I am building 4400+ system and am seeking a mobo that will allow me to support 3 monitors. I'm not a gamer or overclocker, just a big time multi-tasker. My current Pentium system achieves 3 displays with an AGP and PCI combo where both cards are Nvidia-based.
Out in the market, I see just one 939 socket card that supports AGP, so I'm thinking of upgrading to PCI Express display cards.
This leads to three questions:
1) Am I right to conclude that a decent setup would be to find a 939 mobo with two x16 slots and into each I would plug a card (such as a 6800) that supports dual monitors?
2) Should I use a mobo with an Nvidia chipset if I plan to use Nvidia graphics cards?
3) Are there any particular cards you would care to suggest?
Ok, first off if your only multi tasking, u dont need two 6800's. Running three 19" LCD"s at SXGA (1280x1024), doesnt not require high end video cards unless you are gaming. For that you would want two 7800GTX512mb's.
Anyways, nor do you need dual x16 PCI express GFX card interfaces. You are not shuffling that much data around. Even with games, there is very little performance difference between dual x8 and dual x16 ports. Hell, there is very little performance difference between AGP and PCI-E, its just that newer video cards only support PCI-E.
Anyways, any new system should be PCI-E, not AGP, as PCI-E is morew future proof, AGP is being fazed out.
However, for three monitors, you are going to want a geforce 6 series card, the lowest one I know of is the 6600GT. Crossfire isnt worth mentioning if you are planning to build now, but if this s going to be delayed, 3-6 months when the price and availability is as good as SLI, then certainly take a look at it.
NO particular cards, just cheapest ones you can grab which support SLI.
Enjoy your acres of screen real estate, let me know how it works out, I am planning on doing something similar when I have some more cash and a system that can drive that many monitors.
NVIDIA’s first task in assuring that the load distributed to both GPUs would be balanced and symmetrical was to equip their nForce4 SLI chipset with identical width PCI Express graphics slots. By default, PCI Express graphics cards use a x16 slot, which features 16 PCI Express lanes offering 8GB/s of total bandwidth. Instead of outfitting their chipsets with 16 more PCI Express lanes, NVIDIA simply allows the number of lanes to be reconfigurable to either a single x16 slot or two x8 slots, with the use of a little card on the motherboard itself. The physical slots themselves are both x16 slots, but electrically they can be configured to be two x8 slots. This won’t cause any compatibility issues with x16 cards, as they will just use fewer lanes for data transfers, and the real world performance impact is negligible in games, which is what NVIDIA is counting on.
So the conclusion this leads to is.
1) Find a motherboard with two x16 slots that are electrically two x8 slots, 2) then put in two graphics cards like the 6600 GT
Right so far? Now to find a mobo that fits this bill.
BTW, great chatting from Arlington, VA to Brisbaine. So cool!
MOst SLI motherboards have dual PCI-E slots, with 8x bandwith by defualt. Motherboards that are more expensive have one of nvidia newer chipsets, have two x16 slots, giving each PCI-E card the full bandwith it deserves, however there is no real performance difference.
They will advertise the former as a standard SLI motherboard, the second is usally advertised as an SLI x16, or an SLI board with dual x16 slots.
The latter boards are more expensive and not really worth it.
ANyways, 6600GT's will be more than ample for what you are doing.
He wants a motherboard that has SLI as that allows him to have three monitors, at, I presume, SXGA resolution.
Sure, you can stick X1600XT's on a motherboard, or some X700's, but both crossfire motherboards or motherboards that support multiple ATI graphics cards are both more expensive and harder to come by than a comparable nvidia solution. Trust me, I would prefer to be able to reccomend a multiple GPU ATI system, as I am kinda an ATI fan boy, but at this point in time, nvidia is simply a more viable option. In three months however, that could change.
He actually has several options, none of which require a crossfire board or SLI mode.
Since SLI boards are cheap, he could put two ATI or nVidia cards into one and get his three monitors. I just think the ATI configuration for multiple monitors is easier to use. He can still do that with an nVidia motherboard
Of course he could also use onboard graphics and a video card. nVidia is supposed to support this with the 6100 series, but I haven't had any luck, even using an nVidia graphics card. The configuration panel just doesn't seem to work for running onboard and a card with nVidia chipsets, even though the basic driver support is there.
ATI integrated chipsets support the addition of a card for three monitors, so long as you use an ATI graphics card. I have had this work fine for me, onboard plus a card for three monitors.
He could also just re-use his PCI card in a non-SLI board, or use a PCIe-x16 card in a board with an open-ended x4 slot
And then there's the Matrox solution, they have an x1 graphics card that would allow him to use ANY PCIe board.
There's even another option, the AsRock 939 Dual should support his old AGP card (natively) plus a PCI-Express video card (natively) simulatniously. I've done that with the ULi reference board, no problems. The ULi M1695+M1567 is the only viable option for doing that particular configuration.
But I think his best option is to choose what level of ATI video card best serves his needs, and put two of those in an nVidia SLI board.