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LCD Monitor & Graphics Card Recommendations?


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Hi all,

 

My build-out for my new sim-computer is well underway, and I have made a few decisions, but have some questions around graphics sub-systems.

 

This PC is going to be used for only a few things - flight simulation (FSX/Prepar3D and DCS) and for my amateur radio interests (monitoring and VHF/UHF/HF). As a result, I am struggling on what monitor configuration to go with, what monitors to choose, and what video card to get. The CPU I have selected is one of the new Haswell chips, and I'm planning to toss in piles of RAM, alongside a SSD primary drive, and a couple of HDD secondary drives for data. At the moment, an Intel/NVIDIA setup is my preferred configuration.

 

In short, a multiple monitor configuration is really helpful for amateur radio, but I'm ambivalent to it for simulations. On the other hand, if I go multiple monitors, I need to choose a graphics card that will drive all of them (I suppose I don't have to, but if I have multiple monitors, I'll want to).

 

As a result, I'd love to hear people's experience with multiple monitors, what size and resolution to go with, and what graphics cards are needed to properly drive the system. What resolution works best for sims these days? 27" versus 23" size? 2560 vs. 1920? One versus two versus three monitors? My preference is either a single monitor or three monitors (my wife might not agree, though!)

 

I have an Apple Cinema Display (27") for my Mac that I like a lot, but it's too big for games and simulations, I think, so a 23" seems like a better setup.

 

Thanks very much for your suggestions and feedback!


Edited by Waverider
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I don't do multi-monitor, but maybe I can throw in there my two cents on a few points. (for what it's worth)

 

-If you do multi monitor setups for gaming, minimum is 3 (then keep an odd number), or else the middle of the image will be right on a border screen, which got to be the most annoyest thing ever. (Unless you can get your hand on a borderless monitor, if it even exists)

-In terms of graphic power, the size of the screen doesn't matter too much, only the resolution. That said, the higher the size the higher the resolution should be unless you like icons the size of your fist like the good old days.

-You have to find what size suits you, depending on what distance you usually stands in front of the screen. Basic rule though is that you are after a good ratio between visibility (resolution) and space (screen size) too tiny a screen and you'll barely see a thing, too big and you'll hurt you neck and waste time scanning from one side of the screen to the other, not able to see the whole picture and having to do too big movements with your mouse. Though is you're using 3 monitors I'm not sure that's even relevant ahah.

-Preferred screen size ratio these days are 16/9 but it works best for single monitor setups, you might wanna use a more squared standard 4/3 ratio for a 3 screen setup.

-You will need a great amount of graphic power for a 3 screen setup, so to keep thing pretty you probably have to go with the flagship of current or last gen cards and not the general versions but their high memory versions (usually double the memory) as multi screen eat graphic card's memory a lot. A single GPU should handle it fine but a lot of multi monitor setups ends up being powered by SLI (or Xfire) GPUs which is a whole other lot of potential issues to make that work. [most goes for water cooling too given the amount of heat all of that generates but obvsly that's a matter of personal preferences and time/money investment]

-Take good note that playing multi monitors isn't a matter of plug'n play, it varies a lot from game to game, sim to sim, but it's usually a lot of tweaking, soft settings, info browsing etc. Few games support it and you usually have to rely on 3rd party softs to make it work. Hopefully there'll be a nice community with ppl that already been there and are rdy to help you out.

-That doesn't apply for your radio hobby though (cool hobby!) but also consider the Occulus Rift that, if successful on the design side of things, might make multi monitor setups archaic! It supposedly is coming in the very near future.

 

I was looking to build myself a 3 screen setup some months ago but I though (and still am thinking) the Occulus Rift will offer 100% what we are trying to achieve these days with multi-monitor setups. So in the end I just use a good 16/9 1920x1080 main screen with a tinier 4/3 screen on the side for other stuff like tools when I'm working or references, tutos, maps when I'm playing etc and saved the money for a potential buy of the Occulus if they manage to develop a consumer version with a good enough resolution and with 6 dof movement detection.


Edited by Vivoune

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Hello Waverider,

 

I've used a 10' projector, 20", 27", 55", and a 3 39" multimonitor setup. The projector was too pixelated. The 20" monitor was WAY too small. The 27" was not bad with headtracking. The 3 39" TVs (with headtracking) is, by far, the best solution for me. I should mention that I use a 22" touchscreen with Helios for my gauges. I use headtracking primarily for the pitch axis and am going to set up the two side monitors in portrait orientation to see what it looks like.

 

I've been following the stereoscopic HMD development for about the last 15 years (I'm a big fan). Oculus Rift may be the answer to all the failed attempts at a viable HMD but I don't think so. Don't get me wrong, it will be cool but it won't take the place of high resolution gaming untill the unit's display screen is capable of at least a 3840x1080 resolution. that won't be for quite some time. I weighed this option prior to purchasing the 3 TVs.

 

I would suggest you try using the 27" that you have. If you have a webcam you can download the shareware headtracking program Facetrack to give yourself a perceived larger FOV. Then you can make a more accurate judgement as to whether or not you want to ask your wife if you can have a 3 screen setup ;)

 

EDIT: I'm using a HIS HD6970 video card clocked at 1000/1500 with an Arctic Cooling ExtremeII cooler.

 

Hope this answer helps.

John


Edited by Thick8
ED

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