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single or crossfire card recommendation - 3 different size displays with no screen sharing

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
I've searched through existing threads and have found several threads very similar to my questions, but nothing that quite answers everything for me. I'm hoping someone much more knowledgeable about GPUs than I am can help.

I am planning a new build and do quite a bit of modeling and 1080p movies using 3 screens on two different hp elitebooks. The new build will need to consolidate all my requirements and 3 screens into one system as noted below.
Screen 1 - 24" - cloud server interfaces requiring a ton of browser windows on screen 1 - 24" (25-30 chrome tabs and 5 - 10 IE windows) with frequent screen refreshes / switching back and forth. Logging into the servers takes forever, but once Im in things are fine. Hence having to keep so many browsers open.

Screen 2 - 32" - modeling software running several hundred thousand operations per execution. This can be @echo off, but at times I need to see how the algorithms are playing and would like to be able to see changes in 1 - 2 second refreshes. neither of my current onboard video cards can come close to supporting this (stock on board obile Intel® GMA 4500MHD), but my current CPU's cant support the modeling programs at this level of calculations per second anyway. Hence the need for the new system. The graphics displayed once the simulations are complete are not intensive, but seem to lag my system bad as I move around the screen, not sure why considering no data is changing. Could be the program itself. I also do research using several government online libraries which can account for approximately 15 tabs, but this is only about 25% of the time.

Screen 3 - 40" - used for mostly for vizio diagrams, some large database operations where I need more screen real estate, visio, and 1080p blu-ray quality movie files. I would say 70% of the time its used for movies .

I have no interest in sharing a single program across multiple monitors, but i do want to run all 3 monitors simultaneously without lag.

I know I dont need a top of the line gaming card and any gpu is going to be loads better than my current on-board processor, but I also don't know if 1 gpu will be more practicle for 3 monitors than 2 gpu's if I wont be runing multiple monitors for the same program. I wouldnt think I'd want to crossfire for my application, as I wont be sharing screens.

At any rate, Ive been looking at either 2 5770s or 1 6850 or 6870. I'd like to keep it under $190.00 for a single card, or $230 for 2 cards, unless I will see any serious benefit from spending more. Additionally, I'm leaning towards XFX, although I'm not quite sure why.

The build will utilize a water cooled i7-3930k, 32gb ddr3 1600 ram. The mobo Is udecided on. My PSU is a OCZ Z 1000W 80+ Gold.

Thanks for any advice.
Edited by jc1234 - 11/20/11 at 11:00pm
    
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post #2 of 11
With that build and your modelling requirements, I would look in to the FirePro Multi-View line of cards. Don't think a low end gaming card will cut it for your needs, modelling is very GPU intensive.
post #3 of 11

First, the screen size doesn't really matter but the resolution does. But all the applications you run are not GPU intensive to render frames unlike playing PC games, so resolution not a concern either. You need the card to drive 3 monitors in extended desktops.

 

You need GPU hardware acceleration but you do not need crossfire as you can not share the loads among the GPUs in crossfire. Unless you can confirm the workloads can be assigned to multi-GPU or just assign it to 3930K.

 

So if you are looking at AMD cards, a single 6950 2GB $230 is plenty for all the requirement. AMD single card can drive up to 4 monitors simultaneously with independent resolutions, refresh rates, color controls, and video overlays. You can get a 6870 but faster card like 6950 will benefit you more.

 

But the minimum requirement to setup 3 or more monitors is, 2 monitors with legacy devices combination of DVI, VGA or HDMI. The third monitor must have a native DisplayPort or an active DisplayPort to DVI or VGA adapter is needed (need one $30). This is the bare requirement regardless you intend to create a single large surface (Eyefinity) from 3 displays or not. 

 

Your resolution is 1080p, so I am guessing all the monitors must have VGA, DVI and HDMI. If so, your monitor setup will look like this:

 

Monitor #1, HDMI > HDMI

Monitor #2, DVI > DVI

Monitor #3, DVI > DVI-MiniDP Active Adapter http://www.amazon.com/Accell-B087B-006B-DisplayPort-Single-Link-Certified/dp/B004071ZXA

 

Don't buy adapter other than in link above.

 

Or you can get this card will not need to buy an active adapter but depends on your monitors. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814102929

 

You need a lot of fast RAM. Motherboard GA-X79-UD3 should be decent for the build and don't cheap out on PSU. 

 

 

 

41oA9lxKFkL._SL500_AA300_.jpg


 


Edited by Ken1649 - 11/21/11 at 4:47am
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post #4 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by hirolla888 View Post

With that build and your modelling requirements, I would look in to the FirePro Multi-View line of cards. Don't think a low end gaming card will cut it for your needs, modelling is very GPU intensive.
Those cards seem very far outside my price range. Anything decent seems to be in the $500.00 - $2,000.00 range. I am under the impression that my modeling is not nearly as intensive as someone who may be creating 3D engineering schematics for a car engine, since mine is mostly text and 2d. The difference is that my models are simulations of statistical interactions that run many times and I'd like to see the results, not just of the end, but during the process. I thought this was mostly CPU related, but since I dont really know where the CPU stops and GPU starts, I cannot say for sure. Either way, I cant imagine I could afford a firepro card.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken1649 View Post

First, the screen size doesn't really matter but the resolution does. But all the applications you run are not GPU intensive to render frames unlike playing PC games, so resolution not a concern either. You need the card to drive 3 monitors in extended desktops.

You need GPU hardware acceleration but you do not need crossfire as you can not share the loads among the GPUs in crossfire. Unless you can confirm the workloads can be assigned to multi-GPU or just assign it to 3930K.

So if you are looking at AMD cards, a single 6950 2GB $230is plenty for all the requirement. AMD single card can drive up to 4 monitors simultaneously with independent resolutions, refresh rates, color controls, and video overlays. You can get a 6870 but faster card like 6950 will benefit you more.

But the minimum requirement to setup 3 or more monitors is, 2 monitors with legacy devices combination of DVI, VGA or HDMI. The third monitor must have a native DisplayPort or an active DisplayPort to DVI or VGA adapter is needed (need one $30). This is the bare requirement regardless you intend to create a single large surface (Eyefinity) from 3 displays or not.

Your resolution is 1080p, so I am guessing all the monitors must have VGA, DVI and HDMI. If so, your monitor setup will look like this:

Monitor #1, HDMI > HDMI
Monitor #2, DVI > DVI
Monitor #3, DVI > DVI-MiniDP Active Adapter http://www.amazon.com/Accell-B087B-006B-DisplayPort-Single-Link-Certified/dp/B004071ZXA


Don't buy adapter other than in link above.

Or you can get this card will not need to buy an active adapter but depends on your monitors. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814102929

You need a lot of fast RAM. Motherboard GA-X79-UD3 should be decent for the build and don't cheap out on PSU.


LL


Thanks for the detailed response +rep.

Believe it or not, all 3 of my monitors are lacking DVI options, only having HDMI or VGA. The 40" is a LCD/LED TV, so I expected the lack of DVI support, but even my newest 24" Viewsonic is HDMI / VGA only. I do not have displayports, as I didn't think I would need that feature. Initially I was going to use DVI -> HDMI cables, once I realized that most GPU's don't have physical HDMI out., which is what I am doing now for one of the displays. However, I forgot to mention that I do want to connect one of the GPU outputs to my receiver to bistream audio along with video content for movies. So I will need HDMI output, since DVI is video only.

I suppose I can do:
24" VGA or DVI ->HDMI
32" DVI->HDMI
40"HDMI ->HDMI and if possible DVI->HDMI to bypass the receiver when running data only operations.

Does not having a displayport and requiring HDMI straight out change things? I would assume it does?

As far as ram, I will be running 32GB, 8 x 4gb quad channel ddr13 1600 (corsair vengence). My goal was only 24gb, but since they are quad channel boards and I got 32gb for $160, I figured it was a decent price. The PSU is the OCZ Z Series 1000W Power Supply hopefully this is an ok PSU, as I already cut out the PCU and sent in the rebate info.

Really appreciate the help so far, thanks.
    
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post #5 of 11
You don't need a 1000w PSU smile.gif.

Something like this will suit you better and allow more flex in other areas (like the gpu).

That PSU will be plenty for a single gpu config (and most dual gpu) smile.gif.

EDIT: it looks like you've already bought the PSU, so ignore ^ all of that smile.gif.
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post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nocturin View Post

You don't need a 1000w PSU smile.gif.
Something like this will suit you better and allow more flex in other areas (like the gpu).
That PSU will be plenty for a single gpu config (and most dual gpu) smile.gif.
EDIT: it looks like you've already bought the PSU, so ignore ^ all of that smile.gif.

Ya, I knew I Wouldnt need a 1000 watt, but for $109 after rebate and the hope for less heat / noise due to increased capability, I figured for the price it was a worth it. I just went for the gold, due to decreased efficiency at the loads I'd be using. Of course the following day comparable stuff went on sale for less, but I didnt feel like sending it back.
    
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post #7 of 11

Quote:

Originally Posted by jc1234 View Post

Believe it or not, all 3 of my monitors are lacking DVI options, only having HDMI or VGA. The 40" is a LCD/LED TV, so I expected the lack of DVI support, but even my newest 24" Viewsonic is HDMI / VGA only. I do not have displayports, as I didn't think I would need that feature. Initially I was going to use DVI -> HDMI cables, once I realized that most GPU's don't have physical HDMI out., which is what I am doing now for one of the displays. However, I forgot to mention that I do want to connect one of the GPU outputs to my receiver to bistream audio along with video content for movies. So I will need HDMI output, since DVI is video only.

I suppose I can do:
24" VGA or DVI ->HDMI
32" DVI->HDMI
40"HDMI ->HDMI and if possible DVI->HDMI to bypass the receiver when running data only operations
.

Does not having a displayport and requiring HDMI straight out change things? I would assume it does?

As far as ram, I will be running 32GB, 8 x 4gb quad channel ddr13 1600 (corsair vengence). My goal was only 24gb, but since they are quad channel boards and I got 32gb for $160, I figured it was a decent price. The PSU is the OCZ Z Series 1000W Power Supply hopefully this is an ok PSU, as I already cut out the PCU and sent in the rebate info.

Really appreciate the help so far, thanks.

 

This setup will work, the above will not.

 

I am using this card for your reference http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814150530


1. Monitor 24" VGA > VGA-DVI Adapter to card upper DVI port (If it doesn't come with the card, will need to buy one).

 

The lower DVI port is shared with HDMI. The option is either lower DVI or HDMI port. Also lower port is DVI-D Digital only and will not work with any adapter. It will only work for monitor with native DVI input. Since the monitor lacks of DVI, this option is out.

 

2. Monitor 32" VGA > VGA-DisplayPort Active Adapter (need to buy one).

 

3. Monitor 40" HDMI < HDMI < Reciever < HDMI < Card.

 

You will not be able to bypass with HDMI-DVI adapter cable for reason stated in #1 above. But you will be able to bypass the reciever with direct monitor HDMI to card HDMI.

 

For the adapter buy only validated by AMD in this list http://support.amd.com/us/eyefinity/Pages/eyefinity-dongles.aspx.

 

So whoever might jump in saying otherwise, stick to the above list. Other cheaper adapters might work but a hit or miss. If you need further clarification just post back. 

 

 

The PSU is fine especially for doing serious work and not for gaming. More available power is not going to kill your system but benefits you in the long run. You want to minimize downtime with something that could be avoided in the first place.

 

I am going to leave it at that to whoever might jump in again after this post with "PSU Overkill". Also more RAM is not going to kill the system either. You certainly need more RAMs than average PC gamers.

 


 

 

 

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post #8 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken1649 View Post

Quote:

This setup will work, the above will not.

I am using this card for your reference http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814150530


1. Monitor 24" VGA > VGA-DVI Adapter to card upper DVI port (If it doesn't come with the card, will need to buy one).

The lower DVI port is shared with HDMI. The option is either lower DVI or HDMI port. Also lower port is DVI-D Digital only and will not work with any adapter. It will only work for monitor with native DVI input. Since the monitor lacks of DVI, this option is out.

2. Monitor 32" VGA > VGA-DisplayPort Active Adapter (need to buy one).

3. Monitor 40" HDMI < HDMI < Reciever < HDMI < Card.

You will not be able to bypass with HDMI-DVI adapter cable for reason stated in #1 above. But you will be able to bypass the reciever with direct monitor HDMI to card HDMI.

For the adapter buy only validated by AMD in this list http://support.amd.com/us/eyefinity/Pages/eyefinity-dongles.aspx.

So whoever might jump in saying otherwise, stick to the above list. Other cheaper adapters might work but a hit or miss. If you need further clarification just post back. 


The PSU is fine especially for doing serious work and not for gaming. More available power is not going to kill your system but benefits you in the long run. You want to minimize downtime with something that could be avoided in the first place.

I am going to leave it at that to whoever might jump in again after this post with "PSU Overkill". Also more RAM is not going to kill the system either. You certainly need more RAMs than average PC gamers.

+rep again. Youve been a huge help. Some of the best responses I've gotten on OC.net, thanks again. A few more questions for you though biggrin.gif

When I add up the cost of the card and adapters, it puts me around the $300.00 mark (not including any black friday luck). Given the issue with ports and connectors, can you clarify why dual $100 - $150.00 cards wouldnt be a benefit, given the additional output ports and setup?

For instance, why isnt there a benefit to using 2 cards in a configuration such as:
GPU 1 - 40" monitor using TV input 1 > HDMI > receiver > HDMI > GPU and TV input 2 >HDMI-DVI>GPU as a connection bypassing the receiver..
GPU 2 - 24" > VGA-DVI > GPU and 32" HDMI -DVI > GPU

The reason I ask, is that I already have one DVI to HDMI cable and they are pretty cheap now. Plus, black friday sales for older cards should be pretty good, I hope. If there is a performance decrease for my needs using 2 cards vs 1 card, then the 1 GPU solution would still be my preference. Especially if having non crossfire dual GPU's means there is more of a likelihood of random windows functional issues and compatibility errors.

My concern with the 1 GPU solution isnt so much with price, as it is with digital to non-digital adapters. I have always had problems in the past over the long term when it comes to windows and VGA to digital conversion. However, I havnt had a stand alone video card since 2000, so this may not be as much of a problem as it is with on-board cards and laptop docking stations. Since I really don't know much about GPU's, I may be wrong in assuming that double the physical ports also means double the usable ports when adding additional GPUs. Is there a limit to the overall number of functional output ports, regardless of using 1 or 2 cards?

Thoughts? Thanks again!
    
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post #9 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by jc1234 View Post

When I add up the cost of the card and adapters, it puts me around the $300.00 mark (not including any black friday luck). Given the issue with ports and connectors, can you clarify why dual $100 - $150.00 cards wouldnt be a benefit, given the additional output ports and setup?

For instance, why isnt there a benefit to using 2 cards in a configuration such as:
GPU 1 - 40" monitor using TV input 1 > HDMI > receiver > HDMI > GPU and TV input 2 >HDMI-DVI>GPU as a connection bypassing the receiver..
GPU 2 - 24" > VGA-DVI > GPU and 32" HDMI -DVI > GPU

The reason I ask, is that I already have one DVI to HDMI cable and they are pretty cheap now. Plus, black friday sales for older cards should be pretty good, I hope. If there is a performance decrease for my needs using 2 cards vs 1 card, then the 1 GPU solution would still be my preference. Especially if having non crossfire dual GPU's means there is more of a likelihood of random windows functional issues and compatibility errors.

My concern with the 1 GPU solution isnt so much with price, as it is with digital to non-digital adapters. I have always had problems in the past over the long term when it comes to windows and VGA to digital conversion. However, I havnt had a stand alone video card since 2000, so this may not be as much of a problem as it is with on-board cards and laptop docking stations. Since I really don't know much about GPU's, I may be wrong in assuming that double the physical ports also means double the usable ports when adding additional GPUs. Is there a limit to the overall number of functional output ports, regardless of using 1 or 2 cards?

Thoughts? Thanks again!


I didn't suggest a dual card setup (but not to crossfire) for the reason, you might need GPU hardware acceleration for the applications that need GPU power. If you can confirm there's no need for GPU Hardware Acceleration, any 2 of AMD cards ranging from $20-50 are capable for extended desktop realestate.

 

If so, you can also mix AMD and Nvidia card for that purpose. What important is, motherboard selection for multi-GPU setup. The cards must have PCIe lanes bandwidth of x16 or x8. Lower than that at x4 or x1 is not recommended, you will notice the display lags for the works you want it to perform.

 

If you don't need GPU Hardware Acceleration, just pick 2 cards with DVI, HDMI and DP.   
 

 

 

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ケンジ
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post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken1649 View Post



I didn't suggest a dual card setup (but not to crossfire) for the reason, you might need GPU hardware acceleration for the applications that need GPU power. If you can confirm there's no need for GPU Hardware Acceleration, any 2 of AMD cards ranging from $20-50 are capable for extended desktop realestate.

If so, you can also mix AMD and Nvidia card for that purpose. What important is, motherboard selection for multi-GPU setup. The cards must have PCIe lanes bandwidth of x16 or x8. Lower than that at x4 or x1 is not recommended, you will notice the display lags for the works you want it to perform.

If you don't need GPU Hardware Acceleration, just pick 2 cards with DVI, HDMI and DP.   

 

I have no idea if I would need hardware acceleration or not. I suppose its better to have it and not need it, rather than the other way around. It seems like any of the x79 boards that have 8 memory slots also have a good bit of PCIe bandwidth. I havent made a decision on the mobo yet, but I will keep that in mind when I do.

What's your take on the analog to digital (or vice versa) concern? Is that likely a non-issue if I have AMD supported cables, or will it always be something that may cause intermittent issues?
    
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XSPC Raystorm CPU Block XSPC RX360 Rev 2 Xigmatek CLF-F1255 x 14 T-Balancer BigNG, flow meter, 3 x H20 Temp, & 4... 
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2 x Custom Danger Den RAD Reservoirs Primochill Pro LRT tubing - White Windows 7 Pro x64 Sharp Aquos Quattron LC-40LE820UN 40" 
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ViewSonic LED 24" LG 32LF11 32" HP L1950 19" Logitech Wireless K800 
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