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Which graphics / video card should I get?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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December 16, 2008 1:22:00 PM

I am in the process of building a nice PC. I have purchased the following:

- Motherboard: eVGA Nvidia SLI FTW 750i (part # 123-YW-E175-A1)

http://www.buy.com/prod/evga-nforce-750i-sli-desktop-bo...

- Processor: Intel Dual Core 2 Quad Q9300 processor

http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...

- 2 GB Ram DIMM (will get 2 more gigs soon)
- 4 17" DVI Monitors
- Will get 2 DVD OR Blu-Ray combo burner(s)
- Need to get a Power Supply (any advice on this?)
- Need to get Case

I would like to buy 2 SLI graphic cards, but the problem is... I do not know which one to get!

I seldom play games (other than online, java-based games... Yahoo! Chess, Pac-Man, etc.), but I do lots of programming/developing in .NET, SQL, and SOME video editing. I currently have a Pentium 4 Dell GX270 (old) with 4 Gigs of RAM and 4 monitors, which use CHEAP video cards. I am unable to play, for instance, a WMP video and a YouTube video on another window. Not to mention having a Word app open on another window and burning a CD/DVD at the same time.

Well, I plan on doing some video editing and perhaps get into Flash-related apps down the road.

Also, I have a copy of Windows Vista Ultimate, but I hate it. I have Windows XP Pro as well. Would it be ok to use XP instead of Vista?

Any thoughts? I was eyeing this video card, but is it too much for my needs? http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...

Any help will be highly appreciated.

Thanks!


NOTE: Based on Einstein's reply, I now understand I may not need SLI. But just in case, is it possible to have 2 SLI cards connected together and DISABLE SLI in order to use all of my 4 monitors independently? I am an engineering student and tend to use MATLAB and Mathematica as well, not to mention I'm an avid user of Google's SketchUp. So, based on this info, does anyone think I may not need the PNY card mentioned above? If not, that'd be great, as I'd save some $$ :-D

I also wanted to mention that my current GX270 system has NO PCIe slots, only PCI and AGP. I have cheap OLD PCI and AGP cards. My current GX270 system SOMETIMES gets really slow, especially when I have many Firefox/IE windows open and I'm running WMP and/or YouTube app, on top of the various open windows. I wonder if the system would speed up if I purchase a 512MB AGP card!

More about : graphics video card

December 16, 2008 1:36:56 PM

Also, I have a copy of Windows Vista Ultimate, but I hate it. I have Windows XP Pro as well. Would it be ok to use XP instead of Vista? Yes.

You do not need a high-end video card unless you are planning on playing games or running calculations on them.

You do not need a motherboard capable of SLI to use 2 video cards. If all you want to do is drive 4 monitors, you can get a P45 motherboard and put two graphics cards in (same chip manufacturer ATi/NV) and run all the monitors. Also, there are manufacturers that produce single video cards that have 4 DVI outputs.

Only if you ever want to harness the power of multiple video cards on a single display do you need to run SLI (NVidia mobo and NVidia video card) or CrossFire (Intel/AMD mobo and AMD video card).

Is the 9800GT more than you need? Yes. Try something like a HD 3450 or 9400G*.
December 16, 2008 2:04:12 PM

If your using this on 17 inch monitors, I'm guessing the resolation isn't going to be that great, in which case any high end video card will work at max settings.

If your looking to future proof it for future monitor upgrades, then it really depends on your budget.

You seem to be going to Nvidia route, so I'd say either GTX 260 or 280 depending on your budget.

2 260's would be complete overkill for 17 inch monitors though.
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