Current system: Core i7 920 @ 3.2 GHz, 12 GB RAM @ 1600 MHz, stock GTX 285, two 7200 RPM SATA drives in RAID 0, 850 W PS, ASUS P6T Deluxe mobo, Antec 900 case
Displays: single 30" LCD (2560x1600) with a 24" LCD (1920x1200) on each side (three total)
Usage: For gaming, I want to run BC2 at 2560x1600 with at least high detail, preferably max'd out. I also plan to play Starcraft II and Civ 5 this fall. If possible, I would like use of the other two monitors while gaming as well. When not gaming, I just need to be able to run all three monitors at their native resolutions. My single GTX 285 can't handle these requirements.
Power Usage: currently runs 250 W at idle and about 425 W when playing BC2 at 2560x1600 with medium detail.
Budget: around $500, less would be nice of course...
A few options I've considered:
Keep the 285:
- Add a GTX 285 and run them in SLI for gaming. I'm having doubts about this since the 285 isn't even available on NewEgg anymore and the June graphics card guide seems to recommend ATI almost across the board now.
- Add a GTX 480 or 470 and use that standalone for gaming; keep the GTX 285 and use it for the 24" panels.
Sell the 285:
- Add a single 5870. Can it handle BC2 at max res / max detail and run three displays simultaneously when not gaming? Gives me a better upgrade path later on by adding another 5870, but will I end up in the same trap as I am now with an old-gen 285?
- Run two 5850's in Crossfire. Should be able to handle the requirements but no upgrade path and kinda pricey around ~$600-650.
Major caveat: a friend of mine built basically the same system except he used the ASUS P6T (not deluxe) and a pair of 295's. He found that with 295's and 12 GB of RAM in his system that the system would take 20-30 mins to boot, probably due to something with virtual memory getting jacked up. When he removed either a single 295 or three of the 2 GB RAM sticks the system worked fine. Since I am running 12 GB of memory, I'm concerned that pushing the video memory too high could cause similar problems. Has anyone ever heard of this happening before or know what the issue could have been?
Get two of these; http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
And do it now. The $20 promo code that makes them $270 each expires today. You can't voltmod that version of the card but it should still OC nicely about 25-30%. At those speeds the card should be better than an HD5870 at stock and crossfired they will handle 2560x1600 very well.