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ATI eyefinity or 2 Nvidia cards for 3 monitors?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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September 12, 2010 2:03:39 AM

I currently have 2 24" monitors and am planning to get a 30" monitor to go between them. Now question is how to drive them. I have an Nvidia 9600 GT that I intend to replace. Do I replace it with one card that drives 3 monitors (ATI eyefinity card) or 2 cards that drive 3 monitors (Nvidia x 2). Here's what I use my system for:

1. Video editing with Adobe Premiere Pro
2. Some games

I do NOT intend to do SLI/Crossfire. I am more of a casual gamer. Likewise I don't intend to buy the top of the line card regardless of which way I go, as long as it's faster than I currently have (9600 GT). Nor do I intend to buy Quadro as it is far too expensive. So the questions are:

I know I lose Cuda and PhysX if I go with ATI over Nvidia, but what does that really mean? How much does Cuda really speed up Adobe Premiere if I am NOT going with a Quadro card? What do I lose if I go with 2 Nvidias over the ATI?

Note that the 30" will connect via displayport and the 2 24s will connect via DVI, in case that's important.
September 13, 2010 7:39:39 AM

I should mention the cards I am looking at right now are either an ATI 5850 or 2 Nvidia GTX 460. I am not considering the Nvidia 3D since that requires 3 identical monitors. I have the power to handle either setup, so really my decision is just a matter of what do I really lose in regards to Adobe Premiere Cuda support if I go with the simpler and cheaper ATI card?
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a b U Graphics card
September 13, 2010 9:29:23 AM

The GTX 460 setup will beat the 5850 setup, for that reason I recommend it, as for connecting three monitors to it, im not sure if this is possible, I don't know about nVidias counter-part to eyefinity and if its released yet.

*460's is a better setup so if it can do 3x monitors pick that.

EDIT: I read a old forum post that said you could so a 3x monitor setup so I would recommend getting the 460's and HAVING A BLAST :) 
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September 13, 2010 2:55:01 PM

Yes, two 460 cards will do 3 monitors, just not in 3D mode without identical monitors. That's ok by me. My preference is for the single card, but I don't know exactly what I lose by going that route. I'm ok losing a few fps in games. It's Adobe Premiere that concerns me, but even adobe doesn't tell you how much Cuda support speeds things up, only that it does, and they are more heavily pushing the Quadro support, which starts at $800 so I am not even considering that.
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a c 376 U Graphics card
a b Î Nvidia
a b C Monitor
September 13, 2010 3:02:49 PM

I believe Nvidia Surround requires all the monitors to have the same resolution.
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September 14, 2010 2:26:31 AM

You are correct for the 3D surround, but I don't need that. Three monitors of different size will work with any 2 video cards.
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a c 376 U Graphics card
a b Î Nvidia
a b C Monitor
September 14, 2010 4:11:07 AM

Well you can keep the 9600GT to run the third monitor if you don't actually want an extended desktop/gaming on all three monitors. Keep in mind that if you will be gaming on a 30"(presumably 2560x1600) monitor it is going to require a serious video card. I would recommend a GTX 470 or HD5850 at minimum. An HD5850 will give you significantly better power efficiency/less heat compounded by that you can ditch the 9600GT entirely. Added together they should account for significant savings over time on your electric bill. A GTX 470 would give you GPU acceleration in Premiere. This seems like a good article on what that will actually mean;
http://tech.icrontic.com/articles/reviews/a-case-for-gp...
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September 14, 2010 6:39:11 AM

Excellent! That's the kind of info I'm looking for. Thanks much! While there is a noticeable difference, I was actually surprised that they had to run 6 simultaneous HD videos to bog down the system with the non-Nvidia card. So I'm going to forgo Cuda in favor of the single card solution and get a 5850. Now to figure out which one... I am looking at the XFX cards, but they have several models with the exact same specs...

HD-585A-ZNFV
HD-585X-ZAFC
HD-585X-ZAFV

I have an email in to XFX to clarify the differences, but haven't heard back yet. I think the last two are the same with different software but they have a different fan from the first one.
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a b U Graphics card
September 14, 2010 8:34:15 AM

It's most likely that the only difference is a revision of the PCB. check them out @ newegg and read the comments.
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a c 376 U Graphics card
a b Î Nvidia
a b C Monitor
September 14, 2010 10:03:48 AM

The XFX cards are alright but if you want the best HD5850 this would be the one to get;
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Especially so if you are going to be overclocking. The cooler is very quiet and effective and the card allows you to boost the voltage of the core. This often will let you get speeds of up to 1ghz which is an impressive 38% boost. At those speeds its performance should be in the general area of a stock GTX 480.
Here is a review;
http://www.legitreviews.com/article/1273/1/
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September 14, 2010 2:50:19 PM

I don't overclock and I prefer a card that exhausts the air out the back (as well as protecting the components from accidental damage). So I am passing on any with the "egg shroud" design.
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September 16, 2010 2:43:31 AM

I got the scoop from XFX - 585A is the "reference card" - these are pretty much the same from all vendors. The 585X has improved airflow and quieter fan and is the one to get unless you are looking for the egg shround, which has its own pluses and minuses. Ordering now...
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a c 376 U Graphics card
a b Î Nvidia
a b C Monitor
September 16, 2010 8:45:37 AM

None of the cards you listed are the reference design.
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September 17, 2010 2:38:25 AM

When I spoke to them, I just said, "tell me the difference between the one with the fan near the back of the card and the one with the fan in the middle, but not the egg shroud". That was close enough for me without getting into the rather large list of part numbers they have. I went for the "fan in the middle" as they claim it is both quieter and cooler than the "fan near the back".
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a c 173 U Graphics card
a b Î Nvidia
a b C Monitor
September 17, 2010 2:47:59 AM

Being forced to have the same res on all monitors is what sucks atm on both ATI and Nvidia. At least ATI allows for better support but drivers suck except for on older cards :s You can have more than two monitors on a sli setup but I have yet to test that but have seen people having it working. I know that isn't in your interest but get one decent card and keep the 9600gt for driving the third monitor is staying with Nvidia. Hack the Nvidia drivers if getting an ATI card but still want to keep the 9600gt in use.
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September 17, 2010 3:12:54 AM

Who says you need identical res? As far as I know that's not so. ATI can run 3 monitors of any res, as long as one of them has a displayport input. With 2 Nvidia cards you can drive 4 monitors of different res, you just can't run them in the fancy new 3D mode. You also need special monitors with high refresh rate for 3D anyway. I don't game enough to warrant buying 3 new "3D Ready" monitors.
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a c 173 U Graphics card
a b Î Nvidia
a b C Monitor
September 17, 2010 3:32:41 AM

I take that back about needing same res on both or all monitors. : I just swapped one of my monitors out and learned that I was wrong. I will try more than 2 monitors with sli enabled on my intel rig tomorrow.
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September 24, 2010 1:51:32 AM

My card has arrived and according to the instructions as long as you are doing simple desktop extension you can use any res on any monitor. They only have to be the same res to use a 3-monitor portal for games. I intend to play games in a window on a single monitor, so not an issue for me. I have to play in a window as I am one of those that gets nauseous from the faux movement.
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October 1, 2010 5:19:29 AM

Best answer selected by realmadmartian.
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a c 271 U Graphics card
a c 171 Î Nvidia
a b C Monitor
October 1, 2010 5:33:41 AM

This topic has been closed by Mousemonkey
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