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  • Graphics card for high-res dual-head

    Hello all,

    I am planning to buy a a new monitor with a 1920x1200 resolution, while keeping my current 1680x1050 monitor and use them in a dual-head setup (probably twinview). I will possibly be replacing the lower-res monitor for another 1920x1200 after the summer or for christmas.
    My current graphics card is a GeForce 7600 GS with 512 mb memory. Will I need a new graphics card as well, or will the one I have suffice? I would like to be able to play some 3d games on the bigger screen, and do some (basic probably) 3d modelling in the dual-head setup (not at the same time, though).

    If I need to buy a new card I was thinking of either an Asus GeForce 9600GT 512MB Silent (EN9600GT SILENT/HTDI/512M) or an Asus GeForce 9400GT 512MB (EN9400GT SILENT/DI/512MD2).
    The 9600 is about twice the price of the 9400 ($172 vs. $83) - is the price differance worth it? Or should I buy an entirely different card? The only big requirement I have on the card I buy is that I want it to use passive cooling.

  • #2
    If your current card has more than one output, you probably don't need to get another card. The VRAM is quite enough for two 1920x1200x32 screens.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by curaga View Post
      If your current card has more than one output, you probably don't need to get another card. The VRAM is quite enough for two 1920x1200x32 screens.
      Yes, but as I said I am also interested in being able to play games at 1920x1200 resolutions. Will my current card be able to do that?

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      • #4
        You should consider a GTS 250 as minimum, better GTX 260 or higher when you want to play at 1920x1200. Well if you only play old games then your current card will be enough too - but definitely not for current titles.
        Last edited by Kano; 05-25-2009, 07:24 AM.

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        • #5
          What games are you planning on running with a 9600 at 1920x1200?

          First if you want games on linux, get an nvidia. fglrx and dual head isn't playing nice on linux even without talking about games, so i'd have to recommend nvidia to get on the road now

          ATI 4770 might be interesting because of its low heat output. Look at the cheaper 4830 too. Both should be able to play at 1920x1200 but dont expect serious performance.

          You'd obviously want a dual dual link DVI-I card, check the specs carefully. Also stay away from those gimicky 3 output cards DVI/VGA/HDMI, they are more trouble than they are worth.

          With nvidia's heat output problem you'll be hard pressed to find a passively cooled card above a 9600. I know cause i bought that card and it actually died and scan are currently refusing to RMA it. I new i should have hit it before sending it off. I can't recommend the card, but it did work well while it did (6 months roughly). Bought a 4670 from ati that was fanless too and running it with radeonHD because there were too many problems with fglrx 9.4 and ubuntu 9.04. Maybe it will work with 9.5 - who knows!
          Last edited by lordmozilla; 05-26-2009, 03:58 AM.

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          • #6
            1920x1200 does not require dual link, it works with reduced blanking on single link dvi.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by lordmozilla View Post
              What games are you planning on running with a 9600 at 1920x1200?
              I would like to try Left4Dead, Dawn of War 2 and various new games from Steam and so on.
              Actually I haven't kept updated with the developments in gaming for a while, since I felt that my old computer was to slow to really play them. But a couple of weeks ago my mainboard burnt and I figured I could spend some money on the new parts - I bought a core i7 and an asus p6t. It makes a nice change from my previous processor, which was one of the first dual-core amd64 processors iirc.

              Originally posted by lordmozilla View Post
              First if you want games on linux, get an nvidia. fglrx and dual head isn't playing nice on linux even without talking about games, so i'd have to recommend nvidia to get on the road now
              If I buy a new card now, it will be from nvidia. The only problem I have had with my current (and current - 1, a geforce 4 or 5 series) in linux was like a year back or something when the kernel interface (or the X interface.. can't remember which) changed and nvidia was slow at releasing a new version, and I had to run off of the nv driver for a while.
              I might buy an ATI card when I upgrade the next time, if the driver situation improves.

              Originally posted by lordmozilla View Post
              With nvidia's heat output problem you'll be hard pressed to find a passively cooled card above a 9600. I know cause i bought that card and it actually died and scan are currently refusing to RMA it. I new i should have hit it before sending it off. I can't recommend the card, but it did work well while it did (6 months roughly). Bought a 4670 from ati that was fanless too and running it with radeonHD because there were too many problems with fglrx 9.4 and ubuntu 9.04. Maybe it will work with 9.5 - who knows!
              Ouch.
              Well, the reason I want a passively cooled card is that I have my computer on 24/7 and that I sleep in the same room.
              Do the fans on those things run constantly or only under load? How loud are they?

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              • #8
                When you already have got an i7 go for GTX 260 or better.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by nargo View Post
                  Well, the reason I want a passively cooled card is that I have my computer on 24/7 and that I sleep in the same room.
                  Do the fans on those things run constantly or only under load? How loud are they?
                  There are plenty of quiet actively cooled cards out there. Chances are you will hear your power supply fan over the noise of the cards out there. I've got a sli system setup in the bedroom and near dead quiet . I hear the PS fan and the HD's over the video cards, fans spin down on the video cards to the point where you have other system noises drowning out the video cards when in a non-gaming state.

                  Of course the case makes a huge difference in noise as well.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by deanjo View Post
                    There are plenty of quiet actively cooled cards out there. Chances are you will hear your power supply fan over the noise of the cards out there. I've got a sli system setup in the bedroom and near dead quiet . I hear the PS fan and the HD's over the video cards, fans spin down on the video cards to the point where you have other system noises drowning out the video cards when in a non-gaming state.

                    Of course the case makes a huge difference in noise as well.
                    I have a Antec P180 ( http://www.antec.com/Believe_it/product.php?id=Mg== ), which is very quiet, and my psu is passively cooled (iirc, or it's got one of those really silent fans - it's damn quiet anyways). The loudest fan in my computer at the moment is the cpu fan since I forgot that my old (more silent) one wouldn't fit on the i7, so I'm running with the stock one for the time being. As far as I can tell only the oldest of my HD's is audible when accessing data, and it's about to fail, so I'll replace it soon.

                    Yes, I like my computers silent.
                    But if the cards turn the fans off when the graphics card is idle I may reconsider buying a passively cooled one.

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