2 screens/1 card

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2 screens/1 card

Postposted on Sun Aug 21, 2011 2:29 pm

I've started to put together a list to build my own computer. After 20 years of computer/communications support I think it's high time I built one. My big question is that of video card memory. I plan on running two 21.5" monitors, using one for the game and the other for things like email, notes, system monitor, etc. The resolution on each one would be 1920x(1080 or 1200).

My major use of the setup would be the Bethesda games (Oblivion, Skyrim, Fallout, FONV), Diablo III, Torchlight I & II, and Minecraft.

I keep reading where one only needs 2gb VRAM for the resolutions exceeding 1920x1080. If I run two monitors, isn't that 3840x1080 effectively? If I just run the game on one monitor and just use the other monitor for email, browser, etc., then am I back to just the 1920x1080 resolution? My budget will permit either something like a GTX 560ti or an AMD 6950 w/2gb. In some ways I'd prefer the 560ti, but I'm concerned about more VRAM being needed for two monitors.

The system I'll be building, if the information is needed to answer the above questions, will feature an ASUS P8Z68 MB, 2500K CPU, Corsair 850 watt PSU, 8gb Corsair Vengeance, WD 600gb 10Krpm SATA 6, all crammed into a Corsair 600T case.

Thanks in advance for any and all answers.

Signed,
Confused on the coast.
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Re: 2 screens/1 card

Postposted on Sun Aug 21, 2011 2:50 pm

Adding a second monitor will have very little impact on the VRAM your system will use. So long as you don't use both screens while gaming 1GB will be fine.
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Re: 2 screens/1 card

Postposted on Sun Aug 21, 2011 3:39 pm

I've run two screens before, and you should be fine with 1 gig video ram unless your running both screens at high res video editing or gaming with all the settings maxed.
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Re: 2 screens/1 card

Postposted on Sun Aug 21, 2011 4:12 pm

I do plan on gaming with all settings maxed - but only one screen. The other will just be background stuff.
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Re: 2 screens/1 card

Postposted on Sun Aug 21, 2011 5:52 pm

For only one 1920 screen, a 1GB card should suffice just fine. However, if eventually you plan to move to a bigger screen (or resell the card), I'd advise getting a 2GB variant instead.

Any way that I can convince you to lower the PSU from a 850W unit to something closer to 500W? You'll be wasting money/power otherwise, unless you're thinking of going dual-GPU in the future.
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Re: 2 screens/1 card

Postposted on Sun Aug 21, 2011 5:59 pm

No, I have no intention on any dual GPU stuff, now or in the future. I picked that PSU because of the Sweeter Spot review on this website. My thinking was that I planned to do some judicious overclocking and add a couple of 2tb drives. I just wanted to make sure I had enough power to run all that. I have read in other places, however, thoughts similar to yours in that I just don't need that much watts. I'm flexible in my system design, so perhaps I will change that. Thanks for the comment.
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Re: 2 screens/1 card

Postposted on Sun Aug 21, 2011 9:34 pm

With the single Radeon card, you could use Eyefinity to play your games on multiple monitors at the same time. NVidia's similar feature requires that two graphics cards be installed.
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