Saturday, September 12, 2009

AMD/ATI's Eyefinity

AMD recently exposed a feature of some of its upcoming generation of graphics cards called Eyefinity. It won't be available on all cards, however on select cards it will allow up to SIX monitors to all run from the same card. All due to some wizardry from AMD's ATI division in adding 6 mini display port connections to select GPUs.


We suspect the wii camera-men were rolled out for this one..
Gaming on 6 monitor setup - We suspect the wii camera-men were rolled out for this one.. (AMD Eyefinity)
[image source blogcdn.com]

The currently known GPUs of AMD's next generation line-up are: Radeon HD 5850, HD 5870 (1GB/2GB version), and HD 5870 Eyefinity addition. The latter capable of such multi-monitor madness.

Engineering Sample of the forthcoming Radeon HD 5870 Eyefinity edition
Engineering Sample of the forthcoming Radeon HD 5870 Eyefinity edition (AMD Eyefinity)
[image source ati-forum.de]


Here at Ninki we suspect a less extreme version of Eyefinity will be possible with the other cards in the RV870 (58xx) range, utilising up to 3 monitors across the standard connections. But this has yet to be confirmed. It would certainly make a 3 monitor Eyefinity setup realistic for more people, who purchase a card without having multiple display port capable monitors. Although there is no disadvantage plumping straight for the Eyefinity card, as displayport<>hdmi and displayport<>dvi adapters are readily available (and maybe one or two will be bundled with the card?)

As for resolutions, multi-monitor with 30" 2560x1600 displays may be the ultimate, but will definitely be out of budget for most people. We believe tri-monitor setups using 1920x1200 resolution screens tilted at 90 degrees would provide the optimum setup - preventing monitor bezels from interfering with the central point of the display, and giving a more sane aspect ratio than 3 monitors without tilt.

AMD are however working with Samsung to produced taylored Eyefinity monitors with as thin a bezels as possible, which may be more kind to untilted configurations.

Mockup of a 6 panel display using Samsung's custom monitors. We suspect Ergotron are rubbing their hands in glee at the prospect of eyefinity..
Mockup of a 6 panel display using Samsung's custom monitors. We suspect Ergotron are rubbing their hands in glee at the prospect of eyefinity.. (AMD Eyefinity)
[image source AnandTech]

Of course, tilt has its own problems. The bargain bucket end of the monitor market is saturated with monitors using TN panels. TN panels are the displays you will typically notice warp in contrast radically if you jump up and down in front of them at your local retailer. Thus, tilted each eye sees the monitor at a slightly different contrast, and it is not comfortable at all.

There is hope however, sticking to IPS and MVA/PVA based monitors will yield a good configuration with this setup, with a gorgeous 3600x1920 resolution (slightly wider than 16:10, giving improved peripheral vision). And 5 monitors? A whopping 6000x1920.

Of course there are other resolutions of monitor, 1080p (1920x1080) becoming more and more popular these days. Personally we can't wait to try an eyefinity setup in the office with an array of 1080p TVs.

It's not all gaming though. Multi-monitor setups have always been popular for productivity too, and that's certainly another angle AMD seems to be aiming at.

What we'd really love is a combination of the excellent resolutions of Eyefinity combined with 3D shutter technology currently being pimped by nVidia. An article on which will be following in the near future.



When 6 monitors simply aren't enough for you.. how about 24 monitor X-Plane with 4 Eyefinity cards in one machine? Breathtaking..
When 6 monitors simply aren't enough for you.. how about 24 monitor X-Plane with 4 Eyefinity cards in one machine? Breathtaking.. (AMD Eyefinity)
[image source pcper.com]

Further reading
- AnandTech: Beginnings of the Holodeck: AMD's DX11 GPU, Eyefinity and 6 Display Outputs
- techradar: Hands on: ATI Eyefinity review - Now you can run six monitors in HD from a single graphics card
- PC Perspective: AMD to announce multi-monitor gaming soon: EyeFinity
- AMD: ATI Eyefinity

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