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Gaming Across Three Screens: GTX 460, GTX 480, And Quad-SLI

A Broader Perspective

AMD calls it Eyefinity. Nvidia calls it Surround. Whatever you call it, spanning a game across three displays sets the PC industry up as the champion of realism years after naysayers pointed to the lower cost of gaming consoles. You can keep your four-year-old platform. This is all about pushing the high-end; that's something consoles, by design, simply cannot do toward the end of their protracted lives.

It turns out that people really can see more than what’s in front of them, and those who are able to see things sneaking up from the side have a huge advantage over those who cannot.

Everyone who can afford a decent gaming PC can supposedly get in on this action, thanks to huge advances in GPU technology that have made mid-market cards a viable solution for ultra-wide resolutions. The biggest question is how much quality you’ll need to sacrifice to get a smooth frame rate. 

Nvidia has its own requirements to satisfy, since two cards are required to connect three screens, but two midrange cards like the GeForce GTX 460 can certainly stand up to any high-end model.

Seeking the highest graphics detail levels in our games, we started out with a pair of GeForce GTX 480s for today’s test. GeForce GTX 460 cards were added to address mid-budget concerns, and we even added a second pair of GeForce GTX 480s to address those seeking the highest possible resolutions. With so many configurations at our disposal, we’re ready to answer the question “How much GPU do you really need to game across multiple displays?”

Thomas Soderstrom
Thomas Soderstrom is a Senior Staff Editor at Tom's Hardware US. He tests and reviews cases, cooling, memory and motherboards.