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I5 Build with Four Monitors

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September 21, 2009 12:52:26 PM

Completed "How to ask for build advice" template below.

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Next two weeks BUDGET RANGE: $1,500.00 Before Rebates

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Creating large (100+ slide powerpoint presentations, video editing for insertion into said powerpoint presentations, multitasking (mostly with MS business apps such as Word, Excel, Powerpoint, etc.), surfing the internet, little or no gaming.

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Keyboard, mouse, speakers

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Newegg, Zipzoomfly, other online vendors COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA

PARTS PREFERENCES: Intel i5 CPU (need recommendation on aftermarket air cooler). , Gigabyte GA-P55-UD4P motherboard, Corsair CMD8GX3M4A1600C8 or Corsair CMX8GX3M4A1600C9 MEMORY, Corsair 750 watt power supply, Antec 900 case, Two SATA W/D 7200 rpm 1Tb hard disks, Asus DVD Burner. Would like to use two EVGA graphics cards to drive four 22" monitors on which the different parts of the powerpoint creation / editing tasks will be displayed. Thinking W7 64 bit for the OS unless driver issues then W7 32 bit. Need help with clarification on whether the two graphics slots in the GA-P55-UD4P will support two EVGA graphics cards at 16x or if the second slot will only support 8x. If the second slot is only 8x, do I need to move up to a more robust motherboard that will support two 16x graphics cards to avoid a difference in the output of the two displays attached to the video card in the 16x slot versus the output of the two displays attached to the video card in the 8x slot?

OVERCLOCKING: Yes (seeking 4.2 Ghz) SLI OR CROSSFIRE: No

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1920x1080

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: Seeking more processing power, speed, and work area than our present system which is E8400 running at 4 Ghz in a Gigabyte GA-EP35-DS4 motherboard with an EVGA 512-P3-N802-AR graphics card driving dual Samsung 2253LW 21.5" monitors.

Thank you for any helpful suggestions.

Tom

More about : build monitors

September 21, 2009 1:26:42 PM

ATI 5870 comes out this week, a single 5870 is capable of driving up to 6 monitors at full resolution with their eyefinity technology. This would more than meet your needs for business applications, and should save money both on the cost of 2 graphics cards, and ongoing costs of powering 2 cards instead of just one. If you really want to stick with the EVGA NVIDIA cards in SLI, it won't really matter if one card is on a 16x and the second on an 8x. Powerpoint isn't going to saturate a 8x PCI-e slot.
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September 21, 2009 4:07:55 PM

Very helpful and thank you. If I use the two EVGA graphics cards, is it necessary to configure them in SLI or may they simply act independently?
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September 21, 2009 5:07:48 PM

I've always preferred powerful single card graphics solutions, so I don't really know too much about the specifics on if SLI needs to be enabled with 2 cards. SLI is necessary when you want to have the cards work together to render the same task, but as 4 monitors will be independent in your case, you could probably configure them without SLI.
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September 21, 2009 5:35:28 PM

Your really shooting yourself in the leg using dual video cards and an i5. Being as they only have 1x16 pci slot on the motherboards your going to limit performance. The 58 motherboards have the bandwidth you are going to need.
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September 21, 2009 5:39:26 PM

You don't want to configure them for SLI.
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September 21, 2009 5:45:14 PM

The limited PCIE2.0 bandwidth on the 1156 boards will not be an issue here, he is not doing anything graphically intensive, performance will rest on the CPU and RAM and HDD for this build. The GPUs will be there just to power his displays, you could pick up a pair of anything really, maybe two GTS250 1GB, seeing as you are working at good size resolutions.

EVGA 01G-P3-1155-TR GeForce GTS 250 1GB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... ($134.99 w/ $20 MIR)

Edit: Take a look at this GPU too, it supports 4 monitors;

SAPPHIRE 100270SR Radeon HD 4850 X2 2GB 512-bit (256-bit x 2) GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... ($239.99)
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September 21, 2009 6:27:49 PM

Appreciate the responses. Points me in the right direction. Thanks again.
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September 22, 2009 5:52:57 AM

Couldn't the OP just get two HD 4650s or similar low-power cards? That would be about $100 for both cards, give you 4 DVI outputs, and easily be able to drive 4 1080P displays if you're not gaming. The OP isn't going to be gaming; there's no reason to put up with the heat and power use of two GTS 250s or an HD 4850 X2 when he'll never use anywhere near the potential of those cards.
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September 22, 2009 6:07:04 AM

angry_ducky said:
Couldn't the OP just get two HD 4650s or similar low-power cards? That would be about $100 for both cards, give you 4 DVI outputs, and easily be able to drive 4 1080P displays if you're not gaming. The OP isn't going to be gaming; there's no reason to put up with the heat and power use of two GTS 250s or an HD 4850 X2 when he'll never use anywhere near the potential of those cards.


2 x 4650 wont be enough for his needs.

quote:

"SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Creating large (100+ slide powerpoint presentations, video editing for insertion into said powerpoint presentations, multitasking (mostly with MS business apps such as Word, Excel, Powerpoint, etc.), surfing the internet, little or no gaming. "

get 2 4850s instead of the 2 gtx 250s

or even better, get the upcoming 5xxx series card it can hook up to 6 monitors with 5870l, 3 monitors with 5850. this way you are saving the power consumption
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September 22, 2009 7:55:34 AM

Good information and thanks. I did wish to use Corsair ram and power but apparently neither the 750W, 850W, nor 1000W Corsair power supplies support (have the necessary connectors for) the HD 4650 / HD 4850 cards (see http://ati.amd.com/products/certified/powersupplies.htm...). Have not yet found the 5870 for sale online. The "first looks" I have read price the 5870 considerably higher than two mid-range dual dvi cards. Concerning Transmaniaco's comment "performance will rest on the CPU and RAM and HDD for this build", would it be worthwhile to move up to an i7 processor and 10K rpm hard disks to enhance performance or would the "return on investment" not justify the increased cost? Finally, if I use the i5 (or i7), does anyone have a recommendation for an aftermarket heatsink/fan? I will consider liquid cooling if necessary - just a little apprenhensive about liquid and electricity in close proximity.
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September 22, 2009 12:50:41 PM

I am not sure what information you are looking at, but there are no problems with using a Corsair PSU and either of those video cards. The HD4850 may have a power connector on it, and if so, all of those PSUs have at least 4 GPU connections.

The HD5870 will be released today, so you probably will not see any available immediately.

The i5 will be plenty sufficient for your needs, especially if you are planning on overclocking. Here is a good CPU cooler;

COOLER MASTER Intel Core i5 & Intel Core i7 compatible RR-B10-212P-GP 120mm "heatpipe direct contact" Long life sleeve CPU Cooler - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... ($29.99)

I think if you wanted to make the biggest performance gains, go with a SSD. You have the budget to easily add a nice 80GB Intel X25-M, one quick question, are the monitors part of the budget or do you already own them?

As far as the GPU situation, with the release of the new ATI 5XXX, I believe the HD5850 will be priced around $199.99, and will support 6 monitors, so that may be a good choice for you. Wait a couple days to see how these new cards perform and price.
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September 22, 2009 1:00:07 PM

I agree with Transmaniacon's claims, there's no way Corsair would release any PSUs with such a glaring problem that prevented use with half of the graphics card market. As for the 5850 pricing, current rumors are saying $299.99, with the 5870 coming in at $399.99. Not really absolute proof of final pricing, but zipzoomfly has a dummy page up for the card now: http://www.zipzoomfly.com/jsp/ProductDetail.jsp?Product...

Some of the other forums are saying that they will be available at midnight tonight, but I just figure they have no idea if they will be there or not. I'm keeping a close eye on the online stores in case they suddenly appear today though.
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September 22, 2009 1:02:02 PM

Ah ok, I heard $199.99 from a few people, but this is the most evidence supporting a price, plus $299.99 seems more practical.
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September 23, 2009 7:19:28 AM

Excellent help and thank you. Researching now. Tom
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September 23, 2009 1:18:56 PM

The best prices posted on the internet as of now are 5870 for $379, and 5850 for $259. Problem is that only a few places are listing them, and they are sold out already. No idea when they will be available in significant quantities.
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September 23, 2009 7:44:36 PM

Here is the combination I am considering.

Intel i5 Processor
Noctua NH-U12P SE2 Heat Sink/Fan
Gigabyte GA-P55-UD4P Motherboard
Corsair CMX8GX3M4A1600C9 or CMX8GX3M4A1333C9 or CMD8GX3M4A1600C8 Memory
Corsair TX850W Power Supply
Two EVGA GTS250 1GB Graphics Cards
Two W/D Caviar Black 1TB 7200 RPM Hard Disks
Antec 900 Case

Your comments pro or con are appreciated, particularly regarding which ram to use.

Thank you.

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September 23, 2009 7:54:02 PM

I would change the GPUs to a single ATI HD5850, its going to be the same price, but will perform better, offer you the option to crossfire down the road.
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September 25, 2009 8:11:43 AM

Actually no available cards can support 6 monitors.. Yet!
The HD5870 will have a special EyeFinity edition to offer the 6+ monitor support via 6 mini display ports.. At least this is what i found so far..

Edit: HD5870 supports 4 Displays with limitations i don't understand :??:  ..
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September 25, 2009 1:34:50 PM

Unless you purchase an "X2" card, like the HD4850X2, or wait for the EyeFinity cards, you will need two individual cards.
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September 25, 2009 5:56:44 PM

If he's not going to use more than 4 displays then the HD5870 can power them with the reference design (non-EyeFinity)
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September 28, 2009 2:46:29 PM

Appreciate the graphics card comments and now have a question on CPU cooling. I ordered Corsair Dominator CMD8GX3M4A1600C8 eight GB ram kit and would appreciate comments on anyone who has used a Zalman CNPS10X or Noctua NH-U12P-SE2 cooler with the CMD8GX3M4A1600C8. Wondering if either or both coolers will clear the heat spreaders on the CMD8GX3M4A1600C8 in a Gigabyte GA-P55-UD4P motherboard? Thanks in advance. Tom
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October 4, 2009 12:33:18 PM

And one more question before unboxing the i5 CPU. Would there be a noticeable benefit in upgrading the CPU to an i7 860 with all other components remaining the same? Stated another way, will the 860's hyperthreading enhance the CPU's performance in multitasking MS office applications under W7 64 bit? Thanks again.
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October 5, 2009 1:26:01 PM

Hyperthreading is more helpful for complex tasks that can make use of more threads such as graphics editing, encoding/decoding, file compression, etc. As for productivity software, you might shave a few seconds off of opening a very large excel file, but I'm not sure if you would benefit much more than that. It's about a $70 price difference, so you could go either way. As for those coolers, hardwaresecrets.com reviewed that new Zalman, gave it a golden award, but they did say that it was more expensive than it should be in terms of how well it cooled. The Noctua is a top notch cooler, but you may need to buy a 1156 bracket with that model, not sure if it has one included... that increases cost another $10, but in terms of quality and quietness, it's hard to beat Noctua.
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October 5, 2009 5:52:36 PM

Wathman & Psycho -
Appreciate the responses. Did order the Noctua NH-U12P-SE2 which is supposed to come with the 1156 bracket. Will know soon as it is scheduled for delivery today. Tom
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October 8, 2009 2:50:18 PM

Assembly of our new system is complete. Core components are an Intel i5 processor, Noctua NH-U12P-SE2 CPU cooler, Gigabyte P55-UD4P motherboard, 8GB kit of Corsair Dominator memory CMD8GX3M4A1600C8, two EVGA 250 GTS graphics cards (not configured for SLI), and a Corsair TX850W power supply. I am seeking to overclock this configuration to 4Ghz but am a relative newbie (this is my second overclocked system), so I am asking for assistance with the processor / memory frequency and voltage settings. A base clock of 200 Mhz with a cpu multiplier of 20 would reach the 4Ghz level but I am unsure about the voltage. How much do I increment the CPU Vcore above the stock setting as I begin to test? Do I also need to increment the QPI/Vtt voltage? Is yes, how much? Concerning the memory, it seems using the 10X multiplier would be correct for the 4Ghz overclock but I have seen some recommendations to use the 8x multiplier and run the memory at 1600 Mhz. Which is best? The comments I have read on memory voltage seem to agree on a maximum of 1.65 volts per Intel. Is it all right to set the DRAM voltage at 1.65 at the outset or best to increment it and see if the DRAM can meet the system's demands at a voltage less than 1.65? Thanks for reading this and for any helpful comments.

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October 8, 2009 2:55:58 PM

You will get more feedback if you post this in the Overclocking sub-forum.
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October 8, 2009 3:27:02 PM

Will do. Thank you. Tom
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!