I'm planning on upgrading my monitor from a 17.5 incher (1440x900) to something like a 21.5 inch-23 inches (1920x1080)
In my set-up I currently have one Radeon Hd6850. I plan to Xfire them later.
I fear that if I do upgrade my monitor firs, graphics quality will take a hit on some of the games I play and are planning to play (SC2, BFBC2, BF3, etc.). Should I upgrade my monitor first and just lower the resolution to demanding games? Or should I Xfire first then upgrade the monitor?
Won't playing games outside the native resolution (lower than 1920x1080) of the monitor damage it in some way?
Here's the other components of my system if it'll help:
AthlonII x4 630
Thermaltake Thoughpower XT 775w
You won't damage a monitor by playing on a non-native resolution. But if you do upgrade your monitor first, there's no advantage to playing at a lower resolution-- most games look way better at your native resolution and low/med settings than a low resolution and ultra settings.
1) The size of the monitor is irrelevant. It is the resolution that counts.
A 1080P monitor(1920 x 1080) can be 20" or 60" and the load on the 6850 will be the same.
2) Go ahead and get that bigger monitor first. See how you do.
Keep your original monitor too. Use it to hold static stuff like e-mail and performance monitors. There will be no real impact on your gaming which will be directed to the larger primary monitor.
3) If your game lags, you can always reduce the resolution or eye candy, but I don't think you will need to. A lower resolution than native will not damage the monitor.
But, if you are not running at native resolution, you will not have the same clarity. The pixels will no longer be mapped one to one.
4) To help clarify your upgrade options, run these two tests:
a) Run your games, but lower your resolution and eye candy.
If your FPS increases, it indicates that your cpu is strong enough to drive a better graphics configuration, and a second cf 6850 will be good.
b) Limit your cpu, either by reducing the OC, or, in windows power management, limit the maximum cpu% to something like 70%.
If your FPS drops significantly, it is an indicator that your cpu is the limiting factor, and a cpu upgrade is in order before you add a second 6850.
It is possible that both tests are positive, indicating that you have a well balanced system, and both cpu and gpu need to be upgraded to get better gaming FPS.