nVidia multi-monitor setup vs Matrox

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by davez, Feb 19, 2007.

  1. davez


    I'm planning on getting a new computer that almost certainly with have PCIe slot(s). I've been a satisfied Matrox user for years but the Matrox choices for PCIe slots seem limited (G450MMS dual or quad, or P650) which I think would be noisier (due to the fan) and more expensive (since less common).

    So I've read up on nVidia cards a little and it looks like the best combination for a quad LCD setup is:
    Primary card: NVS 285 128MB PCIe-16
    Second Card: NVS 280 PCI

    I'm hoping nVidia users might be able to help me out with a few questions:
    1. Is the 128 MB version of the NVS 285 strongly preferred, or for 2D applications is the 64MB version good enough?

    2. On the PNY website I notice there is an NVS 285 128MB PCIe-x1 card, listed as unavailable. If I can find one, would that be a better choice for my 2nd card?

    3. I assume the NVS 285 PCIe and the 280 PCI would work well beside each other?

    4. Are all nVidia card manufacturers more or less the same, or are some better or worse? I seem to see PNY most often.

    5. Do both outputs from the cards have to be the same (DVI or VGA) or with the appropriate adapter could one card provide one DVI output and one VGA output?

    6. The PNY website lists a 350 Watt power supply as a requirement. Has anyone needed a larger supply with two cards installed?

    7. And lastly, any Matrox P650 users that are completely satisfied despite any additional noise or cost?

    The new computer will likely be a Dell XPS410, if that matters. Your thoughts on the above would be appreciated.
    Dave Z

  2. 1. I formerly used Matrox cards.... switched to Nvidia Quadro NVS a couple of years ago. NVS is better.

    2. 285 PCIE x16 + 280 PCI is a good combo.

    3. The amount of RAM is irrelevant. 8MB per port is plenty. More is simply overkill.

    4. x1 cards are good too, just limited availability.

    5. I buy only PNY, but Nvidia says they (OEM versions) are the same.

    6. Molex offers a "mixed port" cable.. one DVI, the other VGA... haven't tried it. However, the quality of VGA on NVS is high. There is NO difference between VGA and DVI display... I know... checked it with a magnifying glass.
  3. I have used Matrox (P650 et al.), nVidia and ATI based multi graphics cards. In my experience nVidia have more stable drivers and more reliable hardware. I use and prefer the following fanless quad card:

    PNY Technologies nVidia Quadro NVS 440 PCI express x16 quad.


  4. I too have had some major issues with Matrox drivers and stability. Thankfully, Gnome pointed me in the right direction. Finally after 3 times the universal driver for XP is stable for the last 6 months.
  5. My Nvidia280 does not even need the driver downloads...
  6. davez


    Thanks for the replies. Although my AGP and PCI Matrox cards have been trouble free, I'll be giving nVidia a try in my next computer.

    I've read that before Gnome, that 8MB / port is plenty for trading applications. Why is that I wonder? In the stock I am trading, I overlap charts of 5 different timeframes in one monitor to see the right side of each chart. Then I can see more of the chart if I want by clicking on it. So instead of working with 1280 x 1024 pixels (my LCD resolution) of chart info I might really be working with more than twice that. Would that increase the video card memory (or GPU capability) required?

    Is it the fact that 80% of the pixels in a chart don't change when a new intraday bar starts that accounts for the low memory requirement?

    From what I've read about the fancy gaming video cards, its the shadows and texturing to produce the 3D effects that is demanding of the card. Otherwise is 8MB/port good enough for most other applications (Word, Excel, Outlook). Would the nVidia cards we've been talking about work well to watch a DVD movie? What would their limitations be?

    Thanks again
    Dave Z
  7. 8 Mbyte per monitor is enough for 1280 x 1024 at 16 bit colour depth. If you have higher resolution monitors or want 24 bit colour (true color) you need more memory per monitor.

    Card memory requirement is only dependent on the monitor - not the number of charts you have open or windows you have open.

    The large amounts of memory on 3D cards is used for all sorts of interesting things by the GPU for 3D rendering. Apparently the flashy new UI in Vista uses 3D rendering - hence the requirements for more meaty graphics cards.

    The Nvidia NVS 2** can be used for viewing DVD video. I do so on a Linux box (also digital TV). I find that the AGP variant is a lot better than PCI for this purpose. Similarly PCI-E would be a lot better than PCI.
  8. jtmarlin


    i had the same problem, xps 410 has 1 pci slot and xps 710 is a rip off, build your own - i run 4 monitor setup with: antec 900 case, 6400 cpu, sata hdd, asus p5n-e sli, kingston ddr2 800 mem, 2 leadtek 7900gs pci-e and the sweetest power supply on the plant (HIPER 580 Type R) for a total of 4 dual link dvi ports - plenty fast, purrrs like a kitten and super silent for under 1200 with xp media center and a free copy of vista...

    interested, pm me and i'll give u the exact specs so you can order from neweggy...
  9. I didn't think so either....that there was a difference between VGA and DVI, until I hooked one monitor to each. DVI is a superior picture all other things being equal.
  10. It is known that *some* VGA is of infierior quality... you may have sampled that.

    However, in the Nvidia Quadro NVS cards, VGA and DVI displays are the same.
    #10     Feb 20, 2007