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Upgrading my Nvidia Video Cards for multi monitor systems. What do you suggest?

Posted on 2012-08-22
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Last Modified: 2013-11-08
I have a Windows 7 64bit OS on a ASUS Intel Core (TM) i7 CPU 920 @2.67Ghz with 12GB RAM. I have three NVIDIA cards on my mother board supplying video for 6 monitors. I have two NVidia 9600GT cards with 512mb and a 8400 card at 256mb.

I have two monitors at 2560 by 1600. Two at 1680 by 1050 and one at 1920 by 1200 and one at 1920 by 1080.

I would like to be able to add two additional monitors to this configuration. So I am thinking of upgrading one of my 9600 cards to a - Windows 7 64bit OS on a ASUS Intel Core (TM) i7 CPU 920 @2.67Ghz with 12GB RAM.

I am thinking of upgrading one of my 9600 cards to a GeForce GTX with 2GB of onboard memory. It has two dvi ports and two hdmi ports.

Can someone comment on this configuration and the possible problems I may encounter and what people would recommend? Thanks.
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Question by:Scruples89
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Expert Comment

by:wolfcamel
ID: 38321134
the new gtx with 2gb onboard will enable higher res, and will provide faster processing.
personally - if you budget will allow - i like to make all the cards the same - this can then provide uniformity of resolutions and colours.

You shouldnt really have too many problems - but it depends a little on what you are trying to do..run games, run cad, do signage or what?
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Expert Comment

by:Norm Dickinson
ID: 38321150
I just installed a single XFX HD-687X-CNFC Radeon HD 6870 900M Video Card - 2GB, GDDR5, PCI-Express 2.1 (x16), 1x HDMI, Dual DVI, 2x Mini DisplayPort into my system that is running an AMD FX-8150 8-core 3.6 GHz CPU with 16 GB RAM. It is very fast and claims to support four monitors on one card using the Mini DisplayPort interfaces. You can probably run your entire planned configuration very nicely on just two of these cards.

The issues you will run into in any situation like this is inadequate power and airflow. Heat is a big issue for video cards like these and you didn't mention much about your power supply. I would run a minimum of a gigawatt power supply (1000W) and use a high airflow case design, not a cheap mid-tower. Consider the CoolerMaster HAF series for a professional chassis that is a little bigger and a lot better, and designed for these kinds of installations.

http://www.coolermaster.com/category.php?category_id=3584

•Mini Display Port 1.2: 2560x1600 Max Resolution
•HDMI 1.4a: 1920x1200 Max Resolution
•DVI-I Dual-Link: 2560x1600 Max Resolution
•DVI-D Single-Link: 1900x1200 Max Resolution
•GDDR5: 256-bit Memory
 
http://xfxforce.com/en-gb/Products/Graphics-Cards/AMD/AMD-Radeon-HD-6000/AMD-Radeon-HD-6870/HD-687X-CNFC.aspx
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Expert Comment

by:Callandor
ID: 38321560
Massive amounts of onboard memory are unnecessary for anything except 3D games with large textures.  Since your current setup has nVidia cards, in order to minimize driver conflict you should go with another nVidia model.  I have both the GTX 460 and GTX 560Ti and am happy with both, though the 460 is weak when running recent games.  It will still be a good step up from a 9600, though.
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Author Comment

by:Scruples89
ID: 38321622
Thanks! I do have a 1000W power supply, high airflow case. Any suggestions on an NVidia equivalent for the XFX Radeon? the GTX 460 only supports two monitors it appears.
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Assisted Solution

by:Callandor
Callandor earned 1002 total points
ID: 38321908
The only nVidia cards that support more than two monitors are the workstation Quadros, and they use a different driver than the regular desktop models.  The AMDs have Eyefinity, which can go from 1 to 6 monitors (Eyefinity6 models) on a single card, using displayport.  This means upgrading monitors to ones that support displayport, though.
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Author Comment

by:Scruples89
ID: 38325133
Okay, this is helpful! I have regular monitors with VGA and DVI ports. Are there adapters that I could use to connect displayport? Is NVidia coming out with a four monitor card any time soon?
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Assisted Solution

by:Norm Dickinson
Norm Dickinson earned 498 total points
ID: 38325184
There are adapters that should work with what you want to do.

One example is the Startech Displayport to DVI adapter found here:
http://www.startech.com/AV/Displayport-Converters/DisplayPort-to-DVI-Cable-Adapter~DP2DVI

To quote:

The DP2DVI DisplayPort to DVI adapter lets you connect a DVI-D display to a DisplayPort video source (e.g.DisplayPort video cards, etc.), eliminating the expense of having to upgrade to a DisplayPort capable display.

This adapter supports display resolutions of up to 1920x1200 allowing you to take full advantage of single link DVI capability. DP2DVI is a passive adapter that requires a DP++ port (DisplayPort++), meaning that DVI and HDMI signals can also be passed through the port.

Backed by a StarTech.com 2-year warranty and free lifetime technical support.

The StarTech.com Advantage
•Simple to use, small form factor converter makes DisplayPort backward compatible with your DVI-D display
•No installation software or drivers required providing a simple plug and play solution
•4 inch cable offers added flexibility in tight spots

Also, if you do switch over to this type of card the driver issue is really not a big deal, you will just have to uninstall the old driver after you install the new ones. I did exactly that and suffered no real consequence other than a message saying that the driver could not load the first time I booted up with the new driver. I uninstalled it  and everything has been fine since - only faster!
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Accepted Solution

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Callandor earned 1002 total points
ID: 38327368
Apart from the Quadros http://www.nvidia.com/object/product_quadro_nvs_420_us.html, I don't think nVidia is planning any 4-monitor card soon.
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Author Closing Comment

by:Scruples89
ID: 38381170
thanks for your help
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