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Crossfire/SLI load balancing

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June 14, 2010 9:20:04 AM

If I have three (1080p) screens and two video cards with two DVI ports; where one card is running two screens, and the other card is running one... Can I take the extra power the card with one screen has to boost the card with two screens? Do I even need SLI/CrossFire for that?

Also, looking at motherboards sporting the AM3 socket, I cant seem to find any that have SATA3+SLI, as most seem to be CrossFire.
June 14, 2010 9:25:26 AM

You could use ATi Eyefinity instead which means you can hook up three 1080p monitors to one card, say an HD 5870. I'm not really sure, but I think you do need SLI in order to power three monitors, I could be wrong though.

As for your motherboard question, there are currently no AM3 motherboards which have both SATA III & SLI support. In the near future the ASUS Crosshair IV Extreme will support SLI, but it will probably be relatively expensive. If you really do want SLI support, I suggest you go for the MSI NF980-G65 motherboard and buy a SATA III controller card. Just so you know, SATA III only provides more bandwidth, and most HDDs cannot even use all the bandwidth provided of SATA II.
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June 14, 2010 5:22:07 PM

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... looks like it would be fine, but SATA3... any suggestions for a SATA3 card?
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... if I go with ATI video cards.

My main concern about NVIDIA vs ATI is linux support, but I'm not sure how ATI's drivers are doing these days compared to NVIDIA for high end cards. Reason for SATA3 is I want to get a Crucial C300 SSD.

As I understand it, you dont need SLI/CrossFire to run more than 2 screens, just if you want a performance boost. I ask about load balancing as that may, and probably will change the way I look at components for buying a new system; which is why I started the thread here and not in the videocard part of the forum.

Cheers
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June 14, 2010 5:47:16 PM

Roughly speaking, ATI currently has the better hardware (faster, less power draw) and is more Open Source friendly (offering specs, developing drivers), but when you compare the binary drivers nvidia's are still better.
ATi is better if you want a really open system, as they publish specs and also support open source drivers. But be careful -- the HD5xxx generation still does not have functioning 2D and 3D acceleration -- it is coming soon, but no final dates.
If you absolutely require nVidia-specific software (like WINE) and advanced features such as VDPAU, and don't feel comfortable installing drivers, then nVidia may very well be the better choice for you.

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June 14, 2010 6:14:51 PM

evongugg said:
Roughly speaking, ATI currently has the better hardware (faster, less power draw) and is more Open Source friendly (offering specs, developing drivers), but when you compare the binary drivers nvidia's are still better.
ATi is better if you want a really open system, as they publish specs and also support open source drivers. But be careful -- the HD5xxx generation still does not have functioning 2D and 3D acceleration -- it is coming soon, but no final dates.
If you absolutely require nVidia-specific software (like WINE) and advanced features such as VDPAU, and don't feel comfortable installing drivers, then nVidia may very well be the better choice for you.

I guess I dont really Need good support right now from linux, heck, I could participate in some of the testing/dev stuff too. I was mostly just wondering how things were coming along, as its been a couple'a few years since I last got into it.
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June 14, 2010 7:29:57 PM

H264 said:
I guess I dont really Need good support right now from linux, heck, I could participate in some of the testing/dev stuff too. I was mostly just wondering how things were coming along, as its been a couple'a few years since I last got into it.


ATI has come pretty far in the last two years with their linux support. I have an ATI card and I run Ubuntu 10.04 on my primary machine (work), and I've had no problems with this release. With the same hardware, I had pretty significant problems a couple of years ago on most of the 8.nn releases as well as the early 9.nn releases.

No idea how ATI drivers are for linux gaming, however.
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