Pricing and Conclusions
As I alluded to several times yesterday in my article, the real benefit that we are seeing with the GeForce GTX 470s in SLI running NVIDIA Surround comes in play with the pricing.  The GTX 470 is quite a bit cheaper than the HD 5870 and when compared in dual-GPU configurations, the NVIDIA option has overall better 5760×1080 performance to go with the lower sticker shock.

NVIDIA Surround with GeForce GTX 470 Results Update - Graphics Cards  1

We found some GTX 470s on sale for $309 yesterday (actually as low as $294 after rebate today) while the Radeon HD 5870s are still stuck at $389/379 giving NVIDIA’s option an $80 advantage per card, or $160 for the SLI/CrossFire configurations.  If we look back the performance results we saw on the 2D testing you will find that NVIDIA’s GTX 470s were consistently faster than the HD 5870s in CrossFire or even the HD 5970 dual-GPU graphics card.  That $100 adapter requirement is obviously a problem for ATI’s bottom line, and thus for consumers’ as well. 

NVIDIA Surround with GeForce GTX 470 Results Update - Graphics Cards  2

This is another table that we first showed you in our NVIDIA Surround and 3D Vision Surround article yesterday but now that we have performance numbers for the GTX 470 we can better make a purchasing decision.  GeForce GTX 480s are expensive and by moving down to the GTX 470 you can save $320 out the gate; definitely helpful when you are going to be buying three displays for Surround gaming.  There are obviously some performance differences between the two options but if you are going to be sticking with 2D gaming I think the 470s offer more than enough power for the job.

Compared to the ATI options the single HD 5870 is still the lower priced solution (only by $129) but you are going to see pretty noticeable performance gaps between the two configurations.  The CrossFire HD 5870s are going to run you $260 MORE than the NVIDIA GTX 470s but offer lower performance and even the single card HD 5970 is $181 higher. 

Still, nothing about Surround gaming is cheap: even with the lower priced GTX 470s at $618 you will still need about $630 worth of 1080p LCD panels.  And we haven’t forgotten the GTX 465 and the oft-rumored GTX 460 that are going to be even cheaper – expect tests on anything NVIDIA makes that is lower priced very soon!!

Final Thoughts

I am still impressed with what NVIDIA was able to do with Surround even though they are admittedly very late to the party.  With the requirement of SLI configurations AMD will continue to offer the lowest priced multi-monitor gaming solutions but we obviously need to include performance in that debate as well.  While you CAN game on three displays with a Radeon HD 5770 – would you really want to?  Can those GPUs keep up with 5760×1080 resolutions and reasonable image quality settings?  The single HD 5870 really seems to be the minimum for that and at $389 will likely remain the lowest cost option for triple display gamers. 

NVIDIA Surround with GeForce GTX 470 Results Update - Graphics Cards  3
Could this be the best Surround gaming combination?

The battle is really heating up and we are going to continue testing different configurations for Eyefinity and Surround gaming to find the lowest priced but still best performing solution on the market.  You might notice I didn’t really talk about 3D Vision gaming with the GTX 470s even though they can provide pretty good frame rates when paired with the triple 120 Hz displays as you saw on our previous page.  And even in some instances where performance wasn’t that great, you can continue to scale back the image quality to reach the targeted FPS for you.  But in my view a gamer that is willing to spend $1100+ on triple 3D-ready monitors is probably more than comfortable spending the extra $300 for GTX 480s and that is something I would recommend for the best 3D gaming experience.

But if you are looking for an NVIDIA Surround solution today then I think a pair GTX 470s in SLI is going to be your best option.

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