Processor and video card for dual monitors

I am planning to build a system with dual monitors and I want some opinions on which cpu and gpu combination would be the best for my budget ($350ish for both). I mainly play games and watch movies and listen to music and I plan to use only one of the monitors for gaming and have an internet browser and itunes up on the other monitor. Both monitors are fairly big: a 32inch hdtv and a 24inch monitor that is native to 1920:1200 resolution. any suggestions for which cpu and graphics card to get?
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  1. For mostly gaming, listening to music, and browsing the internet, go for a quad core. You won't need any more than that. For gaming at a higher resolution like 1900x1200 your CPU won't make a big difference. I would recommend putting more onto the GPU and less on the CPU. However, if you want to alt-tab between your game and other things, maybe try to find a balance. You might try something like this:

    Core i3 2100 - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115078

    XFX 7850 - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814150609

    Both of those together is right in your ballpark of 350$. You could even step up to a 7870GHz edition for 15$ more.
  2. get a gaming card for your game and use a second low powered gpu for the non-gaming monitor. I use a gt520 for my second monitor.
  3. The vast majority of games only use 2 cores. However, if you know your are going to buy games that can make use of 4 cores, then go ahead and just get a quad core CPU. Just be aware that the number of games capable of making use of more than 2 cores is very small.

    As for using two monitors... if you were only surf or have itunes up and running then you can rely on a single graphics card. However, if you are going to watch movies (especially HD Videos), then the best options is to buy a 2nd low power graphics card as mentioned by popatim.

    Playing a game and watching video can cause a 15% - 20% decrease in performance in the game and may result in choppy video from time to time. That's because the GPU is trying to render the game and decode the video at the same time. Opting for a 2nd inexpensive graphic cards like a Radeon HD 6570 or a nVidia GT 620 is going to be better than spending an extra $100 - $200 for a more powerful single graphics card because you are likely still going to get stuttering when watching movies.
  4. jaguarskx said:
    The vast majority of games only use 2 cores. However, if you know your are going to buy games that can make use of 4 cores, then go ahead and just get a quad core CPU. Just be aware that the number of games capable of making use of more than 2 cores is very small.

    As for using two monitors... if you were only surf or have itunes up and running then you can rely on a single graphics card. However, if you are going to watch movies (especially HD Videos), then the best options is to buy a 2nd low power graphics card as mentioned by popatim.

    Playing a game and watching video can cause a 15% - 20% decrease in performance in the game and may result in choppy video from time to time. That's because the GPU is trying to render the game and decode the video at the same time. Opting for a 2nd inexpensive graphic cards like a Radeon HD 6570 or a nVidia GT 620 is going to be better than spending an extra $100 - $200 for a more powerful single graphics card because you are likely still going to get stuttering when watching movies.

    So true. I'd have to agree with you. Getting a inexpensive graphics card like the ones you mentioned would help.
    Especially watching movies and playing games. Very well explained :sol:
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