Building a pc for a buddy who requires dual monitors. One monitor will be used for HD/Blue Ray movie playing and the other for standard pc use simultaneously. I would like a recomendation for Video card that will not only "handle" this but provide the highest quality video playback available.
PC will be running dual or quad core processor, 3GB's on XP. I assume that should be enough power to handle the multitasking? Or should i consider 64bit and beef up the RAM? I would like to avoid Vista if possible.
A Radeon HD 4670 will b powerful enough and have very good video output. However, video quality also depends on the monitor as well.
Never used XP 64-bit so I can't say if all 64-bit Vista drivers will work with it.
TN panel monitors being the cheapest to manufacture also has the issue of limited viewing angles which affects colors, fair black levels and the occasional video artifacts if there are many shades of similar colors. Also TN panels can only produce 256k colors and thru dithering can create up to 16m colors (at least that's what the manufacturer claims) and is primary reasons for video artifacts.
S-PVA panel monitors are expensive and are usually only found in 24"+ monitors (roughly starting at $550); there are a handle of smaller size monitors using S-PVA panels. This monitor can truly produce 16.7m colors and have very good black level; some will say S-PVA produces the best black levels generally speaking. Viewing angles are better than TN panels.
IPS panels monitors are generally considered the best you can buy. These can also produce 16.7m real colors and have the best viewing angles of all LCD panel technology. Also has very good black levels and the least amount of color variations (generally speaking). These types of panels are used the least generally due to manufacturing costs. In the US there are basically two 24" LCD monitors using IPS panels, the HP LP2475 (~$600) and the NEC 2490WUXi (~$1,200). Dell sells the 22" 2209WA using an e-IPS panel which is an "economical" version of a standard IPS panel.
i would recommend against using XP64 anymore with Windows 7 64-bit out there. The driver support for XP64 has pretty much ended, and you'll be better off with W7 for newer cards and multimedia. The multimedia support in W7 is MUCH MUCH better with native bluray support. Just run the RC for him now and get a buy a legit copy when it comes out in october.
I agree with Pinaplex. Windows 7 RC is out and available for download -- FREE! There are so many new features and benefits to running a Windows 7 machine aside from driver support. To learn more, Microsoft does have a site with whitepapers, tutorials, walkthroughs and screen casts on all the “under the hood” features in Win 7. Check out the Springboard site for Windows 7 on TechNet here http://tinyurl.com/832nco
@ JessicaD: Erm...Are n't you just the tiniest bit biased?;)
For 64 bit, get Vista, XP64 is all but dead in the water.
By 'multitasking' exactly which software will your friend be using? To keep things smooth I'd say get 4Gb as minimum but if he is using large software packages or manipulating complex 3d models he might want to get 8Gb.
For general normal (non gaming use) a HD4650 will be enough, the HD4670 has a bit more 3d power though and makes for a useful 'casual' gaming card as well, for not much more $$$.