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Need guidance on triple monitors setup (Nvidia or ATI?)

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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November 20, 2013 5:07:14 AM

Hi folks,
I've not been on the gaming scene for a while and things have changed since the good old 3dFX voodoo business.

I have 3 monitors at home, Dell U2312HM and I would like to have a triple head config that will support Crysis 3. I need to upgrade my poor old NVIDIA GEFORCE GT220 (back then I bought my PC for music only so I had no expectations in graphics).

My choice would normally be nvidia but my mate swears by ATI and according to him Nvidia cards are just too expensive; you pay for the brand but the performances are better on ATI so his point is why pay more for less instead of less for more sort of thing.

Fair enough, I am open minded and I don't mind choosing a brand over another as long as I get my value for money. So I had a look around and found an benchmark that was spot on : A triple monitor benchmark on Crysis 3 http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/crysis-3-performanc...

According to these folks at tom's hardware ;)  the Radeon HD 7970 Crossfire is the winner, better than Nvidia's GTX 690 and the difference is even bigger when it comes to Crossfire VS SLI.

It's a no brainer then, and I should add a Radeon HD7970 in my shopping cart right now and call it a day, shouldn't I? Still, I kept looking around and after a few google searches I found this :

Memory Capacity and Bandwidth
We know exactly what you guys are thinking. The Radeon HD 7970 has 3GB of VRAM, the GeForce GTX 680 has 2GB; the Radeon HD 7970 has 264GB/sec of memory bandwidth and the GeForce GTX 680 has 192GB/sec of memory bandwidth. You'd expect Radeon HD 7970 CrossFireX to simply blow GeForce GTX 680 SLI out of the water at 5760x1200. The simple fact is, it does not, and in fact GeForce GTX 680 SLI provides a better gameplay experience with better performance. Amazing, but true. Obviously AMD’s driver engineers need to figure out how to utilize the hardware more efficiently, because at the moment, NVIDIA is taking AMD to school.


That was here : http://hardocp.com/article/2012/03/28/nvidia_kepler_gef...

So here are my questions and concerns :

1 - If those guys claim that the Geforce gtx 680 takes the Radeon HD 7970 to school then how come the geforce gtx 690 doesn't beat the radeon 7970 on tom's triple play crysis 3 benchmark ?

2 - Also, is there a big difference between the Radeon HD 7970 and the 7970 boost ? The crysis 3 triple monitors benchmark from Tom's hardware doesn't include a test with a Radeon 7970 boost and since the boost version is about 100 quid more than the standard HD 7970 I am wondering if it's really worth it?

3 - Since I never used SLI or Crossfire before I don't know how a triple monitors configuration would work. I naively thought that I could use 2 DVI ports on one card and 1 DVI port on the 2nd card but I heard that's not how it works. Basically only one card has its ports activated and the 2nd graphics card is only here to provide parallel GPU power. Is that right ? Can anyone confirm that please? And if it's true, do I really need SLI / Crossfire in the first place ? if I can get away with 3 monitors and just one card I am happy with that. I understand that for crysis the perfs will be better with SLI / Crossfire though.


if you guys have any advice,suggestions, feedbacks from experience that would be greatly appreciated.It's a bit of an investment so I want to make sure I get something hassle free and good value for money. I heard it's better to have one top of the range card rather than 2 middle range cards. What do you think?

sorry for the long post, and thanks in advance !
a b C Monitor
November 20, 2013 5:38:41 AM

Forget the 7970, go with the newer models. Go with a single 290 or 290x. Either will be sufficient to let you experience eyefinity gaming at your res. What you may find out is that 1. one card is good enough, or 2. you end up preferring playing most games on a single screen.

I do play most games in eyefinity but it does come with some headaches, and often times when you're playing online the game isn't going to allow you to play in 3x.

A single card will easily support your 3 monitors, especially easy since your monitors have displayport inputs. Most people end up having to figure out the hard way that they'll need an active adapter to support three monitors if they don't have DP inputs.

Good luck eyefinity gaming is pretty awesome for FPS, racing, flying, and space games.
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November 20, 2013 8:21:07 AM

bjaminnyc said:
Forget the 7970, go with the newer models. Go with a single 290 or 290x.


Ok thanks very much for your reply mate, much appreciated. Yup, Eyefinity is *exactly* what I am looking for.

Is there much difference between 290 and 290x though ?

I found this : http://slashdot.org/story/13/11/05/2331235/amds-radeon-...

so I am wondering what causes the big price gap between the 290 and 290x versions ?

Cheers

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a b C Monitor
November 20, 2013 2:17:17 PM

Performance that's it as far as I know. Same features and same game bundles. The 290x may give you the performance level where you'll never need another card, but the 290 might do that as well. The benefit of going the cheaper route initially would be adding a second one would be less expensive. Eyefinity is totally worth it but has its issues, might be worthwhile to make the bigger initial investment rather than adding the additional complication of crossfire to the mix.

Either card would be great and really powerful, the 290x slightly more so.

Having DP monitors makes Eyefinity a no brainier. Mine had the ports as well so I couldn't resist.
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