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Upgrading my card for a Tri Monitor setup

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  • Graphics Cards
  • Gtx
  • Monitors
  • Graphics
Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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December 28, 2012 12:01:47 AM

Hello folks. I've decided to upgrade my visual setup from my 27 inch single (1920x1080) monitor, to three 24 inch LED monitors for a total resolution of 5760 x 1080.

Currently, I have the Gigabyte GTX 680 2gb OC edition. I love my GTX 680, and am a big fan of Nvidia and their drivers. However, I've been reading that 2gb isn't really enough ram for the tri-monitor set up, if i want to max out all the settings.

So I'm in a bit of a dilemma. Should I just buy a 2nd GTX-680 2gb for $450 and SLI it with my current one? How does the SLI set up work with the tri set up? Or should I just buy a single GTX 680 4gb version and sell my 2gb one I have now.

The other thing to consider is, just going with the HD-7970 6gb (I know 6gb is overkill, but since I'm going forward with Tri monitor setup, it seems nice and comfy to have that memory). I've also read that AMD works a little better for with the Tri Set up using Eyefinity. Although I've heard Nvidia Surround is no slouch. I'm not going to be doing 3D.

Basically: I can either spend $450 on a 2nd 2gb GTX 680 to SLI it or I can get a HD-7970 6gb for $549: Link Or I could get a GTX-680 4gb for $539: Link

Would really appreciate the feedback. Either way, looks like I'll end up having to spend $450 at the very least to get the right amount of ram. And at least for me, apart of me feels like if I'm going to spend that much, might as well just pay a little more and get the 7970 6GB. But I also really like Nvidia's drivers and their updates. So this is where I'm going back and forth. If anyone has another option I didn't think of, would appreciate hearing that too!

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December 28, 2012 12:34:50 AM

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/geforce-gtx-680-sli...

An additional 680 in SLI would be the best choice. You would be losing money by selling the 680 for a 690 since two 680s in SLI are very similar in performance, lest you are getting a full refund and/or you're running into problems with additional PCI slots or you like all your video outputs to be on one card.
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December 28, 2012 12:42:00 AM

The best possible settup for three monitors would be with multiple 7970s in Crossfire, since that is when the memory does come in handy. I guess it comes down to how much money you want to spend.
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December 28, 2012 12:45:44 AM

Thanks for the quick reply.

I don't really want to spend more than $550 right now on a GPU, since I'm going to drop $800 on my monitor set up.

If the GTX680 2gb SLI works great with the 3 screens, then I'll go that route. I was just going back and forth between that and the single 6gb HD-7970. Although, I suppose if I did want the best of the best - getting an HD 7970 would leave me open to crossfire it at a later date.

EDIT: Looking over the charts/review now. Thanks for posting this. :) "

Second EDIT: I see what you are saying. It would be better to crossfire two 3gb HD-7970 to get the very best performance vs a single 6gb model.

The 2gb SLI 680 looks pretty darn enticing though. Especially considering that the 3gb HD-7970's are still $400 + The SLI will only be half of that (since I'm already $450 in the hole with my first one) and it's performance isn't too shabby at all.
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December 28, 2012 12:57:01 AM

This might be a dumb thing to ask or ponder, but my Power Supply is 1000 watt. I've never ran two GPU before in my PC build. Is 1000 watt enough for two of these in SLI?

http://www.amazon.com/Gigabyte-GeForce-PCI-Express-Grap...

Says Minimum 550 watt, if you are using two does that mean you need 550x2 watt? (Sorry if that's a dumb question).

EDIT: Nevermind. Looks like the 2nd card doesn't draw full power. Here is the answer to my own question:

http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/368389-33-watt
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December 28, 2012 3:56:44 AM

Ah crap, so I just realized I might have a problem. I guess you can't tri-monitor with SLI? You can only do this, if you use your motherboard graphics slot, or 3rd graphics card that is not apart of the two that are in SLI configuration:

From Nvidia's Site:

Quote:

How many monitors are supported when running in SLI mode?

With GeForce R180 drivers (or later), standard SLI configurations for 2-way, 3-Way, and quad SLI support a maximum of two monitors. Additional monitors (up to 6 monitors total enabled) may be enabled by using either a motherboard GPU and/or a PhysX capable graphics card (GeForce 8 series or higher with at least 256MB of memory) that does not have the same GPU as those that are SLI enabled.


So basically, if I want to do the GTX680 2gb SLI, I would need a 3rd card to run the 3 monitors. I think?

If that is the case, wouldn't it be better if I just bought that HD-7970 6gb edition - for the time being? I mean, I think that would run most of the games better than just a single 2gb GTX 680 that I have now. =/

Although it seems, having 6gb of vram on one card doesn't really put out the best performance (from what I'm reading). So I might just have to save up for two Cards.
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December 28, 2012 6:54:36 PM

Sorry about that I wasn't aware of the restrictions of the NVIDIA cards. In that case, if you're bent upon three, AMD is the most logical way to go.
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December 28, 2012 7:05:35 PM

I don't know, to run everything efficiently on three monitors, you'd had to spend a lot of money from where you are now. You can run three off your single 680 right now, and trading it in for one 7970 won't be very advantageous since they're close enough in performance. If you plan on eventually getting another card, then trade in for the 7970.
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December 29, 2012 2:47:23 AM

Thanks again for the replies.

I'm really re-considering the tri-monitor set up. Starting to seem like a lot of hassle. I mean, it looks incredible for peripheral and multi-tasking - especially for FPS games. But fact is, not all games can utilize this. And the cost of running it at max is starting to add up.

Currently, I have an okay 27 inch 1080p monitor, that is 7ms. The three monitors I was going to use for this set up were 24 inch LED 2ms Asus - so I figured it would be an upgrade. But now I'm considering just getting a single 144 hz Asus 27 inch, and just being done with it. Although I wonder if there really is a difference between 60hz and 144hz. The upgrade would be, better color, and better refresh rate. But if I'm going to drop $ on this same size monitor, I wonder if it's really worth it - you know?

I was also considering going all out and getting that 30 Inch Dell IPS (U3011) monitor, that has a resolution of 2560 x 1600. IPS colors are nice. The resolution is much better than a standard monitor (and it's just ONE screen, so my card will be able to handle almost all games at max at that resolution). The only downside is, it has 7ms, and I think the refresh rate is slow. Then again, I have no idea if you can even tell these things. I've never tried a monitor with 2ms, or above 60hz. So I honestly have no way of gauging. Plus the U3011 is $1,000. Pretty hefty price, and not sure if it's really suited for gaming.

Either way, I have a lot to think about. Tri monitor still seems awesome, but it's starting to have some set backs. Maybe that middle option of the 144hz Asus 27 inch would be the best option - for now.

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December 29, 2012 3:45:51 AM

I personally never saw a difference between 60 and 75hz, even 30. When it comes to monitors I just make sure its LED and has good ratings, I usually don't care much for the refresh rate, but usually like to keep it above 30. Its really just how many times it flashes a second, and the human eye can't really distinguish it easily. I know a lot of people running two monitors off a 680 though, and I can vouch that its worth investing.
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December 29, 2012 4:25:20 AM

Hold the phone dude, You don't need a third card to run 3 monitors. You can run 3 monitors of pair of 680's in SLI.

The only issue I see is your card is 2GB (and this is a minor issue). when you add a second 2 Gb card it doesn't give you a total of 4 GB. You still only have 2 GB. Your best bet is a set of 4GB 680's run in SLI, but since you already have one of the 680's just add another 2GB card. If you go to a 6gb 7970 it will have enough ram but won't have the power needed to push 3 monitors. I have 2 4GB 670's and get 60ish FPS on ultra in BF3. I'd guess you would be around the same with 2 680's the are 2GB.

I'v had a few rum'n'cokes so if this doesn't make sense sorry but the bottom line is get the 3 monitors and a second 680 and you should be a happy camper.
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December 29, 2012 4:29:19 AM

One thing that kind of sucks, is that even if I do go through with the tri-monitor setting (the 24 inch LEDs) - and I end up using just the middle monitor for some games, I'll be losing 3 inches. I don't know if that really matters, but it kind of sucks having a 27 inch that I can't utilize, and downgrading the size. If all games could do the higher resolution 3 screen, then it wouldn't even be an issue, as having that big of a peripheral makes up for the lost inches in the middle. But based on what I'm reading, a lot of games don't support Nvidia, so a good amount of my games will be played on the middle screen, which is smaller than my current one.

I would just buy 2 more 27 inches and tri monitor that, but I just DO NOT have the space in my room to pull that off.

I'll have to think about it. Apart of me really really likes the idea of having 3 monitors though, even just for multi-tasking.

Either way, I should probably close this thread. I've pretty much gotten all the information I need out of it. Thanks a lot man. :) 
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December 29, 2012 4:29:45 AM

Best answer selected by satanigatan.
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