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Please share your thoughts on my build with (3) displays

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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May 1, 2011 5:05:01 AM

The new Core series from Intel is fast and has a built in graphics chip. I know it is not up to par with some powerful video graphics cards. It still has very good on-board graphics and I can power (2) 24 LED/LCD displays nicely, good enough to use my system for real-time day trading. My thought from the beginning was why buy the fastest CPU that just happens to have graphics, then buy a motherboard that has lots of tweaking ability but also shuts off that wonderful free Graphics HD-3000. It has turbo-boost on the video processor that actually adjusts speed to a higher frequency that normal mode when you need it. I will give you my list of parts build, then my mission to run (3) displays in partial hybrid.

Prolimatech Megahalems Rev. B CPU Cooler; Intel Core i7-2600K, 3.4Ghz (3.8Ghz Turbo Boost) 8MB L3 Cache 95W 4-Cores.
Corsair XMS3 16GB (4 x 4GB) 240 pin DDR3-1333 Desktop Memory Ram (This was the highest supported by the mobo).
Motherboard Gigabyte GA-H67A-UD3H-B3 (LGA-1155) this mobo is designed to take full advantage of Intel's on-board graphics.
No SSD here, Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB, 64MB Cache, Sata 6.0. 3.5", 5 year warranty, internal hard disk drive.
Nice big case, Cooler Master HAF-932, Black, lots of fans, lots of red LED's, its mostly steel, and it even has a set of wheels.
Corsair Enthusiast Series CMPSU-550VX 550W ATX12V V2.2 SLi Ready and Crossfire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Comptible.
Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit in English.
D-Link DGL-4100 10/100/1000Mps GamerLounge Broadband Gigabit gaming Router (to provide broadband to (4) total pc's if needed).
(3) Asus VH242H Black 23.6" 5ms HDMI Full 1080P LED/LCD Monitor (display), each comes with VGA, HDMI, and DVI-I inputs.
Lite-ON 24x DVD Writer Black Black Sata Model iHAS-424-98

To this point I have (2) displays working and want (3). With some help from Gigabyte Tech Support, I go to the BIOS to do some tweaking. At the Advanced Bios Option: Go to INiT Display (the default is PCi) (Change the defaut to "Onboard").
Next: Just below previous tweak, go to On-board VGA (the default - enable if no ext PEG). That was the only BIOS changes.

Shut off pc. Installed this card: Nvidia Graphics Video Card Gigabyte GV-N550OC-1Gi GeForce GTX-550 Ti (Fermi) 1GB 192-bit GDDR5 PCI-Express I do not know if you will have success with a AMD/ATI graphics card in this situation. Load software from Gigabyte website for this card.

Reboot. Adjust screen arrangement, #1 screen on left Intel Graphics, Center #2 screen is Intel Graphics, #3 screen is Nvidia Graphics.
It all works fine, very stable, and I am doing what we were told could not be done, which is to use both types of these graphics on one pc and (3) dispalys. I can pan the cursor all the way from left, across the center, and to the right side with no issues. My charts for day trading are larger and I can load more of them. I can have something different in each screen just like you would need. Thanks to Leo at Gigabyte Tech Support for helping me dream big. I figured we paid for the GPU in the Intel CPU and I wanted to use it. Now I can!

Will this help anyone? Do you like or dislike the idea? Thank you for reading my thoughts.
a c 376 U Graphics card
May 1, 2011 5:32:09 AM

I don't know why anyone would tell you that can't be done because (obviously) it can. Personally I would have gone with a P67 board and a current ATI/AMD card as they can support three monitors on their own. If you really wanted to use the onboard graphics for some reason then I would have saved a bit of money on the non-K version of the processor. The onboard graphics are a bit weaker but for non-gaming purposes it wouldn't matter at all really.
As for the parts you picked out 16gb of RAM is pretty useless and waste of money. You will almost definitely never use more than 8, and quite possibly not more than 4. The GTX 550 Ti is not really an appropriate choice unless you will be gaming. A card less than half the price would have been just as good for your purposes. Those two things would have saved you enough to get an SSD which actually would give you a nice performance improvement.
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May 1, 2011 6:06:14 AM

Those are interesting comments. I appreciate your insight. I will take all the advice and wisdom I can get to make my system better and to helps others. Take care.
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a c 376 U Graphics card
May 1, 2011 6:13:41 AM

FYI you can use a fourth monitor if you want to as the GTX 550 Ti can support 2.
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a c 170 U Graphics card
May 1, 2011 7:06:10 AM

a few points:
1) the RAM is overkill. You should remove 8GB of it as it's just adding heat with ZERO benefit for your purposes. Actually you aren't benefitting above 4GB but I assume you have a 4x4GB setup so leaving 2x4GB makes the most sense.

2) Get a 120GB SSD in the future. They just had an awesome sale (over for now) where the OCZ Vertex 2 120GB was $150 at NCIX. I'd wait for a future sale or for prices to naturally come down.

3) Backup Windows to a secondary drive using Acronis and/or Windows 7 Image. If you have a Western Digital Drive they have a free version of Acronis True Image.

*If you get an SSD and have a Western Digital hard drive with Windows on it you can use the free Acronis TI software to easily CLONE Windows over to the SSD.

**I was SHOCKED to discover that normal multi-tasking on my high-end system was significantly SLOWER when I had to temporarily go back to my 300GB Velociraptor hard drive when an SSD failed. I have gotten so used to my SSD (Vertex 2) that I couldn't stand going back to a hard drive even if it's relatively fast for a hard drive (and it was almost agony using my dad's laptop).
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May 1, 2011 12:06:14 PM

I appreciate you taking the time to write and share your thoughts and experiences. I am beginning to see an SSD in the future for this pc. One thing that pushed me to buying my current setup verses the bigger, more powerful video card route with one big card driving three displays was power efficiency. Since I pay my electric bill I was concerned about a big video card hogging power. Using the on-board GPU and this middle of the road card really does save on kilowatts. I have my pc plugged into a watt meter and with all the items above listed in my original post including the GTX-550 I use 75 watts at idle. I have never seen it go past 101 watts yet. I know that seems incredibly low but that was the reason behind using the on-board GPU. These new components and designs are very power efficient. Your SSD idea will only help with more speed and power efficiency. Thank you for sharing your ideas.
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a c 376 U Graphics card
May 1, 2011 12:55:37 PM

Your logic isn't quite right. At the moment you are using both a discrete video card and the onboard graphics. If you had gotten one of the cards that supports three monitors you would be using only the card which translates into less power. No one was ever suggesting a "bigger, more powerful video card." I was suggesting the opposite in fact. The card you already have is way more than you need. These days all cards underclock/volt themselves to save power when not being stressed(by 3D applications) which is why you still have such low power numbers despite having bought a semi-powerful gaming card you didn't need.
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May 11, 2011 12:30:30 AM

Best answer selected by krr711.
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