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Windows 7: Video Card Suggestions

21 Aug 2011   #1

Windows 7 64 bit
 
 
Video Card Suggestions

I pretty much figured out everything I want for my custom build that I will soon be starting and the last thing I need to decide on is my video card. I have been doing some research on cards and have been having a hard time finding what I want for the price (preferably $150 - $300 range). I am not a gamer and I mostly use my computer running various software programs (Microsoft world, excel, outlook), running trading platforms and to view the web for research, so I usually have multiple tabs open - basically a lot of multitasking. I currently have a dual monitor setup with 2 20" widescreens and will most likely add a third to my setup.

The problem I mainly have when looking at video cards is the amount of monitors they are able to support and the types of connections they have. I would like to run a minimum of 3 monitors and would like to have the option in the future to upgrade to 4 monitors. I want DVI connections or DP connections that can convert to DVI. Also, If running 3 monitors I would like to be able to make the center monitor have the task bar and be the main monitor. From my research the only video cards that have these capabilities are workstation video cards, more specifically the Nvidia NVS 450. This card even has the ability to extend the task bar along multiple monitors and allows you to stack monitors (i.e. 2 x 2 monitors). However, this card costs upwards of $500-600 and I am not certain but it may only be a 2D card. As I mentioned I don't play games but I am unsure if I will ever need 3D capabilities for anything.

My custom build will include:
i7 2600K
Asus P8Z68 Deluxe
Crossair DDR3 Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3 1866 (PC3 15000)
Seasonic 850W X series
Corsair - White 600T Mid-Tower Case
80GB SSD and 1TB HHD

With that in mind can anyone throw some suggestions my way for a graphics card that can accomplish what I am looking for? Again, I like the flexibility of the workstation cards and the fact that they can support multiple monitors but I just don't like the price - are there any mainstream cards that have these types of capabilities? From what I read the reason those cards are so expensive is because of the tech support you get with them as they are mainly intended for businesses.

Thanks!


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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21 Aug 2011   #2

Windows 7 Pro X64 SP1
 
 

I suggest using the "power search" function at www.newegg.com. (That's useful even if you will not be doing business with them.) You can find a few desktop graphics cards with four DVI ports:

Newegg.com - Computer Hardware, Video Cards & Video Devices, Desktop Graphics / Video Cards, 4 x DVI

I have the impression that AMD (ATI) is to be preferred for multiple displays at this time ("Eyefinity"), but there's only one listed:

Newegg.com - VisionTek 900307 Radeon HD 4670 X2 2GB 128-bit DDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready Video Card

It's expensive, though (nearly $300).

There's one low-end workstation card that's cheaper:

Newegg.com - ATI 100-505532 FirePro 2450 512MB GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 Low Profile Multi-View Workstation Graphics Accelerator - Bulk - Professional Graphics / Video Cards
My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 Aug 2011   #3

Windows 7 64 bit
 
 

Thanks for the reply bobkn. I have done this search already at newegg, the only problem I have with the cards that show up from the search is that they either had bad reviews or there were not enough reviews. I am not that knowledgeable regarding graphics cards and research can only help me understand so much - so I am hoping that someone can recommend a card from user experience or from someone who has a good understanding of video cards and can point me in the right direction based on my needs.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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22 Aug 2011   #4

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 and Home Premium x64
 
 

I should warn, however, consider also looking at your case and what you will be doing with your system. Even though you are not a gamer, depending on how heavy of a load the GPU is going to take to do stuff, especially driving 3 monitors at your wish and possibly a fourth, research a little more on the AMD cards. One concern will be the heat, as you want longevity with the system, AMD cards are known for having higher heat generations depending on load. So you may want to make sure your case will have sufficient internal venting so as not to burn out internal components like your Mainboard, Air cooled CPU and your Video cards.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Aug 2011   #5

Windows 7 Ultimate x64/Windows 8 Consumer Preview x64/Ubuntu 11.04
 
 

First of all, I'd like to say that the setup you have at the moment. Though I would probably swap the PSU for a Corsair, OCZ or CoolerMaster one.

For the GPU, if you want the best in your price range I'd go with something like an EVGA GTX 560 Ti SuperClocked.
Newegg.com - EVGA SuperClocked 01G-P3-1563-AR GeForce GTX 560 Ti (Fermi) 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card

Try going to Newegg.com and filtering the GPU search to the $200-$300 price range and take a look at the different cards. Personally, I prefer NVIDIA but that's just me. Anyway, take at the belowbenchmark chart. It'll give you some insight into what GPU's you might want to get.
PassMark Software - Video Card Benchmarks - High End Video Cards

The following post is also a good read for anyone planning to buy a new graphics card.
Planning to upgrade your Graphics Card? Read First...
My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Aug 2011   #6

Windows 7 64 bit
 
 

Thanks for the responses. I posted on another forum and someone recommended the eyefinity series cards from AMD. They seem to offer everything I am looking for in a card and for under $200 ($175 with rebate) I can get my hands on Radeon 6870.

Newegg.com - SAPPHIRE Vapor-X 100314VXSR Radeon HD 6870 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card with Eyefinity

The only thing I wanted clarification on is whether or not I can run 3 DVI monitors through this setup. I know HDMI and DVI are the same and I can only use two of those three ports, however, can I use an adaptor from the mini DP to DVI for the 3rd monitor? Or will that not work.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Aug 2011   #7

Windows 7 Ultimate x64/Windows 8 Consumer Preview x64/Ubuntu 11.04
 
 

I'm not too sure about ATI cards but it looks like it can. The website seems to say it does. But wait until an ATI user confirms this, I'm not entirely sure.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Aug 2011   #8

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 and Home Premium x64
 
 

AMD Eyefinity Technology

Suggests it does it... But still can't find more specs on it.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Aug 2011   #9

Windows 7 64 bit
 
 

I figured it out. I will need an active displayport to DVI adapter for the third DVI monitor to work
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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