I'm setting up a new general purpose PC, and trying to figure out what I need in the way of graphics card and/or motherboard. (I don't have any restrictions on what CPU/GPU/manufacturer/etc - that will follow from this).

Two monitors are regular computer monitors (DVI, at least 1680x1050 - note I don't have these yet), and one is a 1080p TV (HDMI, 1920x1080).

I'd like to be able to play some games (but I do so little that I am probably satisfied with 1-2 year old games, so new lower-end hardware), with that ability on both the TV and one of the LCD monitors. Although I do have a separate PVR system for regular media playback, it would be nice to have 1080p video playback on this one as well (and eventually BluRay, when I get around to that).

It may be nice to have 3 separate displays, but I'd be happy with 2 and having the TV and a monitor show the same thing (I'd be sure to get 1920x1080 LCD monitors if I go this way). Note, if it's 3 separate displays, I need the ability to pick which one does 3D full screen gaming.

I'd also like to be able to output sound over HDMI; and ideally it is the same audio as gets output from the motherboard audio (which should have analog, and coax or optical outputs). The audio will go into both computer speakers/headphones (via analog/spdif), and a Pioneer receiver (via HDMI, or coax if there's no way to do HDMI audio).

What I'm confused about is if this needs to be all on one video card, or split between one card and on-board video on a motherboard, or two cards. Do the monitors go in one, and the TV on another card/motherboard, or does the secondary LCD go on the other card/motherboard?

  • Good question. I am also trying to see how a 3D enabled TV suports 3D signaling from from from a graphics card. More specifically the Geforece GTX 460M 1Gb video card. BF3 is right around the corner :D – Chad Harrison Oct 14 '11 at 2:12

Really tough to beat the Radeon 5xxx series for this.

  • I've read abit about the cards, but it's still very hard to find info like; does it allow 3 separate displays, all or two with 3D? Does it have sound over hdmi? Do I connect all 3 to a card with this GPU, or do I still need two cards to run 3 monitors? – gregmac Nov 9 '09 at 18:08
  • All 3 to the same card. All 3 have acceleration. – phresus Nov 20 '09 at 18:26
  • +1 "Three independent display controllers ", even the 'low level' HD 5750, read the specs here: amd.com/us/products/desktop/graphics/ati-radeon-hd-5000/hd-5750/… – Molly7244 Nov 27 '09 at 2:28
  • Late followup, but I ended up going with a 5750. The misleading downside of all of these cards is that they only have two "timing sources" on the card, which in the end means you can use any combination of two monitors, but the 3rd has to be a DisplayPort monitor, or you have to buy a ~$100 active (powered) DisplayPort converter. I never bothered, and instead I have all 3 plugged in, and I just use the ATI software to have two profiles: one for dual monitors, and one that uses a single monitor and clones the display to the TV (and support sound over HDMI). – gregmac Mar 23 '11 at 15:43

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