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Using two 5870's in crossfire with Eyefinity

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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March 29, 2010 1:12:05 AM

start by saying that I've always used Nvidia GPU's for as long as they've offered them, and never switched to ATI. You could say I'm a converted fanboy... or maybe not, we'll see how this thread goes, and if I can get some good answers out of it! lol.

I waited for the new Fermi information to come out, and by the disappointing results of the benchmarks here on Toms on the 480GTX, ended up forcing my hand to go with ATI who clearly has the price/performance crown today, and most importantly, Eyefinity, which looks to be amazing... which is where my problem is.

I Ordered 2 5870s to run in crossfire (I would have ordered two 5970s, but new egg was sold out so I went with 5870s, no big deal. I also ordered three 24" ASUS 1920x 1080 monitors to run in Eyefinity.

In my haste in buying the parts, I did not do enough research. I read today that some people are having problems using 5870s in crossfire when gaming in Eyefinity across 3 displays. Not to mention that I also didn't know that you needed a special "Displayport" to DVI adapter to run 3x monitor Eyefinity. (I figured I could have just used 2 DVI Ports on one 5870, and 1 DVI Port on the 2nd card)

I have been searching the web for the past week now and can't find any solid answers, or recent ones, that address my concerns, which are

1. When using two 5870s in Crossfire, can I use my three monitors to game in Eyefinity WHILE AT THE SAME TIME getting performance increase from having two 5870s.

2. If yes, how do I have to connect my monitors for optimum performance? All 3 monitors connecting to 1 card (2x DVI / 1x Active Displayport adapter). Or connect 2x monitors to Card1 DVI and 3rd monitor to Card2 DVI.

3. If no, are they working on getting Crossfire and Eyefinity to work together?

4. If no, are there options that can put all 3 monitors to use for a gamer? IE--> 1 monitor for gaming, and 2 other monitors to display desktop functions while in a game (browsing webpages, movies, chat programs, ect). I don’t have any experience with multi-monitor set ups.

My parts will be arriving in a few days, and would like to know what potential problems I could face, and if any, how to correct the problems that arise.

This is my first step into the land of ATI, and I hope I don't get burned by what many Nvidia fans are calling a gimmick feature. Thank you in advance for your help and suggestions. I look forward to hearing what you have to say.

Sincerely,

Possible Converted Fan. :D 


March 29, 2010 2:40:43 AM

Also, in case anyone needs to know, my build is.

2.8ghz 930 core i7 1366
EVGA Classified mobo
2x gigabyte Ultradurable HD 5870s
60gb OCZ Vertex SSD
6gb (2GB x 3) corsair dominator ram
Silverstone 1200w modular PSU
Silverstone TJ09 Fulltower Case
Three 24" ASUS monitors
Windows 7 home 64 bit
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March 29, 2010 3:38:34 AM

Hey there,

I have a dual 5970 setup with Eyefinity and let me say performance is WOEFUL. With Cat 10.3 drivers, quadfire + Eyefinity will yield 12FPS AVE in gaming. This is an improvement from <2FPS using initial Cat 9.12 HOTFIX.

I believe members are having LESS problems with single GPU crossfire/trifire.

Call it "bad research" on my part or "bad drivers" on ATI's part, but this should have WORKED "out of the box" IMO.

Having said that :

1. In my experience NO. Not sure with your setup. Generally, I use both cards for single screen and single card for Eyefinity.

2. I believe you must connect ALL 3 monitors to 1 card (2x DVI / 1x Active Displayport adapter).

3. "officially" YES, but personally NO. After numerous tickets to tech support, my impression was that it was being put in the "too hard" basket. ALL responses from ATI was that it was a driver issue and that a definitive time frame or solution for a fix was unknown.

4. for my rig, I use BOTH CARDS for SINGLE screen gaming, and a SINGLE CARD for Eyefinity.

Keep researching, as these problems seem to be more apparent with quadfire setups.

I hope your setup doesnt have the same problems.

BTW, you might want to overclock your CPU to avoid/minimize bottlenecks.

NICE RIG!

Good luck.

PS You may have to turn down settings (AA/AF/Post processing) to get decent frames in Eyefinity. At that res, its understandable.
PPS widescreengamingforum.com has good info/tips for Eyefinity.
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March 29, 2010 3:45:01 AM

Ouch I really hope that hunuok is only having issues specifically to him, but it seems like hey is an advanced user that has done alot of research on this subject.

I would like to bump this thread, because I hope someone can answer the OP's question concerning 2 5870's. Because mayeb this summer I will be going that route as well.
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March 29, 2010 1:23:30 PM

@the nice rig comment, thank you. Im in the army and just finished a recent deployment, and a nice tax return, and a friend is buying my old GTX 275 SLI rig for $2200, so I had no budget this time around.

I also agree with the overclocking suggestion, my current rig is foxconn bloodrage with i7 920 on watercooling overclocked to 3.8ghz. I'll overclock my new system when it gets here.

Could you please elaborate on what you mean by "I use two cards for single display and one card for Eyefinity" ? I don't fully understand what you mean by this.

I also see that new "Catalyst" drivers say that they "added crossfire eyefinity support. Do you think maybe your problems stem from quad-fire systems only? Maybe your 2 5970s are having problems working together with 4 GPUs using eyefinity.

I also read that some people are saying that eyefinity works better if you DONT overclock your GPUs for some reason.

Any comments?
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March 29, 2010 3:52:01 PM

Hey there,

I could tell from you're ID you were army. Glad to see you made it back safely.

You're probably correct when you said my problems arose from a quadfire setup. Have to live with it OR file 13 it!lol

In my setup, I use quadfire on a single (the middle) screen only because the performance in Eyefinity is BAD. I do this by just setting the game settings to a 2560x1600 res.

Catalyst does the rest and turns off the left and right screens.

When I do use Eyefinity, I disable one card and run programs such as flight sims (H.A.W.X) and racing (Dirt 2, NFS Shift). ie a 8064x1600 res.

I believe crossfire support was not included in Cat 10.3s (correct me if I'm wrong. I installed them at 5 in the morning). In my experience, Cat seems to be hit and miss with EACH rig. ex, Cat 10.1 was WOEFUL, but 10.3 seems OK. Start with the drivers that came with the card and work you're way up till your rig hits a "sweet spot".

As for overclocking GPUs, I didn't notice any adverse effects, tho I like to keep things @ default settings.

I hope my comments didn't discourage you. Eyefinity is a great setup. It's just not "there" yet IMO.

Good luck and have fun. :) 

PS

I noticed you asked if you can play a game and multitask at the same time on another thread. You can if you run games in windowed mode but you would have to switch windows (alt+tab) to access internet etc.
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March 29, 2010 5:43:41 PM

Thank you for the responses. So you think eyefinity is good, but some games just don't work good with it at the moment, but driver updates will help?

Also, if I decide to run 3 monitors, and use 2 for desktop multitasking, and 1 windowed mode game, will it make the game have very poor FPS? And is there a way to set up a key macro so that when I pop out of game control to the desktop that it doesn't minimize the game?

Does windowed Mode in games support Vsync? *I CANT STAND TEARING!*

The games I'm most interested in are Left 4 Dead 2, Aliens Vs Predator, Aion, Battlefield BC2, any idea if any of these games have good support for eyefinity at an acceptable FPS?
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March 29, 2010 6:45:08 PM

Quote:
if I decide to run 3 monitors, and use 2 for desktop multitasking, and 1 windowed mode game, will it make the game have very poor FPS?/quote]

I dont think you will see a performance hit.

Quote:
is there a way to set up a key macro so that when I pop out of game control to the desktop that it doesn't minimize the game?/quote]

Alt + Tab will be your best bet.

Quote:
any idea if any of these games have good support for eyefinity at an acceptable FPS?/quote]

AvP and BF BC2 run OK in Eyefinity. You will have to turn down settings (AA/AF especially). AvP runs best (in regards frame rates in dx9 mode). Play around to see what suits you.

Quote:
Does windowed Mode in games support Vsync? *I CANT STAND TEARING!*/quote]

Yes, as far as I'm aware.
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March 29, 2010 7:33:17 PM

I think windowed mode reduces clock speeds to idle, doesnt it ?
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March 29, 2010 7:56:43 PM

hunuok did you download the CCC gaming profiles from http://amd.com ?

My two 5770's work great with eyefinity, no issues except every now and then one of them gets disabled for no apparent reason. The drivers probably need a bit of work in 2d but in gaming it's been fine.
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March 30, 2010 5:21:30 AM

@jennyh

Thanks for your input.

Yes, I have downloaded the gaming profiles to no avail I'm afraid.

I think these problems are more apparent in quadfire setups.

I thought it was just my rig, but after googling, it seems I'm not the only one.

This month has seen a frenzy of drivers (10.3 pre, 10.3a pre, 10.3, 10.3b and OGL4.0).

To get the upper hand from Nvidia I assume, but it seems TOO rushed IMO.

In my case, 10.3 pre and 10.3 seem to be the optimal drivers IMO.

I'm neither loyal to either camps, BUT I'm losing patience with ATI.

It's been 7 driver releases since launch of 5970 and ATI have told me they don't when/if driver support will be available.
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March 30, 2010 5:47:13 AM

Yeah that stinks, but let's face it, sometimes the most hardcore users get burned because there is such a small percentage that have dual 5970's. For example : Those who bought the 7950gx2, sometimes performance was worse than a single gpu card.
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March 30, 2010 2:59:17 PM

So does anyone know which driver version makes 2x 5870s in crossfire work for Eyefinity? Doing some research, seems many people are reporting after a driver update that 5870s in crossfire are getting great Eyefinity results (60+ FPS in max resolution across 3x 1080p monitors *no AA/AF* in many games)

Also, it seems that it works GREAT with x58 mobos, as there is some sort of stuttering/poor fps problem when running cheap/old mobos with crossfire + eyefinity. Seems that poor PCI-E Bandwidth will make games skip and stutter when you have 3 1080p monitors going at max-eyefinity-resolution. But x58 Mobos with at least 2 full 16x PCI-E bandwidth ports, with a good driver version, makes for amazing gaming.

If anyone has any info on what drivers works best for x58 + two 5870s + eyefinity, let us know!!!!
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March 31, 2010 12:27:21 AM

airborne the latest drivers should have all the previous updates by default.

Microstutter can't be avoided, it annoys me a lot how it happens with some games and not others - that makes me wonder why it's happening at all.

hunuok - what sort of performance are you getting with just the single 5970 in eyefinity?
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March 31, 2010 5:39:32 AM

@jennyh

Thanks again for your input.

Dirt 2 :

8064x1600 res, high/ultra settings, post processing medium, vsync off = 40fps ave

Crysis :

8064x1600 res, very high settings, 0AA, vsync off = 1fps (slideshow)
8064x1600 res, low settings, 0AA, vsync off = 18fps

Crysis Warhead:

8064x1600 res, enthusiast settings, 0AA, vsync off = 1fps (slideshow)
8064x1600 res, minimum settings, 0AA, vsync off = 18fps

H.A.W.X :

8064x1600 res, high settings, 0AA,, vsync off, Directx10.1 on = 49fps

BF BC2 :

8064x1600 res, high settings, 8AA, 16AF = 0fps
8064x1600 res, low settings, 2AA, 2AF = 3fps


COD MW2 :

8064x1600 res, max settings, 4AA, vsync off = 32fps

All these are run on default GPU clock speeds and no config hacks in games.

If I run quadfire on a single 2560x1600 res, I get 150-250fps with the above titles @ max settings (with the exception of Crysis & Crysis Warhead 30-40fps @ 0AA).

Cheers.




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March 31, 2010 1:21:53 PM

Ok yeah basically you're out of video RAM in the games where fps is so low.

Even though you have 2gb on those 5970's, it's only counting as 1gb due to being crossfired.

You need 2gb memory per card at that resolution, either the new eyefinity 6 edition released today, or the 4gb 5970.
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March 31, 2010 2:30:38 PM

Thanks for your quick turnaround.

I'm still surprised that a quadfire setup underperforms a crossfire/trifire setup in Eyefinity.

Or even a single GPU solution for that matter.


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March 31, 2010 4:35:03 PM

Try running without any AA, and see if things get better quick, otherwise turn down textures to low (just to test if it is the VRAM limiting you)
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March 31, 2010 5:01:49 PM

Have tried turning down/off AA/AF/Post processing as well as textures to LOW with the same/little gains.

Does this mean that vram is the "culprit"?
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April 1, 2010 2:38:02 AM

No, actually that would mean that the Vram has little to do with your issue, it must be driver related.

Have your tried running eyefinity on ONE 5970 yet ?
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April 1, 2010 3:21:48 AM

From what I'm reading, it seems that you run your resolution way too hard for what the cards can handle. It'd be like running Crysis on a single 9800GTX and throwing the res up to 2560 x 1600 or whatever. It just kills the cards.

I read a review on eyefinity today on the homepage here, seems that issues with duel 5870s are pretty ironed out when it comes to eyefinity. As long as you run 5760 x 1080 resolution, 5870s seem like they run most games on max setting *no AA/AF* at very playable FPS. Honestly, at 1080p resolution you shouldn't need to use AA/AF anyway, the picture should look great already.

From what it seems, running beastly 2560 x 1600 monitors in eyefinity is just too much strain to handle with these cards
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April 1, 2010 3:52:24 AM

Oh dang, I didn't even realize he was using 3 X 30inch monitors.

You are definately out of VRAM, go get the new 4GB 5970's, or drop down to 2X 2GB 5870's.
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April 1, 2010 5:00:43 AM

Thanks for the replies.

I knew running 3x30" would be a tough ask!

@annisman, @jennyh:

I find it perplexing that AMD tech support on 3 occasions didnt mention VRAM issues. On each occasion it was a "driver issue". This was after I sent system specs, dxdiag reports, belarc advisor reprts and msconfig reports upon their request.

I am considering the 4Gb 5970 or 2x2Gb 5870. Tho rebuilding my rig AGAIN is something I dont want to do YET.lol

Just sitting back and reading more reviews on what BOTH camps are/will be coming out with.

Cheers.

Thanks to all. :) 
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April 20, 2010 1:59:39 AM

I just got my third display for an eyefinity setup using my new 5870 card. I'm running 1080p and didn't realize until I hooked it up tonight that I have to run 2 x dvi and 1 display port to get three screens running. I've been toying with the idea of adding a second 5870 and now am wondering if I should go ahead and do that or buy an active display port to dvi adapter. My questions is: can I run eyefinity using 2x dvi from one card and 1x dvi from the other or do all three displays have to be hooked to one card? If they all have to be on one card, I'll buy the adapter and not another video card for the moment. If I can spread the displays across two cards, I'll do that and not waste money on the display port to dvi adapter.
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April 20, 2010 3:23:19 AM

I would like to know this too, I think a DP adapter is needed no matter what, but maybe I am wrong.
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April 20, 2010 3:38:30 AM

earth-traveler said:
I just got my third display for an eyefinity setup using my new 5870 card. I'm running 1080p and didn't realize until I hooked it up tonight that I have to run 2 x dvi and 1 display port to get three screens running. I've been toying with the idea of adding a second 5870 and now am wondering if I should go ahead and do that or buy an active display port to dvi adapter. My questions is: can I run eyefinity using 2x dvi from one card and 1x dvi from the other or do all three displays have to be hooked to one card? If they all have to be on one card, I'll buy the adapter and not another video card for the moment. If I can spread the displays across two cards, I'll do that and not waste money on the display port to dvi adapter.


To set up an Eyefinity display group, you need to run ALL 3 monitors off the ONE card.

I think for native resolutions less than 1920x1080 you can run a PASSIVE adapter (I tried one but with no success), but IMO, run it using an ACTIVE adapter.

Good luck.
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May 6, 2010 1:15:12 PM

correct Hunuok,

You MUST run all monitors on one card as crossfire dissables the outputs on the additionnal cards.

Also you will absolutely 100% need at least 1 active DP adaptor (or dp monitor) because you can only run a max of 2 non DP monitors off the card.

PS: APPLE makes one of these adaptors and it's readily available, got mine from bestbuy, store had it on stock... it works fine...
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