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 Post subject: Best GPU option for 3600x1920 triple monitor setup
PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2012 11:20 am 
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Hey everybody,

My father recently bought a Dell U2412M monitor and loves it, but now he has the madman vision of running three in portrait mode for a total of 3600x1920 resolution. He wants to use his current system (about one and a half years old) and I'm trying to find the best option for graphics because the current card can't handle three monitors. Apparently this display setup is something he's been wanting to do for a long time, so budget isn't too much of an issue.

Some info on the current system:

EVGA 131-GT-E767-TR X58 - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813188068
Gigabyte GTX 570 - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814125354
i7-950
Corsair 750w PSU
Cooler Master Centurion 5 Case (I think it can fit most cards, but they keep making them bigger so I'm not positive)

I've never done anything with multiple monitors or GPUs so I'm not quite sure what would get good performance and what would be overkill. The computer would be used for mainly general use, some multimedia, but also gaming across all three monitors. This includes things like Civ 5, BF3, and Google Earth.

This thing doesn't need to be able to run BF3 on ultra or anything crazy like that. Medium settings are fine as long as the frame rate is around 50-60 FPS on average.

Straight recommendations on a graphics setup would be great, keeping in mind we would vastly prefer to stick with our current case and motherboard. I also have some questions though:

    If we were to use multiple video cards, would we SLI them or not? Can we mix and match different video cards for this project?

    Is there any risk of having uneven performance on the different screens if we mix and match different cards or go with a 2:3 card to screen ratio? I'm not really sure how it distributes the workload. Would the two cards work together and treat the three screens as one or would one tackle one screen while the other tackles two?


Also, for recommendations, we don't really care whether or not we keep using the GTX 570 in a combination. It's a nice card though so if it would save us from buying another card then we're all for it.

Thank you in advance and sorry I know so little about this.


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 Post subject: Re: Best GPU option for 3600x1920 triple monitor setup
PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2012 11:53 am 
Smithfield
Smithfield

Joined: Sun Jun 18, 2006 7:37 pm
Posts: 5461
People have mix and matched video cards to get three or more monitor setups before AMD or NVIDIA finally made them a standard feature. But if you want to be gaming across all three monitors, then you'll have to do a homogenous setup.


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 Post subject: Re: Best GPU option for 3600x1920 triple monitor setup
PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2012 12:55 pm 
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I see. So supposing I buy another GTX 570, would I use SLI and have both cards work equally towards the three screens?


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 Post subject: Re: Best GPU option for 3600x1920 triple monitor setup
PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2012 1:22 pm 
Smithfield
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Joined: Sun Jun 18, 2006 7:37 pm
Posts: 5461
Well, before I answer anything, you should take a look at this http://www.nvidia.com/object/3d-vision- ... ments.html


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 Post subject: Re: Best GPU option for 3600x1920 triple monitor setup
PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2012 4:22 pm 
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A little more research has left me confused.

According to this (thanks LatiosXT), I should be able to run three monitors off of a two-way GTX 570 SLI.

According to this, however, the maximum amount of displays supported on a two-way 570 SLI is two.

Can someone please clarify this for me?


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 Post subject: Re: Best GPU option for 3600x1920 triple monitor setup
PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2012 7:02 pm 
Klamath
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Joined: Sat Jan 19, 2008 6:24 pm
Posts: 286
I do not have direct experience with nVidia's 3d setups, so I may not be entirely accurate, but lemme get this straight...

You are considering three 24-inch monitors set up in portrait mode so you can game on an effective 3600 x 1920 screen? I will answer what I can regarding this specific question :mrgreen:

First off, your GTX 570 can only support two monitors at a time and only one monitor for gaming at a time, so adding another GTX 570 SLI is an option. Doing this will allow you to do the nVidia Vision thing in 2D where you can get an effective resolution up to 4800x2560 (1600x2560 per display). I have read this is not a good gaming setup, as the GTX 570 lacks enough muscle for newer games. Also, a new GTX 570 is $200+, so I don't think this is a good option.

A single, high-end AMD Radeon 7950 (overclocked as much as possible) or even a 7970 (again, overclocked) would theoretically be an appropriate option for your needs. Either card supports what AMD calls Eyefinity, which will support up to 6 monitors at one time. In this case, I'd suggest starting with one card and see how that works for you. If gaming is not up to par, then a second in Crossfire would be an option. One decent Radon 7970 costs about $400, so this option ain't cheap. Also, it's a hot topic I'd rather not get into, but some people really dislike Radeon cards lately because of poor drivers, heat, micro-stuttering issues, Crossfire problems, etc. I would not recommend this option either.

The last option I can think of is selling your GTX 570 (or recycling it in a new build :mrgreen: ) and purchasing a single new GTX 670 with 4 GB of RAM at about $380. This card will support three monitors in that nVidia Vision thingy, but gameplay will probably not be very good with newer games. If so, you may consider adding another GTX 670 for an SLI configuration. But still, gameplay may not be adequate. Realistically, I do not believe any present-day, practical setup of whatever GPUs will enable Battlefield 3 with 60 FPS at max settings at a resolution of 4800x2560. I could be wrong though.

Now, without knowing anything else about your situation, here is a suggestion I'd offer. Though it may not be what you are asking, why not consider one more monitor, say a 30-inch Dell IPS, instead of two additional 24-inchers? That way, you may keep the GTX 570 as-is and supporting both monitors, you would have decent gameplay on just the 30-inch panel, and you would have the extra space with the current 24-inch panel for general computing as well.


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 Post subject: Re: Best GPU option for 3600x1920 triple monitor setup
PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2012 10:15 pm 
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Thank you for the very thorough response hindolio.

I agree with you in that if this were my system I would probably opt for one more larger display, but my father has a vision for three portrait monitors and can't be convinced otherwise...He says that it's his money and this is what he wants to spend it on, so I'm just looking for a good graphics option. More power to him, I figure.

As for performance, he doesn't do all that much gaming but would like to be able to experience it on the three monitors. Maximum settings on BF3 definitely isn't necessary, he just wants good framerate capabilities. Medium settings are fine if the framerate is smooth.

So I guess the plan of getting a single powerful card and trying it is my best bet. If Radeon cards are having problems recently I guess I should go with nVidia; their performance and prices seem to be pretty similar anyways.

I'll probably end up getting a 670 or 680. Thanks!


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 Post subject: Re: Best GPU option for 3600x1920 triple monitor setup
PostPosted: Mon Sep 03, 2012 7:45 pm 
Klamath
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Joined: Sat Jan 19, 2008 6:24 pm
Posts: 286
Good luck with it and let us know how it turns out :mrgreen:


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 Post subject: Re: Best GPU option for 3600x1920 triple monitor setup
PostPosted: Sat Nov 17, 2012 8:10 pm 
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Hey again, it's been a while since I posted the question but the three monitors are finally up and running. Here's the result if anybody cares:

I went for a GTX 680 to power the three Dell U2412Ms and it's working great. Contrary to my fears, the installation and Surround setup were both totally painless.

As for using the setup, all the new screen real estate is awesome. Being able to view a whole page in word processors on normal magnification is great for productivity. In fact, the big reason my father wanted this new setup was because he was tired of the limited vertical space on the 16:9 screens that are on everything nowadays. Options in nVidia Surround let it be tuned to his liking so it functions perfectly; there's never any fuss with where windows maximize to or anything.

Games do well and bezel correction works perfectly. I tested Battlefield 3 and got great FPS at full, bezel-corrected resolution. Although I don't remember what the exact settings were (they were set to auto-adjust), I think they were mostly on High. To me graphics quality isn't as important as a healthy framerate though. Google earth is cool with the new monitors, though the new videocard still slows a bit when it renders a lot. Still very usable.

Some flaws:
The nature of the Dell monitors is that rotation/tilt adjustments cannot be made smoothly or precisely, so looking closely at them reveals they're all not quite at the same tilt and elevation. You can get them pretty close though and you get used to it quickly. Also, the monitors have *very* slightly different color hues, even after playing with the monitor settings. Again, not too big of a deal for us.

Viewing pictures in Picasa puts them in fullscreen which puts bezels in the way. Also, the setup isn't suited for movie/video viewing. Oh well, that's what our TV is for.

To sum it up, the setup works great for us in both productivity and gaming. Thanks for helping me plan it.


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