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How Realistic Is Multi-Monitor Gaming On A Budget?

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.

Test System
CPUIntel Core i5-3570K (Ivy Bridge), Overclocked to 4.3GHz, Four Cores, LGA 1155, 6 MB Shared L3 Cache
MotherboardASRock Z77 Extreme4-M (LGA 115) Chipset: Intel Z77
Monitors3 x 23” AOC 12367F IPS 1080p LCDs
MemoryCorsair Vengeance LP PC3-16000, 4 x 4GB
GraphicsGigabyte Radeon R7 260X1000MHz GPU, 2GB GDDR5 at 1250MHz (5000MT/s)Gigabyte GeForce GTX 750 Ti1165/1365MHz GPU, 2GB GDDR5 at 1753MHz (7012MT/s)
SSDSamsung 840 Pro, 256GB SSD, SATA 6Gb/s
PowerSeasonic 660W Platinum, ATX12V, EPS12V
Software and Drivers
Operating SystemMicrosoft Windows 8 Pro x64
DirectXDirectX 11
Graphics DriversAll Radeon cards: AMD Catalyst 14.9GeForce GTX 770: Nvidia 344.48
Gigabyte Radeon R7 260X
Gigabyte Radeon R7 260X