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System for Two 50" Monitors

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February 16, 2009 10:11:59 PM

Hello everyone,

I've got a project for my office where I need to build a system that will control two 50" monitors and be able to run upwards if 6 mid-level graphic intensive software packages at the same time on these monitors. The software ranges from simple text based displays to real-time video.

My question is, what type of hardware pitfalls should I be careful of? I'm an experienced computer builder, but this type of video work is new to me and I want to make sure I can run these monitors 24 hours a day without issue.

Thanks!

More about : system monitors

Anonymous
a b C Monitor
February 17, 2009 1:53:07 AM

lots of gpu...

sorry, i'm a newbie still but i can promise you'll probably need two very good graphics cards.
February 17, 2009 3:19:21 AM

Budget?

Your looking at $1000+ for video cards alone, and you will probably want a Intel core i7 CPU.
Related resources
February 17, 2009 3:41:25 AM

i would go with X58 Mobo and 6gb(at least) of ddr3 ram, and 2 HD 4870 X2's or 2 GTX 295's, but i think the HD 4870 X2's will give better performance, since that would basically give you 4 hd 4870's in your system.. or you could always use a work station gpu, but i dont know anything about them so i cant help you there.
good luck on your build
February 17, 2009 4:08:09 AM

What is the resolution of the monitors?
February 17, 2009 4:27:51 AM

I haven't read anything that suggests your needs are GPU intensive. Showing text and playing a video at the same time is within reach of most GPUs created this century.
Your main issue is the cpu and ram. Get 6gb ram and a highend cpu and a 64 bit OS. Then get a single gtx 260 with dual dvi.
Sure you can spend more money and get 2 GTX 295's, but it's just a waste.
February 17, 2009 4:32:56 AM

You might also only going 32 bits for stability, if you're running Windows. You didn't say much about the programs you'll be running.

Also, clearly you should get a very good psu (around 5-600 watts).
February 17, 2009 4:35:04 AM

Big Question.... Will you be using Cuda. Apart From That Core i7 with Two GTX285s or a 295
February 17, 2009 5:32:16 AM

Qalar said:
Hello everyone,

I've got a project for my office where I need to build a system that will control two 50" monitors and be able to run upwards if 6 mid-level graphic intensive software packages at the same time on these monitors. The software ranges from simple text based displays to real-time video.

My question is, what type of hardware pitfalls should I be careful of? I'm an experienced computer builder, but this type of video work is new to me and I want to make sure I can run these monitors 24 hours a day without issue.

Thanks!


Are the monitors simply displaying text and video?
February 17, 2009 5:53:11 AM

Hmm, im assuming the data you will be streaming/displaying is information relevant to your company. i.e. stock price, new info etc. and they will be displayed for everyone to see.
In this case you will want to have a control (i.e. third) monitor, which means a crossfire/sli setup.
Depending on the budget I'd go with the i7 64bit OS suggestion with 2 hd 4870's and 6 gigs of ram.

Of course I doubt you will be doing any actual rendering (will you?) if you're just displaying data, so two heavyweight GPU's would be overkill.
you might want to look at a phenom quad core (prices have dropped nicely) with 2 hd4850 's or even earlier models.
But i still would suggest at least 3/4 gigs of RAM.
February 17, 2009 5:58:11 AM

It would be really helpful if you listed your 6 exact applications.

I think your issues here are:

A) 2D vs. 3D requirements

B) Resolution of your 50" monitors (they could just be running at 1920 x 1080)

Sounds like you need an i7 rig with 12GB RAM (or maybe even 24GB) for the multiple application aspect.

24/7 usage would dictate good overall cooling (like a Coolermaster HAF 932 case).
February 17, 2009 6:45:18 AM

Come to think of it, you might want to be playing Crysis on dual 50" after hours, I'd get the dual gtx 295 setup :D .
February 17, 2009 7:30:35 AM

lejay said:
You might also only going 32 bits for stability, if you're running Windows. You didn't say much about the programs you'll be running.


Maybe 2 years ago that may have been true, 64bit Vista is solid.
February 17, 2009 7:51:46 AM

merlinbadman said:
Maybe 2 years ago that may have been true, 64bit Vista is solid.



It is not more than a few weeks ago I was unable to install a program because it didn't support a 64 bit OS. Google Desktop is an example (yes you CAN install it, but it is not supported).
It is true that it has improved alot, but for a 24/7 system with unknown (to me) software and hardware, it might be a good idea to go 32 bit. It is slightly more stable (imo) and has none the potential compatibility issues.

February 17, 2009 1:52:42 PM

You guys, running two 50" monitors doesn't require i7 or anything that fancy of the GPU. The real question should be related to the "software" requirements. Photoshop, Maya, Illustrator, After Effects or whatever (not video guy here) is what determins the computer needed...any old dual-dvi video card can push video to 2 monitors (50" probably isn't even that high of res as I've never seen a true computer monitor past 30"..don't quote me on that though). More details Qalar?
a b C Monitor
February 17, 2009 2:14:07 PM

I agree with p05esto and others that more details are needed.
"6 mid-level graphic intensive software packages at the same time" isn't anything like normal usage for a PC or workstation computer that I'm familiar with. Are we talking 2d or 3d graphics? Can you explain more about how they're used?
It's not clear if you're talking about just playback from previously recorded / rendered results or you have six software packages grinding away at the same time (which kinda sounds like a recipe for disaster). Are you already doing something like this without the large monitors?
February 17, 2009 2:19:42 PM

I just hope he doesn't think that Crysis or Flight Simulator X is mid level and that all those six are different levels of Crysis or FSX
February 17, 2009 4:28:48 PM

a 50 inch screen that runs 1080p is ~1920x1080 or less. Really any card with two dvi outputs can drive those monitors for text display. If you want multiple high-definition video streams, you'll have to get something decent like a 4850 and up.

As for the rest of the machine, I assume that if you have the budget for 2x 1500$ 50inch screens, you probably have some money for an i7 920 + 6gig ram + x58 mobo. That should allow you to drive pretty much anything on those screens, render-wise.

BTW, thanks to you, I'm now day-dreaming about multiboxing 8 wow sessions on 2 of those big screens... Good thing I've been wow-clean for 4 months+ now :p 
February 17, 2009 7:34:58 PM

Thanks for all the replys, sorry I couldn't get back to your questions sooner! I'll try and address everyone's follow-ups:

Budget:
While the budget may be somewhat unlimited, I have to justify why I would need a $1500 workstation grade card for the extra on-board memory rather than an 8800GT. I can do that, but to be honest, the needs of these monitors is very new to me.

Resolution:
Resolution will be maxed (1900 x 1080 or 1200). Both monitors will be roughly 10-12 feet from the operator.

OS:
As much as I would love to run this system on Vista 64 bit, we're limited to XP. That's fine, but severly limits my RAM availability :fou: 

Software:
I wish I could be more specific about the software...
Essentially, there will be 5-6 simple windows-based software on the screens at any time and not graphic intensive. If they were graphic intensive, it would be a no brainer to go with a beefy workstation card. The only video that will be seen on the screens will be security camera video, low resolution, but could be many cameras at once. Unfortunately, yes, there are this many programs running on a single machine right now in some instances on ONE GB OF RAM. It's shameful really. Thankfully, there is no 3D rendering required.

Other monitors/controllers:
These monitors *can* be accompanied by additional 22" monitors to be used as the "controller," but the 50" monitors will be used by primarily a single operator (other times will be used by many).


I probably should have mentioned this as well, but it needs to be relatively silent. Water cooling is out of the question. I'll need to get all custom cooling fans won't I? Large, low RPM fans, and disable the integrated smaller ones is my guess.

I'm leaning toward a 920 i7, 3Gb Ram, GTX 295 x2 in SLI (for the onboard memory) for 2 22" widescreen desk monitors and 2 50" wall monitors, ABS Canyon Case, etc. However, now that you all mention the RAM requirements, I may have to look into a small server station.


Appreciate the comments!
February 17, 2009 9:16:56 PM

^ A GTX 295 is overkill. Two ATI 4830s ( No need to CrossFire) can handle the load quite easily. And YES DO GET 6GB RAM and get XP x64 if you must use XP. You'll need that more than more GPU power. Any reason you can't go Vista x64 or XP x64? (Note: XP x64 is sensitive to drivers)

As for cooling, take a look in to Yate Loon and Scythe fans.
February 17, 2009 9:59:09 PM

Shadow703793 said:
^ A GTX 295 is overkill. Two ATI 4830s ( No need to CrossFire) can handle the load quite easily. And YES DO GET 6GB RAM and get XP x64 if you must use XP. You'll need that more than more GPU power. Any reason you can't go Vista x64 or XP x64? (Note: XP x64 is sensitive to drivers)

As for cooling, take a look in to Yate Loon and Scythe fans.



As much as I would love to use an up-to-date OS, our compnay IT is a bit slow in processing software transitions.

I'll take a look at the ATIs, and thanks for the cooling suggestion.
February 17, 2009 10:12:30 PM

Like someone pointed out above, the fact that your running off of 2x 50" Monitors at 1080p (I doubt these a 16:10 displays) is no different (performance wise) than 2x 17" monitors at the same resolutions.

A good quiet after market cooler is the Zalman 8700. A good case to work with is the Cooler Master Cosmos 1000, in addition to being tool-less (which could be useful in the office enviroment) is that it has been built with acoustic dampners so that the noise in the case, stays in the case and vibration is kept to a minimum. For a PSU the Enermax Revolution 85+ PSU is, from what I've read as silent as you'll get from a PSU without going fanless.

It doesn't seem like the GPU is really going to be stressed at all, unless your running something that going to require realtime rendering like a game or a 3D engine tech demo. So there doesn't really seem to any benefit to getting a video card worth more than $100 let alone SLI. A single 4830 will be sufficent.

The only thing to keep in mind is how will Windows handle memory addressing if you your video memory combined with your system memory exceeds what windows 32bit XP will address. I'm not too familiar with this so I'm sure how it would work if you had 3GB system RAM and 2GB of video RAM.

If I remember correctly on my old AMD 64X2 5000+ I've ran at least 6 AVI files at the same time with no issue. Now, these weren't HD encodes but as far I know they were around the same quality a 700MB DVDrip would be encoded at.

Now if you were decoding multiple HD sources 720p or 1080p H264, you'll definitely want to see about getting a 4850 or 4850X2 (1GB version if your on 32bit XP). Something with a good amount of GPU power to help out with the HD decoding, but you don't need more video memory at all.
February 17, 2009 10:30:27 PM

MykC said:
Like someone pointed out above, the fact that your running off of 2x 50" Monitors at 1080p (I doubt these a 16:10 displays) is no different (performance wise) than 2x 24" monitors.

A decent after market CPU cooler is the Zalman 8700, its quiet compared to stock. A good case to work with is the Cooler Master Cosmos 1000, in addition to being tool-less (which could be useful in the office enviroment) is that it has been built to be quiet as well with acoustic dampners inside the caes. The Enermax Revolution 85+ PSU is from what I've read as silent as you'll get for PSU at the loads you'll be putting on it.

It doesn't seem like the GPU is really going to be accessed unless your running something that going to require realtime rendering like a game or a 3d engine tech demo. So, while you can a mid-range highend GPU, there certainly no benefit to a SLI setup. A single 4830 will be sufficent, the issue here is, if you go with a i7 and have 3GB of RAM, every MB above 1GB of video memory could affect your system memory. I have no idea how Windows deals with a sceneario where you have 3GB RAM and 2GB of Video RAM, or 4GB RAM and 4GB Video RAM.

If I remember correctly on my old AMD 64X2 5000+ I've ran at least 6 AVI files at the same time with no issue. Now, these weren't HD encodes but as far I know they were around the same quality a 700MB DVDrip would be encoded at.

Now if you were decoding multiple HD sources 720p or 1080p H264, you'll definitely want to see about getting a 4850 or 4850X2 (1GB version if your on 32bit XP). Something with a good amount of GPU power to help out with the HD decoding, but you don't need more video memory at all.



Thanks for the reply and suggestions.

The video is not HD quality. It's very similar to a typical security camera. No 3D rendering software will be on these machines.

I recently went from a 22" LCD monitor to a 30" on my home computer and saw little change in load on the GPU so this holds true. Just wasn't sure how a change from 22" to 50" would play out. I guess it's all about resolution anyway.
a b C Monitor
February 17, 2009 11:03:35 PM

It is all resolution, and if there isn't any HD video or rendering, a single ATI HD4830 is more than sufficient.
February 18, 2009 1:55:22 AM

Treat your 50" monitors as 24 inchers.

Try this Sapphire 4850x2 card with the smaller frame buffer: link. It can drive 4 monitors, so you can do with only 1 video card (less heat). It also has nice dual fans for cooling.

If you're stuck with XP 32-bit, then an i7 with 3x1GB is definitely the way to go.

For quiet cases, look at Coolermaster Cosmos 1000, Sileo 500, and Antec P182. Really, you don't need to go overboard here. A high end gaming rig producing the most heat could be something like an overclocked i7 with 2 GTX 285s in SLI. This type of rig would do best in a 932 HAF case. Your rig's heat production will be something less than this, so build accordingly.

EDIT: Also consider Silverstone TJ-09 for a quiet case.
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