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Triple Monitors - Will this work?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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January 9, 2010 2:40:53 AM

Alright, so Im currently building a computer for a client who has a 30" center monitor and two 24" on either side. Now, I've built quite a few systems before, but I've never had to build a triple monitor system before and I'm wondering what the best configuration for doing this would be. My budget is around 400 dollars for the video cards.

Option 1

Use two cards total, one to run the 30" and another to run both of the 24"
I was thinking either a GTX260
http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/ite...
or a 9800GTX+
http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/ite...

Also, I remember reading somewhere that if I wanted to run cards like this in non SLI mode on multiple monitors, the cards had to have different chipsets. So would I need one each of the cards above?

Option 2

Use three cards total, two SLI'd, and one additional, in which case Im planning on using

2x GTS 250 in SLI configuration
http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/ite...
and a 9800GTX
http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/ite...

Don't think this matters, but the board will be an EVGA X58 SLI LE
http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/ite...
with an i7 920. 12gb Triple Channel DDR3

Anyways, my question is, given the cards listed, which is better, option 1 or 2? In addition, within each option, which cards should go on which monitors? Should the more powerful card go on the two 24" or the 1 30"?

If for some reason the configurations I've listed wont work, please let me know. Also, if anyone can think of a better solution for 1 30" and 2 24" for around 400 in cards please let me know!

More about : triple monitors work

a c 376 U Graphics card
a b C Monitor
January 9, 2010 2:44:02 AM

The new HD5000 series of cards by ATI natively support 3 monitors although I believe one must have a display port connection.
Secondly are we talking about a gaming system here? If not you are looking at the entirely wrong kinds of cards.
January 9, 2010 2:52:27 AM

I havent recieved specs on my client's monitors other than the size and resolution he'll be running them at. Therefore I'd like to do this assuming three DVI connections to be safe.

As far as the use of the computer, my client has told me he wants it for "A little gaming, some video editing, 3d modeling, ya know, whatever." So yeah....lol.
Related resources
January 9, 2010 3:03:10 AM

Well, it would seem after a little bit of googling that they do make DVI to DisplayPort Adapters should my clients monitor not have a display port connection. However, given that it has the ports, is a single card in the 400$ range sufficient to run all three of those monitors at high resolution? Is there any advantage to splitting the load among 2 cards (non SLI), each in the 200$ range?
a c 376 U Graphics card
a b C Monitor
January 9, 2010 3:07:48 AM

Assuming the 30" monitor is 2560x1600 your best bet would be an HD5870 so you should really find out if one of the monitors can use a display port as it would be the ideal choice if so. He will also be able to use "eyefinity" with that setup;
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ujf6P6iGcfc&feature=rela...
If not then to fit within your budget an HD5850 for gaming plus another cheap card like an HD4650 to run the extra monitor would probably be your best choice.
a b U Graphics card
a b C Monitor
January 9, 2010 3:09:29 AM

For $400 a hd 5870 would be perfect: Provided you get a 30" monitor that has a DisplayPort input. If no displayport youd need a $100 active DP converter, so be warned.

here is a link of said converter:
http://accessories.us.dell.com/sna/products/Cables/prod...

If no displayport then Id say get a low powered card to drive the two 24" monitors and the most powerfull card you can get to power the 30".
Im not to familiar with nvidia cards so Id say something like a hd 4670 and a 5850 would be a good choice.

on second thought maybe my second choice could be better... a good question would be if the 5870 powering those two extra 24" monitors would hamper performance so much that it would be better to off load them to another card. anyway you cant go wrong with eather in my opinion.
a c 376 U Graphics card
a b C Monitor
January 9, 2010 3:11:57 AM

I believe it needs to be an "active" display port adapter which is both expensive and tricky. Maybe someone else can explain it better.
a c 236 U Graphics card
a b C Monitor
January 9, 2010 3:12:13 AM

My suggestion is to get a strong video card for the center monitor which will be used for gaming.
Get a second minimal card for the side monitors. They should preferably be of the SAME chip type so that they can both be driven with the same vga driver. I do something like that, I have a 5870 for my 30" monitor and a separate 3450 for the side monitor. The side monitors will usually be showing such static things as e-mail, performance monitors, or even stock news or TV , and none of that requires anything special in a video card. On the nvidia side, perhaps a GTX285 or 295 with a GTS220 for the side monitors.
January 9, 2010 3:13:40 AM

Ill ask my client for the specs on his 30" monitor and see if it has a display port input.

Also, if not, I would need an active DP converter? What is this im seeing online about 20$ DP to DVI adapters then?
a b U Graphics card
a b C Monitor
January 9, 2010 3:18:33 AM

those are passive converters you will need an active one that draws power from eather usb or 12v plug. it has to do with converting the DP signal into one that DVI/HDMI can understand, from what i hear.
a c 236 U Graphics card
a b C Monitor
January 9, 2010 3:19:33 AM

djg9205 said:
Ill ask my client for the specs on his 30" monitor and see if it has a display port input.

Also, if not, I would need an active DP converter? What is this im seeing online about 20$ DP to DVI adapters then?


Display port 30" monitors may be hard to find, and expensive. One would need the active type adapters at $100 or so. The advantage of eyefinity is that all three monitors will look like one large monitor, but this is best done if all the monitors have the same dimensions. Not many games will seamlessly play on such a configuration. Research that carefully.
January 9, 2010 3:31:22 AM

Alright then, assuming that were not using a display port anywhere in this setup, it looks as though were going to have to use 2 cards probably. From what I understand too, my client doesn't intend to run games across all three monitors (games would be played on the 30" exclusively), but he does want the desktop extended across all three monitors.

Now I don't see any reason this wouldn't work, but just to make sure, using two cards, one high end for the main 30" and a lower end for the two side 24", the desktop CAN extend across all three, correct? Not talking about games, just Windows in general.
a b U Graphics card
a b C Monitor
January 9, 2010 3:42:22 AM

you can extend the desktop across multiple gragpics cards.
also just think of the eyefinity as just a little bonus if you get it to work out in your situation.
January 9, 2010 4:40:19 AM

Thank you very much to everyone who replied, you've all been incredibly helpful!
a c 236 U Graphics card
a b C Monitor
January 9, 2010 2:22:45 PM

djg9205 said:
Alright then, assuming that were not using a display port anywhere in this setup, it looks as though were going to have to use 2 cards probably. From what I understand too, my client doesn't intend to run games across all three monitors (games would be played on the 30" exclusively), but he does want the desktop extended across all three monitors.

Now I don't see any reason this wouldn't work, but just to make sure, using two cards, one high end for the main 30" and a lower end for the two side 24", the desktop CAN extend across all three, correct? Not talking about games, just Windows in general.


The desktop does extend nicely across several monitors. If the monitors have different dimensions and pixel sizes then windows will be resized as they move across. This works well, but having two identical monitors works better. If, instead of using two 1920 x 1200 side monitors, how about using just a second 30" monitor? The video acerage will be about the same(1920 x 1200 = 2.3m, 2560 x 1600 = 4.1m). You will then only need one video card and since the monitors are identical, it will be easier to move windows around without resizing. To improve gaming performance, I still might use a second minimal graphics card so that the gaming monitor has access to the full capabilities of the gaming graphics card.
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