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Recently I was given about 40 computer monitors, a few thin clients and a beat up, potentially dead dell poweredge 2500 server..

Immediately I wanted to use the monitors to construct a sort of video wall if you will. The catch is, instead of playing a video file, I want to add all 24 monitors to my PC or use a RaspberryPi cluster to run all of them at once.

The end result i'm looking for here is to have a computer capable of streaming audio and video without it looking too terrible, using 24 monitors as seemingly 1 display.

Initially was going to rig them all together with 4 monitors to every 1 slim client, but than I realized my PC probably doesn't have the power to host all 24 monitors on one GPU.

If it were a single monitor, the resolution would be 4320 x 11520

Would a RaspberryPi Cluster be able to support this kind of thing? What about using the PC for operating system, but using the Pi's as a GPU? Is this even possible?

Edit: I would like to use it for real time applications like surfing the web, running a program or two, and some live graphs. Maybe some other applications like temp readings, FPS, and live stock readings.

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It turns out that there's a reasonably well established project for doing just this. The PiWall project's overview states:

A master computer, which can be either a Raspberry Pi or a Linux PC, is in control of the wall and plays video files. This communicates to all the Raspberry Pi 'tiles' of the wall via an ethernet network. Each tile displays part of the picture on its screen, and the screens together form the 'wall'.

The combination of master and tiles together forms a PiWall video wall system. The PiWall can be either fully stand-alone or the master can be connected to an external network via an additional wired or wireless network adapter, thus enabling the system to be controlled remotely.

Please note that all Raspberry Pi computers used within a PiWall must be the model B version and not the cheaper model A that doesn't include an ethernet network interface.

They further claim that you can use 'any computer monitor or domestic TV that supports either HDMI, DVI or composite video inputs', and that 'you can mix any compatible screens... within a PiWall. This includes screens of different sizes, different aspect ratios (4:3 - old square TVs and 16:9 - widescreen), different resolutions and different orientations'. Their site includes a set of installation instructions which includes links to the relevant software packages.

If, per your question, you plan on running 24 simultaneous screens, the main concern I'd have would be the power requirements. Be very sure that you know how much current you're going to draw from which outlets, and that you don't exceed the maximum ratings anywhere. At best that would trip a breaker somewhere, causing all your Pis to shut down unexpectedly. At worst (somewhat unlikely with modern electrics, but possible) you could start a fire somewhere. Exercise some caution/common sense when setting up.

  • I'm aware of PiWall but from what I understand, you can only stream files. I would like to actually use the monitors and interact with them. – Tyler Mar 17 '17 at 11:56
  • It would be helpful if you could add that requirement to your question - there's no mention of real-time interaction as it stands. I think it's going to be difficult to achieve usable real-time sync across that many screens via the Pis' network controllers. If a solution exists, it's going to have to deal with correcting [X] number of continually drifting frame rates. – goobering Mar 17 '17 at 12:08
  • Taking another look over their docs, you can use it to mirror a desktop but not for graphically intensive applications (i.e. video, games,etc.). – goobering Mar 17 '17 at 14:09
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I think your best bet is to dive into Processing. But to my best knowledge you will only be able to mirror your desktop. But with 24 screens that might also be neat.

  • Hmm.... you might be onto something.. If I'm able to make my PC think my resolution is 4320 x 11520, perhaps I can "mirror" my PC monitor. – Tyler Mar 17 '17 at 11:58
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    This is a little too broad to be a complete answer - it's like responding to a programming question with 'just use Python'. Can you provide any pointers to the relevant bits of Processing, or relevant projects that might be applicable? – goobering Mar 17 '17 at 12:01

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