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Triple monitor questions

Posted on 2011-09-28
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Last Modified: 2013-11-08
Hi,

I'm thinking of getting myself a triple monitor setup. These are a few scenario's I'd like to accomplish.
a) Having Visual Studio open on 1 screen, SQL manager on the second and on the third a remote desktop in 'full-screen'. The cursor should just continue from one screen to the next.
b) Having 2 explorers open and having the ability to drag files from the first monitor to the second (or third)
c) I'll be doing little gaming. i don't mind doing this only on the middle screen.

I have the following questions.
1) I'm assuming above scenario's are basic functionality, am I correct or do I need additional software?
2) Are there any differences in using a single gfx card with 3 outputs and using two gfx cards?
3) In case of 2 gfx cards, I'd like to buy one 'good' card for gaming and one 'less' card for the basic stuff (e.g. Sapphire HD 5450). Is this possible or do I need two identical cards? Or will the 'lesser' card drag down performance or something?
4) Can I use 4:3 monitor's or do I need widescreen's? Or this dependent on the resolutions the gfx card(s) support?
5) Any tips regarding a mounting construction?
6) Do you have any other suggestions I should take into account?

Thank you and kind regards!
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Question by:Onthrax
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jschristian44 earned 300 total points
ID: 36717935
1. the software will come with the video card
2. only that the shared memory will be more between 2 video cards so you get double the amount from one.  if your not gaming, one will be fine.
3. you can't get a seperate card for each because they have to be the same model to share memory.  just get one good card like an ati 6750
4. you can use 4:3 resolution just fine, the resolutions on the video cards are pretty high like 3000x2000 or something max you will be just fine
5. there are good how to videos on making triple monitor stands on youtube.  just some 2 x 4's i think and a sturdy stand and your ready to go.  the triple stands you buy are really expensive
6. i suggest getting an eyefinity ati card because you can have up to 3 monitors per card.  then make your own stand because its way cheaper.  get a 100-200 ati card like the 6750 and you will be ready to go.  just get 2 dvi cables and a displayport cable for the third monitor.
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by:Callandor
Callandor earned 200 total points
ID: 36717959
A single Radeon HD6850 with Eyefinity http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814131374 should give you three monitor support plus 3D gaming support.  This will be better than two separate cards - you will need at least one monitor that supports displayPort or HDMI, though.
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by:jschristian44
jschristian44 earned 300 total points
ID: 36717963
Get this:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814150560

comes with 2 free games and for under 130 shipped.  that is an amazing deal.  this card will more than supply your needs for your work plus will play all the latest games on the highest settings.  i was wrong in my comment before.  use 2 dvi cables, and use hdmi for the third monitor connection.  just use hdmi for the middle monitor and 2 dvi for the end ones.  also, your mouse will switch from screen to screen just fine, but you need to re-organize the monitor arrangement in the ati control panel.  just make it 1,2,3 and test each monitor a big number will come up.  sometimes you have to switch them to get the mouse to move to that one, so just mess aruond a little and you will get it.  also you said you want a virtual desktop full screen on one monitor.  if you do that, then the mouse won't switch over to the others it will just stay on that one.  i would suggest just maximizing the VMware or whatever to the full screen rather than Alt + F4 it.  this way it will still move to the other monitors.

Good luck, your getting to do what I wanted to do for a long time.  And if you game with this card, you can have it stretch across all 3 monitors if you want, or just the middle monitor.  There is an option for that in the ATI Control Panel.  The 6770 card was the one I wanted, it will play all the latest games on highest settings with regards to maybe Crysis 2 or something.
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by:jschristian44
jschristian44 earned 300 total points
ID: 36717983
Don't get that video card the other guy suggested.  For like 10 dollars more you get 2 free games, the XFX label, plus the egg shaped cooling which is supposed to be the best cooling design they have out for cards right now.  The 6770 is more than enough for your needs.  You could even get something cheaper, but I suggest just getting this deal while it lasts because it is a fantastic deal.  I would search Newegg for monitors as well.  Although TigerDirect has gotten some very nice monitor deals in.  I suggest getting 3 x 19 monitors if your on a budget and 3 x 22 monitors if your not.  3 x 24 monitors takes up too much room.  i had 2 24 monitors before and it just took up too much room.  3 x 22 is what you want.
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by:jschristian44
ID: 36718020
ask any more questions you have for me because i have been researching this type of stuff for years now and know a lot about it.  most monitors that come out have at least a dvi and vga and most have hdmi although you have to look for that still.  if your on a budget, check out craigslist for some cheap 4:3 monitors.  then just get one good monitor for the middle and have the 4:3 on the sides.  that way its even.  just make sure the 4:3 come with dvi, a lot only have vga.  here is one awesome deal:

http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=6297349&sku=A179-2042&cm_re=Homepage-_-Spot%2005-_-CatId_12_A179-2042

3 x 20 inch for 300.  that is a pretty nice deal.  get it while it lasts.
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by:jschristian44
ID: 36718036
Oh yeah if you get a video card with Eyefinity, your going to need a better power supply.  here is a good modular one:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817341017

modular will cut down on all teh cables you dont need plus more energy efficient.  50 dollars after rebate is a very nice deal for that.
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by:Onthrax
ID: 36720387
Hi jschristian44,

Thank you for your replies. Very useful!
I'll be building a new pc from scratch. As I have multiple 'heavy' applications running like visual studio, sql server, photoshop, lots of browser windows I need a fast beast to keep everything running smoothly. I also decided this is a good time to expand to triple monitor setup. I don't have a specific budget, but it should not exceed 800 euros.

I need to order all components from local sites (Netherlands) though due to warranty, shipping and taxes. The graphics card you suggested isn't available here, but I think I found a similar one at roughly the same price. Sapphire HD6770 VAPOR-X 1GB, 110 euro. I'm not entirely up-to-date on gfx cards, but the specs look great?

I was planning on purchasing this:
Intel Core i7 2600
Gigabyte GA-Z68AP-D3 mobo
8 or 16GB DDR3 (possibly G.Skill Ripjaws X F3)
Sapphire HD6770 VAPOR-X 1GB
Samsung Spinpoint F3 HD502HJ, 500GB (don't need more space, everything is on external HD's)

Not sure about the casing, cooler, fans and power supply yet. I need it to be as quiet as possible, but sufficiently cooled.
If you have any suggestions about anything, please let me know.
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by:jschristian44
ID: 36720595
Those specs look pretty good.  Casing you should get something with a lot of case fans preinstalled.  There is a company here in USA called NZXT and they make the best cases I have come across.  That last one I had was far better than anything I ever had.  You can also add as many fans as you want to the case for really cheap.  The power supply I suggest a modular if you can get it with at least one 6 pin and one 8 pin graphics card connectors.  It shouldn't run you more than 80 for a good one.  Everything else looks good though.  I might suggest getting a "Green" hard drive as well.  It runs just as good but uses less power.  Sapphire is a very good company for ATI.  I put XFX on top of anything but Sapphire comes in a close second when it comes to ATI cards.  Get the one with an egg shaped look to it if you can though, it cools better.
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by:Callandor
Callandor earned 200 total points
ID: 36741712
Onthrax,

I suggested the 6850 because for a little more money, you get a much more powerful video card.  If you don't play games, then it's a moot point, and if you are shopping in Europe, newegg bundles don't matter either.  The comparison between the 6850 and the 6770 can be seen here: http://www.videocardbenchmark.net/gpu_list.php - the 6770 scores 1749, while the 6850 scores 2846.  Comparison of cards using various benchmarks can be found here: http://www.tomshardware.com/charts/2011-gaming-graphics-charts/Enthusiast-Index,2674.html

For keeping your case quiet, use 120mm case fans wherever possible because they move more air while spinning slower, which reduces noise.  The i7-2600 is a top performer (http://www.cpubenchmark.net/high_end_cpus.html) and should last you a long time - I have the i7-2600K, which is the same cpu with an unlocked multiplier.

For power supply, get an efficient one with an 80 Plus rating, which means it is at least 80% efficient.  Seasonic and PC Power & Cooling make some of the best, but you can also buy OCZ, Corsair, Antec Earthwatts, and Enermax models.  The key to a good power supply is the amount of current it delivers on the +12v rail; the more, the better.  Most of a computer's demands are on the +12v line.  Antec cases are my preference; the P182 and 300 very good and highly rated.
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by:RobMobility
ID: 36814713
Hi,

Don't forget your stand:

http://xfxforce.com/en-us/products/accessories/triple-monitor-stand.aspx

Regards,


RobMobility.
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by:RobMobility
ID: 36814797
Hi,

To get games to perform optimally on a 3 monitor setup, you'll need a pretty powerful video card as you're typically running at a combined resolution of 5760 x 1080 pixels and to be honest, you'll need at least a 6850 to get decent frame rates with detail levels etc. at that resolution.

I'd suggest either a 6850, 6970, 6950 or 6970 - probably 6950 price/performance wise:

http://www.pixmania.nl/nl/nl/10304803/art/sapphire-technology/radeon-hd-6950-1-gb-gddr5.html?Partenaire=partner&CodePromo=oui&srcid=1748

http://www.pixmania.nl/nl/nl/8224042/art/sapphire-technology/radeon-hd-6870-1-gb-gddr5.html

Don't forget that you'll need to use the DisplayPort for one of the monitors in order to support Eyefinity and you'll need an ACTIVE adapter for this (DP-DVI or similar).

The altenative is the 6950 FLeX from Sapphire which has 3 x Eyefinity enabled DVI sockets:

http://azerty.nl/producten/product_detail/2963/399963/sapphire-radeon-hd-6950-flex-grafische-adapter-radeon-hd-6950-pci-express-2-1-x16-2-gb-gddr5-dvi-hdmi-displayport-.html?source=googleps

Whilst a little more expensive than non-FLeX cards, they don't need an active adapter which can cost over 60 Euros.

Regards,


RobMobility.
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by:Onthrax
ID: 36922934
Hi all,

Just a quick message to indicate I haven't abandoned this question. All my time is spent on fixing up my new house.

Thanks for all comments, I'll look into it as soon as I can.

Cheers!
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by:Onthrax
ID: 37061423
Still haven't had time guys. I'm on a time table with fixing up my new house, so every second of my spare time is spent there. I WILL continue this when things slow down, which is in another 3 weeks hopefully. Sorry for the inconvenience.
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by:JeremySBrown
ID: 37157940
I've requested that this question be deleted for the following reason:

This question has been classified as abandoned and is closed as part of the Cleanup Program. See the recommendation for more details.
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by:Onthrax
ID: 37157941
Please don't delete this question. I WILL continue this when time permits me.
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by:RobMobility
ID: 37158462
Hi,

I believe the question has been answered and points should be awarded accordingly?

Regards,


RobMobility.
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by:Onthrax
ID: 37495475
I will follow up on this later, I've been so busy I just don't have the time for it now :(
Have given points to all that helped. Will post a link to the follow-up question in time. Cheers all!
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