I'm new here, so be gentle ok? - particularly when I say the rig I'm asking about isn't used for gaming.
I use if for web development, and it's usually on 12+ hours a day, so I like to keep it running cool and quiet (it's full of noctua's). At the moment it has an 4 monitors with a variety and sizes and orientations, which are ideal for all the toolbars and separate applications, we're not talking eyefinity here!
When I upgraded to an i7 950, I tried a pair of GTX 460's in there and was disappointed. They are great cards for a single monitor, and run cool and quiet with temperatures in the 20's on idle, but as soon as you put two monitors on them they stop downclocking and so on idle they were sitting there with the fans on 50% and temperatures in the 60's. Not ideal for all day operation, so I went back to the pair of 9500GT's from my old e6600 system. Not the best in the world, even when they were new, but I wanted 2 DVI output for less that £100 per card at the time. These have Zalman VF-1000's on them (which tell you how old they are), and run about 35 degrees all day with the fans on minimum.
I understand the not downlocking issue is common to all the 400 series gpu's, so I think it is time to look at ATI's offerings, and they seem to be more open to multi monitor setups. I am looking for individual screens, not eyefinity, so I think pretty much any of the 5000 series should do the job. I could even possibly get away with something like a pair of 5450's, but I just couldn't bring myself to buy something like that.
So at the moment I'm considering the Sapphire ATI Radeon HD 5770 Flex Eyeinfinity 1GB, as this claims to support 3 DVI monitors out of the box with a forth via an active display port adapter. One of these would do the job, although 1GB for 4-6 screens sounds tight. A pair would offer more flexibility should I go for even more screens in the future. The standard 5770 is cheaper, but I'd need active adapters if I went to six screens anyway.
Alternatively, I was also considering passive cooled offerings like a pair of Sapphire 5670 ULTIMATE 1GBs?
So, any recommendations for a multi display setup?