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Does Dual Monitors take more GPU Power?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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August 25, 2012 6:34:39 AM

I'm looking to buy another monitor for my pc, for misc. uses because I like to multi task while I play games.

I want to do stuff like watch a movie, or read something while a game is loading, etc..

Will this put more strain on my GPU? I have a MSI 6850 OC @ 925 core and 1155 Mem, and probably more OC when fall comes and my room is cool.

IDK the monitor I'm getting, depending on the funds I'll have in the near future, but it most def will be a 1920x1080 monitor using DVI, or very close to that resolution, since I'm probably going to buy the monitor off of craigslist to save money.

So going back to my question, if I'm watching a movie or on a web page will I see hotter temps or lower frame rates while I game (mostly Battlefield 3, Skyrim, and Sniper Elite V2)

Thank you for your time.
a c 291 U Graphics card
a b C Monitor
August 25, 2012 7:07:39 AM

If you only game on one monitor, it will have no impact at all.
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August 25, 2012 7:10:59 AM

Okay thanks, that was the plan
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a c 87 U Graphics card
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August 25, 2012 7:13:13 AM

Actually, if you watch an Adobe Flash video, then it might hurt gaming performance substantially. You also might want to be sure that hardware acceleration is disabled just to be safe if you do this. Simply getting a Radeon 6450 or a similarly cheap card and using it to run your extra monitor might be a better idea, depending on what you do on the second display.
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a c 106 U Graphics card
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August 25, 2012 7:13:14 AM

displaying the second screen is pretty insignificant if nothing really is happening on it. its only relevant only if moderate gpu work is being done on the second screen
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a c 171 U Graphics card
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August 25, 2012 7:13:14 AM

Yes you will. Just hooking up the second monitor will cause the power draw to go up. (I think normal these days is around 10-15W.) Doing anything on it like a movie will cause your frame rates to go down as the CPU and GPU have more work to do. Shouldn't be too much if its a normal thing like a DVD. Decompressing h.264 will have a larger impact. Just having a webpage up so you can read shouldn't do much.
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August 25, 2012 7:22:00 AM

I can plug another, lesser graphics card in my pc to run the other monitor seperately? Is that what you're saying?

Cause i do have another pci slot I can use, its only 4x, but its not like I need more than that.
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a c 171 U Graphics card
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August 25, 2012 7:24:47 AM

I don't think you can disable HA for just one screen. I wouldn't disable it as your game would now run like crap.

You can. The question then becomes would you save anything going this way. Probably not. If your going to use an extra 15W, you'd need to have a very low end card in there to save on power. You won't take any performance hit going that route. I use a second monitor but then again my GTX460 has no issues playing TF2 or D3. If I played more demanding games then maybe.
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August 25, 2012 7:34:40 AM

I'll probably just pick up a 6450 or something cheap like that. My power supply is good enough to handle that.
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a c 109 U Graphics card
August 25, 2012 7:48:55 AM

If you have onboard you can run the other monitor with it.
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August 25, 2012 7:55:13 AM

No onboard.

Asus M5A97 Motherboard with AMD X4 965 BE CPU
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a c 291 U Graphics card
a b C Monitor
August 25, 2012 8:38:20 AM

why don't you check if it is indeed lagging before going and spending money? You may actually be happy with the performance even without the extra card.
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August 25, 2012 8:44:27 AM

I'll do that. I'm more concerned with movies than anything, because I'm also planning on buying a blu ray player soon, and idk if my graphics card will be enough for blu ray 1080p movie and BF3 ultra settings at the same time.
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a c 171 U Graphics card
a b C Monitor
August 25, 2012 11:44:51 AM

How do you watch a movie and play at same time? I could maybe do that but the audio from both will lower my gameplay.
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a c 87 U Graphics card
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August 25, 2012 2:39:57 PM

Blu-Ray, even in 1080p, is still not a demanding task. I'd be more worried about whether or not the program that you run to watch that movie forces the GPU to underclock by 50% because some do that.
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a b U Graphics card
August 25, 2012 2:51:34 PM

4745454b said:
How do you watch a movie and play at same time?


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a c 107 U Graphics card
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August 25, 2012 2:58:28 PM

blazorthon said:
Blu-Ray, even in 1080p, is still not a demanding task. I'd be more worried about whether or not the program that you run to watch that movie forces the GPU to underclock by 50% because some do that.

I am with this. Most ATI(I do not have any recent Nvidia card to test with) DO clock down(400mhz for 5870 and 5770 for example) when playing video. This can effect game play. It all depends on the card and what game. The 5870 seems to get by fine down clocked on less demanding titles, but the 5770 will feel the pain.

On that topic, GPU clock speed on many ATI(Maybe NV too. i need to use this excuse to get sine 6xx cards :)  ) cards increases as a result of a second screen as well.

EDIT

I did some Tests on a 5870(Clearly not all cards are the same). The power difference is about 32 watts for this card. The card clocks up to 400MHZ from 157.

EDIT EDIT
So tried games + DVD.
So far.
SC2 in windowed full screen. YES
Just Cause 2 Full Screen. NO Turning off hardware acceleration did not help.
Just Cause 2 large Window. YES

So you may have some issues with some game/dvd/BD playback at the same time.

I am now trying without hardware acceleration. This removed the video card frequency drop(I have plenty of cpu left).

Next test, 4350 + 5870 :) 

EDIT EDIT EDIT.
Think i will try Intel HD 3000 instead, its already onboard.

EDIT EDIT EDIT EDIT.
No better. If one game requests a full screen, the DVD will freeze or go black. This is with Power DVD. Will try VLC

VLC seems to work, but sometimes you have to alt tab out of a game a time or 2 to get vlc to keep playing.

Conclusion.

I would try with what you have and see what you can do. An extra video card does not seem to be much help in this case unless your player lets you select the other card. PowerDVD uses whatever card is primary. Turning OFF hardware acceleration(In your programs only not on the card it self) may help.
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