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A New Graphics Card; Using 2 Monitors

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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June 20, 2012 10:11:05 PM

I'm looking to buy a new graphics card. I may or may not run two monitors, depending on what kind of FPS I can get running a game in one and just a browser/general use stuff in the other. I don't plan to use both for gaming at the same time, unless I'm running some very low-end games. I'm not going to be doing Battlefield 3 on one and Crysis 2 on the other.

My price range is about $200-$400.

My specs are:
Case: Antec 900 Mid Tower
Motherboard: EVGA P55 SLI ATX Intel
Video Card: MSI GeForce 250GTS
Processor: Intel i5-750 Lynnfield 2.66GHz LGA 1156 95W
RAM: 8GB (2x4GB) G.SKILL 240-pin DDR3 1600
Power Supply: Corsair CMPSU-650TX 650W ATX12V / EPS12V
Processor Fan: Zalman 120mm

I want to be current with recent graphics (meaning maxed settings, including AA, etc, where possible). Pretty standard stuff (Battlefield 3, Crysis 2, etc). I'd love to be able to run a second monitor at the same time, but if that will only be possible on somewhat reduced settings, that's also fine. (I run a 1366x768 widescreen monitor presently.) I am going to have to wait at least a month to get it, so if waiting a little longer than that for the current tech to get cheaper is a good option, that's fine too.

I was looking at the GTX 670. Seems like it will be current enough for me for a good while. I have no preference on brand, etc. Just wanting to know what a good option for me would be.

Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!

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a c 102 U Graphics card
June 20, 2012 10:52:06 PM

Running a second monitor will not force you to reduce your in game settings. You will just have one monitor playing the game while the other is sitting at desktop...Your budget is really broad if you could narrow it down we could better help you...There is a huge difference in performance from a 200 dollar card to a 400 dollar card. Also have you ever considered overclocking your processor? That will help you alot if you were to get a higher end card (around $400) a 670 would be a great card to get if you are willing to put the money down for it. You wont be disappointed. As far as specific brands go pick the one you like best. Look at aftermarket cooling options cards too they add some price onto the card but help you down the road if you want to oc
June 21, 2012 1:30:34 AM

I will admit that I am not very big into overclocking. I have considered trying it some. I might indeed try it with my processor.

As for budget. I would like to stay near $200, as I could get the card sooner, but if holding out for the 670 will, more or less, ensure that I can jump onto the cutting edge of things (max or nearly so in high fidelity games, as I mentioned), then I'm willing to hold out for that long. I know that's still rather broad. I guess what I'm kind of asking is whether it's worth the wait? Whether I need the high-end card to achieve what I'm going for, or whether the lower end cards will give me the performance I'm looking for without breaking the bank. Or even just options I haven't considered, like yours about the aftermarket cards. I'm just fishing for info here, really.

I also just like to get an impression from people who perhaps follow the market more closely than I do, just to help inform whatever decision I make. I guess if I had to define a budget, I'd say $250. But again, I want to run the higher stuff, so I should probably wait and save up, eh?

TL;DR - I don't want to pay for power I'm not going to use. But I don't think I'll be doing that with a 670 if I'm trying to run BF3 on max with a second monitor on the side for browsing.
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a b U Graphics card
a b C Monitor
June 21, 2012 2:10:23 AM

Hi Lapys - A radeon 6870 (affordable option) or an nvidia 560 ti (middle option) or a radeon 7850 (more expensive option) will play at your 1366x768 resolution very very well. A 670 will totally dominate the others but it seems a bit too expensive for your present needs. I think your options are all great at between $175 and $250 and with your resolution I'd stick to one of those.

If you haven't already, read http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-graphics-car...
a b U Graphics card
a b C Monitor
June 21, 2012 2:17:35 AM

Also, with regard to OCing your CPU, do it and have fun with it. Unless you get stupid and crank your CPU voltage way out of spec, it's pretty difficult these days to damage a CPU. From what I've read, Lynnfield doesn't even need a voltage bump to yield a modest overclock. While I haven't read this article fully, its on Tom's and is specifically about OCing your CPU: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/core-i5-750-overclo...
June 21, 2012 2:46:21 AM

Just made a realization I should have much earlier: I don't have any PCI 3.0 x16 Express slots in my motherboard! I only have 2.0. That might clinch what card I get at present, seeing as I definitely can't afford to redo half my rig right now.

Given that information, what might you recommend? I definitely want to see some good performance out of high-end games if possible, but I'm adjusting my expectations given my realization. Haha.

Also, thanks very much for the info thus far! Very helpful!
a b U Graphics card
a b C Monitor
June 21, 2012 3:21:36 AM

Same advice. Your PCI 2.0 x16 slot will run with 16 lanes of PCIe 2.0 which is as fast as 8 lanes of PCIe 3.0 (which is fast enough for any of the cards mentioned). If you go XFire or SLI with two cards then your board runs each card with 8 lanes of PCIe 2.0 which again is plenty fast for any of these cards mentioned. PCIe 3.0 cards are backwards compatible with prior PCIe specs.

No need to worry about PCIe 3.0 for a while, and your Lynnfield when OCed to somewhere above 3.2ghz will do just fine with today's games. OC that CPU, get one of the nice GPUs mentioned and use DX11 whenever possible and you'll be surprised how much longevity you get out of your system.
a c 102 U Graphics card
June 21, 2012 5:35:51 AM

something important to consider is the resolution that you will be gaming at....if you pick up two 1080p monitors and want to play battelfield 3 at that res with all the eye candy on then I would recomend that you hold off and get a 670 if possible...but if you dont mind gaming at a lower res even (1680x1050) then a card like the 6870 or a 7850 like lapys mentioned would do just fine...and dont worry about pcie 3.0 the rest of your system is perfectly fine to handle all the high end cards right now.
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