After I had two failures on my system, it gave me an opportunity to try my setup on Windows Vista and Windows XP. The primary AGP video card failed witch triggered a failure in my Windows 2000 Pro operating system. Even though I was able to recover Windows 2000, I decided to upgrade the operating system to Windows Vista.
After installing Vista I found that none of the remaining nVidia GeForce 5500 cards were supported. I then purchased Windows XP Pro and installed it. The 3 PCI nVidia GeForce 5500 cards functioned correctly. I proceeded to bid and purchase a nVidia GeForce 6200 AGP card and nVidia GeForce 6200 PCI card from eBay. Just this past week, I found two more 6200 PCI cards and purchased them. Within a week I had all four identical graphics cards installed.
Windows Vista Premier
Even though I loved the ease of installation and super GUI, I found out that HORIZONTAL spanning of two monitors IS NOT SUPPORTED in Vista. nVidia claims that it is because of the changes in Vista versus previous versions. The end result is that you cannot set up the flight sim like I built using Windows Vista at present. I am still looking to find if there is a work around.
If you plan on a single seat cockpit with one monitor as the front view and one a one monitor as your instrument panel, diagonal views and side views Vista may be able to support this arrangement. When I have all four video cards in place I will retest this to confirm.
Windows XP Professional
I was able to get the flight simulator up and running on Windows XP. The nVidia control software and Windows XP does allow for horizontal spanning of monitors, although there is an issue of aligning all the monitors vertically in one row. XP seems to always want to place the monitors at diagonals to one another. Very annoying. I alligned the shared monitors so they line up horizontally in order 1,2,3,4. I takes a little getting used to but it works well.
Windows 2000 Professional
Windows 2000 and XP both work well but Windows 2000 is the only operating system that I have found that allows the horizontal spanning of the monitors and the ability to align them in a vertical pattern.
I can live with the flight simulator not running on Vista. Since I can get Flight Simulator 2004 up and running successfully on Windows XP and I have on Windows 2000, I have both options available to run the 8 monitor configuration.
I will keep you posted.
1. The only dual output cards I have run are nVidia. I cannot comment on any other brands. 2. YOU must use the same BRAND and MODEL/SERIES graphics cards. Even if the operating system allows different series (5500/6200), Microsoft Flight Simulator 2004 will only recognize the higher models, in this case the 6200 series.
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