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Can someone explain ati & nvidia mulitple screens...

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July 20, 2010 3:56:46 PM

Ok, i am confused here. Maybe someone could kindly explain this for me.

If I wanted to build a system that uses 3 screens for PC gaming, which cards would I have to use?
Nvidia cards (gtx 460, 470, 480, etc.) or ATI (Eyefinity, Hd 5850, 5870, 5970, etc).

Right now, I have a lame #20 inch monitor, but eventually would like to move up to larger, better screens (probably next year), but what system can I build to start off and over the months add on to it to build the system up to handle it? (Heck, i was even thinking about 3 - 40" screens by next year).

I like Nvidia and I prefer an i7-930 processor.

Thanks!
a b Î Nvidia
July 20, 2010 4:14:46 PM

In order to use more than 3 screens with nvidia cards you need 2 cards, the ATI 5xxx series allows you to use 3 screens on a single card as long as one of them is display port or you use an active converter.
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July 20, 2010 4:17:41 PM

In terms of what cards you can use to run three monitors, any of the new generation of cards work (all GTX 4xx, all HD 5xxx). In terms of what you'd need to actually run the games at medium settings you'd need at least (price lowest to highest) 5870, 2x GTX 460, 2x 5850, GTX 480, or 2x GTX 470. To play at maximum setttings, you'll need either 5970, 2x 5870, or 2x GTX 480.

The cheapest build you can get that would play games with three (1080p) monitors is an X4 955 with the HD 5970. It's generally recommended that if your only goal is to play games with maximum details on three 1920x1080 monitors, you should be looking at the 5970.
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July 20, 2010 5:16:50 PM

hunter315 said:
In order to use more than 3 screens with nvidia cards you need 2 cards, the ATI 5xxx series allows you to use 3 screens on a single card as long as one of them is display port or you use an active converter.


Ok, sorry to ask, but what does that mean?
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July 20, 2010 5:17:25 PM

MadAdmiral said:
In terms of what cards you can use to run three monitors, any of the new generation of cards work (all GTX 4xx, all HD 5xxx). In terms of what you'd need to actually run the games at medium settings you'd need at least (price lowest to highest) 5870, 2x GTX 460, 2x 5850, GTX 480, or 2x GTX 470. To play at maximum setttings, you'll need either 5970, 2x 5870, or 2x GTX 480.

The cheapest build you can get that would play games with three (1080p) monitors is an X4 955 with the HD 5970. It's generally recommended that if your only goal is to play games with maximum details on three 1920x1080 monitors, you should be looking at the 5970.



Which 5970 card would you recommend that can play on three 1080p monitors?
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July 20, 2010 5:23:16 PM

Any of them. Brands don't matter right now for the newer cards. They're all about the same. Just make sure the outputs will work with your monitor or you buy the appropriate adapter.

What hunter is saying is that most of ATI's cards have more than 3 ports, but only 3 can be used at any one time. One of the ports that you must use is the DisplayPort (a type of output). That means you'll need a converter to hook it up to most monitors.
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July 20, 2010 5:23:55 PM

nish-ka-bibble said:
Ok, sorry to ask, but what does that mean?


Nvidia 3d surround requires 2 Fermi based GPU's.

IE, if you want to use 3 monitors with Nvidia, you must get 2 GPUs, cheapest being $400 for 2 GTX 460's.

For ATI a single 5xxx GPU will run up to 3 monitors, up to 6 if you get eyefinity edition 5870.

edit: Grr gotta stop writing gtx 260 when i mean 460
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July 20, 2010 5:30:35 PM

I thought the 4xx had support for mulitple monitors, just not with 3D. Why would the 480 have the same outputs as the 5970 if it didn't?
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July 20, 2010 5:38:27 PM

MadAdmiral said:
Any of them. Brands don't matter right now for the newer cards. They're all about the same. Just make sure the outputs will work with your monitor or you buy the appropriate adapter.

What hunter is saying is that most of ATI's cards have more than 3 ports, but only 3 can be used at any one time. One of the ports that you must use is the DisplayPort (a type of output). That means you'll need a converter to hook it up to most monitors.



Is this one good?

So I would need to get a DisplayPort adapter to hook up to one of the monitors and the other two are just regular hook ups? So like this card I just mentioned above has 2 DVI ports, 1 mini display port and it comes with a converter so you can hook it up to an HDMI monitor. How would this DisplayPort adapter come into play?
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July 20, 2010 5:42:03 PM

banthracis said:
Nvidia 3d surround requires 2 Fermi based GPU's.

IE, if you want to use 3 monitors with Nvidia, you must get 2 GPUs, cheapest being $400 for 2 GTX 460's.

For ATI a single 5xxx GPU will run up to 3 monitors, up to 6 if you get eyefinity edition 5870.

edit: Grr gotta stop writing gtx 260 when i mean 460



What you recommend for a good build around an ATI 5970 or two 5870's that can handle it all? I was going to get the i7-930 but I was considering and AMD just to get a good bang for the buck? Spending about $1200 without monitors, O/S, DVD drive, keyboard, mouse.
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July 20, 2010 5:43:58 PM

That one would be fine. Just realize that there are ones that are a good $50 cheaper counting shipping.

The HDMI adapter runs from one of the DVI ports. So to run the second monitor, you'd either need to hook it up to a DVI port, or get another DVI to HDMI adapter. For the third monitor, you need to attached the DisplayPort to HDMI adapter to the miniDisplayPort adapter, which is connected to the third output.

EDIT: You're not getting either the 5970 or dual 5870 on a $1,200 budget. To get the 5970 (which I consider the minimum for three monitors), you'd need to spend more around $1,400 for the tower.
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July 20, 2010 5:49:40 PM

nish-ka-bibble said:
What you recommend for a good build around an ATI 5970 or two 5870's that can handle it all? I was going to get the i7-930 but I was considering and AMD just to get a good bang for the buck? Spending about $1200 without monitors, O/S, DVD drive, keyboard, mouse.



For gaming, Phenom II x4 vs i7-930, there isn't much difference.

As Mad mentioned, $1,200 is not enough for a 3 monitor setup for gaming.
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July 20, 2010 5:54:37 PM

banthracis said:
Nvidia surround like 3d surround requires 3 monitors and sli GPU's, or a 2 GPU on a stick card ie GTX 295.

You can attach multiple monitors to 4xx in the tradition fashion, but you can't utilize surround.

Full list here
http://www.nvidia.com/object/3dv-system-requirements-su...


I guess I'm not sure what the "surround" part gets you...
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July 20, 2010 5:57:40 PM

surround is the equivalent of eyefinity, cept you must use 3 monitors.

IE allows you to treat multiple monitors as a single large monitor.

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July 20, 2010 6:18:05 PM

banthracis said:
For gaming, Phenom II x4 vs i7-930, there isn't much difference.

As Mad mentioned, $1,200 is not enough for a 3 monitor setup for gaming.



Well, what would be a good build to start with and then add on to over the months as I save up? I like the Intel, but would gladly entertain the AMD.
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July 20, 2010 6:19:59 PM

MadAdmiral said:
That one would be fine. Just realize that there are ones that are a good $50 cheaper counting shipping.

The HDMI adapter runs from one of the DVI ports. So to run the second monitor, you'd either need to hook it up to a DVI port, or get another DVI to HDMI adapter. For the third monitor, you need to attached the DisplayPort to HDMI adapter to the miniDisplayPort adapter, which is connected to the third output.

EDIT: You're not getting either the 5970 or dual 5870 on a $1,200 budget. To get the 5970 (which I consider the minimum for three monitors), you'd need to spend more around $1,400 for the tower.


Really? Which one and where? On newegg, they are all in the high $600 range....
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July 20, 2010 6:26:31 PM

Well base price would be

Phenom II x4 955 $160
GA 790 UD4 $140
4 gb G Skill Eco DDR3 1600 cas 7 $105
Spinpoint F3 1TB HD $75
HAF 922 $90
Random $20 Optical
Corsair 850TX PSU $130
5907 $700

= $1420. Can knock a fair amount using combo's.

This is base system. Monitors are ~$160 for a 21.5" 1920x1080
OS is $100 if you need

So final cost is ~$2,000 before peripherals.
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Best solution

July 20, 2010 6:41:36 PM

Here's a list of parts that'd be good:

CPU/Mobo: X4 955 and Gigabyte GA-790XTA-UD4 $285 after rebate (with free game)
RAM: G.Skill Eco 2x2 GB 1600 mhz CAS Latency 7 $105
GPU: HD 5970 $680
HDD: Samung Spinpoint F3 1 TB $75
PSU: Cosair 850W $110 after rebate
Case: HAF 922 $90
Optical: Cheap SATA DVD burner $18

Total: $1,364. There might be more combos out there, but this is the basic idea.
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July 20, 2010 7:23:25 PM

MadAdmiral said:
Here's a list of parts that'd be good:

CPU/Mobo: X4 955 and Gigabyte GA-790XTA-UD4 $285 after rebate (with free game)
RAM: G.Skill Eco 2x2 GB 1600 mhz CAS Latency 7 $105
GPU: HD 5970 $680
HDD: Samung Spinpoint F3 1 TB $75
PSU: Cosair 850W $110 after rebate
Case: HAF 922 $90
Optical: Cheap SATA DVD burner $18

Total: $1,364. There might be more combos out there, but this is the basic idea.


Pretty sweet. I guess the i7-930 would push this up greatly, even though I can get it at Microcenter for $200. Will that AMD hold out with that powerful GPU? Won't the i7 or the i5 do better?

By the way, I DJ on the radio up here in Maine early in the morning, 6-8am, Mon. Wed, & Fri. Do y'all want to hear a song i can play for ya in return for going all of this me? I sincerely appreciate it. Oh, you can listen to it over the internet at www.wbor.org. My show is called "Woody in the Morning" :-) I play just about everything. Oh, you might have to click on that link twice to get it work :lol: 
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July 20, 2010 7:29:26 PM

Actually, Phenom II x4 vs i7 makes no difference when at high resolution with eye candy. Gaming is highly GPU dependent, not CPU.

You can see how overclocking the CPU nets no performance gain after a small overclock.

There is even less of a difference once you have 3 monitors you need the GPU to power.

http://www.legionhardware.com/articles_pages/cpu_scalin...
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July 20, 2010 8:23:22 PM

The problem with the i7 isn't that you can't get it for (relatively) cheap. It's that once you have the CPU, the boards cost a good $100 more and then you need triple channel RAM for another $70-80. With the $200 i7, it still costs $200-$230 more than the X4 955. It's better to save your money and get a bigger GPU.
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August 23, 2010 2:30:54 AM

Best answer selected by buwish.
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