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What GPU/Monitor needed for this purpose & system?

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March 26, 2012 8:07:46 PM

I'm building a system from scratch and I want to have it set up so that my monitor is large (30"+), wall-mounted, and quite adjustable (i.e. tilt, ideally have it able to have at eye level when setting or higher up when viewing from across the room). I have most everything settled in terms of hardware, aside from a few contingent components like PSU and GPU. Here's what I'm looking at:

CPU: i7 Core 2600K (not OC'ed)
Mobo: ASRock Z68 Extreme3 Gen3
GPU: Undecided, but currently considering SAPPHIRE 100315L Radeon HD 6850 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card with Eyefinity
>> My needs: Exclusively Diablo 3 (which recommends AMD 4870, so this is more than enough)
>> Large (30"+) wall-mounted monitor, perhaps with the ability to switch to live TV when PC monitor is not needed (I understand this requires a TV tuner PCI card, but I don't know much more than that)
Boot SSD: Corsair Force Series GT CSSD-F180GBGT-BK 2.5" 180GB SATA III Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) -- Currently on sale for $210 after MIR!! :bounce: 
Work HDD: Any well-priced 1-2TB 7200RPM SATA 6Gb/s 3.5" (Currently waiting to come across a good deal)
RAM: Any well-priced 16GB (2x 8GB) cards (Currently waiting to come across a good deal - trying to avoid models with stupid-tall heatsinks :D  )
Case: Any well-priced ATX Mid Tower with front-access USB 3.0 & some sort of sound-dampening capability (Currently considering Fractal Design Define R3 Black Pearl w/ USB 3.0 ATX Mid Tower Silent PC Computer Case but waiting to see a better deal on something similar)
Cooling System: Any extra 120mm fans with PWM & possibly a system heatsink (given that sound-dampening foam serves to insulate the system)
Opt Drive(s): 1x DVD Reader/Burner, possibly 1x SD/SDHC reader (not necessary right now but would certainly get some use)

I think that covers everything. My focus in this thread is the GPU & Monitor.

First and foremost, I would like a large HD monitor (no built-in speakers necessary) that can be wall-mounted in a way that will allow me to tilt it (only down is necessary) and adjust its height on the wall to be either eye-level (when working at my desk) or higher up when I am viewing from across the room (it's not a very large room, but I may be seated approx. 10-12ft from the monitor) - What kind of mounts are needed to do this? - Viewing the monitor from across the room would serve both media-viewing (movies) and gaming (Diablo 3, with wireless mouse & keyboard)
>> I've been told to look into purchasing a Monitor (not an HDTV) for my purposes in order to maintain good resolution when using the computer. I don't really watch HDTV much anyway, but it's a plus to be able to turn on a sports game when I please. I will be using it most often for these purposes, from most to least frequent: 1) General PC use, 2) Diablo 3, 3) Watching movies (in both HD and standard def), 4) Live TV
>> What specs are required/a good investment for these purposes. Please note that Diablo 3 is not a very graphically-intensive game. Please note that I intend to use this monitor to watch movies & TV (If I get a TV tuner card as well)

Next, the GPU. The model I'm looking at is more than enough for Diablo 3, but I really like its positive reputation and available output slots (HDMI, VGA, DVI). Power consumption is a concern - I would like to keep this at a minimum without sacrificing the quality of gaming/hd video) - I believe the Sapphire HD 6850 runs around ~150W, which is a little high IMO. It's also overkill for Diablo 3, so I would certainly be open-minded about downgrading a little bit. That being said, I wouldn't want to buy something so low budget that I'll end up needing to upgrade it in only 1 year.

Finally, the TV Tuner - I know nothing about these. What are they used for and why are they necessary? What's needed for my purposes? Do I actually need this at all? Please fill me in : :) 

Okay, then. That's it for now. Thanks for reading - I look forward to your feedback!

EXTRA NOTE: The deal on the GPU I referenced ends 3/31 (5 days from this post) so if I'm going to get it, I need to act sooner than later to get the price listed in this thread.
a c 84 U Graphics card
a b C Monitor
March 26, 2012 9:12:52 PM

30''+ monitors are expensive as hell and use 2650*1600 or *1440 resolution. I'm sure the 6850 wouldnt have enough oomph to run games smoothly at so high rez...

1080p HDTV is easier on the gpu and if you are useing it few meters away the clarity will be just fine...
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March 26, 2012 9:26:40 PM

Gotcha. I wasn't thinking about that, honestly. Graphics and monitors are well out of my area of expertise :) 

I suppose I would want to run things on 1900x1080, simply because that seems to be the best resolution that's supported by many cards.
>> Note: The GPU I have listed claims that when utilizing Eyefinity, "The new display interface DisplayPort 1.2 boasts features such as 2560x1600 max resolution per display" -- It could probably handle this kind of resolution for regular PC use, but gaming is certainly another story. Either way, anything more than 1900x1080 isn't needed.

I just took some rough measurements of the space where I would place the monitor and realize that anything larger than 30" really is more than needed. But 24" seems too small -- 30" exactly looked like the perfect size. (Not sure if they come in this size or just 32")

As for going with an HDTV, I was told in another thread that HDTVs do not operate well as PC monitors, and often have built-in speakers that cost you more but don't deliver the performance I would get with the computer speakers & subwoofer I already own.

Here's exactly what the other person said about monitors:

Quote:
The cheapest way to have a monitor which acts as both a TV and a monitor would be to simply buy a TV and connect it to your PC via HDMI or VGA and to your TV antenna. Although this is the cheapest way, TV's don't tend to look all that great as computer monitors. A better (but more expensive) way would be to buy a nice monitor and install a TV card in your PC. You could then connect your PC via the DVI connector and anything else you need via HDMI etc. Monitors tend to have better colours and response times as well as looking nicer externally. It also means you won't be using terrible sounding TV speakers, you can use your PC speakers for TV and movies. Connecting a second monitor is a relatively painless process also, simply connect it via the other DVI socket (or HDMI/Displayport/VGA) and you should be ready to go. I should mention however should you plan to add another one, a third monitor isn't as simple as that.
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a b U Graphics card
March 26, 2012 9:30:15 PM

While I can't advise you on wall mounts or 30"+ monitors, I can give you a little general advice. Mainly, an HD 6850 isn't going to give you good results at that resolution. Even games that aren't that graphically challenging start to hit cards very hard at 2560x1600.

This is because increasing resolution has a non-linear effect on GPU workload. For each factor of N increase in resolution, you have an N-squared increase in GPU workload. As it turns out, 2560x1600 needs your GPU to render almost exactly twice as much visual information than 1920x1080.

I'd really suggest you look into a more powerful card than the 6850. With Kepler finally launched, we're going to start seeing competition in the high end space again and I expect a price drop to accompany it. If you're patient, you can probably grab a 7870 for $250-$275, which will have no problem at that resolution.
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a b U Graphics card
March 26, 2012 9:33:20 PM

Just saw you replied before I did.
Quote:
I just took some rough measurements of the space where I would place the monitor and realize that anything larger than 30" really is more than needed. But 24" seems too small -- 30" exactly looked like the perfect size. (Not sure if they come in this size or just 32" )

Can you do 27"? You can get good 27" monitors running at 1920x1080 for ~$250 if you catch them on sale.

Quote:
As for going with an HDTV, I was told in another thread that HDTVs do not operate well as PC monitors, and often have built-in speakers that cost you more but don't deliver the performance I would get with the computer speakers & subwoofer I already own.

This is correct. An HDTV is going to have vastly inferior pixel density and refresh rates compared to an actual monitor. Text will look fuzzy, and colors might not be right. I don't ever recommend using a TV as a monitor, they just don't work very well in most cases.
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a c 84 U Graphics card
a b C Monitor
March 26, 2012 9:52:03 PM

^^yeah, a big HDTV wouldn't look nice if you are watching it just few feets away, but 10 feet or so...

also you can use easily use separate speakers for anything using the pc, like games and such, and some tvs even have sound outputs...

27'' 1080p monitor sounds like a nice solution as well
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March 27, 2012 1:15:19 AM

Ok so we've got this much settled:

PC Monitor > HDTV
1900x1080 resolution
27"-30"

The following I'm still not sure about:

1) What TV tuner to get?
>> After reading some more on these, I've heard that I can choose between a USB-connected TV tuner or a PCI (or PCIe) -connected TV tuner. My mobo only has two PCIe x16 slots, so I may want to go with plain PCI or USB.
>> I believe I receive digital cable. I know it's primarily through a cable box (that can access all paid-for channels) but other coaxial cable connections in the house allow for limited viewing of other channels (presumably ClearQAM). None of the TV I receive is HD - only my saved movies are HD (often 720p). I have no desire to record any TV, just the ability to turn it on and watch a sports game or two when I feel like it. Because of this, I feel like I may want to go the inexpensive route, but I'm still not sure what minimum requirements I should be considering.

2) What monitor specs are worth considering, and what are worth avoiding (probably due to unnecessarily high prices)? A while back I was thinking about buying my first HDTV, and certain details stood out to me then -- back-lit (as opposed to side-lit) lighting, LED > Plasma > LCD, etc -- but I'm not sure which of these details still apply and which are worth spending a few extra bucks to make sure I don't regret my purchase.
>> To reiterate, I know I'm interested in a monitor with the following specs at a minimum: 27"-30", 1900x1080 res, not a HDTV
>> The following are things I am NOT interested in: 3D, built-in speakers
>> What other specs should I consider/invest in? I have seen some monitors with built-in TV tuners, but this would presumably limit my choices there (although it would free up a PCI/PCIe/USB slot needed for a PC-connected TV tuner)

3) What wall mount will allow me to tilt and adjust distance from screen to floor (I'd like it to start ~4ft. from the floor and be adjustable to go as high as ~6ft. from the floor) -- How much can I expect to pay for something like this?
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a b U Graphics card
March 27, 2012 1:23:58 AM

Dude buy your self a nice 42" Samsung LED TV mount it on a wall and get at least Radeon 6950...or Geforce 560Ti...case closed...I played D2 with high resolution patch on my 40" and it looked peaty damm good at 1080 ( I RMAed my 30' monitor and was bored so did this experiment)

Plus you will not need a TV card :D 
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a b U Graphics card
March 27, 2012 1:26:57 AM

Anyway if you go for 30" with 2560x1600 you will need a crossfire setup to cope smoothly on such high resolution. I have two radeon 6970. So If you a short on cash just get a nice TV just don't be too close to it lol
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March 27, 2012 1:57:07 AM

I appreciate the response, maxinexus, but what you were talking about has already been ruled out for my needs.

I don't need a HDTV because I really don't watch that much TV, and I still have a standard def cable box. I really only need the monitor to connect to a TV card for convenience so I can flip on television when I feel like it, which really isn't that often.

I will also be doing all my work/play at 1920x1080 (hopefully), no more than that.

And we're talking about Diablo 3, not D2 :D  unless that was just a typo and you're talking about playing the beta.



Given that info, what else can you recommend? Please note the 3 outstanding things I haven't figured out yet: Tv tuner, monitor, and mount
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April 3, 2012 12:45:15 AM

Best answer selected by bjsdtl.
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