of a desk - 2100mm long, 900mm deep, etc, and in addition to the two U2711s I have connected to the Mac, I want another four smaller displays, connected to a NUC I've yet to buy, and have them oriented as a big square, i.e. two on top, two on bottom.

    Someone on eBay is selling a really, really nice looking setup. It's a good 400km drive, but it looks like it will be perfect. This is that. Here's the pic from that listing, in case someone reads this in 5 years time and finds this thread useful.

    [​IMG]

    So that's the setup I want. Now, after receiving an eBay message while penning this post, unfortunately the monitors from this setup in particular are gone, which is a shame. But the idea is still the same, I will just source the monitors somewhere else. The stand will be the same layout.

    So I have a couple of thoughts.

    1. The first thought, is using two (or one, if I can find a four port?) USB to DVI/HDMI adapters, but my Google-fu is failing me at the moment, because this is the best I can find. A $100 USD StarTech adapter that only provides two HDMI outputs. I'm pretty sure HDMI and single-link DVI can be passively changed, because the video stream inside HDMI is DVI, is it not? Please do correct me if I'm wrong here.

    Those adapters are just about the cheapest way I can find of getting four displays on a NUC. My goal with this little 'project' is to have identical displays, being driven by identical hardware. So, yes, there might be two or three different display outputs on the NUC itself, but they are just that - different. I'm sure it would be *fine*, but I really have acquired a hatred for Intel graphics. The hardware itself is great, nothing wrong with it. But I still experience software bugs I first came across in 2005, across nearly a dozen computers, 20-30+ installs, and multiple versions of Windows and driver revisions. Long story short, I would like, as much as possible, to not have to use onboard graphics.

    As for these USB things, I know their performance doesn't set the world on fire. Honestly, as long as they can pump out 1080p video smoothly, that's about the most I will ever ask from them.

    The alternative, which is somewhat more awesome, involves an eGPU, of course. If I could throw a GPU into one of these NUCs, it would very likely be a simple case of 'throw a Quadro in it and call it good, have a nice day.' This would require an enclosure, and this Akitio unit seeming to be the cheapest.

    It seems like the two dual USB things would be the best way to go, in terms of both money, and also the fact that I won't have to sacrifice my only USB-C port in my only computer equipped with said port, to drive these monitors! But I wanted to see if this was indeed the best, most elegant way to do it, or is there something better out there that my Google-fu is not bringing me? I suppose I'm after a sanity check as well.

    Thanks guys, keen to hear what you all have to say!
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2018
  2. havabeer

    havabeer Member

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    What are you going to do with 4 monitors?

    I think you can daisy chain some monitors, otherwise I'd be looking to jam a gpu into your nuc to have more output optios
     
  3. ae00711

    ae00711 Member

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    see.. this is where a NUC sucks - you're wanting too much out of such a small thing. If you step up to ITX, too easy, simply install a video card, done, and it still has a small footprint.
     
  4. slavewone

    slavewone Member

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    When you say sacrifice your only USB-c, do you mean entirely or partially?

    My first thought was thought was a USB-c docking station, but perhaps the bandwidth useage of 3 or 4 monitors brings it close to entirely sacrificed.

    I’m then confused by all 4 monitors outputting the same image. Can’t you just get a dumb splitter?
     
  5. SpaceFrog

    SpaceFrog Member

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    I bought one of these Dell D6000 dock
    I've used it at 2.5K but there's a slight lag. I wouldn't use it for videos or gaming. That or something similar will give you 3 outputs, + your onboard.

    There are probably thunderbolt ones perform way better, but that means using the intel gpu?
     
  6. Bold Eagle

    Bold Eagle Member

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    You would probably need to get an i5 NUC with Thunderbolt so you could daisy chain DP from it (DP to DP monitor w. DP in and DP out, to next DP monitor etc.)

    https://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/products/docs/boards-kits/nuc/nuc8i5bek-nuc8i5beh-brief.html
    If your going to run 4 displays make sure to get the higher profile unit for better cooling potential.

    That is get the NUC8I5BEH not the NUC8I5BEK (low profile):
    https://www.intel.com/content/dam/w...-briefs/nuc8i5bek-nuc8i5beh-product-brief.pdf
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2018
  7. mtma

    mtma Member

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    Keep in mind the monitor setup he wants to buy only supports DVI-D or VGA.

    Dongleation will be required.

    ED- Addendum for the OP:

    The setup you're about to buy has less screen space and same megapixels than say, this and is close to the same cost. Is it really worth it?
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2018
  8. havabeer

    havabeer Member

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    I know which one would look cooler as well, wall mount and it leaves the bench open to be used as a bench for other stuff
     

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