Thursday, March 18th, 2010
I finally got my ATI Eyefinity setup a few days ago and thought I would share my experiences in getting it setup and how it works out! Remember on top of the two DVI connections that is already on a Eyefinity capable card (basically Radeon 5850 and above) you would need to connect the third monitor to the graphics card single DisplayPort which is a new kind of connector. To recap:
Requirements for ATI Eyefinity:
- DirectX 11 capable ATI card (5850, 5870 and 5950 are all DX11 capable, I wouldn’t recommend anything below a 5850 for processing power reasons)
- 3 monitors of the same resolution (2 monitors can also work but it’s annoying with the bezel of the monitor right in the middle)
- One of these monitors need to be connected via DisplayPort
First of all, finding a Displayport converter or monitor was quite a challenge. Many sellers didn’t know what a DisplayPort was and thought I was referring to a display port which prompted them to ask, ‘DVI or VGA?’. There were a lot of converters from DVI/VGA to Displayport connections (which I suspect would be the most common solution to this) on EBay and price is about RM65.00 inclusive of shipping from HK. I saw a few of these also sold on Lowyat forums but beyond that everyone else was in the dark of this converter.
There are two routes to this:
1. Get a DisplayPort capable monitor:
I took this route and got myself a Dell P2210 22 inch widescreen monitor at RM629.00 from Dell. This comes with a DisplayPort built in. Now since the monitor didn’t come with a DisplayPort cable I also had to pay another RM100.00 for a DisplayPort to DisplayPort cable which after looking around like nuts, one of my Lowyat’s sellers Hikari85 had it. Another added benefit of getting this monitor is that if you buy all three Dell P2210, you can also rotate it vertically like so:
2. Get a converter
This is the easiest way and probably the cheapest since you can still use your regular DVI cable for this. But it is also tricky. There are two kinds of converters, a passive and active one. A passive one is not powered and does not need an external power source. An active DP (displayport) converter to DVI has to be connected to another power source. It seems that the active converter is your best bet if you’re planning to use DVI though there are some passive models that do work.
However those using a DisplayPort to VGA converter should not have any problems using their converters even if it’s passive.
- Takes a while to get used to since your field of view is increased and in most cases greater than your own eye’s focus field of vision. When I curved my monitors inward to have more of a surround effect, I got a little disoriented so it’s best to actually keep the panels flat in one row.
- Most games work on this with the exception of some games that lock the FOV such as Call of Duty series. However there is a Widescreen Fixer program for this that is available free. Your mileage may vary with this Widescreen Fixer program.
- If you have a 5870 you should be able to play most modern games at high settings with Anti-Aliasing on low or off.
- Beyond gaming, using it on a desktop was slightly annoying since maximizing your browser stretched the browser across three screens. I turn it off if I’m doing work.
- Switching between Eyefinity and 3 extended desktops required a few clicks (wish it could be locked in Profiles)
Would I recommend it? Well if you have spare monitors lying about, definitely! It really adds a new depth to your games at not too much of an additional cost with the falling prices of monitors and the excellent value that the 58xx series ATI offers. If you’re an Nvidia fan, then you would just have to wait for Nvidia 3D Vision Surround but expect to pay A LOT MORE since you would need no less than a SLI GTX 480 configuration (which is rumored to cost 2k ish per card) and then you would need to buy the glasses from Nvidia, 120 hz special monitors and perhaps the deal breaker is to have a game that supports this 3D vision. ATI’s solution works on a wide variety of games and is available on existing non-exotic hardware.