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I need help choosing a video card for "three display setup"

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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June 2, 2011 2:07:06 AM

Hello Tom's Hardware,

I plan on setting up a gaming rig that allows me to use three displays. What GPU allows me to do this? Before anyone suggests an ATI card because of Eyefinity, please hear me out first. My three displays consists of two small identical LCD monitors via DVI, and a larger display that is actually an LED-LCD TV via HDMI. I plan to game only using my LED-LCD TV, whereas my two smaller LCD's will be used for multitasking purposes like web browsing. In short, I would like the three displays to view things independently rather than having one widescreen panoramic as controlled by Eyefinity. (But then again, I'm not really familiar with all of Eyefinity's features so if someone can correct me on this, I'd appreciate it.)

Right now, I'm considering either an ATI Radeon HD 6970 or an nVidia GTX 570. I don't care too much for the difference in performance between the two since these cards can pretty much play anything at extreme settings. People arguing about x is better than y are pretty much either being nit-picky or reacting to their own fanboyism. I'm not like that; all I want is a graphics card that is new, reliable, and most importantly, does exactly what I want as described above in my first paragraph.

Also, I'm on a budget so I would prefer a single card rather than two in Crossfire/SLI mode, but I'm willing to spend a little extra if it's necessary. But one thing I'm not too sure about is why people keep saying that even if a GPU has an HDMI port I can't technically use it for my third display if I have two monitors already connected via DVI, and that I would need an active display port adapter to connect the HDMI TV instead? It doesn't make any sense to me as doing so would render the HDMI port built-in to the GPU useless, but you guys are the experts so I hope someone can explain this to me.

Thanks!
June 2, 2011 11:44:05 PM

Bump.

Okay, so I basically drew up a quick picture of how I plan to set up my three displays.



As you can see, the images projected are all different so that's why I'm saying I don't really want to have Eyefinity enabled. So basically, if I have an active display port adapter can I hook up both DVI and HDMI connections all on one card? Or do I need another card and Crossfire/SLI it? Thanks.

(Note: The cards I'm considering right now are either the Radeon HD 6970 or the GTX 570.)
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