Opinion on 6 monitor build / GPU opinions

MastaChieff

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Hi guys,

I've been a long time reader but first time poster and I'm in need of some help.

I now currently have 6 22" 1080p thin bezel monitors in my possession, and I would love to build a solid gaming rig to power these monitors without breaking the bank.

I currently have the option to buy an ASUS Direct CU 2 HD7970 that is factory refurbed with a one year warranty for $350 (http://www.amazon.com/ASUS-DirectCU-28nm-Graphics-HD7970-DC2-3GD5/dp/B007B5P9SU/ref=pd_cp_pc_0). The card claims to be able power 6 monitors in HD. I have been doing alot research and have heard good reviews, yet most of these were from 2012 and may be outdated.

If you were in my shoes would you buy this card? Or crossfire 2 different cards? And if so, what would you recommend as a good cpu mobo combo in your opinion to get the most out of it without wasting money?

Any feedback helps and thanks alot everybody.
 
"Solid gaming rig", "six monitor eyefinity", and "without breaking the bank"... you just can't have all three! Pick any two of the above and you're fine, but all three just aren't going to happen.

6x1080p is ~12MP, which is 50% more than 4K. Have a look at some recent benchmarks with 4K gaming and subtract at least 33% of the fps and you'll have a rough idea of the kind of performance you're looking at.

You need to either be prepared to
a) increase your budget,
b) use just 3 screens, or
c) accept low to very low settings (on older/less demanding games) AND forget playing any of the latest demanding games with all 6 screens enabled.

6 Screens is also a little problematic as the horizontal 'centre' of the display will be right in the bezel between your top and bottom monitors. Racers, flight sims, top-down strategy games might be fine with this, but any kind of shooters (1st or 3rd person) will usually have the crosshair right in the bezel. I'd go 5 x portrait over 6 monitors if I were you.

A few questions:
- Do you have a budget?
- What kind of games do you want to play? Also, do you want to be able to run the latest games like Assassins Creed:U and DA:I?
- How sensitive are you to lower fps and lower detail settings?

I would think to get a 'solid' gaming rig for 5 or 6 screens you'd need to be looking at least towards crossfire r9 290s...

BTW, you can run 6 screens off any mid-high end AMD GPU, but you'll need a MST hub. Club3D sell a couple.
 

MastaChieff

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Thank you for your great response! It is much appreciated.

And my budget right now is right around 1000 dollars for the rig. I already have the 6 monitors and wanted to put them towards a good use.

I wouldn't mind temporarily limiting myself to 3 monitors to stay in budget for now and then in the future upgrading to 6 monitors. I just want to avoid being stuck playing games on low settings down the road and would like to play newer games on decent settings even if it means spending more money in the future. Should I even consider the card listed above? It seems like the hubs you talked about were a better way to go.

And I am aware of the FPS shooter issue with 6 monitors, except the bezel is so thin with these monitors (under 1/4 inch for both bezels when touching) that I'm hoping it won't affect game play alot.

Yet thanks again for your help!


 


You could consider the card listed above, but even two of them are going to seriously struggle. The other issue with that card is that it's a 3 slot design. While that means it's got plenty of space for all the connectors you need (making the 6 outputs possible) and good cooling, if you want to add a second card it's going to suffocate the 3 slot monster. Most SLI/CFX motherboards give you 3 slots between the GPUs, which usually gives you 1 empty slot to allow the first card to breathe a little. The 3 slot card will take up almost all that space and struggle to get fresh air.

Also another question, do your monitors have displayport inputs? If not, you'll need active adapters on the displayports which would run towards $100 for the 4 you'd need.

I'd try to start with an R9 290 if you can. You'd need an MST hub (add ~$130) as I don't think there are any 6 output versions... someone please correct me if I'm wrong. But at least CFX 290s would have a go at that resolution.

I would seriously go 5xPortrait though. Even a tiny bezel will probably obscure the crosshair, which means you won't know where you're targeting. Either that or you don't do any bezel correction, which unnaturally stretches everything. You can always run the 6th monitor in landscape for your desktop and just game on the 5.
 

MastaChieff

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Thank you all for the great answers. You have saved me thousands of dollars and a lot of headaches down the road! I cant thank you all enough for the help.

Do you think one of these will be sufficient combined with a MST hub for three monitors? Then in the future I will add another card+MST and I will lay them out in portrait as you suggested:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814202079&nm_mc=KNC-GoogleAdwords-PC&cm_mmc=KNC-GoogleAdwords-PC-_-pla-_-Desktop+Graphics+Cards-_-N82E16814202079&gclid=Cj0KEQiAhvujBRDUpomG5cq_mI0BEiQA7TYq-sd2O0Ir4WkzLOwf8AC5O5ZNvczjYg7JtonVumeZk6waAmkP8P8HAQ

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814202079&nm_mc=KNC-GoogleAdwords-PC&cm_mmc=KNC-GoogleAdwords-PC-_-pla-_-Desktop+Graphics+Cards-_-N82E16814202079&gclid=Cj0KEQiAhvujBRDUpomG5cq_mI0BEiQA7TYq-sd2O0Ir4WkzLOwf8AC5O5ZNvczjYg7JtonVumeZk6waAmkP8P8HAQ

My goal is to get the best picture possible on multiple monitors, even if I have to start with three then expand in the future.

Thanks again for all the help
 
Look, it's really difficult to know for sure.

For what it's worth, I have 3 monitors, mostly for productivity purposes and I run them off a single 7950 (=r9 280). While most on these forums would tell me I'm crazy and need more horsepower, it is surprising how well it does considering how little money I put into it. I'm not a hardcore gamer by any stretch. Basically when a game comes out I want to play, I spend a little time figuring out:

a) whether eyefinity works at all (which it often doesn't. I also sometimes prefer 3xportrait which often doesn't work properly even if landscape does)
b) whether I can get playable settings. I'll compare single screen settings vs playable frames (if achievable at all) on multi-mon and decide which gives me the best experience.

Sometimes it's better to play with higher settings on a single screen than low settings multi-monitor.

You'd probably have to do something similar. You're looking at more screens, but also higher end hardware. Also bear in mind that eyefinity often doesn't work, or takes an investment of time to find the right settings or fixes (WSGF have a good list) for games.

I've had really good experiences on my (many would say) completely underpowered GPU on games like Mass Effect 3 and BioShock Infinite. Tomb Raider ran fine (brilliant game too), but I had to turn setting down a loooong way thought, but I'd take med-low settings across 3 screen vs high settings on 1 screen in a heartbeat for TR... that was really fun. Most people here on the forums consider high settings a minimum and would not be satisfied with any lower. If that's you then this is foolish endeavour.

PLUS, as I mentioned above, the latest games written exclusively for next Gen consoles have really high minimum specs. Even low settings I suspect will smash a CFX 290X tring to drive 12MPs. Hopefully that's just poorly optimised games (AC:U especially!), but if that is reflective of the future trend, your hardware is going to start looking out of its depth really quickly.

I still question whether you can do this with a 1K budget. You need a PSU that'll drive 2 x290/290Xs... which is 850W really. Go intel Quad core, 8GB RAM... and $130 for the MST Hub and it's going to be tight. See how you go though.

Here's an MST Hub in stock for $130: http://www.ncixus.com/products/?sku=101393&vpn=CSV-5300&manufacture=Club3D

If you go with an 290/290X, you don't need 2 MST hubs, just the one. See this youtube vid: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jMmIDkCVOs8
That'll give you 3 displays from the hub, plus you can use the 2 DVI ports and HDMI port on the card for your total of 6 displays.

If you decide to go ahead, post back once it's all going to share your experiences. Your use-case is pretty unusual and it's hand to find advice or first-hand experiences. So yours would benefit others!

Good luck whichever way you decide to go.
 
Oh, I'm a little nervous about the Sapphire's you linked. The spec-sheet lists max 4 displays. The AMD GPU at its core does support 6 displays, so it should be fine... but you'd struggle to get support given they've only listed 4 displays on their website.

The MSI Lightening is the same price and does list 6 display support, specifically mentioning an MST hub. I'd go that way if I were you.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814127787&cm_re=R9_290-_-14-127-787-_-Product

MSI has slightly higher clocks and better temps according to Toms too: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/r9-290x-lightning-performance-review,3782-7.html
 

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