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Question(s) on Single OR Dual GPUs for my needs?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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July 17, 2012 4:58:39 PM

I originally posted this on Single vs Dual GPUs but received no respones... so Im trying again on a new thread:

Hello, I'm new here and have a similar question to Single VS Dual GPUs?
Okay to start my PC is just about a decade old so I've been saving up $$$ for awhile and in desperate need of a new computer asap.

As boju recommended, I have done some research to find out what I'll be most happy using my new computer for, And I've decided that I absolutely have to have multiple monitors.

Three monitors would be beneficial for multitasking, considering the amount of time I spend on the PC working and wishing I could have three applications running at full window sizes at the same time.

I also like the idea of widescreen gaming on my downtime as well, but I am mainly interested in multitasking, more so than having one application stretched across three monitors.
So most of the time I will most likely be running a game on the middle monitor alone while the other two monitors have other things running e.g. work, web, movie or even another game haha.

I would like each monitor to get at least a steady/stable 120fps also

I haven't decided between Nvidia Surround or Eyefinity as of yet since Im not sure what the big differences are between the two? I assume they are mostly the same and hope that either of them would work well with what I want to do (Also I'm a fan of Intel processors over AMD and generally more into AtiGPUs... so I'm hoping a Intel + Ati combo wouldn't affect the set-up in anyway).

I would like to avoid complications of dual GPUs if I could though, as poster beltzy said it could bring issues. So really my question is if I get a Single Nvidia Geforce GTX 690 - 4GBvram OR AMD Radeon HD 7970 - 3GB will it fit my needs just fine? Or do I have to get those cards in SLI or Crossfire mode?
I'm really hoping that if I buy the most powerful Single GPU card it will be able to support three monitors and what I want to do with them without going down the dual gpu route.

Oh and the monitors I'm interested in are three landscape 20" or 22inch monitors that are 120HZ and minimum 720P(I would like 1080p, but I hear I would need multi-cards for three 1080p monitors)

Thanks in advance for any help.
July 17, 2012 5:21:02 PM

Hello buddy,

First things first. How much do you have to spend as that will ultimately determine what components will be best to get you the best all round system you can?

In terms of monitors you should at least be looking at 1080p as most monitors regardless of price in the 22" bracket will come with that resolution as standard. Nvidia cards from the 670 upwards support 3 monitors as standard and amd have had this functionality on a number of models for a while. I noticed you mentioned the 690 which although is one card it has 2 gpu's onboard (2 x 680) and is incredibly expensive. I will admit that I am a nvidia man all the way due more to do with being familiar with them rather than a fanboy so other than looking at benchmarks I wouldn't want to recommend and maybe another poster could help on that one.

I use an sli setup (mainly for using 3 monitors) and if you are using a number of programs at thge same time it does make life a lot easier (although I am quite lazy lol).

If you are only planning on gaming on 1 monitor then the something like the 670 could be a good option although it would still be possible overkill but would set you up for the future. I f you were using all 3 monitors then the question of amount of vram comes into play as your total resoluton would be 5760 x 1080.

Anyway let us know your budget and we will carry on from there.

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July 17, 2012 5:34:50 PM

That's a good starting point, knowing how much the budget is. Let me jump right into it though ;)  - My opinion would be to SLI two 670's and build the system around that. That will definitely ensure you can play any game for the next 4 years at least. On top of providing amazing multi-monitor support for whatever resolution you decide, including in the future.
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July 17, 2012 5:44:14 PM

I would say go for a single 680. Its usually the less power hungy less hot and less complex option.

What's the budget?
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July 17, 2012 5:50:49 PM

Hey thanks for the reply!
Trying to keep the rig itself under $2000, and for the monitors(all three) no more than $500.

I did not realize the 690 was 2GPU's onboard (very cool),
because I was visiting Ibuypower and under the video card configurations they had "NVIDIA GeForce GTX 690 - 4GB Single Card" listed reasonably priced and an option for Dual cards "SLI Mode" listed as double the price, so I just figured it was a single card.

As mentioned I would prefer to go with a single high-end GPU if I could get away with it, to avoid complications or hassle of muilticards. I do plan on using all three monitors at all times though just not necessarily only for one application. I like the idea of multiple things going on, on each monitor. Glad to hear 1080p is the standard even for the sizes Im looking for also.

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July 17, 2012 5:56:48 PM

I wouldn't buy from iBuyPower, you can build one yourself that is much better than what they would offer.
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July 17, 2012 6:01:18 PM

Deemo13 said:
I wouldn't buy from iBuyPower, you can build one yourself that is much better than what they would offer.


Just visiting is all to check out price :)  ibuypower, xoticpc, and a few others. Microcenter had the card up on their site for a little while but can't seem to find it now.
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