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  1. #1
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    Dual / Tri monitor setups

    Hi there -

    Looking for a new windows PC or Laptop that can connect to Two or Three monitors (or start with two and have the option to go to 3).

    If it is a laptop I am not opposed to having a docking station to connect mouse and keyboard. I'd like a good processing speed as I am using it for my home office when I telecommute. Budget is $1500-2300. Let me know if I should make the budget higher or if this is okay and if I need any additional software.

  2. #2
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    For that budget you can build a BEAST of a computer. I could get into detail, as there are lots of ways you could go about this. Are the 2-3 monitors included in the setup budget?

    I do custom builds as a hobby.
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrBox View Post
    For that budget you can build a BEAST of a computer. I could get into detail, as there are lots of ways you could go about this. Are the 2-3 monitors included in the setup budget?

    I do custom builds as a hobby.
    Well monitors are fairly inexpensive these days, so let's try not to go over the budget with the monitors, but if it does so be it. I'm more worried buying the right products and having the right equipment to be able to use 2-3 monitors.

    If that budget builds a beast computer, maybe I don't even need to spend that much?

  4. #4
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    The main components you need to focus on here are the graphics cards. With ATI you can do an eyefinity setup more cheaply than an NVIDIA surround setup. With ATI you can use one graphics card to power up to 6 screens.

    I actually prefer NVIDIA's performance so I use dual geforce cards to power 3 screens for surround gaming.

    For price I would go with the Radeon HD 5870 2GB Eyefinity 6 edition. It has 6 mini display port outputs. If you want insane gaming performance get an HD 5970 or 6970.

    I recently setup a new rig with 2 Geforce GTX 570's in SLI, but I stepped up to 2 gtx 580s instead. NVIDIA is coming out with a GTX 590 soon which is a dual GPU card. It's going to cost probably over $1k though...

    If you decide to get powerful GFX cards you will also need an i7 quad core at least. You can run into cpu bottle necks while powering that many screens at high resolution. If you need specific suggestions for parts I can help you there, but there are so many options I don't want to just start listing things.

    newegg.com is the best place to start looking. they have lots of awesome combo deals too.
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  5. #5
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    AMD/ATI cards can support 3+ monitors with a single card. That is one major advantage they have over nVidia since you'll need 2 cards in SLI to run 3 or more monitors. AMD/ATI will definitely be more cost efficient if you're not exactly worried about high performance/enthusiast level gaming.

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    I think I just said that.
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  7. #7
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    Even at the low end of your budget, it's very doable. I spent about $700 on my PC (quad-core with 8GB of RAM), plus $300/each for 3 24" widescreen LED-backlit monitors. I have 2 dual-head video cards. One connects to 2 of the monitors, and the other connects to the 3rd monitor and to my TV (through a DVI to HDMI adapter cable). I run Ubuntu with Enlightenment e17, which gives me independent control of virtual desktops on each screen, while still being able to drag windows to other monitors.
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  8. #8
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    What cards are you running bqinternet?
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by celona View Post
    AMD/ATI cards can support 3+ monitors with a single card. That is one major advantage they have over nVidia since you'll need 2 cards in SLI to run 3 or more monitors. AMD/ATI will definitely be more cost efficient if you're not exactly worried about high performance/enthusiast level gaming.
    At the OP's budget, they may as well go with nvidia.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by layer0 View Post
    At the OP's budget, they may as well go with nvidia.
    Well, I don't think I would ever use more than 3 monitors, if that helps.

    It is not going to be use for gaming. I am a finance professional and will be using it for analysis and trading.

    I can do the i7, what would be best, 8GM Ram? 3.2Ghz?

  11. #11
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    Are you willing to wait just a bit for a Sandy Bridge machine (I believe the motherboards are still on the way)? The new i7's are definitely a good bit faster than the previous.

    Right now, I think i7 950 is great.

  12. #12
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    Yes at your budget I would go with 2xgtx 570's or 2x gtx 560 Ti's. Right now the i7 950 is the way to go. It can be had for $200 now, which is an amazing deal.

    NVIDIA is the way to go for power as far as graphics cards. The GTX 560 Ti is the best value for SLI performance right now. Two of those in SLI will allow you to run 3 screens, and you can even set them up as one single display with 3D vision surround.

    If you WANT to save money though and go under budget go with ATI. You might be able to find an older HD5870 2GB eyefinity card cheaply also. It's perfect for a single card, 3 monitor solution. I know it was on sale for $199 the other day. If you can find it for $200 GET IT. Best value on a card right now.

    Honestly for you ATI sounds like the better route for analysis & trading. Nvidia is geared more towards 3D gaming applications. ATI will give you more bang for the buck on multiple displays, and I'm an NVIDIA fanboy...
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  13. #13
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    I was able to get my system and two monitors for under 2K.

    I got an evga 8800GT//Phenom x4 9550//4Gb corsair xms RAM//500GB Hd space (320+200)//660Watt PSU// base cost 970 + Samsung Syncmaster P2350 23 in @ 1920x1080 (208USD) and LG Flatron W1952TQ 19in @ 1440x900 (179USD) Samsung purchased oct 2010 and LG purchased at the end of 2008.

    system puchased in late 2008. can get better deals now with better specs. Mine posted for example only.

    www.cyberpowerpc.com is where I got mine. They have good deals.

    Nvidia fermi are great gfx cards.
    Something awesome
    coming soon....

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrBox View Post
    What cards are you running bqinternet?
    Mid-range nVidia cards. It doesn't really make a difference.
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  15. #15
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    That's quite a budget for your requirements. I'm running three screens each at 1600 x 1200 using two gtx 470s and an i7 overclocked. Its used primarily for web design and 3Ds Max and occasional gaming it runs great but the sandy bridge is tempting.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by e-hoster View Post
    That's quite a budget for your requirements. I'm running three screens each at 1600 x 1200 using two gtx 470s and an i7 overclocked. Its used primarily for web design and 3Ds Max and occasional gaming it runs great but the sandy bridge is tempting.
    I haven't heard of the sandy bridge. I'd like the graphics card to be good because I do watch videos on it in my spare time and occassionally game (although rare since my work has caught up with me).

    In order to have each screen as a single function what are the best options. Basically my daily setup will be screen 1: (left side) MS Outlook, screen 2 (center): trade platform screen 3 (right): MS Excel.

  17. #17
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    Techy, for what you're looking to do I would go with a single ATI HD 5970. It's a dual GPU card that has more than enough power for everything you're doing. It can easily power all 3 screens, panoramic gaming, 3d applications, photoshop cs5, etc.

    For the price it is still unrivaled. Two GTX 580's would be more overall power, but the 5970 is the best bang for buck. Alternatively, TWO HD 6950's in crossfire would be perfect also. They're only $200 a piece and can be flashed with an HD 6970 bios to unlock them, effectively making them identical to a HD 6970.

    5970 vs. HD6950 x 2

    These are the best options if you want power, ease of use, and price.

    I use all NVIDIA, but I'm about to do a build with dual HD 6970's (unlocked 6950's). ATI is more bang for the buck, period. It's hard to say this because I love nvidia.

    If I were you I would get:

    intel core i7 950 (best bang for buck in cpu's)
    asus sabertooth x58 mobo
    850watt 80 silver certified PSU. ( I use an XFX black edition 850watt, it's amazing, and powers 2 cards easily)
    at least 6-8GB RAM, 12GB is only $220 on newegg for triple channel ( I use corsair dominator, it's the best...)
    ATI HD5970 or DUAL 6950's in crossfire (6950's are newer and have better support for tessellation and DX11 for newer games and 3d apps. I recommend dual 6950's)
    the rest is really up to you and personal preference.
    This will get you in under budget, and you can get your 3 monitors.

    I just recently upgraded to three of these: Samsung syncmaster BX 2431 LED LCD

    They are cheap and perfect for tri monitor setup. (small bezel, rectangular instead of curvy weird designs. amazing picture, great bang for buck size).
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  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by MrBox View Post
    I just recently upgraded to three of these: Samsung syncmaster BX 2431 LED LCD
    Good choice, they're in the budget for the next upgrade.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by yogibear View Post
    Good choice, they're in the budget for the next upgrade.
    For the price they are unbeatable. Great displays. I love the smaller bezel, and the fact that they're really rectangular and don't have a bunch of extra plastic crap. They're just perfect, thin, black panels.
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrBox View Post
    For the price they are unbeatable. Great displays. I love the smaller bezel, and the fact that they're really rectangular and don't have a bunch of extra plastic crap. They're just perfect, thin, black panels.
    Those are quoted around $250 - is roughly what you paid? You have all 3 of the same? Did you use the standard connectors or did you upgrade to hdmi or anything like that?

  21. #21
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    Been pricing these out:

    intel core i7 950 (best bang for buck in cpu's) - 279.99
    asus sabertooth x58 mobo - $199.99
    850watt 80 silver certified PSU - 99.99
    6-8GB RAM, 12GB is only $220 on newegg for triple channel
    ATI HD5970 - 909
    3 Samsung's @ 250

    Here's the catch .. i've never built my own computer ... is this fairly easy?

  22. #22
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    You can pick up the i7 950 from micro center for $199. I did anyhow...

    the rest I picked up off newegg.

    Building your own computer is very easy. Just take your time and follow the steps. If you need help there are lots of instructional videos.

    Most important thing is take your time and don't rush things.
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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrBox View Post
    You can pick up the i7 950 from micro center for $199. I did anyhow...

    the rest I picked up off newegg.

    Building your own computer is very easy. Just take your time and follow the steps. If you need help there are lots of instructional videos.

    Most important thing is take your time and don't rush things.
    Okay, I will also need to buy the cords and everything which are inexpensive. What box/case did you use? Does it make a difference/matter?

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Techy View Post
    Those are quoted around $250 - is roughly what you paid? You have all 3 of the same? Did you use the standard connectors or did you upgrade to hdmi or anything like that?
    I got 3 of them for $249 each. They're all identical. I use DVI to HDMI. DVI plugs into my nvidia cards, and the hdmi plugs into the computer. They come with DVI-HDMI cables. I think it came with some converters too, not 100% sure.
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  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrBox View Post
    I got 3 of them for $249 each. They're all identical. I use DVI to HDMI. DVI plugs into my nvidia cards, and the hdmi plugs into the computer. They come with DVI-HDMI cables. I think it came with some converters too, not 100% sure.
    Thanks, you've been a huge help!

  26. #26
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    I bought a Cooler Master HAF 932 for that build. My new build is going in a Corsair Obsidian 800D case. My other case is an Antec 1200. They're all great cases, and all full towers. The Obsidian is probably my favorite...
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  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrBox View Post
    I bought a Cooler Master HAF 932 for that build. My new build is going in a Corsair Obsidian 800D case. My other case is an Antec 1200. They're all great cases, and all full towers. The Obsidian is probably my favorite...
    excellent, thanks again.

  28. #28
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    Make sure you don't skimp on PSUs!!!!! get Antec or a higher end brand. Do not get any cheap PSUs. Antec is good for cases as well. Lian Li are good cases as well.

    As a rule of thumb I get more then the power I really need in a PSU for upgrades. I normally use 350-450 out of the 660 watts my PSU will draw. Having extra is essential.
    Something awesome
    coming soon....

  29. #29
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    I bought a motherboard with 3 PCIexpress slots and put 3 dual head cards to get 6 monitors. Now I can Play Starcraft, EVE and WOW at the same time... Oh, and get work done too, of course.
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  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by WII-Aaron View Post
    I bought a motherboard with 3 PCIexpress slots and put 3 dual head cards to get 6 monitors. Now I can Play Starcraft, EVE and WOW at the same time... Oh, and get work done too, of course.
    I'm sure you get plenty of work done
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  31. #31
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    wow how do you have the attention span for that Aaron?!
    Something awesome
    coming soon....

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by ninkynonk View Post
    wow how do you have the attention span for that Aaron?!
    sounds like a lot of gaming and a little bit of work to me haha. Pretty cool 6 monitor setup i'm sure.

  33. #33
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    I couldn't help myself, I just picked up two HD 6950's. I'm unlocking them to full 6970's right now, and putting them in crossfire. I can't wait to benchmark these!
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  34. #34
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    Wow, so these things unlocked perfectly to full HD 6970's. I overclocked them to 915Mhz and 1400Mhz shader. They run at almost half the temperature as my gtx 570's and they use way less power. They also perform amazingly well. i'm pretty impressed. Now all I need is 12 displays to take full advantage!
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  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrBox View Post
    Wow, so these things unlocked perfectly to full HD 6970's. I overclocked them to 915Mhz and 1400Mhz shader. They run at almost half the temperature as my gtx 570's and they use way less power. They also perform amazingly well. i'm pretty impressed. Now all I need is 12 displays to take full advantage!
    Where did you get them from and what did it run you? How did you unlock them to full 6970's?

  36. #36
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    I picked them up from Fry's. Right now they will match any online store's "shipped" price, so I got them at newegg's price of about $290. There was another guy at the store who was picking them up too, and he was doing the same thing lol. I ended up talking to him for a few minutes and he made some suggestions on which brand to get.

    I ended up with the Diamond Radeon HD 6950 2GB model. It has to be the 2GB model, and it has to be a reference design otherwise it won't unlock.

    All you do to unlock them is download a bios flashing tool, reset the bios switch on the card to the "1" position, and flash it with a 6970 bios. The 6950 2GB is literally the same card inside, it just has the chip limited down via bios. It unlocked perfectly to full 6970 specs, and I benchmarked it. Everything was good so I did the other one and then put them in crossfire. The performance is crazy.

    Here's a how to guide on flashing the cards: http://www.techpowerup.com/articles/...ng/vidcard/159
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  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrBox View Post
    I picked them up from Fry's. Right now they will match any online store's "shipped" price, so I got them at newegg's price of about $290. There was another guy at the store who was picking them up too, and he was doing the same thing lol. I ended up talking to him for a few minutes and he made some suggestions on which brand to get.

    I ended up with the Diamond Radeon HD 6950 2GB model. It has to be the 2GB model, and it has to be a reference design otherwise it won't unlock.

    All you do to unlock them is download a bios flashing tool, reset the bios switch on the card to the "1" position, and flash it with a 6970 bios. The 6950 2GB is literally the same card inside, it just has the chip limited down via bios. It unlocked perfectly to full 6970 specs, and I benchmarked it. Everything was good so I did the other one and then put them in crossfire. The performance is crazy.

    Here's a how to guide on flashing the cards: http://www.techpowerup.com/articles/...ng/vidcard/159
    Interesting....might be out of my league haha.

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Techy View Post
    Interesting....might be out of my league haha.
    If you follow the article's instructions it is super easy. The card has a bios switch so in case you mess it up you just switch it back to the second bios position, or hit the reset switch on the card.

    The whole flashing process is done in windows with a simple program called ATIWinFlash
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  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrBox View Post
    If you follow the article's instructions it is super easy. The card has a bios switch so in case you mess it up you just switch it back to the second bios position, or hit the reset switch on the card.

    The whole flashing process is done in windows with a simple program called ATIWinFlash
    Okay. Going to be a lot of firsts for me (building the computer myself, and then trying to unlock the to full 6970's. Should be exciting, and you may find your PM box full if I have questions lol

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by Techy View Post
    Okay. Going to be a lot of firsts for me (building the computer myself, and then trying to unlock the to full 6970's. Should be exciting, and you may find your PM box full if I have questions lol
    Hey no problem man. You can even call if you need help. I'm an enthusiast after work hours, late in the evening. I don't mind helping at all.
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