Three monitor DVI setup: Two SLI PCI-E cards or single Matrox Quad card?

Discussion in 'Computer Support' started by ss6nn1, Jul 24, 2006.

  1. ss6nn1

    ss6nn1 Guest

    Which would be better?

    Two GeForce7 SLI PCI-E cards that support Dual DVI or this Matrox PCI-E
    card that supports Four DVI outputs:

    Each monitor will run at 1600x1200

    No gaming on this workstation, but MPEG2 decoding most of the time
    (Digital Terrestrial TV)

    The advantage of having two GeForce cards instead of the Matrox card
    would be that the GeForce has built-in support for "PureVideo" i.e.
    MPEG2 decoding which reduces the load on the CPU and the Matrox card
    doesn't, correct?
    ss6nn1, Jul 24, 2006
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  2. ss6nn1

    Htnakirs Guest

    Are you sure that, when used in SLI mode, all the four DVI outputs are
    available? My guess is NO.
    Besides the Purevideo, you also need to consider the speed of the
    cards. My guess is that the dual Geforces would be better than the
    single Matrox.
    Htnakirs, Jul 24, 2006
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  3. ss6nn1

    Paul Guest

    The Matrox card with the PCI Express x16 interface on it
    would be a better choice than the Matrox PCI version. At
    least the I/O would not be a bottleneck. All modern video
    cards have IDCT, so the Matrox does provide at least
    that acceleration feature.

    Purevideo, on the other hand, is hard to understand, because
    the only info you have to go on, is the second-hand info
    from review sites.

    When two SLI cards have SLI enabled, only _one_ output
    connector works. When SLI is disabled, and the two
    cards function independently, you can drive four monitors
    with the two VGA/DVI-I connectors on each card. At least
    that is the info I've seen to date. I don't know if the
    rules for SLI operation have been changed lately or not.

    You would not need super-powerful Nvidia cards for movies. You
    could use 7600GT for example. (7600GT seems to have a pretty
    high GPU clock, which maybe is contributing to the processing
    rate. Draws 67W max. You probably would not be driving both
    of them to max heat output at the same time.) But the amount
    of offloading noted here, is not that great. This is for HD.
    There have been previous articles reviewing the improvement
    for non-HD.

    And here is an Nvidia page that lists support for features:

    MPEG-2 decode is mentioned on that page, and it looks like
    more of their video cards support that. If you wanted a
    quiet box, then there will be compromises between performance
    and fan noise or heat.

    And if you were thinking of getting a video card with
    no fan on it, the temps can rise quite high on cards like
    that, and a crashing video card is no good to anyone:

    You might find more info on the subject, on a forum like this:

    (MSI and others are preparing to ship video cards with HDCP
    on them. Which would be a bit of futureproofing. The 7600GT
    on the left, is available now on Newegg. This might save you
    having to buy another pair of cards in the future.)

    Paul, Jul 25, 2006
  4. ss6nn1

    WindsorFox Guest

    Are you sure, as in have you tried this? When I set up my current
    system with SLi my monitors did not work in then 2nd card, I had to move
    them to the 1st card to get any video, leading me to believe that in
    non-SLi mode the 2nd card is off. I never tried putting any monitors on
    the second card with the 2 installed on the 1st card at the same time so
    I can't say factually one way or the other. I can back up the fact that
    only one monitor works in SLi mode which kind of blows. I just took my
    old parts and put them in a Shuttle BB and perched it atop the new
    machine and when in SLi I can switch the blank monitor to the analogue
    input and use the Shuttle to surf my game hints, cheats and Team Speak.
    WindsorFox, Jul 25, 2006
  5. ss6nn1

    Don Freeman Guest

    Maybe that is motherboard dependant but ASUS claims that their A8N-SLI
    motherboard can drive 4 monitors simultaneous when the 2 video cards are not
    in SLI mode.
    Don Freeman, Jul 25, 2006
  6. ss6nn1

    Paul Guest

    If you don't like my answer, then get the answer straight from

    "How many monitors are supported when running in SLI mode?

    When in multi-GPU mode, SLI currently supports one monitor.
    When in single-GPU mode, users have the ability to use up to
    four monitors using NVIDIA® nView® multi-display technology
    and Windows XP Dualview."

    Paul, Jul 26, 2006
  7. ss6nn1

    ss6nn1 Guest

    Sorry I seem to have thrown everyone into confusion by mentioning SLI.
    I originally meant a motherboard with two PCI-E slots and both running
    at the same time in non-gaming mode (no SLI).

    I think I'll go with two GeForce 6600GT/7600 cards each with Dual DVI
    to power the 3 monitors because it's cheaper than the single Matrox
    card that supports 4 monitors (~£400/$800 USD).
    ss6nn1, Jul 26, 2006
  8. ss6nn1

    Don Freeman Guest

    Isn't that just what I said?
    Don Freeman, Jul 26, 2006
  9. ss6nn1

    Paul Guest

    When Nvidia says it, then it is not motherboard maker specific.
    It is a function of their current driver and its policies.

    Paul, Jul 26, 2006
  10. ss6nn1

    deko Guest

    Two GeForce7 SLI PCI-E cards that support Dual DVI or this Matrox PCI-E
    I use the AGP QID - supports 4 DVI displays, but I'm happy with 3. The PCI-e
    QID is top of the line (assuming you don't need 3D). One of the great things
    about these cards is Matrox's display management software. Matrox has been in
    the multi-display market for a while and has the best display mgt sfw around,
    IMHO. As for video, I play everything on InterVideo WinDVD - looks great, never
    had a problem. If you're looking at a PCI-e QID you probably (or should) have a
    high-end mobo/proc - why are you worried about CPU load? Display management
    software is a more important consideration - and is why I picked Matrox over
    nVidia. Matrox has better support, too.
    deko, Jul 29, 2006
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