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Video Card Reccomendations

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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February 6, 2010 2:04:44 PM

I would like to run 3 monitors on my desktop but I am finding the video card options to be confusing.
It will be used mainly for surfing and financial stock trading.No gaming.
There is 1 PCI Expressx16 slot available and 2 PCI slots. The tower only has a 300W power supply so I need efficient low power consumption cards. Here are the specs on my system and thanks in advance for any recommendations.

System:HP Pavilion a630n
http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/document?docname=c00...

Monitor #1
Undecided yet, will be 22" or 23" wide screen with min resolution of 1920 x 1080.Will be used as the main display and video display.

Monitor #2 & #3
Samsung Syncmaster 941BW
19" wide screen
1440 x 900
VGA and DVI input
Will be used mainly for spreadsheets, internet and research.

My thoughts so far are to use a dual head PCI card for #2 & #3 and a PCI Express for #1 with HDMI output.

Is there a difference in the video quality between HDMI and DVI? Will I need the HDMI if I don't intend on using speakers in the monitor?
a c 179 U Graphics card
a b C Monitor
February 6, 2010 2:39:33 PM

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

3 monitors, 1 card, eyefinity wins.

DVI and HDMI are the same quality, they both carry identical signals. HDMI is only necessary if you want sound or if thats all your GPU will output in its remaining slot.

Best solution

a b U Graphics card
a b C Monitor
February 6, 2010 7:08:00 PM
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http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=E...

HD 5450 abit cheaper than the 5670, BTW the 5670 reccomends a 400w PSU.

http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/radeon-hd-5450,review-318...
Read this page, it explains the benefits and limitations of eyefinity. In every paragraph on this page are one or two very important sentences, so read and re-read it a few times.

Some important things are: The 3rd monitor has to use the DisplayPort output and it has to be the bigest monitor in terms of max resolution. (EDIT: when using a passive adapter)

I would also like to note that you do not need to have eyefinity turned on in order to get 3 monitor support. And when it is turned on you will limit your screen resolution to the smallest of the 3 you have. Since the OP dose not game then he dose not need to worry about this.

http://support.amd.com/us/eyefinity/Pages/eyefinity-don...
Use this page to find an appropriate DP adaper for use with eyefinity.
Related resources
February 8, 2010 11:20:06 AM

Thanks for the reply's, I am still researching my options and found lots of useful info in that link. After adding up all the extra's in cables and adapters it may be better to go with a card that is specifically designed for multiple monitors such as Matrox or ATI Fire quad output, they usually include adapters.
One thing I have been wondering about but can't find info on is whether DVI would be less of a load on the card than analog. It would seem to me that ditital output would require less processing by the GPU vs analog and therefore should have less power consumption to do the same job.
Any comments on this?
a c 179 U Graphics card
a b C Monitor
February 8, 2010 10:10:09 PM

There is a DAC(Digital-Analog Converter) that is used when a DVI-VGA adapter is used, there is no additional processing on the part of the GPU to go fro digital to analog, the DAC is more than capable of handling it. The power consumption differences would be negligible, maybe 2 or 3 watts at most?

The 5xxx series of cards are designed to support 3 monitors so it shouldnt give you an issue. You shouldnt need any special adapters for the 5670 i linked, send the VGA and DVI outputs to your two current monitors, and use the HDMI for the new one which will likely have an HDMI port and you will be good to go.
February 9, 2010 6:16:32 PM

OK.........I have spent the last two days researching this, once I got my head around the terminology I made a call to ATI tech support and this is what they said.

The 5xxx cards come in two flavors........ DVI, VGA and HDMI outputs or DVI, VGA and Display Port outputs.

To run three monitors you require the one with Display Port. You also require an active adapter if your monitor does not support Display Port. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Eyefinity is required to run three monitors.

All the cards suggest will require a 400W PSU.

February 9, 2010 6:19:35 PM



Some important things are: The 3rd monitor has to use the DisplayPort output and it has to be the bigest monitor in terms of max resolution. (EDIT: when using a passive adapter)

I would also like to note that you do not need to have eyefinity turned on in order to get 3 monitor support. And when it is turned on you will limit your screen resolution to the smallest of the 3 you have. Since the OP dose not game then he dose not need to worry about this.



Have you set up three monitors on one of these cards? ATI tells me that Eyefinity is required in order to have three displays.
a b U Graphics card
a b C Monitor
February 9, 2010 7:52:10 PM

I think its my terminology that is confusing you. If say that when you have Eyefinity enabled, you actually have the monitors configured into a display group. (Ex. either 3360x1050 or 5040x1050 for a 1680x1050 native resolution setup)

When I say Eyefinity is disabled I mean you have each monitor in either Extended mode or in clone/mirror mode or turned off.

From the way ATI says it from aatherton's posts, it sounds like having 3 monitors regardless of how they are set up is Eyefinity.

I have a 5870 and play dual Eyefinity occasionally, looking to get a 3rd monitor to try out those passive converters I’ve posted in my first post.
February 9, 2010 8:25:15 PM

paperfox said:
I think its my terminology that is confusing you. If say that when you have Eyefinity enabled, you actually have the monitors configured into a display group. (Ex. either 3360x1050 or 5040x1050 for a 1680x1050 native resolution setup)

When I say Eyefinity is disabled I mean you have each monitor in either Extended mode or in clone/mirror mode or turned off.

From the way ATI says it from aatherton's posts, it sounds like having 3 monitors regardless of how they are set up is Eyefinity.

I have a 5870 and play dual Eyefinity occasionally, looking to get a 3rd monitor to try out those passive converters I’ve posted in my first post.



Now I understand what you were saying, I did get the impression from ATI that the converter had to be active but I can't confirm this for sure.

I am looking at a Matrox PCIe x16 Quad card on a local resell site. It is brand new unopened box 512 MB ddr2 with cables for 4 DVI outputs at 1920 x 1200 each. Low power consumption so I shouldn't have to replace the PSU. $200.00...........
a b U Graphics card
a b C Monitor
February 9, 2010 9:05:37 PM

http://www.matrox.com/graphics/en/products/graphics_car...
Are you refering to matrox's M series? Probly that M9120 is what you saw.

If you are going to get 4 monitors that Matrox one would be the best solution, but if you are going to stay with 3 then a 5450($50) + passive adapter($25-50) would be much cheaper in my opinion.
February 13, 2010 1:50:55 AM

Well the decision has been made, I couldn't pass up the deal. I just bought two Matrox M-9140 cards for $400.00. So much for doing it cheap, now I need a new mother board with 2 PCI express slots. My set will have 4 19" wide screens mounted on the wall and 3 on the desktop. This will be quite a learning experience putting it all together.

Thanks again for everyones input.


http://www.matrox.com/graphics/en/products/graphics_car...
February 13, 2010 1:51:24 AM

Best answer selected by aatherton.
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