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help request with display/mobo setup


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#1
jorgehevia

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Greetings to all the forum experts out there!
I am planning the setup of a new computer and there are several points i need advise and opinions with:

-all should fit inside the Antec P182 case (i value silence much and the case looks solidly built)
-i'll be using a Corsair 750W psu. i think it supplies enough current for all the video cards and, again, seems to be silent enough and not too expensive
-Motherboard? i was thinking Abit IX38 QuadGT, i had good experience with this brand before, but reviews on this board aren't all that good.... Anyway, what I need is a mobo for core2duo+ddr2 at 400+ Mhz FSB that fits 2 dual-slot video cards (running in crossfire and both in x16 lanes, for the main central monitor), plus a cheaper single-slot silent card with 2xDVI to run the side monitors, plus a sound card, plus a dvb-tv card. External sound and tv cards is something i want to avoid, in order to keep the system neatly organized. As for onboard wifi, it could be handy, but not really needed. Same goes for e-sata, having trillions of usb and sata ports, and other kinds of unneeded extras.
-Core2Duo 8400/8500 processor, mildly overclocked and running on 400Mhz FSB, with zalman 9700 cooler
-4Gb DDR2 memory, running 1:1 ratio at 800Mhz, 4-4-4-12 timings. Cheap and efficient enough.
-Crossfire Cards? They'll be running the main monitor (games @ 1920x1200), and i want decent performance with a low noise cooling solution. I was thinking on dual Saphire HD4850 TOXIC card, that comes bundled with a zalman gpu cooler (makes the card become dual-slot btw) and even slightly factory-overclocked. Would that be silent enough? Another option is to spend some extra cash and get a different aftermarket gpu cooler..?. Is there anything really silent that fits in 2 slots space? And woult a dual-hd4870 performance increase be worth the money? and would it be possible to cool it silently with air? Waiting for the new single card 4870x2 is an option i initially discarded since it seems hard to silent cool on air... So many doubts...
-Video card for the side monitors? Need something able to handle those two desktops under vista smoothly, ideally able to play blue-rays and HD videos in the background while gaming without taxing the cpu too much, fitting in 1 slot, and generating as little heat as possible. Fanless card able to do that would be perfect. Does that even exist in the market? (i really don't know)
-The rest of the components's selection is easier and so no need to request help about that

And that's enough with the questions for today! -_-"
Basically i have it all decided but the most important components: mobo+gpus+gpus' cooling

Thank you very much in advance for your suggestions :)
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#2
Troy

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Hi and welcome! :)

Okay, let me see if I've got this sorted - you want one computer to run four monitors, two to play games and the other two for high-definition movies - all at the same time?

:)

Troy
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#3
jt1990

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:)
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#4
jorgehevia

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Sorry for not explaining myself correctly. :) (not native english speaker)
It's 3 monitors only.
Main monitor a 24" lcd driven by two graphic cards in crossfire configuration. The choice of these twin cards and their cooling is one of the things i haven't made a choice about yet. I like the Saphire 4850 toxic, but i am willing to stretch my budged if someone knows of a more silent, but also powerful, solution.
Then a third graphics card, not for 3d gaming use and obviously not in crossfire configuration, just to browse internet on a smaller 20" lcd (the second monitor) and video material on a 42" 1080p plasma (3rd monitor). As you probably guessed, the computer will be placed in my living room, thats why i have the plasma near the pc, and also why silent pc components are important for this application.
Since browsing the internet and playing videos isn't a very demaning task, i intend to do it all from the same computer even with a game running simultaneously. The choice of this video card is also important, since a very cpu-taxing card wouldn't let me play videos and run a game smoothly at the same time. I haven't found much on the internet regarding cpu usage during video playback. All reviews i found so far talk mainly about 3d performance and nothing about the efficiency accelerating video decoding, and so with the choice of this smaller video card i have the most doubts about...
And choice of motherboard is critical too. Needs to be able to drive that bunch of cards lol, and using ddr2 to keep costs down.


hope my problem is better explained now.
and i also hope to build my pc soon for less than 1500€ :) (excluding monitors ofc)


oh and thanks for the welcome! :)
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#5
kamille316

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So you want a card in crossfire configuration (2 video card) and another card for watching movies? I've never actually heard of this done but if it is possible then you are stuck with something like the 4870x2 and another video card for movies since CF enabled motherboard only have 2 PCI-e slots.

So you can't have a crossfire configuration (2 video cards) and another card because you won't have enough PCI-e slots on the motherboard unless you go Nvidia route. There's 780i motherboards that have 3 PCI-e slots however I'm not sure if you would be able to do an SLI configuration (2 Nvidia cards) while having another stand-alone video card for watching movies, I am not sure how to set that up.

I'm just throwing out ideas, I'm not exactly sure if these are possible.

Kamille
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#6
Troy

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I have to admit I don't know if it's possible to do what you're hoping...

It sounds like you need more than one computer to do this. Don't forget that while browsing the internet isn't demanding on a pc, watching hi-definition videos is, so doing all three things at once is really going to be pushing a system's capabilities...

Although I seem to remember reading up about a case that could fit two computers inside, although I can't seem to find it right now...

Troy
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#7
stettybet0

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So you can't have a crossfire configuration (2 video cards) and another card because you won't have enough PCI-e slots on the motherboard unless you go Nvidia route. There's 780i motherboards that have 3 PCI-e slots however I'm not sure if you would be able to do an SLI configuration (2 Nvidia cards) while having another stand-alone video card for watching movies, I am not sure how to set that up.

There are some boards have 3 or even 4 PCI-E slots that are not based on an NVIDIA chipset. Here is a list of all motherboards at Newegg that have at least 3 PCI-E slots. Here is a list of all motherboards on Newegg that have at least 3 PCI-E 2.0 slots. Even if you got a motherboard with only 2 PCI-E slots, you could get a third PCI video card. However, a PCI video card would not be able to handle playing HD media very well.

Unfortunately, I'm not very familiar with this situation using ATI cards. However, I am pretty familiar with it using NVIDIA cards. So, from an NVIDIA perspective, I see a few options.

  • Buy 2 cards for SLI and wait until September. In September, NVIDIA is releasing drivers allowing you to run multiple monitors with SLI enabled. With most cards having two DVI outputs, this allows you up to 4 monitors.
  • Buy 2 cards for SLI and a third PCI-E card which is based on either the G92 or G94 (ex. 8800GT, 9600GT). Both of these GPUs excel at HD playback. Then use this guide (you may have to register to view it) to do a workaround to get them all working.

Don't forget that while browsing the internet isn't demanding on a pc, watching hi-definition videos is, so doing all three things at once is really going to be pushing a system's capabilities...

If you go with a G92 or G94 GPU, the CPU utilization is reduced to nearly nothing during HD playback. I'm not sure if you were planning on playing games and watching HD media at once, but if you are, then option #2 (above) would be your best option.
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#8
jorgehevia

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Thanks for your replies :)

i've been searching for more info on this setup i want to make, and made some decisions
will keep the 3xPCIe slots Abit mobo, ddr2 memory, but running a quad-core instead of a dual-core for better multitasking. some +100€ needed on the budged. could have been worse.
will keep 2xhd4850 in crossfire with the zalman coolers, and as a 3rd card to run the side monitors will try to find a passively-cooled, single-slot, Ati hd2600xt-based card. seems to accelerate video playback alright, and i read about a nice version by Asus. unfortunately it's an older and hard to find product. at least from my e-tailers (delivering in Spain) :)


EDIT: just read the last reply. it's an interesing option going nvidia. will read the links suggested...
OH NO!! now that i was about to make a final decision hahaa (neverending this pc-building thing)

Edited by jorgehevia, 14 August 2008 - 11:48 AM.

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