Notes on setting up host tirion

Russell Bateman
January 2021
last update:

Table of Contents

Tirion, the name
Desktop installation
The build
Populating the case
Noctua cooling solution
Finishing the build
Install Linux Mint with Cinnamon Desktop
Using two HP ZR30w monitors
The rebuild
A new ATX case
The graphics card
Installed software
Memory use
More on GPUs and Asus BIOS

This is a log of events building my first new desktop in 6 years. I'm choosing to run Mint 20.1 Ulyssa LTS,
which is based on Ubuntu 20.04 Focal Fossa, Linux kernel 5.4 and Cinnamon 4.8.

Tirion, the name

Most of my machines are named after elf kingdoms in Middle Earth. In a sense, host tirion deviates from this because elven Tirion is in Aman and not properly in Middle Earth, however, this distinction is a bit academic and this document is about computer hardware and software. Still...

Encircling the hill of Túna in the Calacirya, lone cleft in the mountains of the Pelóri, Tirion was founded by Ingwë, chief of the Vanya, ahead of the arrival in Aman (Valinor) of their relatives the Noldor.

The Vanya moved deeper into Valinor, closer to the high peak of Taníquetil and the Valar, the "Powers" or creators of Middle Earth, leaving Tirion to be ruled by Finwë. Murdered later by Melkor as that dark lord stole the Silmarils, which would soon precipitate the flight of most of the Noldor back to Middle Earth and, along the way, the kinslaying of the Teleri, Finwë's youngest son, Finarfin, father of Finrod (Felagund, hewer of caves, ruler of Nargothrond) and his sister, Galadriel, ruled in his stead.

Figuring in the image above is Eärendil, whose genealogy may be found here, freshly arrived in the Undying Lands in search of the Valar after the near destruction of Middle Earth and the quasi extinction of the Noldor by Morgoth. The ensuing 40-year War of Wrath would see Vanyan warriors, after thousands of years of contentment in Aman, venture back into Middle Earth along with the Noldoran remnants to avenge the Noldor and second their Valar commanders. Ultimately, Morgoth (Melkor) would be chained forever and thrust beyond the Walls of the World into the Timeless Void. (Sauron, however, feigned repentence and would survive untl the end of the Third Age.)

Host tirion replaces gondolin.


Much of this might be a little higher performance than I really need, but my nephew and advisor is a little more on that side and I don't resent it. His aid and exhaustive experience in the discipline of assembling machines was indispensible. At most I might have saved $40 using a little less exciting CPU cooling system such as I installed years ago on gondolin.

The real performance boosts over gondolin come in

Vendor  Price   Description
NewEgg  $ 370   Intel Core i7-10700K 3.8 GHz 8-Core Processor
Amazon  $ 165   LEVEN SINBA 32GB (2x16GB) DDR4-3600MHz PC4-28800 288-Pin U-DIMM CL18 XMP2.0 Overclocking RAM
Amazon  $ 130   Asus TUF GAMING B460M-PLUS (WI-FI) Micro ATX LGA1200 Motherboard
Amazon  $ 150   Samsung 970 Evo Plus 1 TB M.2-2280 NVME Solid State Drive
Amazon  $  90   Western Digital 4TB WD Blue Hard Drive-5400 RPM Class, SATA 6Gb/s, 64 MB Cache, 3.5" - WD40EZRZ
Amazon  $  20   Asus 24x DVD-RW Serial-ATA Internal OEM Optical Drive DRW-24B1ST Black
Amazon  $  60   Cooler Master N400 MicroATX Mini Tower Case
Amazon  $  80   Noctua NH-D15S 82.52 CFM CPU Cooler
Amazon  $  80   EVGA BQ 600 W 80+ Bronze Certified Semi-modular ATX Power Supply
Amazon  $  40   Arctic P12 PST 56.3 CFM 120mm Fans 5-Pack
Amazon  $   8   Thermaltake TG-7 grease
        $1178   Total (before tax, shipping free)

Everything's ordered, the memory promises to be up to a month away, but the rest should arrive over the next two weeks.

Component          Projected arrival  Vendor  Arrived
Thermal grease         8 January      Amazon  ✓
Fans                   8 January      Amazon  ✓
Case                   9 January      Amazon  ✓
SSD                   14 January      Amazon  ✓
Motherboard           14 January      Amazon  ✓
DVD                   14 January      Amazon  ✓
Hard drive            14 January      Amazon  ✓
CPU cooler            14 January      Amazon  ✓
Power supply          12 January      Amazon  ✓
CPU                   12 January      NewEgg  ✓
Memory                21 January      Amazon  ✓

Asus TUF Gaming B460M-Plus Motherboard

I don't really need a gaming motherboard, but this wasn't expensive and it had pretty much everything I needed on it. It's unclear whether I'll have to add an NVIDIA card with DVI outputs in support of my two HP ZR30w monitors (2560×1600 each) which support Display Port and DVI. We'll have to see.


How does a build proceed? It's a puzzle. You have to figure out what you can assemble that doesn't prohibit something else later from being assembled. What screws will no longer be reachable if I mount this component in the case or on the motherboard?

Something else to keep in mind: tiny, essential hardware like screws, cables and other incidentals. Where do these come from? Should I buy some big box of things like this in preparation for my build? The answer is, "not usually." These things come from the large components you purchase. Whatever you buy, like a case or a motherboard, if something will mount in or on top of it, it's (the case or motherboard that, in general,) going to supply it. For example, ...

Nota bene: click on any image to see it much bigger.

Populating the case

Common cases in the desktop world; often, their size is vaguely described in liters, in other words, if you filled them up with water, how much would they hold. The case and motherboard for tirion is an mATX.

This started out to use a micro ATX case, the Cooler Master N200, the smallest case I have ever used. However, I needed to make use of the last expansion slot and there was no room to do that, so I replaced it with an N400. Cases come in multiple sizes. What you need to know to fit everything in is:

Visible here is the Cooler Master N200 case which I later replaced. The easy stuff to put into a case is where I start...

  1. a fan (marked by yellow X)
  2. a power supply (marked by red X)
  3. a 4Tb spindle (marked by blue X)
  4. a DVD spindle (marked by green X)

Ultimately, we're looking for this to happen...

Now comes the motherboard...


For the 1Tb M2 SSD, that I will be using as my boot (root) drive under Linux, the mobo came with a cooling option and hardware to mount it with. Here it is assembled:

But, I wanted to draw your attention to the "rear" screw that holds (and possibly acts as a ground). The spacer (to stand off from the mobo) and screw came (2 copies) with the mobo. I didn't realize that this is what those were for until I started looking for the mounting solution. I'm pointing at this with my screwdriver before I cover the M2 with its heatsink.

I put the second spacer and screw together in the space for the second M2 should it ever be installed (for safe-keeping). See the yellow circle to the left.

Also, I have reinstalled the heatsink; I removed a strip protecting the self-stick padding underneath this heatsink because it looked like that's what I was supposed to do. You can see the heatsink, as yet unmounted, and that strip in the second image (light blue in color).

Noctua CPU cooling solution

Next, we tackle how to cool the CPU. Because I run HandBrake, I must use a big cooler. When I built my last build, I installed the simple cooling solution Intel packaged with the i7 4790 I bought. It worked fine, but the first time I launched HandBrake, the CPU temperature shot up over 100° C. That CPU red-lined at 80° Celsius, so I had to shut it down (good thing I was paying attention) and install a Cooler Master Hyper T4. See this discussion for more details. That took the operating temperature while running HandBrake down into the 60° range. This Noctua cooler is far bigger.

When screwing things down tight, do not use excessive force. I think this will go down as follows.

  1. Install the CPU.

  2. Tighten the CPU retention bracket (PNP cap) using the lever. After mounting the cooler, this lever will no longer be accessible.

  3. Prepare the Noctua cooler...
    1. Determine best orientation. For me, just as for my Cooler Master years ago, this will be to point the air flow toward the back of the case. Positioning the shiny brackets as below or at 90° to how they are below determines this.
    2. Remove the fan in between the radiators (in order to be able to screw the cooler to its mounting brackets). Loosen by popping the middle of the clip away from the radiator and not extracting the end of the clip from the holes in the fan body.
    3. Mount the backplate from the bottom of the mobo; pull the screws up through the mobo.
    4. Add the correct spacer (black according to one video I found cooling my exact chip (if, however, a different mobo) and he explained that the white and grey spaces leave the cooler standing loose).

  4. Mount the mobo into the case. This makes it easier to reach the mobo-mounting screws and probably doen't increase the difficulty of mounting the cooler.

  5. Insert and lock down all of the mobo mounting screws.

  6. Apply thermal paste (grease) to the top of the CPU. The amount should be a single blob of 4-5mm in diameter. No more.

  7. Seat the Noctua cooler atop the CPU squishing the paste.

  8. Adjust the mounting screws to hold the cooler tight against the CPU.

  9. Reinstall the fan by tensioning the clips from it back over the radiator.

  10. Connect up the fan now (consult mobo assembly guide). For fan direction, whatever the decorative logo on the hub (present or missing), on the other side is a more "industrial" label applied to the motor side, shown here. That is the exhaust side, the side out which the air flows. I'm adding another fan to the CPU cooler because I can, but I can't install it just yet because it makes the memory even hard to install than it already is.

  11. I did things in the right order as it turns out. I still need to install memory, which will be challenging because under the Noctua shade. It will also be very hard to apply the power-supply cabling marked CPU to the mobo. One major problem is that the case and everything is black. No amount of light is sufficient to work by; much must be fit by feel.


I had originally order the memory from B & H Photo, but it was on long back-order, so I cancelled it and got it from Amazon instead.

I found this utterance which seems very relevant. Without having stumbled upon it, I would never have know.

DDR4 Ram is defaulted to 2133/2400Mhz. XMP/AMP must be manually enabled in the BIOS essentially over-clocking the RAM to the advertised speed (3600Mhz).

Finishing the build...

After the memory, which was challenging to insert underneath the CPU cooler, I was ready to comb the cables and wires, then hook them up to the motherboard. This step looks bewilderingly complex, but it's not that bad. The ASUS booklet that accompanied the motherboard, chapter 1, had a diagram. My case and lack of peripherals doesn't offer half of the cool things you can hook up. It was mostly...

Install Linux Mint with the Cinnamon desktop

  1. Download Linux Mint with Cinnamon desktop, what I like to use. Linux Mint is based on Ubuntu. I'm going to run the latest, 20.1 Ulyssa.
  2. Verify the ISO download using these instructions:
    russ@gondolin ~/Downloads/ISO $ ll
    total 1987164
    drwxrwxr-x  2 russ russ       4096 Jan 19 07:04 .
    drwxr-xr-x 27 russ russ      12288 Jan 19 07:03 ..
    -rw-rw-r--  1 russ russ 2034827264 Jan 19 07:02 linuxmint-20.1-cinnamon-64bit.iso
    -rw-rw-r--  1 russ russ        397 Jan 19 07:03 sha256sum.txt
    -rw-rw-r--  1 russ russ        833 Jan 19 07:03 sha256sum.txt.gpg
    russ@gondolin ~/Downloads/ISO $ sha256sum -b *.iso
    14f73c93f75e873f4ac70b6cddc83703755c2421135a8fbbfd6ccfeed107e971 *linuxmint-20.1-cinnamon-64bit.iso
    russ@gondolin ~/Downloads/ISO $ sha256sum --ignore-missing -c sha256sum.txt
    linuxmint-20.1-cinnamon-64bit.iso: OK
    russ@gondolin ~/Downloads/ISO $ gpg --keyserver hkp:// --recv-key "27DE B156 44C6 B3CF 3BD7  D291 300F 846B A25B AE09"
    gpg: directory `/home/russ/.gnupg' created
    gpg: new configuration file `/home/russ/.gnupg/gpg.conf' created
    gpg: WARNING: options in `/home/russ/.gnupg/gpg.conf' are not yet active during this run
    gpg: keyring `/home/russ/.gnupg/secring.gpg' created
    gpg: keyring `/home/russ/.gnupg/pubring.gpg' created
    gpg: requesting key A25BAE09 from hkp server
    gpg: /home/russ/.gnupg/trustdb.gpg: trustdb created
    gpg: key A25BAE09: public key "Linux Mint ISO Signing Key " imported
    gpg: no ultimately trusted keys found
    gpg: Total number processed: 1
    gpg:               imported: 1  (RSA: 1)
    russ@gondolin ~/Downloads/ISO $ gpg --verify sha256sum.txt.gpg sha256sum.txt
    gpg: Signature made Wed 06 Jan 2021 09:10:08 AM MST using RSA key ID A25BAE09
    gpg: Good signature from "Linux Mint ISO Signing Key <[email protected]>"
    gpg: WARNING: This key is not certified with a trusted signature!
    gpg:          There is no indication that the signature belongs to the owner.
    Primary key fingerprint: 27DE B156 44C6 B3CF 3BD7  D291 300F 846B A25B AE09
  3. From this verified ISO, make an installation DVD.
    1. Launch K3b.
    2. Choose Tools → Burn image.
    3. Navigate to select the ISO I downloaded above.
    4. Click OK.
    5. Eject and label the new DVD; this is what we'll boot tirion from when we finish the build.

  4. Boot the new computer from this DVD...
  5. Well, not so fast. We have to configure the BIOS to boot from it. First, as appears under Storage Information in the center, the BIOS sees all three of my devices (the SSD, the Western Digital and the DVD). But, it would not allow me to set the order:
  6. I was new to this rodeo. I dinged around a while studying the BIOS manager, but ended up simply rebooting to it and magically they appeared. I ordered them such that I could boot...
    1. DVD
    2. M.2 SSD
    3. WD hard drive

  7. While I was in the BIOS manager, knowing that my memory is much faster than the BIOS said it was, I changed some settings. This is the first time I have ever over-clocked any components of a computer. I probably need to enable the ASUS Performance Enhancement, maybe do some other stuff.

  8. Also, I can probably over-clock the CPU too. I just don't know if I want to do that, if it will shorten the life of my CPU, etc. I'm not into video, games, etc., but the model number of my Intel processor does end with k, right?

  9. With this in place, I was able to boot and install Linux Mint (see story above). That worked out very well. Concerned about the temperature, the first thing I did was to install xsensors and run this monitor. For now, very idle of course, the cores are 25° or colder.

Using two HP ZR30w monitors

Again, the nastiest thing to deal with has been monitor support. Though the Asus motherboard is superb with theoretically superb monitor support and options, just as for gondolin, this is probably only really true when running Windows.

The solution was simple, or so I thought, I'll just do what I did six years ago and put in my own video card (with 2 × DVI connectors). So, I purchased an EVGA GeForce GT 710 video card just as for gondolin I had purchased the older EVGA GeForce GT 730 video card.

Sadly, this graphics adapter doesn't solve the problem.

While Linux driver support has improved in the last six years—I got along six years ago without real NVIDIA drivers, this card doesn't work for me now whether I use the open-source drivers that come with Linux or NVIDIA's.

I downloaded and installed the NVIDIA driver and I still get only one monitor at full resolution (2560 × 1600) with the other monitor steadfastly refusing to operate at more than 1280 × 800.

I have a question into EVGA to ask them how to make this work. If I cannot make it work, I may have to try to run two HP LA2405wg monitors (maximum 1920 × 1200) instead. Or maybe three of them, if I can swing it.

Or buy new, modern monitors that give me the resolution I need. I don't game; you'd think that this whole monitor situation would treat me more kindly (speaking metaphysically here).

I found the problem...

I finally stumbled upon a review that pointed out that EVGA nowhere admits that their...

...Dual link DVI-D is not actually dual link, it's capped at 1080p despite being stated nowhere on their own website. It's very misleading since the specs state that both ports are Dual Link. And physically the port is clearly Dual Link, the picture shows it that way. Once you reach their customer support they admit that you have to return return the 710 and buy a 740, which is double the price, but what's probably more important to me is that it may be thicker. This 710 is alread tight up against and pinching three cables to the power supply.

The nightmare...

I have an ASUS TUF B460 mobo with an i7 10400K CPU. I also have an EVGA GeForce GT 710. I have two HP ZR30w monitors capable of 2560x1600 each. I am not a gamer, I just want both monitors to be active, in full resolution, at the same time.

Running with the on-board graphics (before the EVGA adaptor), I could run one monitor at 2560x1600, but the other one only at 1280x800 (connected via DisplayPort and DVI). Once I installed the EVGA adaptor, though it has two DVI connectors on it, only one is Dual Link and I can run one monitor at 2560x1600, but the other runs at 1280x800.

Moving the second monitor back to the mobo, which ran it at 2560x1600 before I installed the extension adaptor, the monitor no longer comes up/runs at all no matter whether I choose DVI, DisplayPort or HDMI from the mobo.

I have tried with just the drivers that came with Linux Mint 20.4 and also with downloaded NVIDIA drivers, but it's as if with the EVGA, the mobo's graphics are not available.

On my last machine, I had an EVGA GeForce GT 730 with two DVI connectors and both happened to support Dual Link. (And, I didn't need the mobo's graphics.) For 6 years I was happy with these monitors, but I can no longer get that card.

My question is whether or not I can expect to run both solutions simultaneously. I am not like those who want to switch between gaming on the extension adaptor and running otherwise on their on-board graphics for everything else to save on battery. This is a desktop and I need both monitors running (to support development environments, e-mail, browsing, Slack, etc., etc. open all the time).

The reply...

Asus motherboards tend to disable the on-board graphics support when a GPU card is installed, by default. But this can be overridden in the BIOS settings.

Unfortunately it looks like Asus has simplified their motherboard manuals, and they no longer include a full description of the BIOS settings. But it might still be in the same location as in the Z390 generation of motherboards: in the BIOS settings, go to the Advanced mode, go to the "Advanced" menu, find "System Agent (SA) configuration" and under there, there should be "Multi-Monitor" or similar. Enable that, and now the Intel iGPU should activate along with the add-on GPU card.

This is what the BIOS looks like trying the above out:

  1. Go to Advanced Mode (F7).
  2. Select the Advanced tab.
  3. Select System Agent (SA) Configuration.
  4. Select Graphics Configuration.
  5. Select Primary Display
  6. Select iGPU Multi-Monitor
    • Enabled ✓
    • Disabled
  7. Select DVMT Pre-Allocated
    • 64M ✓
    • 1024M
  8. Select RC6 (Render Standby)
    • Enabled
    • Disabled ✓


  • PEG: PCI Express Graphics Link Mode
  • iGPU: Integrated graphic processing unit
  • DVMT: Dynamic video memory technology

Unfortunately, this affect nothing. I tried a number of reasonable settings. This is an insurmountable problem. First, the motherboard's BIOS can't do it. Second, neither the on-board nor the EVGA GeForce video can do it. I can't add a more performant card in place of the EVGA GeForce because that slot is crammed up againsts the power supply.

The rebuild...

One solution would be to rebuild the computer inside an ATX case to have more room. Wondering if I can do that, I found that...

Can a micro-ATX motherboard be mounted inside an ATX case?

ATX boards use 9 standoffs/screws. Micro ATX boards only use 6 standoffs/screws. ATX case will accommodate both ATX and micro ATX boards.micro ATX boards line up with the same rear panel and expansion slots that ATX boards do and the holes on the board line up with the same standoffs too. The only difference is that on a micro-ATX board, you won't be using the 3 standoffs farthest away from the CPU under the additional expansion slots that the micro-ATX board doesn't have, since the board is smaller and general won't reach out that far anyway.

ATX is an Intel standard governing:

  1. power supply specifications, stating mandatory hold up times, voltage regulation, and ripple. Some power supplies do not even adhere to these standards, even if they market themselves as ATX.
  2. power connectors, such as the 24 pin cable. These need to have certain pinouts (voltages on certain pins) in order to work properly with other hardware (motherboards, GPUs, HDDs, etc.) The vast majority of hardware you will come across will be ATX compatible.
  3. motherboard sizes and layouts; there are 3 major ATX standard motherboard size, from largest to smallest: Extended-ATX (EATX), ATX and Micro-ATX (mATX). Effectively, any case supporting a larger size motherboard will also support a smaller one—for example, an ATX mid-tower would support a micro-ATX motherboard, but the same case would not support an EATX motherboard. Other ATX motherboards do exist, such as XLATX, however are very uncommon for standard hardware.

So, yeah, I rebuilt it...

I rebuilt this computer using the full ATX version of the mATX case I started out with so that I would have room for any graphics adapter. It went pretty swimmingly, especially compared to the first time. Moreover, I had plenty of (planned-for) room for my two 8Tb Western Digital Red spindles that have my Plex Media server content on (separately from server tol-eressea).

Graphics adapter

The adapter I chose was the one in my old (gondolin) build, an EVGA GeForce GT 730 with 2 × Dual Link DVI connectors. It runs both my monitors exactly as I need.

However, I also found (too late to use it) an NVIDIA NVS 310, model P2014, serial number 0423117015929. I guess I bought it back when I build gondolin and kept it?

This card features DisplayPort 1.2, NVIDIA Mosaic technology, and NVIDIA nView desktop-management software, and can drive up to two 30-inch displays at 2560×1600 resolution.

Using two HP ZR30w monitors

The nastiest thing to deal with has been monitor support. Though the Asus z87-PRO is a superb motherboard with theoretically superb monitor support and options (see above), this is only really true when running Windows. Linux hasn't got the drivers for this. I found...

  1. Hooking up one monitor via DisplayPort and the other via DVI gave me
    • DisplayPort: 2560 × 1600 (what I want)
    • DVI port: 1200 × 800 (ridiculous)
  2. Hooking up the previously DVI-connected monitor via DisplayPort and an adapter to HDMI gave me
    • DisplayPort: 2560 × 1600 (what I want)
    • nothing whatsoever on the HDMI-connected monitor
  3. Hooking the formerly DVI- or HDMI-connected monitor and the other via DisplayPort using a Sunix DPD2001 DisplayPort hub/splitter ($70) gave me
    • DisplayPort: 2560 × 1600 (what I want)
    • DisplayPort: 2560 × 1600 (what I want)
    • However, both monitors were mirrored with no option to unmirror them.
  4. Finally, I purchased an NVIDIA (EVGA) GeForce GT 730 1Gb video card ($65; remember, I'm not a gamer in the least) forcing me to connect both monitors via the card's dual DVI ports which gave me
    • DVI port: 2560 × 1600 (what I want)
    • DVI port: 2560 × 1600 (what I want)
    • full control over monitor placement including specifying which monitor should be primary without having to swap cabling physically

The point is that if you run Linux, pray at the altar of NVIDIA: it's the only game in Linuxville.

It turns out that this card is what has got gunked up in my last build (2015) and was making all the disturbing noise. I took it apart, cleaned the fan mechanism and blades, then, using some thermal paste, put it back together. It's quieter, but the graphics cooling still makes nearly 100% of the audible noise now. I can't find this card anymore.

Installed software

  • HandBrake
  • MakeMKV
  • IntelliJ IDEA 2020
  • PyCharm
  • JDK (several)
  • Thunderbird
  • Audacious
  • Sun VirtualBox
  • ant
  • git
  • openssl-server
  • Google Chrome
  • etc.

Virtualization be able to run a VM under VirtualBox is enabled in the BIOS like this:

  1. Go to the Advanced menu.
  2. Go to CPU Configuration.
  3. Intel (VMX) Virtualization Technology, enable it.

Memory use

What does my new machine look like ordinarily? I have 32Gb!

root@tirion:/home/russ# free -m
              total        used        free      shared  buff/cache   available
Mem:          31950       15733        4909         664       11308       15107
Swap:          2047          36        2011

root@tirion:/home/russ# dmesg | grep oom-killer               # see about dmesg
(the out-of-memory process killer is not running)


  • free memory is close to 0
  • used memory is close to total
  • available memory (free plus buff/cache is 20% or better of total
  • Swap: used doesn't change much

(Warning signs of a low-memory situation would be...)

  • available memory (free + buff/cache) close to zero
  • Swap: used increases or fluctuates
  • the out-of-memory process killer is running

More on GPUs and Asus BIOS

Here's how to deal with graphics card in the BIOS. Here are the (named) steps as you progress down into the settings:

  1. UEFI BIOS - EZMode
  2. Advanced Mode
  3. Advanced Tab
  4. System Agent (SA) Configuration
  5. Graphis Configuration
  6. Primary Display Auto
  7. iGPU Multi-Monitor Enabled/Disabled
  8. DVMT* Pre-Allocated 32M to 256M to much higher
  9. EZMode
  10. Save&Exit

* "Dynamic video memory technology"

If you need on-board video and video from your GPU, you must enable multimonitor. However, in my experience, this absolutely kills the performance of your host. How that is set up to avoid the performance hit I do not know.

After the build (described above) during which I enabled multimonitor (and forgot that I had enabled it), I ended up using my EVGA NVIDIA GeForce GT 730 to drive my two monitors. This worked well, but my GPU's fan needed replacing because it made a lot of noise. Also my performance was measurably hit. I endured that for several months (until July) when I began looking for a solution. I tried:

  1. NVIDIA Quadro NVS 295 by PNY 256Mb GDDR3 PCI Express Gen 2+16 Dual Display Port
  2. NVIDIA NVS 310 Dual DisplayPort

The first attempt didn't work so well, I got both monitors going, but they didn't function properly. I removed this card and sent it back to Amazon. The audio on my host stopped working. I found no way to solve that so I bought a 7.1 USB (External) Sound Card with SPDIF Digital Audio with a protection plan. That solved the audio trouble. The solution is vaguely inconvenient, but tolerable.

Then I installed an NVIDIA NVS 310, which has two DisplayPort connectors. Only one of my monitors worked. Enabling multimonitor support and connection the other monitor to the on-board DisplayPort worked, but the performance was awful. However, this led to me realizing that I had inadvertantly left the multimonitor option enabled in the BIOS. I disabled it, went back to the GeForce GT 730, whose fan I had just replaced, and everything works smashingly—very fast.