I am building a computer to support 6 monitors. The computer will be used to have 2 monitors displaying business related software, such as email, 3D CAD (CATIA V5R20), and excel, where the other 4 monitors will be displaying internet browsers with many tabs open for day trading.
I've built a number of computers, but I have never had to support 6 monitors. I already have 2 nice Asus 24" monitors that are not DisplayPort, they just have DVI/VGA. I always like to get a few more opinions to make sure I am going the right direction.
So here is what I am thinking so far, I'm just a little hung up on the graphics cards, which could also change my choice in motherboards. I'm certainly an Asus fan, I was planning on sticking with them. I would also be willing to go with Gigabyte.
- ASUS P8Z77-V LK
- Intel Core i7-3770 Ivy Bridge 3.4GHz
- XFX Double D HD-685X-ZDFC Radeon HD 6850 1GB 256-bit DDR5 - QTY 2
- G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory Model F3-10666CL7D-8GBRH - QTY 2
- ADATA XPG SX900 ASX900S3-128GM-C
- Western Digital Caviar Green WD5000AZRX
- LIAN LI PC-A55B
- OCZ ModXStream Pro 600W Modular High Performance Power Supply
Adding on the peripherals, mouse keyboard, OS... I'm right at $1500. I'm not looking to spend a lot more unless there are distinct advantages. I like to have plenty of processor, which I know I have here because I don't want that to be the limiting factor. So I know I want this processor and chipset. From the Z77 chipsets, I picked this motherboard based on price. I couldn't see the advantage for what I will use it for by going to the next level, which adds $100+.
A few questions?
- What is the best way to support 6 monitors? (One card with 6 DisplayPort Monitors daisy chained, 2 cards with regular monitors, 1 card with 6 ports, or 1 card with display port adapters and a DisplayPort 1.2 MST-capable hub if that even exists yet, or any other combos)
- What cards would you recommend, I was leaning towards an AMD Eyefinity based card?
- If I can make it work with one graphics card, what is the advantage of 2 since I'm not especially concerned with quick responses/resolution for like a gaming application?
- Can I run Eyefinity without running Crossfire or run Crossfire without running Eyefinity (sorry I'm new at this). Which would be the best if I was going with a Radeon HD 6850 series card?
Just a couple of opinions from me... I would go with at least a two card setup. It's a little more effort, but say one card craps out on you, they can at least limp along with only one video card for however long it takes to get a replacement card. That seems like an infinitely better scenario than a single card, that then goes bad, knocking out the entire system. You could go with a three card setup, but then it gets far more difficult to find boards that will support it, and you really aren't gaining that much in terms of disaster recovery.
Also, assuming you're going to be the one who gets the call when/if something goes wrong, stock 1-3 spare cards so that if/when one of them craps out, you can rush in and replace it ASAP. It's unlikely more than one card would ever be down at a time, but a second spare affords you a bit of a buffer as far as if there's some kind of snag with the RMA process somewhere along the line. If you're supporting a large number of systems, then a third spare might not be a bad idea.
Other than that, I'd just make sure that a 600W PSU would be enough for all of that, because with two fairly high end cards, you might be pushing things a little. I might also consider going with 12-16GB of RAM since CAD programs and even some larger Excel spreadsheets, can be pretty memory hungry. Add to that the less than exemplary memory efficiency of pretty much every browser out there, you could find yourself running low with only 8GB.
You may have forgotten that your igpu can also support 3 monitors. I am assuming you are going with decently powered cards for cad. If this is the case you could go with one powerful card and one weaker card (just for the other monitors). Cad will use the gpu of the primary monitor. You could also go with a setup with no displayports, 2 on mobo and 2 on 2 gpus and not have to buy extra cables since monitors will come with dvi and vga cables. How many graphics cards really only changes power consumption as running a monitor needs very little effort. The nvidia 650 and up can run 4 monitors on 1 card just in case you ever wanted more monitors. Don't worry about eyefinity, it doesn't make a difference if you have it or not since you aren't gaming. But to answer those questions, you don't need cf to eyefinity, and can cf without eyefinity. You also don't even need to cf/sli to have multiple monitors.
You should be able to find a better quality psu for the price of the one you chose. I don't really know what price you found it at but I see it at $63. You would also not need 600w if you choose to go with a lower end card. Also get 2x8gb ram just in case for future upgrade. *Windows 7 pro or higher is required to use more than 16gb ram.
Thanks for the advice. So from your recommendations, I have 16 gigs of ram. I'm comfortable filling all the dimms, the owner will never choose to upgrade. I have a cheaper power supply. I could go cheaper, but I really like modular power supplies.
The monitors that we will be using have a VGA, HDMI, and DVI connector on the back. So I decided to go with a card that had those three plugs. I also found that others recommended 2 GB of RAM for a the 3 monitor per card configuration.
So, the card I found was the XFX HD-667X-CNF3 Radeon HD 6670 2GB 128-bit DDR3, which I can get for $65 after rebate.
So here is the final system just using Newegg prices:
- ASUS P8Z77-V LK $149
- Intel Core i7-3770 Ivy Bridge 3.4GHz $309
- QTY 2: XFX HD-667X-CNF3 Radeon HD 6670 2GB 128-bit DDR3 $65
- QTY 2: G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory Model F3-10666CL7D-8GBRH $43
- ADATA XPG SX900 ASX900S3-128GM-C $109
- Western Digital Caviar Green WD5000AZRX $69
- LIAN LI PC-A55B $99
- RAIDMAX HYBRID 2 RX-630SS 630W ATX12V V2.2/ EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready Modular Power Supply $49
For a total of $1000 minus the peripherals and software.
Any input on the graphics card choice to support 6 monitors?
Without displayport, a 6000 series will only be able to support 2 monitors. I forgot to mention Sapphire has flex series cards that offer more monitor support but I couldn't find any that weren't used or high end cards. Depending on what they do in cad, the 6670 may be too weak. Raidmax are bottom of the barrel in quality, I cannot recommend you to get that. A psu that still has a voltage switch and is not at least 80 plus certified is also a very bad sign. If you don't want to spend more, the ocz you had originally is decent enough quality. The rosewill hive 550 is around the same price and would be my suggestion.