craig_read

Triple Monitors (PMDG use community opinions requested)

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Hi,

Appreciate this is slightly off topic, but I'm currently putting together my personal xmas list.. and I am consdering moving from my current setup to a triple monitor solution.  Information you might find useful:

  • Haswell i7 running at around 4.2GHz
  • 24GB RAM
  • Windows 10 Pro
  • 1080TI

The current screens I have are a 1080p 42" TV.. and a 22" wide (I think) LG LCD.. the LG is quite old..  I'm just wondering what setups people have got and if they have any recommendations.. I generally fly PMDG, FSLabs and Majestic A/C... rarely.. GA these days..  Some have suggested I get an ultra wide screen.... others have said get 3 28" screens 1440p.. others say just get a new 4k 42" panel.. (TV)

Thoughts and opinions welcome.

What about... a single curved ultra wide?... perhaps with 2 standard wides either side?

Regards

Craig Read

 

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Craig_read,

I dunno what the hell happened then.

I think you may well be able to run your three monitors albeit with sliders well to the left. I can run three with my system but for me, it really is not worth the effort.

In FS2004 I am running 6 monitors set up for a boeing 737 or 747 and I am enjoying maximum frame rates (limited to 30).  It is simply not possible (to my knowledge) with P3dv4 or any other simulator. Such is progress I guess.

The biggest problem that I find, is that you can have 30 monitors ... it has no impact on frame rates until you actually want to utilise them. The sad reality is that you simply cannot undock anything to a new screen without severe FPS penalties. With the P3d or FSX system, I seriously doubt whether a Cray super computer could achieve what I aspire to. 

I have no idea whether or not LM or XPlane are seriously trying to accommodate the use of that many monitors but I do doubt it.  With the advent of VR and other advances in technologies, I think our sims and the use of multi monitors is going to be severely curtailed. 

I would dearly love to be able to use the new 64 bit sim platforms and I have to admit that they all look and perform incredibly well with a single monitor or even two. Unfortunately I do not have the fiscal resources to play that update game.

I guess that with you system, you est bet is to "suck it and see" and I genuinely wish you the best of luck.

Regards

Tony

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I run 3 24” curved monitors at 1080 resolution on a 1060 video card. My sliders are all right down the middle, and I enjoy 40fps in the air, 30 in weather, and the lowest I see is 20 at Heathrow in overcast conditions. No studders. I couldn’t be happier. I would never go back to a single monitor. I have found the best settings for me and I don’t continuously worry about them anymore. And btw, I run all the add-ons like everyone else. 

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After years of experimenting with a wide variety of display systems--multi-monitor, wide monitor, projection, etc, I ended up with a dedicated 55" 4K TV and here, a couple years later, I still think it's the best all-around solution.  That gives me a 4-foot wide display that is actually wider than many multi-monitor systems using smaller computer monitors.  Single-monitor is so much simpler to setup, and without the constant game of Russian Roulette every time a driver comes out, where you have to wonder if it's going to cause problems with undocked windows.  The prices on medium-size 4K TVs (40-65") are now low enough to make it within reach of most--in fact you can get a decent 55" 4K TV for less than half of what I paid for a 30" 2560x1600 monitor 5 years ago.  Also, using VSync with 30 Hz refresh rate set on a 4K TV works far better than any other monitor solution I've ever tried in terms of smoothness.

Regards

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I've been using triple monitors set for several years and like it was said above I don't think I will come back to a single monitor flying. However I really want to try a 4K TV. What I don't like in triple monitor set is distorted views on sides monitors, really annoying. I tried payware programs to reduce this effect but it did not help much. I hope big 4K TV will fix this issue. The other issue with triple monitors is fps drop. With setting somewhere in the middle, on a single monitor I have about 40-60 fps even with heavy add-ons, as soon as I go surround fps drop down to 30-20.  

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Hello to you all,

Like skysurfer, I cannot go back to a single monitor.  VR may well be a totally different story once the biggies get their act together and significantly improve

resolution.  Pimax appears to be the leader here in both, resolution and in the field of view aspects.  This however is another story.

I do not think there is any way anyone can introduce and use an extra or many monitors without the dreaded frame drop.Even in FS2004 fully loaded, my FPS drop from about 80 on a single monitor to 20-30 FPS and if you introduce them one at a time you can see significant drops as each one is added and used. 2 monitors I lose about 5 FPS ...3 I lose a further 10 and then it gets worse as extra ones are loaded and used.  I stress the "used" because adding a monitor to a GPU has no impact whatsoever.  It is only when you undock a panel or view to that monitor that the impact occurs.

What I would LOVE to know is whether it is a resolution thing ie ... is there a frame drop going from 1080p to 2k or 4k. I do not know the formula but I think 2k is the equivalent in resolutions to 2 1080p monitors and 4k is probably the equivalent of 3 and a half 1080p monitors (please feel free to correct me on this) I do know that utilising 3 or more monitors has an effect but does 4k have the same?

If there is a difference then the problem simply has to be in the docking/undocking of panels or views.  Further, Why does FS2004 handle this docking and undocking problem with much less impact than P3Dv1/2/3/4, FSX, FSX-SE and Xplane.  I have not yet tried to use multiple screens with FSW or Aeroflyfs2. I get a slide show with all of the others using 3 screens but FS2004 allows me to use six smoothly. Is this fixable in any way.

Given the above problems ... the advent of VR and the very small numbers of users of multiple monitors I cannot really see huge amounts of research into this aspect of our sim and this I lament in a large way. I have been chasing this dream starting with FSX all the way up to P3Dv4.1. I can only look at the incredible screen shots submitted by the myriad of other platform users and dribble copious amounts of saliva whilst dreaming of achieving the seemingly impossible. It has been a very expensive process and yet I remain using my FS2004 simply because of MY version of immersion using 6 screens. 1,2 or even three screens simply is not satisfying any more. I actually envy everyone who is incredibly happy with one screen, be it 14inch 720p or 65 inch 4k ... They probably have their heads screwed on properly and it is us (the multi screen users) who are quite daft in the IQ area.  I have had people with absolutely no interest whatsoever in Flight simming tell me fairly bluntly that I have the IQ of a dead plant.  Not hard to dispute I guess.

The sad fact remains that 

a, Multi screens I believe are a good and practical alternative to full mock up cockpits, and

b. There is a huge penalty, which is not really, visibly being addressed, for the few multi screen users. 

Hey that has turned ionto a bit of a rant for which I apologise. Thanks for reading and if anyone has any comments on any of the above I would really love to improve my knowledge and also maybe migrate upwards to fulltime use of P3Dv4 or Xplane 11

Cheers and regards to all

Tony

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14 hours ago, himmelhorse said:

What I would LOVE to know is whether it is a resolution thing ie ... is there a frame drop going from 1080p to 2k or 4k.

I started with a single 19" 1280 x 1024 monitor years ago. After awhile I wanted to be able to see more of the panel and the outside view so I wouldn't have to pan as much, especially in a landing pattern. I could achieve this buy zooming out on the single panel but then I could not read the gauges. So I bought 2 more identical monitors and hooked them up in Nvidia surround mode. This gave me exactly what I was looking for. I had the exact same view on the center panel with additional peripheral vision to the left and right. I was in hog heaven and their was no going back to the single 19" panel. There was a frame rate impact and a GPU usage impact.

Flying around heavy hitting KLAX and sitting at the end of KLAX runway 7L facing the terminal I noticed I had the same frame rates so I did all my testing just sitting at 7L as it was a lot easier.

The FPS in P3Dv3 with the default Baron was 50 with the single monitor and 40 with the triple monitor setup. With the PMDG 777 it was 35 and 28. The GPU usage went from 30% to 48% with the Baron and 35 to 55% with the 777.

I wrote my settings down but I am not at home so I cannot list them. I have a copy of my test results on my laptop so I am able to list them here. I have a 3770K at 4.5 ghz with a 780GTX so not the latest and greatest hardware by any means but still very capable. My settings are generally in the high range no dynamic anything, and only shadows on the plane and cockpit. MyTraffic X was around 10%. The important thing thing to get from this is the change in performance not the actual performance numbers.

Well the story doesn't end here. After some more time passed I wanted more view area, especially in complex aircraft with pedestal mounted FMCs. So I got a 55" 4k Sony TV. Again this gave me exactly what I was hoping for. My three monitors had a total horizontal resolution of 3840 but a vertical resolution of only 1024. A 4k or UHD TV has the same horizontal resolution of 3840 but a horizontal resolution of 2160. I picked the 55" size because it was closest to the width of my three monitors (same pixel density) and it would be the perfect upgrade for my living room TV if it failed as a flight sim monitor. I was hoping that this would give me the same view as my triple monitor setup with 3 more monitors placed on top and that is exactly what I got. I can now see out the windscreen, just about the full panel including FMC without scrolling, and I can read the instruments without having to zoom in. I also no longer had the annoying monitor bezels blocking a gauge or instrument. What surprised me is that my FPS actually went up a little from the triple monitor setup. With the Baron the triple monitors was 40 and with the 4k TV it was 42. With the PMDG 777 it went from 28 on the triple monitors to 32 on the 4k TV.  The GPU usage however continued to climb. The Baron was 48 with the triple monitors and 58 with the 4k TV. The PMDG 777 was 55 with the triple monitors and 62 with the 4k TV. These were all taken sitting in the virtual cockpit with the same sim settings.

Couple things to take from this. One is yes a 3gb VRAM 780gtx can handle a 4k TV but you need to manage your graphics settings.  I'm pretty sure that all these tests were done with clear weather. If I add heavy weather the GPU usage will go right to 100% and the FPS will drop. Locking my frames at 30 either with the internal frame limiter or vsync drops the load on the GPU to where I can fly with heavy weather and control my FPS to 30 by adjusting the other sliders. I expect a 1080ti will allow me to increase some of my graphics settings and that will be my next purchase.

I had a lot of questions when I was doing my research on a 4k monitor so I tried to address the concerns that I had and I see others ask about on the forums here.

Ted

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Ted,

I think we may be going off topic here, so, Moderators please do as you must, if in fact, we are.

I found your story very interesting. I wonder though, if you could clarify just one thing.

Your FPS with the single 4k actually went up but.. I can only assume that was with using  the single monitor. Did you in fact, retain the other monitors and what happened to the frame rates when you were (if you were) using the four monitors.

I believe that I could actually live with four monitors and just use trackir horizontally and not vertically. This would give me a required field of view but leave my instrument panels available.  In fact, if that were the case, I could also live with lowerering the resolution of the instrument panel  monitors.

To put it simply, my plight is that using four monitors, even with sliders three meters to the left of the monitors, the frame rates are irrelevant. I have a literal slide show.  I admit my non overclocked i7 2600k is my bottleneck and always wil be.

I do not have the expertise to overclock and I am not going to attempt it. Even mentioning it to computer technicians here, draws blanks looks even while they are looking around for more than one clock on the walls. An upgrade of motherboard, CPU and Ram is financially out of the question at the moment. I believe my GPUs are more than adequate.

However, I  still believe that even with the latest and greatest hardware, the use of three or more monitors is going to be problematical. But essentially, what exactly is the difference in platforms which allow the six monitors on FS2004 but not on any of the others and why does Docking a panel have such a great impact on performance. If there is a way around this, I would love to know about it. Is the dual CPU motherboard and xeon CPUs the answer?

The absolute beauty of using the six monitors is that there is no using the panning button ... everything is there all the time. There is no requirement for Ezidock, Chase plane, or any software to set up camera views for the panels. Those programmes all have their other uses. In fact, the only time I ever use my panning button is to set up the main screen (VC Cockpit) and the side views (again VC cockpit and panned to show the side view out of the aircraft) Thats it... no hunting around for a set camera view button ... no hunting for a panned view. It is in a word simply "great". I would also say that, other than setting up a complete mockup cockpit, the only way I think I coud improve on this, is to buy touch 4 touch screens to replace my 40 inch, 60 inch, 22 inch, and 24 inch screens. This would be slightly cheaper than a full size cockpit but not much. Also well out of the bounds of feasibility of this poor boys pocket.

Again, I appear to have rambled and I apologise for doing so. It is however, as you can see a very passionate subject to me. Also please note that all of this is P3Dv3/v4.1 and FS2004 related. The other platforms are not yet fully tested but are appearing to be going the same way.

Thanks guys and, Ted if you could just confirm that those frame rates were with the four screens an not just the one.

Regards

Tony

 

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55 minutes ago, himmelhorse said:

Your FPS with the single 4k actually went up but.. I can only assume that was with using  the single monitor.

Tony, I don't think we are off topic with regards to the OP's question, however I just noticed that we are on the PMDG forum so with regards to that perhaps so. Good thing I referenced the PMDG 777! :laugh: I just better sign my full name this time!

I never tested with 4 monitors. My only tests were with a single 1280 x 1024, three 1280 x 1024 monitors in surround mode, and one single 4k TV. I was surprised also that the FPS went up slightly with the 4K TV from the triple monitors being that the 4k monitor is pushing twice the resolution. The GPU usage did go up. All I can speculate is that the driving three monitors of any size is much more taxing to the system than driving one. My video card also did not have three DVI ports so I had to run one of the 3 monitors with an HDMI connection. Perhaps the mixing of ports hurt the triple monitor performance. The single monitor performance was with a DVI connection and the 4k TV has an HDMI connection.

I used to run FS2004 on dual monitors and I remember a huge performance decrease when trying to do this in FSX. So much so that I went back to a single monitor in FSX. I do not remember ever seeing a cause or resolution for this. I changed from windows XP to Windows 7 when I went to FSX so I assumed it was due to that.

I have not had the need for another monitor with my 4k TV as the VC area is so large I can always find a blank space to place a pop-up gauge if I need to. I run my charts on a separate computer.

What you say about running six monitors I agree with except for one thing...those bezels. I did not like the bezels breaking up the cockpit with the multi monitor setup.

Ted Striker

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