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Seeking Advice on Triple Monitor Display Setup

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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May 14, 2012 8:53:40 AM

I upgraded most of my system last September but I held off on the video card since I was not really gaming at that point and it seemed like the NVidia GTX 460 I already had was good enough in the short run.

Here are the basic specs for my current system:
CoolMaster HAF Blue LED Tower
ASRock Z68 Extreme4 MB
i7-2600K running at 4.4 GHz with a Noctua NH-D14 air cooler
16 Gigs of GSkill Ripjaw Mem
120 Gig Crucial M4 SATA III SSD & 2x 2TB WD Caviar Black HDD in a raid
NVidia GTX 460 Video Card

Since GW2 is coming out soon and I am planning on playing it, I am planning on upgrading my card to something like this:

HIS Radeon 7850 IceQ X 2 GB
or
EVGA GeForce GTX 560 Ti Superclocked 1024MB

But I also am thinking about spending some extra cash and going for a 3 monitor setup so I am wondering if some people with experience with a Triple Monitor setup could give me some feedback. I mostly play MMOs (like EVE, Age of Conan and soon GuildWars2) with a little FPS (BF3) thrown in.

What I am wondering is:

1) Is it worth it? Do most/many/some/few games really utilize it and does it make the gaming experience noticeably better? Also if anyone has tried it with GuildWars2 I would love to know if it benefits from it?

2) Concerning your graphics cards, what type are you using? Are the graphics smooth and responsive across all 3 monitors? With a pair of NVidia cards like the one listed above I would need a pair running in SLI to run 3 monitors but with an ATI card I would only technically need one, but does one 7850 card realistically have the power to run all 3 monitors?

3) What monitors do you have and are you happy with them? What would you recommend now?

4) Finally do you have an aftermarket triple monitor stand and if so how do you like it, is it worth the extra cost?

I would greatly appreciate any insight or advice that people have.
a b U Graphics card
May 14, 2012 9:20:40 AM

Well the thing about gaming on 3 1080p monitors is that the resolution is 5760x1080p. That means you need ALOT of graphics horsepower. Also, you rarely look at the other to monitors, or at least you dont notice all the nice detail, so many will tell you its a waste and that you should get a big 30 inch monitor instead.
a b U Graphics card
a b C Monitor
May 14, 2012 9:28:11 AM

My friend is running 3 1600x1050 20 inch monitors off a single 5750 for racing Sims. Works great for that application, and Sims graphics aren't hard to push. You didn't say what Res.

I would absolutely not consider the 560Ti however. 1GB of memory is going to hurt you running multiple monitors, the 7850s are faster cards, and are the same price as the superclocked. So since you would HAVE to use 2 560Ti, and 2 7850s are the same price with.lower power, better performance, and more memory, and you could start with one and get a second if needed that really takes the 560Tis off the table.
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a b U Graphics card
a b C Monitor
May 14, 2012 9:44:07 AM

Max1s said:
Well the thing about gaming on 3 1080p monitors is that the resolution is 5760x1080p. That means you need ALOT of graphics horsepower. Also, you rarely look at the other to monitors, or at least you dont notice all the nice detail, so many will tell you its a waste and that you should get a big 30 inch monitor instead.

Not true. You will look a lot at the side monitors too. In closed room scenarios, the side monitors will show stretched images which somehow distorts the view. This is the time when you can ignore them. But once you are in the open/outside views ( try skyrim in triple monitor ), the view is much better & sometimes breath taking.
I helps a lot having 3 monitors too. Your field of vision is greatly expanded & you do not need to pan your view a lot because you already see what's on the side. You saw the enemies right away & react more quickly than if just on a single monitor.
I spent $2200 for 3x42" TV (yes, TV's are very expensive where I came from unlike in the US) & $520 worth of graphics card ( 2x6950) and never regretted it. I guess this answers Q1.
For Q2: I use 2x6950 & play at 60fps in Skyrim Ultra with lots of HD mods. 7850 will not run triple monitor smoothly. You need at least 2 or 7970. Single 6XX series nVidia GPU's can support triple monitor.
For Q3: 3x 42"LG LED TV. I feel that it may be too big since the size of the hands when on 1st person view are larger than life. 32" is about right & the hands will appear life size. I connect them via VGA & HDMI.
For Q4: No. I just use 3 bedside tables. I have to level them carefully though so that all the screens are vertically aligned.

Regards.

a b U Graphics card
May 14, 2012 10:36:17 AM

1. IMO it is worth it. The field of view in games like BF3 and Skyrim looks cool as hell. In BF3 you can see on either side of you without moving at all so you immediately get an advantage. I can't tell you how many times I saw another player in my peripheral vision and was able to kill them first. I have played a lot of Skyrim and I often found my self just staring at the side monitors because of the cool expanded view of the world. Most games that I have played will support triple monitor resolutions even if the vendor has stated that they do not support it. The only trouble you will find is that games that do not support it you will need to use the widescreen fixer from The Widescreen Gaming Forum to fix the HUD. They have a guy who has written a nice little program that takes care of that problem.

2. You need a lot of graphics horse power to run the kind of setup. Having only 1GB of VRAM will bottleneck the gpu in that resoluition. A game like BF3 needs to have two 680's or two 7970's to run 5760x1080 in ultra. Masseffect 3 can do it with a single 7970 or 680. SKyrim, needs at least a 6990 to hit 50FPS in ultra at that resolution. A single 680 or 7970 will get you in the mid to high 40's and two of either will cards will be a lot more than is needed to maintain 60 FPS.

3. I am using 3 x BENQ G2222HDL 22" LED 1920x1080 and one Acer G195L for 20" 1440x 900 for hardware monitoring. The BENQ monitors have a 0.5" bezel which I have gotten quite used you tend to focus on the main display most of the time. I think these monitors are great for the budget consumer. They are approx $150 each depending on where you buy them.

4. I simply have my monitors on my desk. If you have the space then why bother suspending them in the air. I have my 4th monitor on a wall mount bracket above my center monitor.
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