Thinking about buying 3 new monitors

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Thinking about buying 3 new monitors

Postposted on Fri Mar 09, 2012 9:17 pm

I currently have a mishmash of three different monitors, used for 2 computers.

I am thinking of repurposing all three and replacing them with three new monitors and I have a third computer that I wish to add to this circle of playmates. The first two computers are capable of ATI's eyefinity, which I would like to make the most use of. The third computer is a gaming laptop that has only an HDMI port on the side. If possible, I would like to occasionally drive my center monitor with that third computer (for example, when doing maintenance on it, applying updates, installing software, etcetera).

My home office also serves dual purpose as an occasional music recording studio.

Computer 1: Q6600 tower workstation used for music making and some photo editing. I wish to do more photo editing and also begin doing some video work. Device Manager says that Computer 1 has a Radeon 57xx (I think it's a 5730).
Computer 1 Ports: HDMI, DVI, VGA, Display port

Note: Computer 1 card will possibly be upgraded later this year as part of a new i7 system build. The replacement card will very likely be a newer Radeon with Eyefinity.

Computer 2: HP Laptop with a Radeon HD 6470 M.
Computer 2 Ports: Both the laptop and the dock have connections for DVI, VGA, Displayport. I plan to use only the dock when using this laptop in my home office.

Computer 3: Asus G73S Gaming computer. Geforce GTX 460 M. I use this computer as a remote recording studio and occasional blueray video player and database testing and development machine. In the coming year or so, I plan to use it to also run virtual instruments via Ethernet, so it will be "slaved" to Computer 1 when running in this capacity.
Computer 3 ports: Only has an HDMI port.

Note: Computer 3 will not often be driving an external monitor...usually it sits in the corner near my music keyboards. It currently uses WIFI to get all of its updates and authorizations for music instruments/software. But at some point, I would like to bring it into the main workarea with a KVM so that I can do maintenance on it with a regular computer keyboard and use it nearer to the home office router.


In general:
1. I would like to do more photo editing. Most photo editing will be done using Computer 1. I think it may be time for at least one IPS panel.

2. I would like to be able to use all three monitors for Computer 1 and all three monitors for Computer 2, though not all three for both computers simultaneously. I plan to get a USB KVMP soon, but mostly for keyboard, mouse, and printer switching to any of the three computers. At this time I don't plan to run any monitors through a KVMP, but who knows; I may get creative later.

3. I would like to occasionally use the center monitor for Computer 3 via HDMI.

What I think I need:
4. Three monitors the same resolution for Eyefinity support. It seems that 1920 X 1080 is a popular standard for the sizes I'm considering (24" to 27").
5. At least one of the monitors should be IPS for the photo editing on Computer 1. They are expensive, though so I'm not sure I can afford three IPS monitors.
6a. At least one displayport-capable monitor switchable between Computer 1 and Computer 2.
...or
6b. At least two displayport monitors so that I can use Eyefinity with both Computer 1 and Computer 2.

Added Considerations:

7. I do my own music composing and mixing on Computer 1. Computer 1 uses its own dedicated active monitors (speakers), so C1 will not be outputting sound via HDMI or Displayport.
8. Computer 2 is just for my day job which is computer/business related. The sound is not critical. If I can pipe the sounds to one of the monitor's built-in speakers, that would be fine. Otherwise, I don't care if I hear the pings and pongs coming from the laptop's own internal speakers.

9. I love 27" monitors, HOWEVER, three 27" monitors will have a total wingspan of roughly 75", which would push Computer 1's monitor speakers too far to the sides for proper stereo imaging during my music activities. I may still do it (damn the torpedos!)...but before I do, I would like to at least consider three slightly smaller monitors, especially seeing as how the IPS selections seem to be more plentiful at sizes of 25" and smaller.

10. I have an estimated budget for the monitors of about $1,000. If I have to buy accessories, such as a 3-monitor stand, I'd consider that as an added expense.

11. I play very few full-motion games. None in the last 5 years.

12. I do not need or want three monitors with built-in speakers or webcams. If one monitor choice (the one I use for my center monitor) has a decent webcam or has speakers, then I might use those features. But the side monitors should be clean of unneeded features, if possible. I have two webcams already, and as mentioned above, the music requirements dictate other solutions for speakers.

13. I would like monitors that generate less heat. Very low power usage during sleep mode would also be nice.

14. I think I would like a manufacturer's warranty of 2 years or more, and I don't want to pay money for any add-on warranties.

I have just begun my search. Hoping to buy within the next 3 months, so I have plenty of time for research and decision-making.

In a few minutes, I will post the results of some of my searches. I am open to suggestions and thoughts.

Thanks in advance!
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Re: Thinking about buying 3 new monitors

Postposted on Fri Mar 09, 2012 10:21 pm

Question:

I found an interesting Dell 30" IPS monitor.

I think I would prefer a 3-monitor layout, especially if I ever have a need to use one monitor on Computer 1 while simultaneously using two monitors on Computer 2.

But this one made me think of a question. With such a big resolution as 2560 X 1600 for this monitor, what are the video card requirements? Does it require that you use two cables from your video card, or is there some other special requirement to drive this big monitor? I'm a bit befuddled by this.
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Re: Thinking about buying 3 new monitors

Postposted on Fri Mar 09, 2012 10:52 pm

It looks like my IPS panel choices at 24" include an ASUS and a Dell. That search URL includes requirements for HDMI, DVI, VGA, and Displayport, so a looser search would likely show more options. But for now, I'm thinking that if each of my three monitors supports as many connection types as possible, then I will have more flexibility.

I think I like the ASUS better, and not because of the price.

Because of the price, I think that either the Asus or the Dell would work well as my center monitor. For my starting budget of $1000, I can't afford to buy three of either one.

There are no IPS choices at 25" and 27" that have those numbers and types of connection types. By relaxing my criteria for port types, I came up with a Doublesight 27" model, but by itself it costs nearly my whole budget. It is another Dual-DVI model with a resoultion of 2560 X 1600 (still not sure what that means as indicated by my second post above).

It looks like my choices for a 3 monitor layout will be one of these:

1. three monitors at 24", each at 1920 X 1080, one or two of them being an IPS monitor.
2. three monitors at different sizes, but having the same resolution (probably 1920 X 1080). How badly does that mess with your brain?

Doing more searches...
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Re: Thinking about buying 3 new monitors

Postposted on Fri Mar 09, 2012 11:16 pm

The UltraSharp U3011 is a very nice 2560x1600 monitor. Let's consider that as Option 1.
http://slickdeals.net/f/4018474-200-off ... -3-for-DPA


These previous threads on Eyefinity may help:
viewtopic.php?f=29&t=79072
viewtopic.php?f=3&t=79367

You could hook up a monitor that lacks DisplayPort using a DVI input if you install an active (Mini)DisplayPort-to-DVI adapter.

Dual-link DVI is a single cable with extra conductors to carry the bandwidth needed for more than the 1920x1200 @60Hz that is the maximum for single-link DVI. Your Radeon HD graphics card supports dual-link DVI.
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Re: Thinking about buying 3 new monitors

Postposted on Fri Mar 09, 2012 11:31 pm

Bif, click here for all your options.

If you are deciding between an Asus 24" and the Dell U2410, choose the Asus.
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Re: Thinking about buying 3 new monitors

Postposted on Sat Mar 10, 2012 1:18 am

Well if you want to do some photo editing/proofing, make sure one of those IPS monitors is 8-bit wide gamut, like the Dell U2410, the other 2 monitors you can get a 6-bit eIPS monitor like the Dell 2412M which are about 1/2 the price of the 8-bit wide gamut H-IPS monitors like the U2410 or HP LP2475W, NEC also has some eIPS monitors.
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Re: Thinking about buying 3 new monitors

Postposted on Sat Mar 10, 2012 6:31 pm

So not all IPS monitors have the same bit depth? Yikes, how does a person know?

I have lots of time to consider this, but if I were to purchase today:

Option 1:

Three 24" monitors, all at 1980 X 1024. Eyefinity possible.
Center: Asus PA246Q (is an IPS panel)
Outboard: NEC AS241W-BK or NEC EA243WM (Both are not IPS)


Option 2:

Center monitor 27" IPS at 2560 x 1600 (Dell U2711)
Outboard monitors at 24" 1980 X 1024 (NEC AS241W-BK or NEC EA243WM (Both are not IPS))

Eyefinity not possible...but can I run three monitors for office applications? With different resolutions, would I want to? (eg, "blind spots" on the monitors with lower resolution).

Option 3:

Center monitor 30" IPS at 2560 X 1600 (Dell U3011)
Outboard monitors at 24" 1980 X 1024 (Asus PA246Q)

Eyefinity not possible...same question as for Option 2 above.

Option 4:

Center monitor "30" IPS at 2560 X 1600 (Dell U3011)

Eyefinity not applicable.
Not sure I would be happy with just one 30" monitor.

There are many potential permutations, so those are just where my thinking is going at the moment.
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Re: Thinking about buying 3 new monitors

Postposted on Sat Mar 10, 2012 6:37 pm

I should note that 6-bit IPS monitors have AFR. They cheat, sure, but the results are alarmingly close, I've checked personally.

In other words, a 6-bit IPS panel versus an 8-bit IPS panel is *not* even half as bad as a 6-bit TN panel vs an 8-bit one.
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Re: Thinking about buying 3 new monitors

Postposted on Sat Mar 10, 2012 7:03 pm

You may want to check those resolutions again.
U2212HM: 21½" 1920x1080 (16:9)
U2312HM: 23" 1920x1080 (16:9)
U2410 & U2412M: 24" 1920x1200 (16:10)
U2711: 27" 2560x1440 (16:9)
U3011: 30" 2560x1600 (16:10)

The UltraSharp U3011's 2560x1600 (landscape) resolution matches pretty well with an UltraSharp 2007FP's 1200x1600 (portrait) resolution to provide a 3760x1600 or 4960x1600 desktop. You can't run full-screen applications across the whole desktop in Eyefinity, but you can drag them across when running in windowed mode. Here's a recent thread discussing this desktop setup:
viewtopic.php?f=37&t=76693
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Re: Thinking about buying 3 new monitors

Postposted on Sun Mar 11, 2012 1:15 am

Morphine, thanks for the clarification.

JAE, yes I think I was wrong on the U2711's vertical resolution and maybe others too. Also, I looked at that other thread, and I like the combination U3011 + two 20" 2007FP idea. I see also that the 2007FPs are very very inexpensive, less than $300 for two of them. I'm doing something similar at the moment now with a Samsung 21.3" on the left, and a Dell 19" on the right, both turned to portrait, and a 27" HP in the center.

Love it all, but in portrait the Samsung is taller than the HP, while the Dell is shorter, resulting in a sometimes confusing display where I often lose my cursor, application windows, icons, and other objects! Plus, without a displayport adapter on any of these monitors I can only run two monitors on Computer 1 (left and center) and two on Computer 2 (center and right). It's a bit of a hodge podge that I'd like to finally resolve; plus, none of them are IPS monitors.

I will give this some more thought of course. One part of me wants Eyefinity for applications such as Cubase, which can run in full screen mode. There are other apps too, but maybe it's best for me to not be stubborn about it. :lol: And besides, if the vertical resolutions are all the same (in this option they would all be 1600 as you say), then the disorientation should not happen.
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