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Unread 06-19-2008, 09:15 PM   #16
bman9089
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Philip J Fry View Post
I just finished one of the bedrooms upstairs and I'll be damned if I'm going to haul my 51" projection HDTV up there (I'm in a bedroom downstairs and it sucks). So, the second monitor will double as a TV for cable, XBox and movies until I can afford a 46" LCD. I also do a ton of multi-tasking; having 8GB of RAM allows me to have dozens of apps going so I can leave them open as long as I'd like while still being able to keep an eye on the without having to bring them to the top of the work area. The extra space is great to have for shoving secondary stuff on the other monitor while focusing on documents, browsing or Photoshop on the main.

Definitely factor your screen prices in first and work backwards from there since it sounds like that's a main requirement. It sounds like dual 22's might be your best option (I've used 26's and 30's; they were too gaudy for my tastes), but three 20's will require a secondary video card, so you can end up with SLi ability if you go that route. 8800GT's are great cards and very affordable so picking up two won't break the bank.

Still, if you want to buy an Alienware just make sure you leave enough for dual monitors without selling yourself short on performance from the desktop itself. I should mention the only thing wrong I see with the one in your original post is the AMD processor. Intel's Duo and Quad chips blow them away.
Well, Alienware offers a 5% discount to college students and teachers, but you are forced to go with their Area51 7500 unit, which is all Intel/Invidia. I priced up the same configuration, using dual Geforce 8800 GTs running in SLI with a 2.4 ghz Intel Core 2 quad setup and it's about $150 more expensive. I might be able to pull that off if it's worth it.

Here's what I don't get. I was looking online, and people are saying that you can't run SLI with dual monitors. WTF? Why not? You have to turn it off.

So, I could only game on one smaller screen with SLI on and work on both screens with it off. This seems completely backwards to me.

It sounds though that 3 screens will let you run SLI? You see, I'm lost with this stuff.

Really, dual monitors vs. a single........I really don't give a damn. I really just want something that will offer me a lot of screen space for the money and higher performance. It's so tempting though to run multiple screens (2 22") over a single 26" because the pricing is the same or close. But I don't wanna do that if I can't use the extra power of the other graphics card, or if the performance will suck. I'm just trying to find a happy medium I guess.

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Unread 06-19-2008, 09:28 PM   #17
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^ P.J.F mentioned this, he did not say why...he just said you cant.

All this talk makes me want to rebuild mine...its been about 2 years...i think i am due
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Unread 06-19-2008, 09:31 PM   #18
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I don't know all the technical details, but the way SLi works is that the second GPU sends the frames it generates back to the first card over the bridge to be spliced together with the other half and then output to the monitor. I don't think the second card is capable of outputting frames on its own because there would be no way for them to sync up with what's being put out by the other card. Also, the supported resolution in-game would have to be crazy high (3800 x 1280 in my case) across dual monitors and the benefit of SLi (eye candy) would be cancelled out by the GPU's having to put their bandwidth towards rendering that resolution. I could be wrong though.

Could you save any money by getting a Duo instead of a Quad core? There are very few apps which take advantage of Quad to justify the extra cost... hell, I can't even push my Duo hard enough with regular use to dip into the second core much.

As soon as I bought my crap I stopped paying attention to new hardware but there are cards out now with 2 GPU's on the PCB. I haven't heard if they allow SLi over multiple monitors or not... probably not is my guess. I honestly don't know if this is something that will be worked out in the future or not and whether it's a limitation of the motherboard or the GPU's.


Apparently Crossfire allows dual monitors... but they don't say if it's while running single or dual GPU.

Last edited by PhilipJ; 06-19-2008 at 10:00 PM..
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Unread 06-19-2008, 09:32 PM   #19
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Im running dual screen and have most my life. I would never go to anything but that ever again. I get frustrated when Im stuck with just my laptop screen. Im running just a 15" lcd ( it sucks I ct wait to get my 24"! ) but its nice to have that extra space for background apps I dont need all the time, or for watching movies when im doing hw
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Unread 06-19-2008, 09:35 PM   #20
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Anyone have any first hand experience with alienware? Do their computers hold up well?
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Unread 06-19-2008, 09:36 PM   #21
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\

As soon as I bought my crap I stopped paying attention to new hardware \
Me too....it hurts to much to see the price drop's offered after you spend hours hunting for the best component at the best price. Then about 2 years down the road, your interest will pick back up...
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Unread 06-19-2008, 09:45 PM   #22
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Me too....it hurts to much to see the price drop's offered after you spend hours hunting for the best component at the best price. Then about 2 years down the road, your interest will pick back up...
Ignorance is bliss.

My P4 lasted 5 years and I didn't care much until I found out it couldn't process HD content without taking a dump every few seconds.
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Unread 06-19-2008, 09:58 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Philip J Fry View Post
I don't know all the technical details, but the way SLi works is that the second GPU sends the frames it generates back to the first card over the bridge to be spliced together with the other half and then output to the monitor. I don't think the second card is capable of outputting frames on its own because there would be no way for them to sync up with what's being put out by the other card. Also, the supported resolution in-game would have to be crazy high (3940 x 1200 in my case) across dual monitors and the benefit of SLi (eye candy) would be cancelled out by the GPU's having to put their bandwidth towards rendering that resolution. I could be wrong though.

Could you save any money by getting a Duo instead of a Quad core? There are very few apps which take advantage of Quad to justify the extra cost... hell, I can't even push my Duo hard enough with regular use to dip into the second core much.

As soon as I bought my crap I stopped paying attention to new hardware but there are cards out now with 2 GPU's on the PCB. I haven't heard if they allow SLi over multiple monitors or not... probably not is my guess. I honestly don't know if this is something that will be worked out in the future or not and whether it's a limitation of the motherboard or the GPU's.
Hmmm......I could certainly go without quad core if it isn't being used much. What OS are you running? I know that vista uses the new technology a hell of a lot more efficiently than XP does (sometimes XP doesn't even utilize new tech, like seeing 4 gigs of ram as 3). XP doesn't hardly use the new stuff it seems like.
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Unread 06-19-2008, 10:04 PM   #24
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Hmmm......I could certainly go without quad core if it isn't being used much. What OS are you running? I know that vista uses the new technology a hell of a lot more efficiently than XP does (sometimes XP doesn't even utilize new tech, like seeing 4 gigs of ram as 3). XP doesn't hardly use the new stuff it seems like.
XP64 isn't much different to Vista 64, they both handle multithreading and >4Gb RAM. Vista's biggest (sole?) advantage is that it runs DirectX 10, which XP does not, however you have to deal with extra overhead - a DX9 game will run slower in Vista than XP.

The limiting factor is the application and not the operating system, if the app isn't multithreaded then multiple cores are useless, you're better off with faster clock speeds - a 3.0 Ghz dual core will be better than a 2.4Ghz quad core.

Heavy 3d apps like 3dsmax and autoCAD are multithreaded, 2d apps like photoshop, dreamweaver and games are typically not.

Video cards have no impact on 2d applications either, you could have a $2000 video card and it wouldn't run premiere any faster than a $100 card.
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Unread 06-19-2008, 10:07 PM   #25
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XP64 isn't much different to Vista 64, they both handle multithreading and >4Gb RAM. Vista's biggest (sole?) advantage is that it runs DirectX 10, which XP does not, however you have to deal with extra overhead - a DX9 game will run slower in Vista than XP.

The limiting factor is the application and not the operating system, if the app isn't multithreaded then multiple cores are useless, you're better off with faster clock speeds - a 3.0 Ghz dual core will be better than a 2.4Ghz quad core.

Heavy 3d apps like 3dsmax and autoCAD are multithreaded, 2d apps like photoshop, dreamweaver and games are typically not.

Video cards have no impact on 2d applications either, you could have a $2000 video card and it wouldn't run premiere any faster than a $100 card.
Are you not an audio guy?
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Unread 06-19-2008, 10:13 PM   #26
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I'm running Vista 64 Ultimate and using a little over 1GB of RAM right now with 74 processes open. Another 2GB is being cached by the OS. And it flies even with 5GB to spare.
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Unread 06-19-2008, 10:15 PM   #27
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Thank You Kyo! That's very helpful. So, I'll knock off the quad core then, possible save $50 and go with a dual core 3.16ghz setup instead.

I do miss the pentiums though. Right now I'm working on Dell's first model (or second) of the XPS laptops. It's about 2" thick and has a 3.4ghz pentium 4. The fan in this laptop sounds like a blowdryer. Unfortunately, I've had to replace a battery, an AC adapter, a wifi card and a motherboard. That's over about 4 years of ownership, which is why I'm staying away from dell. Although that worries me that alienware was bought up by them.
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Unread 06-19-2008, 10:25 PM   #28
bman9089
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so what would you do:

dual monitors: 22" with a single graphics card like geforce 9800 GTX (<---I assume that would work)

OR

single monitor: 26" with dual graphics cards in SLI mode like the geforce 8800 GTs?
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Unread 06-19-2008, 10:26 PM   #29
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Are you not an audio guy?
Nope, professional visual effects artist, so I'm heavily into 2d and 3d applications.

The Mean Fish is a heavy audio/signal processing guy I think.

bman: I don't know much about the 9x series cards, but the 8800 GT I have is pretty damned fast, definitely the best bang for the buck in the 8x series.
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Unread 06-19-2008, 10:31 PM   #30
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Nope, professional visual effects artist, so I'm heavily into 2d and 3d applications.

The Mean Fish is a heavy audio/signal processing guy I think.

bman: I don't know much about the 9x series cards, but the 8800 GT I have is pretty damned fast, definitely the best bang for the buck in the 8x series.
+1

I grabbed a PNY 8800 GT when they were brand new, and it has yet to let me down.
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