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Other Gaming PC, General PC, etcetera

Discussion in 'General' started by liratheal, 23 Feb 2016.

  1. liratheal

    liratheal Sharing is Caring

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    So.

    Does anyone have any experience with running both a gaming PC and a general PC for browsing and the like?

    Reason being. I love running three monitors, it gives me a lot of flexibility I don't want to give up for daily running.

    However! A gaming PC to run high end triple monitor gaming is expensive, and I don't much like staying on the "bleeding edge" as it were. It's expensive and not ever given me much benefit in the past.

    I only really use all three monitors on games like Assetto Corsa, Project Cars, DiRT Rally.. Sims, basically. So I'm pondering, with my current PC, an ultrawide monitor.

    And then a low end, quieter, PC capable of running three monitors for day to day use, media watching and the like.

    Does anyone have experience running like that, and whether it stuck or whether they just went back to one big PC in the end anyway?
     
  2. Gareth Halfacree

    Gareth Halfacree WIIGII! Staff Administrator Super Moderator Moderator

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    Would it not be cheaper to have just one PC with three monitors, but only use the middle monitor while gaming? You could replace the middle monitor with an ultrawide, or use the three monitors for games you can run on three monitors and only one monitor for games too demanding.
     
  3. liratheal

    liratheal Sharing is Caring

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    I do, largely, already do that - But I've found the FPS suffers in that situation compared with single monitor.

    Also, the card I have (XFX 280DD) doesn't seem to have the grunt to drive the sims I play across three monitors. Assetto Corsa is the best of the three main ones at ~40 fps with middling detail, PCars and DiRT both loiter around the 30 fps range, which is fine for things where you're not relying on tenths of a second to get the right braking point, but ideally want to be closer to 60.

    I mean, this is largely a shower thought. I'm 90% sure I'll never change away from a single PC solution, I just wondered if people had experience of trying it and if so, whether it was frustrating or whether it made life any smoother.
     
  4. MadGinga

    MadGinga oooh whats this do?

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    I don't know about home, but at work I have two PCs and switching between the two depending on what I'm doing is a pain in the arse as I have to switch between monitor sources and then shuffle my keyboards/mice around my desk so that I'm in a vaguely comfortable position.

    And then you get the situation when you actually need to use both at once.
     
  5. Zoon

    Zoon Hunting Wabbits since the 80s

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    Frankly I would think that the cost of the extra PC to drive three screens would be around the same as getting a better graphics card, if not more depending on your requirements.
     
  6. liratheal

    liratheal Sharing is Caring

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    Hm. I suspect you're right that it'd be a massive pain in the arse more often than not.

    That's the biggest concern, really. That said, I'm also wildly lazy and out of the loop so updating graphics card seems like a massive, expensive, chore at this stage.
     
  7. jinq-sea

    jinq-sea 'write that down in your copy book' Super Moderator

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    Yes - but a new graphics card! I'm sure one or two helpful souls here will be able to provide some advice.

    Having two PCs is a bit of a pain. I did it for a bit, and then gave up switching between them and now just remote desktop to the one I use less frequently. It's a good solution for me, but I'm not sure how it would behave with a multi-display environment.
     
  8. liratheal

    liratheal Sharing is Caring

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    RDP and multiple monitors sucks so much dong it's not even funny.
     
  9. jinq-sea

    jinq-sea 'write that down in your copy book' Super Moderator

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    Yeah after posting, I remembered pulling my hair out trying to make it work back in the dark and distant past when I worked in IT. Scrap that idea. It's stupid.
     
  10. legoman

    legoman breaker of things

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    I have a single monitor setup with two PC's ones a mini box on the VESA mount on the back of the display the others a honking great thing under the desk. I did cheat for a while with the mouse keyboard issue using a wireless set which was pretty seamless but ive since flipped to a KVM setup.

    I think theres arguments for both to be honest your best off doing a cost based decision like Zoon mentioned is going to be your best bet.
     
  11. Gareth Halfacree

    Gareth Halfacree WIIGII! Staff Administrator Super Moderator Moderator

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    The proper fix for the input device issue is to share the keyboard and mouse from System One to System Two via t'network using something like Synergy. You'd still need to switch inputs on your monitors (or use an input-switching box), but you don't need to mess about with multiple keyboards and mice and/or unplugging stuff.
     
  12. Zoon

    Zoon Hunting Wabbits since the 80s

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    So illustration time I guess?

    You're going to need a PC with a discrete graphics card in order to drive three screens, on the assumption that a cheap PC is only going to have a VGA and a HDMI out.

    - Assume you just bought a HP Microserver for £110 after rebate, it will drive 1 or 2 screens with the GPU in the CPU
    - Assume you will be using Synergy to share keyboard and mouse because why wouldn't you
    - Assume all you care about here is basic output to the three monitors and not even light gaming
    - Purchase a boggo GPU, the GT610 here is £28+ delivery, so let's call it £35 for easy maths
    - Total £145


    For £145 you can afford

    - XFX Radeon R9 380 DD £143.59
    - Add another tenner and you get the 4gb Gigabyte Windforce which has faster ram for £159.98

    If you prefer Nvidia

    - Cheapest 2GB GTX 960 SCAN do £154.75 which is a Gigabyte OC version
    - Cheapest 4gb GTX 960 SCAN do £163.15


    Comparative graphics performance estimated using HWCompare, which takes specs and compares them:

    1. GTX 280 vs R9 380

    2GB version
    - 24% less power consumption
    - 29% more memory bandwidth
    - 126% more texel rate (AA)
    - 61% more megapixels/sec

    The 4GB by the stats is virtually the same but obviously 4GB RAM would help you with your multi screen gaming due to increased texture buffering.

    2. GTX 280 vs GTX 960

    2GB version
    - Almost half the power consumption
    - 27% more memory bandwidth
    - 50% more texel rate (AA)
    - 87% more megapixels-sec

    No numbers for the 4GB but again it'll help multi screen with increased texture buffering.

    Still not convinced?

    R9 380 gets a 3dmark score of 11830.
    GTX960 gets a 3dmark score of 10370.

    The oldest GTX 3dmark still lists is the GTX 480 and it gets 5720. So let's assume that your 280 is going to be somewhere around 3500 - 4000?

    Time to upgrade! (just ignore the other two monitors when gaming or run netflix/amazon prime on one!)

    It'll use less electricity, be quieter, and give you much better gaming performance.
     
  13. jinq-sea

    jinq-sea 'write that down in your copy book' Super Moderator

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    Hang on though - OP has a Radeon 280 - so it's a 7950 basically, innit.
     
  14. liratheal

    liratheal Sharing is Caring

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    I still have to do it sometimes. It makes me cry man tears.

    If I was running dual PC's I'd probably opt for stealing one of the KVM's from work, we've got a load of dualport USB ones spare.

    I tried synergy for a while when I had a file server at home that doubled as a server for AC/CiV4, but eventually the feature set at the time wasn't exactly what I wanted so I got titsed off and stopped.

    I did see the 38x's and what not, I'd rather stick with AMD (better the devil you know?) because I'm lazy about changing drivers. I'm not after world ending performance anymore, so that helps a little bit I guess.

    Annnd this is where I start glassing over these days. Card X is just Card Y rebadged with different firmware, but Y can't be flashed to X because money, and then I lose interest!

    Looking at the specs between 280DD and a 380 I'm not seeing wild enough differences to suggest I'll get a 20-30 fps boost in the three main games.


    Although this is starting to look like it belongs in Hardware rather than general.
     
  15. Zoon

    Zoon Hunting Wabbits since the 80s

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    Argh I'm a bloody numpty.

    I thought it was a GTX 280 not a R9 280.

    Well that kinda makes my last post a huge momument to stupidity:duh:
     
  16. liratheal

    liratheal Sharing is Caring

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    To be fair, without googling, my sig doesn't make it 100% clear what exactly it is a 280 of! Especially with todays weird and wonderful GPU names.
     
  17. boiled_elephant

    boiled_elephant Merom Celeron 4 lyfe

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    What about spares? If you're anything like me and a lot of techies, and haven't done a clearance sale lately, you've probably got a lot of bits left over that could go into a cheap second PC. Faced with this same problem a while ago I just threw together some old, deprecated s775 stuff into a cheap £20 case and bought a kvm, and that was me sorted. (It eventually got a few upgrades and became a second gaming pc)

    If you have bits lying around, midrange components, then a cheap case, a cheap 3display vga and a kvm would be my preferred course of action.
     
  18. liratheal

    liratheal Sharing is Caring

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    I'm pretty ruthless with spares to be honest, the only thing I've got "lying around" is my PC-P80R case, but that's because I'm a Lian Li whore and don't like selling them >.>
     
  19. spazmochad

    spazmochad Active Member

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    I run a Linux desktop at work with triple screens and dual gpus. Windows runs inside a VM under KVM so I can pass through the gaming graphics card for native performance. Synergy runs the mouse and keyboard via the network, making I can move seamlessly across monitors.
     
  20. theshadow2001

    theshadow2001 [DELETE] means [DELETE]

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    This is basically what I want to set up in the future. Is there much work getting KVM set up to run Windows with hardware passed through? Does windows break or otherwise act weird in such a setup?
     

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