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Running 3 monitors: 1 Super Video Card or 2 not so super..?

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January 14, 2014 12:18:15 PM

Hi guys,

Back in 2009 or so i purchased a machine running 2 Radeon 5800's in SLI, and i run 3 monitors on it (1920 x 1080). I dont use all 3 monitors often for gaming (i keep the side monitors disabled most of the time thru eyefinity), but i DO turn all 3 on sometimes for some FPS games and the like.

So, now i'm thinking of getting a new pc, and im wondering if i still need multiple cards to accomodate my 3 monitor setup... after all, although my 5800's were king of the hill a few years back, there are many cards today that far surpass them.

So, my question to you all is, would you think that one of the highest end cards today would be sufficient to handle my 3 monitor setup, or should i build another multi gpu rig?

The reason im asking is because i spent almost 3k the last time for my rig, and i'd like to not go near that amount this time so if i can build cheaper, i'd like to.

thanks in advance....
a c 88 U Graphics card
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January 14, 2014 12:21:21 PM

List budget please...this makes everything so much easier when advising on a new system for your needs
January 14, 2014 12:26:48 PM

Well, as i said, i paid just under 3k for my system last time. I'd like to keep myself closer to 2k this time if its feasible.

keep in mind i just need a rig. No keyboard/monitors/mouse/peripherals whatsoever.
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a c 88 U Graphics card
a b C Monitor
January 14, 2014 12:28:53 PM

ok, so what games will you be running? or will you be doing graphics design? also do you do surround gaming (one single game stretched across your three screens) For a $2000 budget you can pretty much get the creme of the crop of a pc these days, and anything higher than that starts to hit big diminishing returns
January 14, 2014 12:34:28 PM

Thats the kind of answer i like to hear :) 

To answer you, no, no graphics design here. I am strictly a gamer. But, when i DO use all 3 monitors, you are correct that i do like to do surround gaming, and i WOULD like to run these games on as high settings as i can.

The kind of games that i would turn on all 3 monitors on range from FPS games like BIOSHOCK or even MINECRAFT, to Strategy games like CIV 5.

I know that my current setup wouldnt be able to handle the multiple monitors with just 1 card, but i was hoping, with the new high end cards, i could maybe get away with 1 good card and still able to play occasionaly on 3 monitors but still with near-ultra settings...
January 14, 2014 12:38:07 PM

i should also add that i am not building this rig myself (i used buyxg last time and plan to use someone similar), so the point being, my $2,000 will undoubtedly not be getting me as much as if i put this together myself....

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a c 88 U Graphics card
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January 14, 2014 12:38:53 PM
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ok, for roughly $2000, you could have a single 780ti, OR 290x, an i7-4770k, as the beef, and the rest of the system is up to you. and this single card will blow away your current rig. The 780ti is aboud $700 while the 4770k is around $400. then it's basically chump change for the rest of the system (good parts for rest of system can be had for like a total of another $400
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January 14, 2014 12:40:39 PM

Any descent current card should pretty much meet your needs. I use to run 2x 4800 series cards when I was running 3 monitors. After that I switched to 1x 5850 and ran my 3 monitors from that. Currently I run 4x monitors from 1x 7950. Any of the new AMD R series cards can handle 3 monitors or more. Since you do some light gaming, I would basically go for whatever the best card your budget can fit since multi-monitor gaming is definitely demanding. If possible I would make sure to get a card with at least 3 gigs of ram. An R9 280 would be a good entry point, but anything higher up like an R9 290 would be better. Theres really no point in going multi-GPU anymore unless you specifically need more than 4 monitors, or just want SLI/Crossfire for extra power while gaming. Technically I'm running 2x 7950's, but all my monitors are connected to the primar card o I can leave Crossfire Enabled. The second card sits idle until I start a game.
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January 14, 2014 12:42:03 PM

Personally multiple card solutions can run into problems, and if you CAN go with a single card, you are encouraged to do so. I'm pretty sure with your kind of budget you could go with sli 780's or sli 290x's or hell even a second 780ti. As far as gaming goes, your budget of "keep it under 3k" is huge lol
January 14, 2014 12:43:08 PM

thanks brian. for a rig like something you are suggesting, what kind of psu would you recommend? i think im running a 850wt with my current setup but wondering if i need something more for the new rig
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January 14, 2014 12:46:30 PM

An 850 watt should be more than enough for and dual card solution on the market (as long as it is of moderate quality or better, like 80+ bronze or higher).

the 780ti will use max 300 watts under artificial load when overclocked, while the cpu will use just over 100 under artificial load.
January 14, 2014 12:46:46 PM

AdioKIP said:
Any descent current card should pretty much meet your needs. I use to run 2x 4800 series cards when I was running 3 monitors. After that I switched to 1x 5850 and ran my 3 monitors from that. Currently I run 4x monitors from 1x 7950. Any of the new AMD R series cards can handle 3 monitors or more. Since you do some light gaming, I would basically go for whatever the best card your budget can fit since multi-monitor gaming is definitely demanding. If possible I would make sure to get a card with at least 3 gigs of ram. An R9 280 would be a good entry point, but anything higher up like an R9 290 would be better. Theres really no point in going multi-GPU anymore unless you specifically need more than 4 monitors, or just want SLI/Crossfire for extra power while gaming. Technically I'm running 2x 7950's, but all my monitors are connected to the primar card o I can leave Crossfire Enabled. The second card sits idle until I start a game.


thanks... one correction tho.. i didnt mean to imply im a 'light' gamer. im definitely always looking to play a game at the best settings i can... i just dont always use the 3 monitors because with some of the field of view distortions on the left and right monitors, 3 monitors sometimes take away, rather than add to, the experience...
January 14, 2014 12:48:46 PM

Brantyn Gerik said:
Personally multiple card solutions can run into problems, and if you CAN go with a single card, you are encouraged to do so. I'm pretty sure with your kind of budget you could go with sli 780's or sli 290x's or hell even a second 780ti. As far as gaming goes, your budget of "keep it under 3k" is huge lol


even if im not building the rig myself and purchasing thru a place like cyberpower?

if i do this, i plan on buying this around march when my bonus comes thru. I'd like to hit you up again on gthe specifics of the rig when the time comes if thats ok.

i really appreciate all your help (and everyone elses, too!)
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January 14, 2014 2:33:50 PM

for your specific use, i'd recommend 1 780ti as most demanding games don't look great stretched across 3 screens (personal preference and a lot of the more demanding games kinda look shitty stretched across 3 screens.
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January 14, 2014 2:35:32 PM

yeah man, i'll pm you my email, and actually i'd say don't buy from cyberpower (they get mixed reviews, and if something goes wrong with the pc, you are stuck without one for months
!