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I have three 28" (27.5" viewable) monitors with a native resolution of 1920x1200.

I'm wondering, if I were to build a new (gaming) PC, what would be the best hardware to use if I wanted to make use of all three monitors for a total resolution of 5760x1200?

Specifically I'd like to know what motherboard, CPU, memory, video cards, etc you'd recommend.

Would also like to know if people recommend three video cards over two.

Let's pretend the budget is $2,000 or less.

Note: The monitors I purchased are these ones here:

I-Inc iF-281DPB 28" Widescreen LCD Monitor - 1920x1200 WUXGA, 800:1 Contrast, 3ms, HDMI, VGA, Energy Star, Tilt & Swivel Stand, w/Speakers

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closed as off topic by nhinkle Dec 15 '11 at 7:18

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I think finding a game that will span to that resolution and drivers that will allow 3d acceleration across that span is the main problem here. 2x 4870x2 should be fine for the performance needed. –  Stefan Thyberg Jul 20 '09 at 9:51
    
Not sure why this is closed. It clearly relates to "computer software or computer hardware", and while it mentions games, it's not about them. –  e100 Mar 9 '12 at 12:51
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6 Answers

I recently set this up for a client, you can easily do this within budget.

You just need any motherboard the has 2x pci express x8 slots, and then pretty much any latest generation (but not high end) graphics card. I did this with 2x Nvidia (can't remember model number) but they cost £40 each.

The rest of the specification is up to you - obviously just get the highest you can for the cash if you want to do gaming.

I am really just trying to say here that the real problem you will find is games that can support your resolution, but it should be easy enough to actually get the 3 screens working.

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I think you'd be hard pressed to get a machine that can run 5760x1200 for only $2000, at the minimum the video cards you'd want either 3 or 4 of would take the majority of your budget.

My recommendations would be along the line of the

Core i7 Extreme
6GB triple channel ram
3 or 4 of the newest NVidia graphics cards available depending on which motherboard you pick
1000W power supply or maybe even higher

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Wouldn't it be possible to do this with just 2 video cards? –  Chris Thompson Jul 20 '09 at 4:33
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It might be supported with 2 cards but I don't think you'd have a playable framerate for any modern games with only 2 cards, now maybe if you used 2 of the double GPU cards assuming you could find a motherboard that would allow you to fit in 2 of them correctly. –  Chris Marisic Jul 20 '09 at 4:41
    
Wouldn't it be cheaper to go for something like 2x HD4770 X2? It would have to fit off course... but you get 4 GPUs at a budget price –  Ivo Flipse Jul 20 '09 at 7:23
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Assuming you mean using all three monitors as a single viewport, it looks like you can't just plug 3 screens into 3 DVI outputs -- you need Windows to see the multiple monitors as a single large monitor, either by hardware or software means.

And it appears that you have rather limited options...

Hardware: Matrox TripleHead2Go. Seems to support latest games but only up to 5040x1050 (3x1680x1050). You plug your graphics card output (supports SLI/Crossfire) into one end of the unit and three monitors into the other. http://www.matrox.com/graphics/surroundgaming/en/home/

Software: SoftTH. Does much the same thing in software, supports any resolution but only uses a single graphics card (although you need an extra 'dummy' one to provide the third output). Seems to support only a few older games, might require tweaking.

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Second URL (new user limitation): kegetys.net/SoftTH –  e100 Jul 25 '09 at 23:10
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Answering my own question...

Apparently there might be some hope on the horizon...

From Slashdot:

http://tech.slashdot.org/story/09/09/10/1924212/AMDs-DX11-Radeons-Can-Drive-Six-30-Displays

"Whereas most current graphics cards can only drive a pair of displays, AMD has put some special sauce in its next-generation DirectX 11 GPUs to enable support for a whopping six monitors. There's no catch about supported resolutions, either. At an event yesterday, AMD demonstrated a single next-gen Radeon driving six 30" Dell monitors, each with a resolution of 2560x1600, hooked up via DisplayPort. Total resolution: 7680x3200 (or 24.6 megapixels). AMD's drivers present this setup as a single monitor to Windows, so in theory, games don't need to be updated to support it. AMD showed off Dead Space, Left 4 Dead, World of Warcraft, and DiRT 2 running at playable frame rates on the six displays."

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lucky you! :) +1 –  Molly7244 Sep 10 '09 at 21:48
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Some games might support that resolution, but not too many will. Nowadays, most games finally support 16:10 and sometimes even 16:9 resolution, but 48:10 will be a problem.

Apart from the obvious other issue that 5760x1920 will even be a challenge for 4x nVidia GTX-295 cards running Quad-SLi (which would cost $2000 alone), but that depends on the games you intend to play. According to this benchmark, a Quad-GTX-295 setup only reaches about 100 fps at 2560x1600 Pixels resolution, so reaching 60 fps (IMHO the minimum accepted framerate, despite some game developers nowadays going back to the dark ages of 25 or 30 fps due to multi-platform-development) at 5760x1920 seems not possible on modern games.

But overall, I think that a Core i7 and either two nVidia GTX-295 or Radeon 4890 is the basis you're aiming for.

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Unless you're running something like Flight Simulator X, you should know that most games will not want to span monitors, and those that do will not do it at those resolutions, likely due to the capabilities reported to Direct X from the GPUs. However, you could "multi-box" Eve-Online or other MMOs with about 2 windows per screen if you run each eve application under a different windows user account, and rotate the screens.

Just don't get carried away (max cap: 36, shown: ~28):

alt text

Also just read the Ars System Guide. Either SLI up the HotRod with a second graphics card and drop the parts you already have (well under $2000), or carefully trim the GodBox to a manageable $2000 budget, if possible. I managed to get the GodBox to under $5000 by dropping the 2nd CPU, Monitors, SAS and all the drives but one. If you follow the single CPU gaming advice there you'd save even more.

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If you call this "Getting carried away", you should look at some of the Big World of Warcraft Multiboxing installations :D –  Michael Stum Jul 20 '09 at 7:20
    
That is actually THE biggest one that I've heard of. 36 characters in total, they're not all visible here. –  Stefan Thyberg Jul 20 '09 at 9:49
    
I also had the 47 PC one in mind: trevor-kerr.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/08/32box.jpg –  Michael Stum Jul 20 '09 at 18:00
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