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Do I really need two cards?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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September 10, 2012 12:02:48 PM

I've been theorizing a build for a while and I've decided I want a triple monitor display, but do I really need two decent cards for gaming or could I run 1 good/great card just fine?

My budget is 700-1000AUD.

I intend to use it for gaming mostly, however, even though it will be a triple monitor display I don't intend on ever really using all 3 displays at once, if I did it would be a very (and I stress that word a lot) occasional thing. Along with gaming I'll be doing a fair bit of Photoshopping and maybe some HD video editing as well as use it as a 'room-theater' (I'm going to hook it up to a 32" TV in my bedroom, save having a blu-ray player and run movies off of it.)

My preferred website is PC Case Gear (http://www.pccasegear.com/), just because they're relatively cheap. You can find the full set-up (excluding Graphics Cards obviously) here: http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=wish_list...

Must be Nvidia but I won't do Gigabyte cards.

I maybe overclocking later on down the track and depending on the advice I get, potentially in SLI.

It'll be 3 1080p 60hz 21.5inch monitors as well as a 720p 60hz 32inch TV that will only be used occasionally, most likely hooked up via HDMI.

Basically I want the best possible graphics on a single monitor. I may use 3 monitors for gaming but if I do the graphics level can be at the lowest for all I care.

So far my considerations have been:
2x ASUS Nvidia 660 Ti DirectCu II 2GB's http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i...
2x Galaxy GeForce GTX 660 Ti GC 3GB's http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i...
2x ASUS GeForce GTX 670 DirectCU II http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i...
1x EVGA GeForce GTX 680 Classified 4GB http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i...


Any help would be much appreciated.

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September 10, 2012 12:13:10 PM

BigMack70 said:
2 cards is a complete waste for single monitor gaming, really. If you're sure you're not going to do triple-monitor gaming, don't get two cards.

Just get a single 670 2GB and save your money... it will max everything at 1080p just fine. I'd recommend this one over the 670 DCUII since the DCUII is not overclocked out of the box:
http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i...

Also, if you're going to be gaming a lot on your 720p TV, even a single 670 is massive overkill (at that resolution).



I was thinking that, if I do decide to run in triple monitor gaming, do you think it would all show up ok? What kind of graphics level could I get out of Crysis 2 for example at a comfortable framerate (30-60 fps)?
a c 143 U Graphics card
a b C Monitor
September 10, 2012 12:35:01 PM

FadeGFX said:
What kind of graphics level could I get out of Crysis 2 for example at a comfortable framerate (30-60 fps)?

According to the benches of Crysis 2, you'll be able to hit a constant 60 FPS. However, you won't be able to achieve this with Crysis 3, so basically " 2 cards is a complete waste for single monitor gaming " is not true. CF/SLi nowadyas boosts the performance by 100% in some titles, means double the performance.
Games are so demanding over the years, you may max out a game today but when the next advanced title lands, you won't be able to. And that's all in case you want to play all the games at the Ultra quality.
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a c 143 U Graphics card
a b C Monitor
September 10, 2012 1:13:54 PM

Quote:
Every game is smoothly playable with a single 670/680/7970

Depends on the settings, right now the top end Kepler series are "new cards" for "old titles" nowadaysm even a single powerful card is not enough for gaming at 1080P best example for this is Metro 2033 when the game launched it was the era of GTX 470/480 and though neither could max out the game @ 60 FPS, so it was a must to have a SLI setup to enjoy the gaming.
Crysis 2 with DX11 patch couldn't be satisfied with a single GTX 580, and thus a SLI setup was a must.
According to this article The game will be hugely demanding. And I'm expecting that Metro Last light will be too, so never say " 2 cards is a complete waste for single monitor gaming " even at 60 Hz monitor.

EDIT: in fact, every top end card in the new series is just 20-25 % faster than the top end card from the pervious series, GTX 680 > GTX 580 by 22% HD 7970 > HD 6970 by 23% while CF/SLI can boost performance by more than 50%

And by the way, you can't get a 300 FPS in a game unless you're playing Max Payne 1 :D 
a b U Graphics card
September 10, 2012 1:43:22 PM

I couldn't get to your wish list(requires a login/password).

I'd recommend that Galaxy OC gtx660ti 3GB. It kicked butt in a 4 part series at hardocp
(to read go to hardocp.com, click gpu and then the articles from dated first to most recent).

One of those will totally destroy a 60hz 1080p lcd. If you go to 3x1080p for gaming in the
near future, you should be able to do so on high without msaa of ssaa(you could still use
fxaa though and won't have to turn settings down to low either). Plus, that card can over-
clock like a beast while keeping your gpu cool and your rig quiet.

If you don't at least try to oc a 28nm gpu you are leaving performance on the table. Don't
spend over twice as much on that gtx 680. Crytek says that "Crysis 3 will melt your pc". If
it's like Far Cry 1 or Crysis 1, it may be years before hardware becomes powerful enough
to max out that game on a high res screen with high frame rates.

Are you dead set on nvidia? You could get an HD7950 for even less than the Galaxy card,
overclock it and get the same results(on a card with decent custom cooling). Sure you give
up physx(not a big deal in the bigger picture of all games imho) but it may allow you to play
both on high and with msaa at 3x1080p.

Here is an overclocked sapphire model with dual fans and copper heatpipes for 355.00:

http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i...
a c 143 U Graphics card
a b C Monitor
September 10, 2012 1:57:57 PM

BigMack70 said:
All I know is that all titles are currently playable smoothly maxed out 1080p on any current-gen $400+ graphics card.

You're that kinda guy that buys a card every year? So give a look forward into the future
a b U Graphics card
September 10, 2012 2:01:58 PM

Several comments were added while I was composing that last one.

Can any setup run Metro 2033 with everything maxed including physx and be playable?

The worthless extreme tessellation used when dx11 patched Crysis 2 is set to ultra kills
fps needlessly. flat street barriers with thousands of polygons...Seriously? They could
have used that feature to much better effect without killing performance. Best to turn
that setting down in the options menu. Then the game is playable on any decent gpu.

Mulit gpu setups are hit and miss. You may get better than 100% scaling versus a
single card(not really, margin of error in testing) and you may get worse scaling than
a single card(driving working overtime to get it to work in a game with poor or no
support). Average is 50%. Better to buy a good single card and get a better 1 later on.

Multi gpu setups can also introduce undesirable microstuttering, which could defeat any
measured increase in fps(see gpu reviews for the last 12 months or so on techreport.com
to find out exactly why). gk104 based chips seem to handle it better than tahiti based
chips, but that can change radically from game to game and one driver release to the next.
!