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Thread: Triple 27" Monitor Setup Card Recommendations

  1. #1
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    Sep 2010
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    Default Triple 27" Monitor Setup Card Recommendations

    Hi,

    I can't believe I've been reading Phoronix for this long and hadn't registered for the forums...or I have and can't remember the details

    In any case, I'm looking to make a new desktop system for myself and would love to have a triple 27" monitor setup (2560x1440 * 3, horizontal), it's going to run Ubuntu and maybe a few other distros, but no Windows or Hackintosh, just Linux.

    My requirements are:

    - Has to run Mutter/Compiz and other desktop apps perfectly and at full performance, even when powering all three monitors at highest resolution.
    - Does _not_ need to do any gaming, but should do enough GL to make Mutter/Compiz work with all the bells and whistles (shaders etc).
    - Noise isn't really an issue, nor is doing SLI or taking up two slots per card.
    - Price isn't really an issue, but not interested in Quadro, would like to keep it at the consumer/gamer level cards.
    - Should handle dual-link DVI or DisplayPort

    I've been looking around for any full-time Linux systems running this setup but couldn't find any, although I know they are out there

    I'd like to stick to nvidia as I appreciate the work done in their binary driver and haven't had great experience with Ati on Linux in the past.

    I keep being told that doing SLI isn't great on Linux due to missing profiles but, if my main concern is Mutter/Compiz/Clutter, would two GTX 460s be enough to power these displays and keep Mutter/Compiz at 60fps during animations (with shaders etc)?

    Erm, I think that's it, I'd love to hear what you guys think/recommend. I'm going to build this in the next few months, so I have time if there's something worth waiting for.

    Thanks,

    Neil

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
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    997

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    Quote Originally Posted by njpatel View Post
    Hi,

    I can't believe I've been reading Phoronix for this long and hadn't registered for the forums...or I have and can't remember the details

    In any case, I'm looking to make a new desktop system for myself and would love to have a triple 27" monitor setup (2560x1440 * 3, horizontal), it's going to run Ubuntu and maybe a few other distros, but no Windows or Hackintosh, just Linux.

    My requirements are:

    - Has to run Mutter/Compiz and other desktop apps perfectly and at full performance, even when powering all three monitors at highest resolution.
    - Does _not_ need to do any gaming, but should do enough GL to make Mutter/Compiz work with all the bells and whistles (shaders etc).
    - Noise isn't really an issue, nor is doing SLI or taking up two slots per card.
    - Price isn't really an issue, but not interested in Quadro, would like to keep it at the consumer/gamer level cards.
    - Should handle dual-link DVI or DisplayPort

    I've been looking around for any full-time Linux systems running this setup but couldn't find any, although I know they are out there

    I'd like to stick to nvidia as I appreciate the work done in their binary driver and haven't had great experience with Ati on Linux in the past.

    I keep being told that doing SLI isn't great on Linux due to missing profiles but, if my main concern is Mutter/Compiz/Clutter, would two GTX 460s be enough to power these displays and keep Mutter/Compiz at 60fps during animations (with shaders etc)?

    Erm, I think that's it, I'd love to hear what you guys think/recommend. I'm going to build this in the next few months, so I have time if there's something worth waiting for.

    Thanks,

    Neil
    Since you posted in the Nvidia section, I'll suggest the only GTX 460 (as of yet) to consider for what you want:

    http://hothardware.com/News/Zotac-To...-GTX-460-Card/

    I don't know how well video cards handle multi-head / multi-monitors in Linux but it seems a lot of issues come up and support isn't great?

    But, on the Nvidia side, the link above seems like the best choice for now. Not sure when that card will be released unless it is already.

    That's all I have to suggest. There are ATI owners who are trying multi-head setups but they are better sources to give you feedback.

    Also, I am not sure if the Display Port connections work well (for multi-monitors) but that's another subject.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
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    768

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    Display outputs aren't something you can just add to a GPU, they're deeply linked to the GPU's core. No current nvidia offering can drive more than two outputs per GPU, and it's not trivial to add more.

    That zotac thing is an ugly hack, splicing the existing two outputs to fake four; thus each output only supports half the bandwidth. See their specs, each output only supports 1600x1200 max. Same problem with matrox's Dual- or TripleHead2Go, maximum resolution of 1920x1200 per output.


    Sticking to nvidia, there's no way around an SLI system. Multi-GPU rendering is not a trivial task and I doubt the drivers are optimized for a desktop shell. But if noise, price and power consumption is not an issue, why not?


    My personal experience is that nvidia is often superior on 3D and video acceleration, but slower on the non-3D apps I have to use for work. Scrolling, maximizing windows etc. is more snappy with both fglrx and ATIs OSS drivers than on my nvidia machine. And with kwin4 my 5770 is plenty for driving 3520x1200 with effects, even when downclocked to minimum speeds (but those are not long-term tests, I usually run kde3).

    Anyway, option #2 would be to try eyefinity. Get a $50 low-end HD5xxx to see if the drivers work out for you and the applications you use. If they do, you can still upgrade to a 5770 or something (though I doubt you need the performance premium just for desktop effects), staying well below nvidia's $400. If they don't, you haven't lost much.


    That's about all the options I see for your requirements.

  4. #4
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    Sep 2007
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    997

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    Quote Originally Posted by rohcQaH View Post
    Sticking to nvidia, there's no way around an SLI system. Multi-GPU rendering is not a trivial task and I doubt the drivers are optimized for a desktop shell. But if noise, price and power consumption is not an issue, why not?

    My personal experience is that nvidia is often superior on 3D and video acceleration, but slower on the non-3D apps I have to use for work. Scrolling, maximizing windows etc. is more snappy with both fglrx and ATIs OSS drivers than on my nvidia machine. And with kwin4 my 5770 is plenty for driving 3520x1200 with effects, even when downclocked to minimum speeds (but those are not long-term tests, I usually run kde3).

    Anyway, option #2 would be to try eyefinity. Get a $50 low-end HD5xxx to see if the drivers work out for you and the applications you use. If they do, you can still upgrade to a 5770 or something (though I doubt you need the performance premium just for desktop effects), staying well below nvidia's $400. If they don't, you haven't lost much.


    That's about all the options I see for your requirements.
    Hack or not, the Zotac card might be preferable for Linux. Unless, open drivers are a priority, of course. But, 'seems like the OP is okay with Nvidia.

    What do you mean that Nvidia is only superior for 3D and video acceleration? What Nvidia card do you have and what ATI card are you comparing?

    I can probably find threads here with issues with scrolling with the ATI card and maximizing Windows is the same story. In fact, just recently, this was brought up as an issue on a HD 5770 card in the Ubuntu Forums.

    If some of these issues could be fixed and there was a sign of improvements coming at a faster pace, I'd have already bought an Evergreen card by now. I NEED 2D to work and basic 3D before I'd go with ATI. Some of the latest posts in the ATI section seem intriguing and promising but until there's 'fixes' that involve what I do, I'm on the fence.

    Also, I don't know if any ATI owners on here with multiple monitors claiming of everything working or only minor issues. It depends, perhaps, on what the OP is willing to accept or tolerate (i.e. in regards to issues).

    Crossfire or SLI and/or multiple monitors doesn't seem to be an area in which Nvidia or ATI is doing a lot to support in Linux. I'd be careful in which route you take if that is your priority.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
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    @Panix

    You may try out an actual fglrx release (10.9 or 10.10 from ubuntu) which got a rewritten 2d stack. Compiz works best! There are no 2d related issues anymore. Telling that as someone who has tried every single driver release since 8.10. Everything is just "snappy" and "smooth" now.

  6. #6

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    To set up a triple monitor, what should I do? Will 5870 help me as it has four outputs? Is it possible to play games in the three monitors? My friend told me that I have to use Display Port for a three display set up. Is it true that by using CAD version of Nvidia cards multi display is possible? There are factors like game settings etc to decide on that. Am I correct? I would prefer getting options from you.

  7. #7
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    May 2007
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    Will 5870 help me as it has four outputs?
    Yes you can use Eyefinity

    Is it possible to play games in the three monitors?
    Yes
    My friend told me that I have to use Display Port for a three display set up.
    For use with Eyefinity I believe you do.

    Is it true that by using CAD version of Nvidia cards multi display is possible?
    Yes the Quadros can use mosaic mode.

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