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Triple-Monitor Setup Need Feedback

Last response: in Computer Peripherals
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June 20, 2011 5:34:34 AM

Hello,

First let me start by saying that I am an engineer. I use my computer for everything from media to programming to video editing to AutoCAD to Matlab and a bit of gaming too, I need a desktop as big and as robust as a workshop bench.

Now that that's out of the way I am looking for some ideas and feedback on a display setup I plan to do for my main workstation.

Currently I have two widescreen monitors on my Sapphire HD 5770: A Samsung P2350 1920*1080 and Samsung 2253BW 1680*1050 both on DVI (and a third USB-based Display Link external monitor but this will be superseded).

My plan is to purchase a large TV around 32-47" and flip the two monitors into portrait mode on either side of the TV, the idea being that for text documents, particularly websites and programming, height offers much more desktop space than width. it would look something like this:


  1. Front View
  2.  
  3. 1 2 3
  4. ---------- ----------
  5. | | ------------------------ | |
  6. | | | | | |
  7. | | | | | |
  8. | | | | | |
  9. | | | | | |
  10. | | ------------------------ | |
  11. ---------- ----------


I've been doing some research and I am still a little unsure about a few things:

1- HD 5770 can triple screen with two DVI and a Display Port, but not with 2 DVI and HDMI apparently. So I would need a Display Port to HDMI converter, and an "Active" one at that. Lots of people are complaining that that will run them an extra 100$, but there seem to be some on Newegg ( http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... ) for 25$, no external power conector that I can see. Will these work? What's the catch? I am also wondering what the point of the HDMI port is on the card is...

2- What kinda image quality can I expect a) lost in conversion from Display Port to HDMI? b)From a TV set compared to a monitor. Remember: I am aiming 1080p on the TV, but the TV has twice the screen space so the DPI is smaller of course...

3- Both Samsungs have fixed bases which means I will have to mount them myself. Wallmounts are cheap but can they effectively be angled so that the monitors face inwards cleanly? (the TV will be against the wall and can be mounted as well) Any DIY sleek monitor mount tutorials out there? Lifehacker featured one with 2*4s...

4- Any suggestions for TVs to do the job? So far I have no complaints with samsung. My price range is 400-1000$, no more. I'm not exactly sold on the advantages of LED over LCD if it's twice the price.

5- What kinda performance can I expect with three monitors on this HD 5770? Worth an upgrade? Keep in mind I can crank 60FPS solid out of Crysis 2 with 1920*1080 AND the second monitor on 1680*1050 AND the 800*600 mini Display link. Worst comes to worst I can disable the side monitors while I game but I would like to take advantage of the full size of the desktop during something like Autocad or After Effects.

6- What's this about eyefinity? I don't think it's usable in the monitor configuration so do I need to worry about this?

Best solution

a b C Monitor
June 20, 2011 9:36:41 AM

1) You only need an 'Active' display port to HDMI converter if you're running at resolutions beyond 1080P. Otherwise, the much cheaper passive converters will work just fine.

2) You should expect the same image quality for the same resolution. You're going digital to digital with this conversion. All or nothing 0s and 1s.

3) Easy to mount these things. You just need to find the studs. You have many different options for wall mounts with swivel and tilt to varying degrees.

4) So many options out there. Even though Samsungs have a superior picture, based on my experience, Sony's are made with better quality components. I wouldn't buy a Samsung TV with less than a 3-year warranty attached. Also, if your sitting close to these things, even at 1080p on the big TV, you're going to start seeing the dots making up the images on a monitor this large. I'd suggest a 27" at the most for your center monitor.

5) Based on your plan, it sounds like you'll get the performance you expect out of these things. Not quite sure what kind of answer you're seeking on this question.

6) You won't need to set up Eyefinity as you can just use a plain old multi-monitor configuration. If all your monitors were the same size and resolution and in the same orientation (ie landscape), you could setup an Eyefinity panel group with your gaming spanning across all three monitors.
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June 20, 2011 2:37:44 PM

Thanks for your reply.

My main concern is whether mixing computer monitors and TV's is a good idea. I'd preferably like a large screen as I would like to make presentations from it. In this case, if the monitors are attached to the wall I could move my desk out a little. =) There are couches behind for clients and movie watching and stuff. I don't have an HD TV to compare side by side with so I was wondering if anyone else out there found the DPI of the monitors and the TV "clashed". Subjective feedback is acceptable.

Choice of a TV? Well for one it should be large enough to see well from the back of the room. Most 32" and under don't have 1080p. And the largest computer monitors, which arn't that much bigger than what I already have, cost much more than a larger TV.

As for performance, I have yet to use three large monitors on my card so I do not know what to expect.
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a b C Monitor
June 20, 2011 4:31:51 PM

It shouldn't be a problem to mix TVs with monitors. The television will be a standard 1080p resolution and won't push your card any more than a 23" 1080p monitor. It's not really the size of the monitor that pushes the card, but more the number of dots it has to render and the speed by which it has to render them. 1080p is 1080p no matter what the screen size is.

If people are sitting back a distance when viewing the TV, a "pixelated" viewing experience shouldn't be a problem. I was just thinking in terms of if you sat close and were doing any sort of day-to-day work on a screen that big. The maximum viewing distance at the back of the room should drive the screen size required. How big is the room?

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June 20, 2011 9:30:45 PM

ubercake said:
The television will be a standard 1080p resolution and won't push your card any more than a 23" 1080p monitor.


Perhaps not, but it will still be 1920*1080 more pixels than my current 1920*1080+1680*1050 pixels.

I may be asking myself the wrong question, I spose I need to be asking "What is the minimum viewing distance for a large format screen?" Here's a cheat sheet I dug up at pcmag... http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2218288,00.asp
So I should aim to sit at 4.1 feat away from the screens. I tried sitting this far away from my current monitors, 12 font was acceptable, 10 font started to look like legal text. I'm also excited at the prospect of programming with 150 lines of code at a time!

The max sitback distance is no more than 15", not a huge distance. I just want a comfortable viewing experience for anything from Power Point presentations to AutoCAD plans, as well as media.
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June 20, 2011 9:31:47 PM

Best answer selected by SkyNT2.
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a b C Monitor
February 3, 2012 6:55:46 PM

This topic has been closed by Mousemonkey
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