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What card or cards would work best for me?

Hello crowd,

I am building a system for work and need help selecting an appropriate video card or cards. The basics of the system are:

GIGABYTE GA-Z68XP-UD3 MB
Intel I7-2600 CPU
16 GB (4x4) G.Skill Ripjaw DDR3 1866
Crucial M4 120 GB OS drive

I use a lot of VMs so that is where the need for power and RAM come from. I don't game so I don't need the works on a card. Occasionally I'll watch a blu-ray. I am having trouble selecting a video solution.

I currently use a single dual output card. The outputs connect to VGA replicators and then to 2 monitors each. I work at two desks using the same computer so I have the 2 monitor desktop mirrored. I can rotate all 4 monitors so that they are all facing one computer. I would like to be able to occasionally switch to using all 4 for a single desktop. I also don't want a lot of fan noise, a ton of power used or to spend over $200 for video.

So my questions are:

1. Do I need 1 or 2 cards?
2. Does crossfire or SLI solve my problem?
3. Is there a single card that would do what I want?
4. What do you recommend?

Thanks!
13 answers Last reply Best Answer
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  1. Best answer
    The integrated video on your 2600 is about the power of a $50 discrete graphics card.
    That is sufficient for HD playback and normal desktop operations, even some gaming.

    I suggest you attach two of your monitors to the rear panel outputs of your Z68 motherboard, and leave the other two attached to your current video card.


    You can then span the desktop across all 4 monitors if you wish.

    SLI is a way to harness the power of two video cards to be applied to one display, mostly used for fast action gaming.
    It would not seem appropriate here.
  2. Thanks!
  3. Since I see you are building a new system, I have a couple of added suggestions:

    1) Get a 2600K instead. For a trivial price premium, you will preserve your option to increase the multiplier from 34 to 40 and perhaps higher.

    2) 1866 ram is overclocked ram which does little for you. It is for record seeking overclocking hobbyists. Get 1333 or 1600 ram which will perform within 1-2% in real application performance.
  4. SLI can be used for multiple displays, but you definitely don't need that kind of horsepower.
    Eyefinity can handle 6 displays, but as far as I know it's not that easy to find a cheapish card with 4 outputs. 3 would be very easy to come by, on the other hand.
    ^+1 on the 1600 RAM.
  5. geofelt said:
    Since I see you are building a new system, I have a couple of added suggestions:

    1) Get a 2600K instead. For a trivial price premium, you will preserve your option to increase the multiplier from 34 to 40 and perhaps higher.

    2) 1866 ram is overclocked ram which does little for you. It is for record seeking overclocking hobbyists. Get 1333 or 1600 ram which will perform within 1-2% in real application performance.



    The reason I went with the 2600 and not the 2600k is VM support. The 2600k does not have Intel-VT technology.

    I will switch the RAM out though. Thanks.
  6. What's your native resolution?
  7. bclearyfl said:
    The reason I went with the 2600 and not the 2600k is VM support. The 2600k does not have Intel-VT technology.

    I will switch the RAM out though. Thanks.


    I learned something new today. There are more differences between 2600 and 2600K than I imagined.

    The Intel spec sheet does list Intel® Virtualization Technology (VT-x) as supported.
    Intel® Virtualization Technology for Directed I/O (VT-d) is not supported. Don't know if you need that.

    I am not knowledgeable about vm on pc's, but you might check that out Here is the Intel spec sheet for 2600K:
    http://ark.intel.com/products/52214/Intel-Core-i7-2600K-Processor-(8M-Cache-3_40-GHz)
  8. VT-d is not dependent on VT-x. That is, a VT-x enabled system can operate without VT-d, or without VT-d enabled or configured.
  9. I have a VM environment with nested VMs and the VT-d should give them better performance.

    I use 1900x1200 resolution.
  10. dual 1900 x 1200 is not a problem.
  11. I did a build for a stock trader....I didn't pick the parts but 2 of these were on his build list" - EVGA 01G-P3-1556-KR GeForce GTX 550 Ti

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814130625
  12. Best answer selected by bclearyfl.
  13. This topic has been closed by Maziar
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