Six Display Build for digital signage - commercial application

sugosugita

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Ok here's the story, we need a computer capable of running six 1080p displays simultaneously for long periods of time (assume constantly on). I'm trying to get an idea of the hardware required for building one PC to handle it. The alternative is to build one for each pair of TVs, since I assume running two displays is an easy feat for any modern computer. Each of the TVs will display a series of pre-recorded video files. The six TVs will most likely be playing from the same list of video files, so there is the chance that multiple TVs will be playing the same video file simultaneously (not sure if that matters.The PC will be administrated remotely.

1) What will you be doing with this PC? Gaming? Photoshop? Web browsing? etc
Displaying 1080p video content for digital signage in retail locations

2) What's your budget? Are tax and shipping included?
rough budget of $1500, tax and shipping included.

3) Which country do you live in? If the U.S, please tell us the state and city if possible.
Salt Lake City, Utah (No MC nearby) I like the Egg.

4) What exact parts do you need for that budget? CPU, RAM, case, etc. The word "Everything" is not a valid answer. Please list out all the parts you'll need.
Case, Mobo, PSU, RAM, HDD, CPU, NIC, GPU(s),

5) If reusing any parts, what parts will you be reusing? Please be especially specific about the power supply. List make and model.
None.

6) Will you be overclocking?
No.

7) What is the max resolution of your monitor? What size is it?
Six 1920x1080p 50" displays

8) When do you plan on building/buying the PC?
Within two weeks

9) What features do you need in a motherboard? RAID? Firewire? Crossfire or SLI support? USB 3.0? SATA 6Gb/s? eSATA? Onboard video? etc.
USB 3.0 would be a plus, as would 6Gb/s SATA.

10) Do you already have a legit and reusable/transferable OS key/license? If yes, what OS? Is it 32bit or 64bit?
Windows 7 64 bit.

My #1 priority is stability and longevity. Not having to go out and repair this unit is key, because we'll probably be putting this in about 200 locations next year. For this reason I'd be open to extras like fan filters, liquid cooling (to avoid dust buildup on a CPU fan) etc to make sure it doesn't overheat and wear out.

I won't be paying the electricity so power consumption is a non-issue.

I'd like to go with a single GPU solution if possible since it seems less prone to crashing.
 
D

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Do the 50" displays have a display or mini display port?
 

Dangman

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1) Do those displays have DisplayPort? In fact, what's the model number of those displays?
2) Would you be open to a prebuilt if it meets your needs?
3) Are these pre-recorded video files 1080P?
 

sugosugita

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1) Do those displays have DisplayPort? In fact, what's the model number of those displays?
2) Would you be open to a prebuilt if it meets your needs?
3) Are these pre-recorded video files 1080P?

1) I don't know for sure. I can check tomorrow at work. Let's assume it's possible to use a displayport output, even if this requires a displayport-to-HDMI or DVI adapter.
2) Prebuilt is fine. Would be even greater convenience.
3) The pre-recorded video files are indeed 1080p.
 

Dangman

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Will you need audio via HDMI or is it strictly video?
 

sugosugita

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+1 for SLC!
'cept for in the winter...then I'd rather not live here :)

Will you need audio via HDMI or is it strictly video?

audio is still being thrown around. One option is to have it served via directional speakers from each TV, in which case, yes audio via HDMI to each TV will be necessary. Another option though is that the only audio will be one audio source (TVs will be silent under this second scenario) from the PC through the speaker system of the retail location. In this case, video only to the TVs would suffice.
 

Dangman

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audio is still being thrown around. One option is to have it served via directional speakers from each TV, in which case, yes audio via HDMI to each TV will be necessary. Another option though is that the only audio will be one audio source (TVs will be silent under this second scenario) from the PC through the speaker system of the retail location. In this case, video only to the TVs would suffice.
Hmm, damn. Well here's the deal: I think I've found a way to do six displays from one GPU and one PC. Only big problem is I'm not 100% sure on the audio.

Here's the prelim build just in case:

$125 - Intel Core i3-2100
$122 - Gigabyte GA-Z68A-D3H-B3 Intel Z68 ATX Motherboard
$45 - G.Skill Value Series F3-10600CL9D-8GBNT 2 x 4GB DDR3 1333 RAM
$100 - Sapphire FleX 100289FLEX Radeon HD 5670 1GB PCI-E Video Card
$115 - Crucial M4 CT064M4SSD2 2.5" 64GB SSD
$58 - Antec NEO ECO 520C 520W PSU
----
Total: $565 plus tax and shipping

The CPU's onboard video and the video ports of the above mobo allows you to connect two digital monitors to it. That video supposedly allows 4 displays to connect to it. That makes for a total of 6 display connections.

The above list is missing a case so I recommend any of these budget cases:
$50 - Cooler Master HAF 912 RC-912-KKN1 ATX Case
$50 - Lian Li Lancool PC-K58W ATX Case
$50 - NZXT Source 210 Elite Black ATX Case
$50 - NZXT Source 210 Elite White with Black Front Trim ATX Case
$50 - Sentey Black Box Series 4284 ATX Case

Though if you want something more higher-end:
$60 - Lian Li Lancool PC-K58 ATX Case
$70 - Lian Li Lancool PC-K56 ATX Case
$80 - Lian Li Lancool PC-K56W ATX Case
$90 - Cooler Master CM690 II Advance ATX Case
$90 - Lian Li Lancool PC-K7B ATX Case
$100 - Cooler Master CM690 II Advance nVidia Edition ATX Case
$100 - Cooler Master HAF 922 RC-922M-KKN1-GP ATX Case
$100 - Corsair Carbide Series 400R ATX Case
$100 - Lian Li PC-7B Plus II ATX Case
$100 - Lian Li PC-7FN ATX Case
$110 - Lian Li PC-60FN ATX Case
$120 - Antec Lanboy Air Yellow ATX Modular Case
$125 - NZXT Phantom PHAN-001WT White Full Tower ATX Case
$125 - NZXT Phantom PHAN-001BK Black Full Tower ATX Case
$125 - NZXT Phantom PHAN-002OR Black Finish w/Orange Trim Full Tower ATX Case
$130 - Corsair Carbide Series 500R ATX Case
$130 - Fractal Design Define R3 White ATX Case
$130 - Fractal Design Define R3 Black ATX Case
$130 - Fractal Design Define R3 Silver Arrow ATX Case
$130 - Fractal Design Define R3 Titanium Grey ATX Case
$140 - Antec Performance One Series P183 V3 ATX Case
$140 - Cooler Master HAF 932 RC-932-KKN1-GP ATX Case
$140 - Lian Li PC-9F ATX Case
$140 - Silverstone RV03B-W ATX case
$160 - Corsair Graphite Series 600TM ATX Case
$160 - Silverstone RV02B-W ATX case
$170 - Corsair Special Edition White Graphite Series 600T ATX Case
$178 - Silverstone RV02B-EW ATX case
 
D

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Although it is a bit pricey, this card will defiantly do 6 displays.

$379.99 - VisionTek 900373 Radeon HD 6870 2GB

It has 6 mini display ports. Which is exactly what you need, unless you plan on doing audio then, like Danny. I'm stumped.

You will also need a beefier PSU as the one Danny suggested might be a little too under powered. Though this should only up the budget by no more than about $40, since a 650W PSU should handle it.

For some reason, I feel the 2100 isn't going to be able to keep up with 6 streams of HD video content at the same time, but if Danny says it can then it can.
 

Dangman

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For some reason, I feel the 2100 isn't going to be able to keep up with 6 streams of HD video content at the same time, but if Danny says it can then it can.

Hmm, kinda depends on the media playback device and the media itself as not all 1080P videos are made the same. With that said, sugosugita does have a large budget. So go for the Core i5 2400 if you want, sugosugita.
 

sugosugita

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Although it is a bit pricey, this card will defiantly do 6 displays.

$379.99 - VisionTek 900373 Radeon HD 6870 2GB

It has 6 mini display ports. Which is exactly what you need, unless you plan on doing audio then, like Danny. I'm stumped.

You will also need a beefier PSU as the one Danny suggested might be a little too under powered. Though this should only up the budget by no more than about $40, since a 650W PSU should handle it.

For some reason, I feel the 2100 isn't going to be able to keep up with 6 streams of HD video content at the same time, but if Danny says it can then it can.

I'm kind of rooting for the scenario where the only audio will be one source for all the speakers in the store, just alleviates a lot of problems. If all I need is a card with six display outputs, then I guess the answer to my question is pretty easy.

BTW I'll be running the video cables about 20-60 feet to the TVs from the PC. I figured all along I'd need a powered video signal extender or amplifier of some kind. Any thoughts?
 

Dangman

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BTW I'll be running the video cables about 20-60 feet to the TVs from the PC. I figured all along I'd need a powered video signal extender or amplifier of some kind. Any thoughts?
This FAQ should answer your general question about HDMI cable length:
http://www.abccables.com/info-hdmi-max-length.html

As for specific hardware recommendations for those type of devices, I'm not too familiar with those to be honest. You might have to do some googling on your own.
 

sugosugita

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Danny, will your suggested build above still hold if I were to pare down to each PC powering two displays? Or would your recommended GPU and/or other components change?

I'm thinking redundancy here would be a bonus. If a computer crashes or a component fails, better to have at least some of the TVs in the store still running.
 

Dangman

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Danny, will your suggested build above still hold if I were to pare down to each PC powering two displays? Or would your recommended GPU and/or other components change?

Just drop the Sapphire video card and drop the CPU down to the Core i3 2100 (assuming you went with the Core i5 2400 recommended earlier) and you should be set.
 

DeChache

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One PC with a DA would be my recommendation. Simple and easy. Pushes the exact same signal to all 6 displays.

Something like this

http://www.extron.com/product/product.aspx?id=dvidaplusseries&subtype=33&s=4


I'm running digital signs on Dell Optiplex 360s with C2Ds and 1 gig of ram. Using VGA DAs to 50-60 inch plasmas. I reboot them every couple months but for the most part the monthly reboot from windows updates is enough
 

sugosugita

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One PC with a DA would be my recommendation. Simple and easy. Pushes the exact same signal to all 6 displays.

Something like this

http://www.extron.com/product/product.aspx?id=dvidaplusseries&subtype=33&s=4


I'm running digital signs on Dell Optiplex 360s with C2Ds and 1 gig of ram. Using VGA DAs to 50-60 inch plasmas. I reboot them every couple months but for the most part the monthly reboot from windows updates is enough

VGA to 60 inch display? Sounds ugly. :)

Splitting signal is fine with me. The client wants at least each department (2tvs) to have unique playlist. I think I'll pair them up and go with 3 lower end PCs. Maybe something pre-built with a small case.
 

DeChache

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VGA to 60 inch display? Sounds ugly. :)

Splitting signal is fine with me. The client wants at least each department (2tvs) to have unique playlist. I think I'll pair them up and go with 3 lower end PCs. Maybe something pre-built with a small case.


9 out of 10 people will not know the difference between VGA and DVI on a good screen unless you tell them.


1 in 2 out splitters still are my recommendation just makes things a whole lot easier
 

sugosugita

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9 out of 10 people will not know the difference between VGA and DVI on a good screen unless you tell them.


1 in 2 out splitters still are my recommendation just makes things a whole lot easier

Yep I think that's the route I'll take. Thanks for the advice!
 
D

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Well the only thing with using splitters is it will be the exact same video on whatever screens are connected to the splitters. Which I suppose isn't a problem, but the recommendation from Danny assumed that each display would/could play a different video.
 
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