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Video card question involving Eyefinity vs Surround

HorusraHorusra maryland, MDPosts: 2,583Member Uncommon

#1 Ok Radeon has scared me in the past due to drivers not the actually abilities of the card.  Are there still a lot of driver issues with game compatability with the new drivers?

#2 I am building a beast and my sticking point is between Crossfire 7970's looking at Eyefinity or paying $300 more for SLI 590's with Surround in mind.  For gaming is the $300 worth the support of Nvidia with drivers and compatability with games or is Eyefinity doing just fine.

#3 Also with the items above does the Crossfire and SLI remove the FPS, lag, and other graphical issues?  I am new to trying to setup a multi monitor display.

 

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Comments

  • QuizzicalQuizzical Posts: 14,788Member Uncommon

    AMD drivers are about as good as Nvidia drivers.  It's been that way for a few years now.

    If you're going for a rig with 3+ monitors, then you really should go with AMD.  AMD has had three generations of cards designed with 3+ monitors in mind.  Nvidia has had zero so far, and Nvidia Surround is really just an attempt at hacking things together through drivers that the silicon isn't meant to handle.

    Even if you insist on going Nvidia, don't get a GeForce GTX 590.  Those are bad cards.  They're two GPUs on a single card (so a single GTX 590 is SLI already), and it's simply too much heat in too small of a space to be safe--which is why several of the cards didn't even survive the review process.  At that high of power consumption, AMD's PowerTune is a must-have feature--and AMD has it and Nvidia doesn't.

    Also, the difference between 3 GB per GPU and 1.5 GB per GPU doesn't matter to most people, but if you're using three monitors, then it should matter to you.  Nvidia does have some 3 GB version of a GeForce GTX 580, but those are both more expensive than a 7970 and also a lot slower.

    There is a substantial chance that you'll have driver problems with CrossFire 7970s early on.  That's partially for the general reason that new GPU architectures tend to have problems at first.  But there's also the issue that the first official driver that supports CrossFire in 7970s will be the one that releases next month.

    What else are you getting in your rig?

  • HorusraHorusra maryland, MDPosts: 2,583Member Uncommon

    rig is water cooled CPU and GPU x 2

    Intel i7 3820

    32 GB RAM DDR3-1600

    Win7 Pro

    Asus P9X79 Pro board

    1200 Watt PS

    80 GB SSD

    1 TB Data HD

    Creative X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty Pro

     

    Waiting till April to get the GPU's to see if the new cards drop the price on the top line stuff now

  • QuizzicalQuizzical Posts: 14,788Member Uncommon

    You already bought that, but just not the video cards yet?  Or is that merely what you're planning on buying?

    You didn't specify the power supply or the case, which are the two big things you have to worry about in order to handle high powered systems.  "1200 Watt" is not a power supply any more than "1 GB" is a video card.

    I wouldn't count on price drops when Kepler launches.  That seems to be based on a rumored $300 price for Nvidia's top Kepler card.  It would be very weird for Nvidia to charge only $300 for their top end card unless forced to do that in order to compete on price.

  • HorusraHorusra maryland, MDPosts: 2,583Member Uncommon

    the power supply is a 1200 watt thermaltake toughpower Grand-1200M

     

    Case I am looking at is the Erebus Full Tower with built in 8x120 mm cooling Cap, Quad pump with 2 dual radiators.

     

    Other case I am looking at is the CoolerMaster HAF 932 Advanced Full Tower with separately bought liquid cooling that I have not decided on yet.

  • QuizzicalQuizzical Posts: 14,788Member Uncommon

    Looking at?  Or have already bought?  Because if you don't already have that power supply, then you really should get something better.

    http://www.hardocp.com/article/2011/12/15/thermaltake_toughpower_grand_1200w_psu_review/9

  • Loke666Loke666 MalmöPosts: 18,045Member Uncommon

    The AMD drivers are a lot better nowadays, they were in a sad state 10 years ago but I don´t agree with Quizz, Nvidias drivers are still somewhat better.

    It is on the other hand true that if you plan more than 2 screens AMD might be the better choice.

    I am personally not so sure that it is worth the money to SLI or Crossfire but you are about the cards, the only ones really worth it is the top of the line cards.

  • HorusraHorusra maryland, MDPosts: 2,583Member Uncommon

    Have not bought anything yet researching at the moment.

     

  • HorusraHorusra maryland, MDPosts: 2,583Member Uncommon

    This is just the specs I am looking at

  • mbrodiembrodie MelbournePosts: 1,008Member Uncommon

    for a system like that you're gonna want a gold 80 power supple to be safe.. look at corsair they make an excellent 1200w gold 80 PSU.. might cost a little more, but more consitent and higher rated power

     

    plus SLI for gaming is a bit of a waste of money.. if you wanna go the 3 screens you're better off with the 7970 for eyefinity... i and a few friends have SLI / crossfire and generally for gaming we turn off the second card because sometimes it can actually make the game play worse then not...

  • HorusraHorusra maryland, MDPosts: 2,583Member Uncommon

    On my other question which really decides the CXF or SLI.  Playing say Skyrim anyone have any knowledge if it allows you to run at higher than medium settings and are solve the lag and graphical problems from stress on the cards?  Cause if not really then the whole dual card is really pointless and I will go with one 7970 which can do 3 monitors and run Skyrim on Medium settings.

  • HorusraHorusra maryland, MDPosts: 2,583Member Uncommon

    Originally posted by mbrodie

    for a system like that you're gonna want a gold 80 power supple to be safe.. look at corsair they make an excellent 1200w gold 80 PSU.. might cost a little more, but more consitent and higher rated power

     

    plus SLI for gaming is a bit of a waste of money.. if you wanna go the 3 screens you're better off with the 7970 for eyefinity... i and a few friends have SLI / crossfire and generally for gaming we turn off the second card because sometimes it can actually make the game play worse then not...

    I have read that dual cards in games on a single monitor are not that great unless you are trying to boost older cards.  I am more interested if it makes the 3 screens run smooth for more graphically intense games.  If I am going to still be stuttering and having to lower the graphics to medium settings then I am really not getting the bang for my buck and will just save the cash.

  • mbrodiembrodie MelbournePosts: 1,008Member Uncommon

    Originally posted by Horusra

    On my other question which really decides the CXF or SLI.  Playing say Skyrim anyone have any knowledge if it allows you to run at higher than medium settings and are solve the lag and graphical problems from stress on the cards?  Cause if not really then the whole dual card is really pointless and I will go with one 7970 which can do 3 monitors and run Skyrim on Medium settings.

    i have a 2 x Gainward 2GB GTX560Ti Phantom II

     

    i run skyrim with single card no SLI at max graphics settings and have no fps issues... SLI makes hardly any difference to my FPS if i enable it... it honestly isnt worth the money for gaming

     

    if you're insistent on 3 screens go with the 7970 from what i've seen in reviews and such.. eyefinity is playing games across all 3 screens single card with max graphics settings well

  • HorusraHorusra maryland, MDPosts: 2,583Member Uncommon

    Only interested in the dual card aspect of the multi screen not the benefits to single screen playing.  I have read reviews that 7970 only runs skyrim well on medium settings unless there is somewhere else saying different.  this is for multi screen.

  • mbrodiembrodie MelbournePosts: 1,008Member Uncommon

    Originally posted by Horusra

    Only interested in the dual card aspect of the multi screen not the benefits to single screen playing.  I have read reviews that 7970 only runs skyrim well on medium settings unless there is somewhere else saying different.  this is for multi screen.

    2 x 7970's in eyefinity running high res depending on game should run between 60 - 80 fps which should be more then enough... the problem is that games arent generally optimized for multiple video card setups so you dont benefit from it as much as you should... the problem there is that it'll basically cost about $1000 just for video cards... but the games should be more then playable considering the resolution

  • HorusraHorusra maryland, MDPosts: 2,583Member Uncommon

    Anyone know if when the 6 monitor cards come out are they generally beefier than the standard version or are they just the same with 6 outputs?

  • AntariousAntarious Greenville, SCPosts: 2,802Member

    Originally posted by Horusra

    Only interested in the dual card aspect of the multi screen not the benefits to single screen playing.  I have read reviews that 7970 only runs skyrim well on medium settings unless there is somewhere else saying different.  this is for multi screen.

     

    I'll try to respond to a few things.

     

    I believe there is a patch (maybe a beta patch) for Skyrim that supposedly increases performance on the 7970 (maybe all amd cards in general... I really haven't played Skyrim in a while).

     

    I don't think I saw you mention what monitors you were looking at?   I looked back through the thread and you mention multi monitor.. but I don't think you specified how many total monitors?   So how many monitors and which ones?  

     

    moving on...

     

    Pretty much if there are games currently on the market that you actually play... your best bet is to look up benchmarks of those games and see if they favor a certain card.   If the majority of games you plan on playing have that little "nvidia the way its meant to be played" logo... they will likely perform better on nvidia cards.

     

    If you are going to go with SLI or Crossfire... it might be good if you know someone with SLI/Crossfire and can play some games on their system.   Why?   Different people have different levels of sensitivity to micro stutter.   Some people can't see it at all... others can't stand playing games due to micro stutter.   Its due to how the screen updates are done in a multi card setup... as I say your personal experience can vary greatly from someone else... when looking at buy over $1000 in video cards you might want to have a personal experience first.

     

    The main thing with Crossfire is to make sure you keep your cap files from AMD up to date (application profiles for crossfire).

     

    Oh and about the power supply... if you are going with a 1200W I would personally buy a Corsair AX1200.. but I guess I'm biased because I use Corsair AX series exclusively now.

     

    You might find more information posting something like this on forums at Anandtech or a site like that.

     

    For the most part I have a similar machine to what you want to build.   I just don't have multiple monitors so I can't really comment beyond what I've read.

     

    I use the motherboard you listed and have a 3960x.   Along with 2x Sapphire 7970's.   I only use a single monitor which is a Dell 27" IPS unit.   <- Its very nice for the work I do.

     

    As I said this is my work machine as well as my gaming machine.   I'm happy with my Sapphire 7970's with any game I've played... but I just don't have direct experience with multi monitor setups and gaming.   I have run two monitors for extended desktop while working but that was a few years ago.

     

    I would toss out that... if you are just going to game on the machine.. I'm not sure the X79 is a platform I would step into.  

     

     

     

     

     

    Moderator's on this site allow certain posters to create endless troll threads. Yet "warn" people for giving recommendations... account *pending* deletion because.. why bother.

  • HorusraHorusra maryland, MDPosts: 2,583Member Uncommon

    my monitors are 3 Samsung T260 25.5" screens.  Two hooked up to one come and 1 to another that is my screw around PC.  Which basically I would just bring over for the 3.  I use to have SLI setup of GTX 9800 OC.  I did not have any visual problems that annoyed me with it.  Bought a single 560 ti a few months ago.  My current processor is a i7 920.

  • mbrodiembrodie MelbournePosts: 1,008Member Uncommon

    Originally posted by Antarious

    Originally posted by Horusra

    Only interested in the dual card aspect of the multi screen not the benefits to single screen playing.  I have read reviews that 7970 only runs skyrim well on medium settings unless there is somewhere else saying different.  this is for multi screen.

     

    I'll try to respond to a few things.

     

    Oh and about the power supply... if you are going with a 1200W I would personally buy a Corsair AX1200.. but I guess I'm biased because I use Corsair AX series exclusively now. 

     

    corsair AX-1200w Gold 80 is the power supply i was talking about a few posts back, meant to be a very good unit

  • Loke666Loke666 MalmöPosts: 18,045Member Uncommon

    Originally posted by mbrodie

    Originally posted by Antarious

    I'll try to respond to a few things.

    Oh and about the power supply... if you are going with a 1200W I would personally buy a Corsair AX1200.. but I guess I'm biased because I use Corsair AX series exclusively now. 

    corsair AX-1200w Gold 80 is the power supply i was talking about a few posts back, meant to be a very good unit

    yeah, it is excellent. 1200w is probably more than you need unless you go for the 2x 590 GTX (probably more than you need even then) but it is one of the best PSUs on the market...

    I have a similar model but just 950W myself, best PSU I ever had by far.

  • HorusraHorusra maryland, MDPosts: 2,583Member Uncommon

    ok for a Ps how about a Corsair 1050HX.  That should give me the power for CXF or SLI correct?

  • RidelynnRidelynn Fresno, CAPosts: 4,179Member Uncommon

    What is this "quad pump double dual radiator" liquid cooling system? Sounds like a bunch of marketing BS.

    For AMD cards, the number of outputs is pretty well the same for each card. For nVidia cards, anything over 2 is a custom card.


    AMD.com
    Connectivity Requirements: AMD Eyefinity technology is supported by graphics cards in the ATI Radeon™ HD 5400 series and higher. These cards can support up to six monitors (depending on the model), subject to the following restrictions:
    • A maximum of 2 legacy monitors (VGA, DVI or HDMI) can be enabled simultaneously, provided that each monitor is connected either directly or via a “passive” DisplayPort™ adapter/dongle. “Passive” adapters/dongles will NOT support more than 2 legacy monitors.
    • To enable support for more than 2 monitors, “active” DisplayPort™ adapters/dongles are required (or monitors with direct DisplayPort™ connectivity must be used).
    • Approved “active” adapters have no general connectivity restrictions with AMD Eyefinity technology.

    The 7970 has 2 DP 1.2 ports, which are capable of driving up to 4 monitors per port (via Multistream Transport hub (which aren't available yet), or by daisy-chaining DP 1.2 compatible monitors), each at very high resolutions.

    http://www.anandtech.com/show/3987/amds-radeon-6870-6850-renewing-competition-in-the-midrange-market/3

    And... Looking at Skyrim at Eyefinity resolutions ~or~ very high detail levels, it appears the game gets CPU bottlenecked. If your looking at CFX just for Skyrim, I'd just hold off on the second card.

    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-hd-7970-benchmark-tahiti-gcn,3104-9.html

  • HorusraHorusra maryland, MDPosts: 2,583Member Uncommon

    Originally posted by Ridelynn

    What is this "quad pump double dual radiator" liquid cooling system? Sounds like a bunch of marketing BS.

    For AMD cards, the number of outputs is pretty well the same for each card. For nVidia cards, anything over 2 is a custom card.

     




    AMD.com

    Connectivity Requirements: AMD Eyefinity technology is supported by graphics cards in the ATI Radeon™ HD 5400 series and higher. These cards can support up to six monitors (depending on the model), subject to the following restrictions:

    • A maximum of 2 legacy monitors (VGA, DVI or HDMI) can be enabled simultaneously, provided that each monitor is connected either directly or via a “passive” DisplayPort™ adapter/dongle. “Passive” adapters/dongles will NOT support more than 2 legacy monitors.

    • To enable support for more than 2 monitors, “active” DisplayPort™ adapters/dongles are required (or monitors with direct DisplayPort™ connectivity must be used).

    • Approved “active” adapters have no general connectivity restrictions with AMD Eyefinity technology.



     

    The 7970 has 2 DP 1.2 ports, which are capable of driving up to 4 monitors per port (via Multistream Transport hub (which aren't available yet), or by daisy-chaining DP 1.2 compatible monitors), each at very high resolutions.

    http://www.anandtech.com/show/3987/amds-radeon-6870-6850-renewing-competition-in-the-midrange-market/3

    And... Looking at Skyrim at Eyefinity resolutions ~or~ very high detail levels, it appears the game gets CPU bottlenecked. If your looking at CFX just for Skyrim, I'd just hold off on the second card.

    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-hd-7970-benchmark-tahiti-gcn,3104-9.html

    The quad pump in this case is variable high volume pump.  the 2 dual radiators are extra radiators.  The case has one standard on the top.  You can get up to 3 smaller ones placed in different spots around the case with their own cooling fans.

     

    About the outputs they make Eyefinity 6 edition cards specifically for 6 monitors.  I was wondering if these are beefed up cards compaired to the regular editions.  Such as one of these running 3 montiors would be much better than a standard running 3 monitors or is it just the same hardware but they have more ports on it for more monitors.

  • HorusraHorusra maryland, MDPosts: 2,583Member Uncommon

    From everything I have been looking at today it does look like I will be going with a single card.

  • HorusraHorusra maryland, MDPosts: 2,583Member Uncommon

    Disreguard I found my answer to the "6" question.  In the past they generally have more memory on the card and everything else is the same.

  • QuizzicalQuizzical Posts: 14,788Member Uncommon

    Skyrim is a huge processor bottleneck.  Some review sites have shied away from using it, because if you try to compare high end cards with it, you just get a graph of, oh look, all the cards have the same frame rate, because it's whatever the processor can deliver.

    For a three monitor Eyefinity setup, CrossFire makes some sense.  One advantage of AMD over Nvidia here is that AMD can do three monitors from a single card, so even if CrossFire simply doesn't work or a card dies or something, you can still play on one card.  Nvidia requires two cards in SLI to use Nvidia Surround.

    I think that 32 GB of memory is ridiculous for a gaming system.  I could kind of understand 16 GB if you've got a huge budget and want to spend it on something, just to populate all four channels on an X79 system with 4 GB modules.  And I can understand an X79 system if you're going CrossFire.

    Make sure that whatever motherboard you get can do x16 bandwidth simultaneously on the first and fourth PCI Express slots, as those are the two you want to use for airflow reasons.  I haven't looked at X79 motherboards much, but a lot of X58 motherboards were meant for x16/x8/x8 or some such, and had the slots spaced or wired inappropriately for a two card CrossFire/SLI setup.  With PCI Express 3.0 bandwidth, it's not a huge performance hit if you get it wrong, but there's no point in cutting your PCI Express bandwidth in half for no good reason.

    If you've got an enormous budget and want to get the best power supply there is, then have a look at a Seasonic Platinum.

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817151111

    860 W is plenty for a moderate overclock, even with a CrossFire setup.  If you want to raise the PowerTune caps on the cards, overclock everything to the moon, and see if you can fry things, then you might prefer the 1000 W version:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817207019

    Yes, that says XFX, but it's the same thing as the Seasonic Platinum.

    I'm guessing that you're looking at an Intel SSD 320.  You might want to go higher end and more capacity on the SSD with something like this, just to make sure games will fit:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820148448

    The 256 GB versions are a lot cheaper than they used to be, too:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820148443

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