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How does dual 1920x monitor usage affect gaming video card selection?

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  • Graphics Cards
  • Gaming
  • Monitors
  • Graphics
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Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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April 26, 2009 7:10:03 PM

Searched the forums and looked through the reviews here without any luck. I very much appreciate y'all helping an old married gamer out...

Question: How is the choice of (gaming) video cards affected by dual monitor usage?

Running Dual-Monitors at 1920x1200 each. Gaming on one monitor while a browser is opened on the other. I have reviewed the recommendations, although they entirely seem to be based on single-monitor solutions.

Ready to purchase a gaming video card; unclear how to optimally proceed:
• Stick to a single graphics card, replacing the 8800gts, and run both monitors off the new card?
• Run the gaming monitor off a new single-slot video card, with the secondary monitor running off the 8800gts in slot2?
-----• Semi-psychotic question: Stick to NVIDIA? You couldn't successfully run a Radeon 4870x2 in slot one and a NVIDIA 8800gts in slot2, right?
• How would running SLI affect things? Upgrading to two GeForce 260 or 280 cards in SLI, instead of a single-card:
-----• SLI the new cards, hook both monitors to them, and toss the 8800?
-----• SLI the new cards and run the gaming monitor from them, and run the secondary monitor from the old 8800 in slot3?


------------------ ------------------ ------------------ ------------------ ------------------ ------------------
Current setup (URL-linked for fast part look-up):
MSI P6N Diamond mainboard
-----• Chipset: NVIDIA® nForce 680i SLI SPP (C55XE), NVIDIA® nForce 570i SLI MCP (MCP55P)
-----• Slots: Four v1.0a PCI Express x16, One v1.0a PCI Express x1
-----• RAM: 8GB Dual-channel DDR2 800
• CPU: Intel Core2 6600@2.40GHz
-----• Thermaltake Ultimate v1 CPU Cooler
• Hard disk: Four SATA II drives in RAID0 (nForce 590i SLI MCP)
• Graphics: One MSI 640mb GeForce 8800 gts (factory overclocked)
• Monitors: Two 28" WUXGA LCD 1920x1200 (default resolution)
• Multimedia: SoundBlaster X-Fi Xtreme Audio
• Networking: Dual (Realtek RTL8211B) 1/2Gbps Fast Ethernet ports using LACP (IEEE 802.3ad Link Aggregation)
• Power supply: SilverStone Strider ST56F 560W Active PFC
• OS: 64bit XP SP3

More about : dual 1920x monitor usage affect gaming video card selection

April 26, 2009 7:26:54 PM

While I could not offer specific advice with regards to dual monitor spec's and GPU's, I can offer this: SLI (and, for that matter, Xfire) does not offer the performance gain that many assume. That is to say that running 2 x GTX 260 will NOT double the performance of 1 x GTX 260.

Rather than spending $ on 2 cards, my recommendation would be to sink the $ into 1 really good card. I'm currently running the 8800 GTX Ultra, and have heavily researched my forthcoming upgrade.

Another things to consider - Your mobo: Is it PCIe 2.0 compatible? In my case, it is not, so I would not see the performance gain that I should by upgrading to the latest gen GPU's.

Cheers & GL!
a b U Graphics card
April 26, 2009 7:38:14 PM

Getting two cards to run in SLi is usually much more cost effective in terms of price-per-performance compared to a much more expensive card.

ie. Two 9800GTs cost $200, and perform at the same level as a GTX280, which costs well over $300 currently.
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April 26, 2009 8:05:17 PM

MacSH said:
Another things to consider - Your mobo: Is it PCIe 2.0 compatible? In my case, it is not, so I would not see the performance gain that I should by upgrading to the latest gen GPU's.

Doesn’t mater if you don’t have PCIe 2.0 even if you have the GTX295 in a PCIe 1.1 the performance loss will be something like 5% witch is nothing. :) 
April 26, 2009 8:31:16 PM

I'm pretty sure that you can't run dual monitors on SLI or crossfire - but I've never used it, so, yeah.

Using two monitors on a single card though, will not affect your gaming performance at all. I do it all the time with my notebook and a 24" panel.

edit: spelling.
April 26, 2009 9:34:16 PM

MacSH said:
While I could not offer specific advice with regards to dual monitor spec's and GPU's, I can offer this: SLI (and, for that matter, Xfire) does not offer the performance gain that many assume. That is to say that running 2 x GTX 260 will NOT double the performance of 1 x GTX 260.

Rather than spending $ on 2 cards, my recommendation would be to sink the $ into 1 really good card. I'm currently running the 8800 GTX Ultra, and have heavily researched my forthcoming upgrade.

Another things to consider - Your mobo: Is it PCIe 2.0 compatible? In my case, it is not, so I would not see the performance gain that I should by upgrading to the latest gen GPU's.

Cheers & GL!


the PCIe16 is v1.0a on my 680i mainboard
-----• Slots: Four v1.0a PCI Express x16, One v1.0a PCI Express x1

What are you planning to get for yourself? (my overclocked 8800gts is [surprisingly] still able to keep up with most games, just not at max settings)

With my luck, I'll buy a video card exactly 31days (30day return policy) before MS releases DirectX11 (scheduled for spring/early summer 2009, with inclusion in the Vista SP2 patch)...
April 29, 2009 12:54:50 PM

Oh wow, I didn't predict that you'd only suffer a ~5% degradation when running a second monitor. I was thinking the 1920x resolution would suck more than that; but it's not like i'd be running two dif games at once or anything -- displaying a web page is pretty simple.
April 29, 2009 5:03:44 PM

Didn't read all the posts, but obviously you need SLI/CF. A 4870x2 and a 4870 with the gaming monitor connected to the x2 and the browser one to the single one. Or a GTX295 with two monitors connected to it.
!