How We Tested Triple-Monitor Gaming
As mentioned, not all games behave well in multi-monitor setups. The titles that work best tend to be in the first-person shooter (FPS) or simulation genres. With that in mind, I chose four shooters and two driving games to test whether my budget-oriented setups provided reasonable performance driving three screens. I went with some popular modern options (Battlefield 4, Titanfall and Grid 2), as well as a couple of older games (Call of Duty: Black Ops II and Dirt Showdown). For benchmarking, I used Fraps to record frames per second, GPU-Z to read specifications/sensors, MSI Afterburner for overclocking the GeForce and AMD's Catalyst Control Center Overdrive tool for overclocking the Radeon. For games that don't work across multiple monitors by default, I used a freeware utility called Widescreen Fixer to correct the issues. That software is a life-saver, and I have found success with it many times.
Multi-player gaming is difficult to benchmark consistently, so I tested several levels multiple times and recorded frame rate data to convey a broad picture of game play. I used the same settings on both video cards to facilitate a direct comparison.
For the test system, I used what I consider to be an average enthusiast-oriented gaming PC: an Intel Core i5-3570K overclocked to 4.2GHz and Corsair's LP Vengeance 1866MT/s memory set to a 2133MT/s on an ASRock Z77 Extreme4-M motherboard. This system may be overkill for testing value-oriented GPUs, but I want to give the cards a chance to shine without platform-imposed bottlenecks.
|Header Cell - Column 0||Test System|
|CPU||Intel Core i5-3570K (Ivy Bridge), Overclocked to 4.3GHz, Four Cores, LGA 1155, 6 MB Shared L3 Cache|
|Motherboard||ASRock Z77 Extreme4-M (LGA 115) Chipset: Intel Z77|
|Monitors||3 x 23” AOC 12367F IPS 1080p LCDs|
|Memory||Corsair Vengeance LP PC3-16000, 4 x 4GB|
|Graphics||Gigabyte Radeon R7 260X1000MHz GPU, 2GB GDDR5 at 1250MHz (5000MT/s)Gigabyte GeForce GTX 750 Ti1165/1365MHz GPU, 2GB GDDR5 at 1753MHz (7012MT/s)|
|SSD||Samsung 840 Pro, 256GB SSD, SATA 6Gb/s|
|Power||Seasonic 660W Platinum, ATX12V, EPS12V|
|Software and Drivers|
|Operating System||Microsoft Windows 8 Pro x64|
|Graphics Drivers||All Radeon cards: AMD Catalyst 14.9GeForce GTX 770: Nvidia 344.48|
For my work computer I will never again go back to having less than 2 displays (though the 3rd tends to get significantly less use, it is handy to have at times). When working with lots of office apps and web browsers it is extremely nice to have everything up at once where you can see it. Even at home when doing work at home I tend to use my desktop display as a 2nd for my gutless laptop rather than using the workhorse gaming/editing rig (plus, the laptop can't game... so less distracting).
But for gaming, I absolutely prefer a single large high-quality monitor to having 3 'normal' sized ones. I mean, if I could afford 3 high-end displays (and the GPU horsepower to drive them) then I would absolutely go for that. But as a general rule of thumb, at a given budget I find that having a single display that is as large and as nice as possible is much more enjoyable than having 3 mediocre displays.
http://i.imgur.com/eAz4LMp.jpg is my build, and I'd never drop below 4 monitors again. Ultra wide is ok for gaming, but productivity, multiple screens are needed.
Just because YOU do not see the need for something doesn't make the people that do idiots.
I mean 3 radeon 260's and nvidia 750's TI is still pretty cheap compared to a high end card!!
I'm at work in my cubicle and I'm currently writing this on a basic HP Probook 6575b which uses the AMD A6-4400M APU (Radeon HD7520G video chipset) connected to HP's docking station. I have (2) Samsung B2230's side by side and an HP P221 hanging on the wall in a portrait orientation.
Using basic Windows configuration, I have the P221 monitor offset so bottom portion is about 2" above the bottom of the Samsungs, and extends about 10" above. Even though the physical screen of the P221 does not align with the Samsungs, when I drag windows across the monitors, they stay exactly lined up; they don't get that disconnected offset. (I realize it may be hard to visualize).
The point being is that Windows' native monitor resolution settings will allow you do the basics needed to configure your three monitor setup as well as set things like offset and orientation. I think what throws off most people is that they don't realize that in the screen resolution settings, you can drag your monitors around and reorder and align them as needed.
One other tip... rather than have your monitors bezels next to each other, find your normal seating position. Now take your outer monitor and move the bezel so it's directly behind the middle monitor's bezel. Effectively you should be able to achieve the visual perception of only a single bezel divide instead of a double-wide.