suggestions for video card setup

They make noise, too.

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shunx
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suggestions for video card setup

Post by shunx » Fri Mar 11, 2011 8:56 am

I'm looking for suggestions for my next build. I have some specific needs in terms of output. These are the considerations:
1) output to 4 monitors: 3 DVI and 1 HDMI, up to 1080p.
2) quiet (I use a 8800 GTS and it's very quiet)
3) performance and value

I currently use a passive 8500 GT to supplement the 8800 GTS in order to drive the extra monitors. Would I likely have issues if I keep using the 8500GT as a second card next to a modern Nvidia card? I'm also open to ATI and SLI/CF solutions. HD6950 seems like a good performance point and can supposedly drive 4 monitors but I have read reports of some cards spinning the fan up in multi-monitor settings.

CA_Steve
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Re: suggestions for video card setup

Post by CA_Steve » Fri Mar 11, 2011 9:13 am

Before I answer your q, here's a couple of mine...Are you doing any gaming? If so, what games and are you using multi-monitor for it?

If you aren't gaming, is there any other app that requires the horsepower of a gaming level card?

Some thoughts when using more than monitor per card:
- Current ATI cards don't downclock the memory. So, while GPU downclocks when n idle/low use, the memclock stays high. On my 5770, this amounts to 30W extra power used when idling/2D.
- I've heard current NVidia cards don't downclock the GPU in idle when in multimonitor config. This can amount to major wattage. Hopefully, someone with this setup will chime in.

So, if you don't need the extra horsepower of a gaming card...you can see why you'd aim for 2 low power cards.

shunx
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Re: suggestions for video card setup

Post by shunx » Fri Mar 11, 2011 9:23 am

I'd like to be able to play games on the new setup. I'm used to high power consumption with my current PC, so any power saving would be optional.

I'm reading that MSI has a version of HD 6950 that has quieter fans, though it costs 20% more for me. I think I'd just need the one card plus a DP-to-DVI adaptor.

andymcca
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Re: suggestions for video card setup

Post by andymcca » Fri Mar 11, 2011 10:22 am

Rasterman posted a build earlier with an MSI card which might be the one you are talking about? It's the
MSI R6950 Twin Frozr II OC Radeon HD 6950 2GB

He reduced the fan speed with an MSI application.

Rasterman post:
viewtopic.php?f=14&t=61761&p=536081

andymcca
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Re: suggestions for video card setup

Post by andymcca » Fri Mar 11, 2011 10:25 am

CA_Steve wrote:- I've heard current NVidia cards don't downclock the GPU in idle when in multimonitor config. This can amount to major wattage. Hopefully, someone with this setup will chime in.
I actually clock my nVidia GPU/graphics RAM with shell scripts depending on the application. I assume this could be done in Windows with batch files, too?

Fire-Flare
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Re: suggestions for video card setup

Post by Fire-Flare » Fri Mar 11, 2011 2:29 pm

shunx wrote:HD6950 seems like a good performance point and can supposedly drive 4 monitors but I have read reports of some cards spinning the fan up in multi-monitor settings.
A 6950 with an Arctic Cooling Accelero Xtreme cooler won't need to be loud to keep temps down. With manual fan control you can lock them at 30-40% (depending on your sensitivity and case's muffling abilities) and forget about them.

shunx
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Re: suggestions for video card setup

Post by shunx » Fri Mar 11, 2011 4:29 pm

andymcca wrote:
CA_Steve wrote:- I've heard current NVidia cards don't downclock the GPU in idle when in multimonitor config. This can amount to major wattage. Hopefully, someone with this setup will chime in.
I actually clock my nVidia GPU/graphics RAM with shell scripts depending on the application. I assume this could be done in Windows with batch files, too?
It'd be nice if I could save some electricity in my current system but I'm not familiar with of these settings. I don't even know how much power my two Nvidia cards are generating. If someone could show me the way, that'd be nice.

shunx
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Re: suggestions for video card setup

Post by shunx » Fri Mar 11, 2011 4:31 pm

Fire-Flare wrote:
shunx wrote:HD6950 seems like a good performance point and can supposedly drive 4 monitors but I have read reports of some cards spinning the fan up in multi-monitor settings.
A 6950 with an Arctic Cooling Accelero Xtreme cooler won't need to be loud to keep temps down. With manual fan control you can lock them at 30-40% (depending on your sensitivity and case's muffling abilities) and forget about them.
That's nice though I think MSI's model should be sufficiently quiet and would be cheaper and easier than going with a separate cooler.

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Re: suggestions for video card setup

Post by quest_for_silence » Sat Mar 12, 2011 12:15 pm

shunx wrote:I think MSI's model should be sufficiently quiet and would be cheaper and easier than going with a separate cooler.
I think you should be not fully right: IIRC that MSI at stock settings should be around 18-19dB at idle, and 31-33dB at load, quite far from being quiet (an AC AXP should go around 15-16dB at load). Obviously you may tweak the fans curve, but then YMMV.

shunx
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Re: suggestions for video card setup

Post by shunx » Mon Mar 14, 2011 9:04 am

quest_for_silence wrote:
shunx wrote:I think MSI's model should be sufficiently quiet and would be cheaper and easier than going with a separate cooler.
I think you should be not fully right: IIRC that MSI at stock settings should be around 18-19dB at idle, and 31-33dB at load, quite far from being quiet (an AC AXP should go around 15-16dB at load). Obviously you may tweak the fans curve, but then YMMV.
Where are you getting your numbers? These are some reviews I've read:

"in IDLE we measure 37 DBa which can't be heard really. And fully stressed... 40 DBA for the R6950. This means you can hear airflow softly, but that's pretty much it. The overall noise of your average PC would be louder."
http://www.guru3d.com/article/msi-r6950 ... -review/11

"the fan speed remained pretty much the same and the highest temperature reached was 61°C."
http://tbreak.com/tech/2010/12/msi-r695 ... -review/3/

I'm trying to match my 8800 GTS's level of noise, which is not noticeable in my daily usage, driving two monitors. Can you show by comparison the noise level of MSI in comparison? In the review above it is identical to a reference GTX 570 in noise. Is the GTX 570 louder than my card?

quest_for_silence
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Re: suggestions for video card setup

Post by quest_for_silence » Mon Mar 14, 2011 10:01 am

shunx wrote:Where are you getting your numbers?

I usually trust the german reviewer HT4U findings.
shunx wrote:I'm trying to match my 8800 GTS's level of noise, which is not noticeable in my daily usage, driving two monitors. Can you show by comparison the noise level of MSI in comparison? In the review above it is identical to a reference GTX 570 in noise. Is the GTX 570 louder than my card?

Providing it's a reference 512MB card, the 8800 GTS should give around 14dB at idle, 18dB at load.
The reference GTX 570 is around 17dB at idle, 31dB at load, so very similar to the Twin Frozr II HD-6950.
Therefore both are noticeably louder than your GTS, particularly at load.
But I think it's normal: a 512MB 8800 GTS is a 120W card, while an oc'ed HD-6950 is a 180W card, and the GTX 570 is a 200W card (I'm referring to DC power draw under gaming).

The best match for your card I'm currently aware of is maybe the ASUS HD-6950 DirectCU-II: around 16-17dB both at idle and load, a tad louder at idle, a tad quieter at gaming, so I think that you should notice the difference with your current setup.
You can have quieter results but with a MSI R6870 Twin Frozr II (a 130W card, more similar to a 512MB 8800 GTS), which should offer a noise level of 10-11dB at idle, and 13-14dB at gaming load. Obviously it's far slower than any 6950/570.
AFAIK no Nvidia solutions should be right out of the box close to these levels, but the reference GTX 560Ti (15-16dB at idle, 17-18dB at load).

Eventually take note I'm talking of stock results, while tweaking fan curves YMMV.

Rasterman
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Re: suggestions for video card setup

Post by Rasterman » Mon Mar 14, 2011 10:27 am

shunx wrote:
quest_for_silence wrote:
shunx wrote:I think MSI's model should be sufficiently quiet and would be cheaper and easier than going with a separate cooler.
I think you should be not fully right: IIRC that MSI at stock settings should be around 18-19dB at idle, and 31-33dB at load, quite far from being quiet (an AC AXP should go around 15-16dB at load). Obviously you may tweak the fans curve, but then YMMV.
Where are you getting your numbers? These are some reviews I've read:

"in IDLE we measure 37 DBa which can't be heard really. And fully stressed... 40 DBA for the R6950. This means you can hear airflow softly, but that's pretty much it. The overall noise of your average PC would be louder."
http://www.guru3d.com/article/msi-r6950 ... -review/11

"the fan speed remained pretty much the same and the highest temperature reached was 61°C."
http://tbreak.com/tech/2010/12/msi-r695 ... -review/3/

I'm trying to match my 8800 GTS's level of noise, which is not noticeable in my daily usage, driving two monitors. Can you show by comparison the noise level of MSI in comparison? In the review above it is identical to a reference GTX 570 in noise. Is the GTX 570 louder than my card?
I have the MSI card and at stock it is definitely audible, but you can tweak the fan to 25% and then it becomes inaudible in the case at idle. For a comparison everyone might be familiar with, I would say the MSI card at 25% sounds about the same as 1 nexus 120mm fan, perhaps slightly less. My plan when ordering it was if it turned out to be too loud still, I was going to simply disconnect the fans on it, and zip-tie a nexus or two on it, the fans look like they would be easy to remove and since the heatsink is already beefy and installed, it would be very easy. As for comparisons to a 8800 GTS I'm not sure, but I had a 8800 GTX as my previous card, I guarantee you the MSI is more quiet at 25% than it was, and would guess more quiet than the GTS as well.

As for power measurements, I have updated my other thread...

shunx
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Re: suggestions for video card setup

Post by shunx » Mon Mar 14, 2011 12:01 pm

quest_for_silence wrote:AFAIK no Nvidia solutions should be right out of the box close to these levels, but the reference GTX 560Ti (15-16dB at idle, 17-18dB at load).
Thank you for the feedback. The cost premium of the Asus 6950 is making me re-consider. In the case of MSI, being able to adjust the fan speed via software is ok but I prefer not having to.

Are most GTX 560 Ti as quiet as the reference? I'm considering running a cheap 560 along my passive 8500 GT for extra output. The cheapest one I can find is PNY model VCGGTX560TXPB. Anyone knows about these models?

shunx
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Re: suggestions for video card setup

Post by shunx » Mon Mar 14, 2011 12:28 pm

Rasterman wrote:I have the MSI card and at stock it is definitely audible, but you can tweak the fan to 25% and then it becomes inaudible in the case at idle. For a comparison everyone might be familiar with, I would say the MSI card at 25% sounds about the same as 1 nexus 120mm fan, perhaps slightly less.
I went back and read what you wrote: "video card is the loudest thing the case by far, and when I mean loud, most people would laugh, after about 3' from it you can't hear it either" That sounds like it hardly makes noise even at stock speeds? I only demand a level of noise that makes me not notice it. Another thing I am curious about is whether the fans spin up in a multi-monitor environment (at stock settings), since the card reportedly gets louder when under load.

quest_for_silence
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Re: suggestions for video card setup

Post by quest_for_silence » Mon Mar 14, 2011 2:40 pm

Rasterman wrote:As for comparisons to a 8800 GTS I'm not sure, but I had a 8800 GTX as my previous card, I guarantee you the MSI is more quiet at 25% than it was, and would guess more quiet than the GTS as well.

I think you're about right about the two 8800s: the original 8800GTX should have been slightly louder than the 8800 GTS at idle, virtually equal at load (AFAIK about 15dB at idle, 18dB while gaming).

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Re: suggestions for video card setup

Post by quest_for_silence » Mon Mar 14, 2011 2:49 pm

shunx wrote:Are most GTX 560 Ti as quiet as the reference?

I can't help about: all I can say is that the EVGA is as quiet as the reference card (but I don't know whether or not it may be enough cheap for you).

I can add the some not reference design (the MSI TFII) is noticeably quieter at idle, around 12dB, but far louder at gaming loads, around 24dB: if in case, I think you might use the Afterburner utility to tweak its fans (but - just as a side note - with the older GTX 460 without tweaking the BIOS it didn't help a lot).

Rasterman
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Re: suggestions for video card setup

Post by Rasterman » Tue Mar 15, 2011 10:11 am

shunx wrote:That sounds like it hardly makes noise even at stock speeds? I only demand a level of noise that makes me not notice it. Another thing I am curious about is whether the fans spin up in a multi-monitor environment (at stock settings), since the card reportedly gets louder when under load.
correct, even at stock it is pretty quiet, but putting it to 25% fan speed is easy and makes it silent so why not do it. i highly doubt using multiple displays would change the noise level at all, even when running my 2d game at 200fps and loading the cpu about 30% it doesn't ramp up, the heatsink is very efficient.

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