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If you HAD to have two cards...

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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April 26, 2011 2:08:57 PM

Quick question. I get from the posts in here that one good cards is generally preferred over two weak cards, but if you HAD to drive four monitors and want to do some gaming on the side, what would you do??

I.e., I'm looking at possibly buying TWO 5850s, http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... or possibly 6850s, OR one 6950, http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... and one much lower end card to drive my secondary monitors? Anyone have a good link or info on how the performance of the primary monitor would compare for 2x5850s vs 1x6950??

Thanks in advance. Also open to other configuration suggestions to resolve this dilemma.

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a b U Graphics card
April 27, 2011 12:57:48 PM
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You don't want to try to crossfire two different cards (like a 6950 and a weaker card).

I have 5850's in crossfire- got them before 6xxx series came out. 6850's in crossfire will outperform 5850's (on average) out of the box. If you can find a smoking good deal on a pair of 5850s a lot of people contend that they have more overclocking headroom, but based on benchmarks in reviews the scaling for the 6850's seems to trump them. Also, 6850s have much lower power consumption and only require 1 6-pin PCIe connector each (vs two for 5850s).

It's going to be hard to find a direct comparison of 5850s to a single 6950 (most of the games used in benchmarks then aren't used any longer) but 6850s should be easier. Here is the link to the 6950 review on Tom's Hardware. One of the configurations in the benchmarks is 6850 crossfire.

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-hd-6970-radeon-hd-6950-cayman,2818-9.html

Normally I would say that since the performance is somewhat comparable, go with the single 6950 for the sake of simplicity. However, since you're looking at powering 4 displays, 6850's in crossfire may make more sense. Also, don't rule out GTX 460's- they are a solid competitor to the 6850 and can power 2 displays each.

Last note: how are your monitors set up? All 4 side by side? That seems rather odd- have you thought about going down to 3 for a typical eyefinity setup?
April 27, 2011 1:29:22 PM

Good info. Thx! I could easily go down to 3...especially if I could power them all off ONE card??! That would resolve everything. I would just get the 6950 and not worry about bridging cards at all.

Just glanced at Eyefinity and looks promising, but I need to verify the resolutions. Unfortunately I never looked into that, and didn't realize it could power multiple monitors so this could be the simplest and best answer to my question. I'll look into it further but do you know offhand if there are any drawbacks to using Eyefinity vs multiple cards to power a three monitor setup? (They will display different apps, not one panoramic view) Thanks again for the response. Appreciate it!
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a b U Graphics card
April 27, 2011 4:08:26 PM

You should be fine to use different resolutions/sizes for different monitors. At least one monitor must use Displayport- this must be an "active" displayport, meaning that converting to another output isn't a simple adapter (think it requires an external power supply for these kinds of adapters). Just check to make sure at least one of your monitors has a displayport input.

http://www.amd.com/us/products/technologies/amd-eyefini...

There shouldn't be any drawback to eyefinity vs multi card. This is an area that AMD scores big points for providing this functionality on a single card. Catalyst control center will be your spot to configure the screens, and they should be fine to use different programs on all three screens (or one across all three).
May 4, 2011 1:03:23 AM

Thanks guys. I looked into Eyefinity and should work fine. So I will ultimately have a single 6950 powering 3x24" monitors side-by-side. Will know in a few days if there are any problems.
a b U Graphics card
May 4, 2011 2:05:40 AM

Should not be any problems at all. Get a good 2GB 6950 and all will be well.
May 11, 2011 12:15:28 PM

Went with a single 6950 and ordered an activedisplayport adapter (single-link) from Amazon, as the local Best Buy had never heard of such a thing. Worked beautifully and have exactly what I need now. Thanks all.
May 11, 2011 12:16:00 PM

Best answer selected by cleon.
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