AMD's Eyefinity Technology Explained

Productivity

You would think that with the plummeting price of LCD screens, the need of the PC industry to sell more hardware, and an overarching desire for increasing productivity in the workplace, there would have been countless studies about the impact of multiple monitor use in the workplace. The bizarre reality is that you could probably count the number of such studies on one hand. The seminal piece of research was a cooperative effort in 2003 between (what was then) NEC-Mitsubishi, ATI Technologies, and the University of Utah. In assessing single- versus dual-monitor (18" LCDs) usage in everyday work environment applications, “participants in the study considered multi-screen configurations significantly more useful than single screens and preferred multiple monitor setups on every measure of usability. They found them 29 percent more effective for tasks, 24 percent more comfortable to use in tasks and found it 39 percent easier to move around sources of information....Overall respondents in the study were 10 percent more productive using multiple monitor set ups.”

Also in 2003, Microsoft research designed a 42" wide, 3072x768 display called Dsharp. The device utilized three DLP projectors casting onto curved Plexiglas. “The first study revealed that the users' productivity increased by 9 percent,” notes Microsoft’s press release. “Further studies showed even greater increases—at times up to 50 percent for tasks such as cutting and pasting.”

Then came an inexplicable five-year research hiatus. Finally, Fujitsu Siemens teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering and in early 2009 released a study detailing how 67 people were divided into three groups to complete a given set of productivity tasks. Group 1 used a single 19" display. Group 2 used a 22" widescreen. Group 3 used a triple-monitor (19") array. Because of learning, Group 1 improved by 1.9 percent. Group 2 took an 8.4% jump, and Group 3 blew the doors off with a 35.5% gain.

Clearly, more desktop surface yields greater productivity, and why every monitor and graphics card company hasn’t drilled this into the public’s collective head over the last seven years or so is anyone’s guess. Fortunately, AMD has revived the message with Eyefinity. How is one Eyefinity-enabled 5000-series card at $100 going to stack up against a non-Eyefinity card pushing three or four monitors with ATI SurroundView (the ATI discrete-plus-graphics chipset hybrid approach)? Good question. We haven’t been able to run those tests yet, but our guess is that the significantly faster architecture of the 5000-series GPUs combined with their much lower idle power consumption will make for at least a few compelling reasons to prefer Eyefinity over ATI SurroundView.

Create a new thread in the US Reviews comments forum about this subject
This thread is closed for comments
41 comments
    Your comment
  • Sykar
    The problem I see with Eyefinity are the black borders between displays...
    3
  • dertechie
    Second page mentions a Radeon 5890, I presume you mean either the 5870 or 5970.
    -1
  • mooch37
    @sykar My thoughts exactly. It has to be an odd number of monitors, otherwise you'll get the crosshair right in the middle. That would bug the crap out of me.
    1
  • xaira
    there was talk of a few companies making bezel less monitors
    2
  • drowned
    "In assessing single- versus dual-monitor (18" LCDs) usage in everyday work environment applications"

    The key word in your statement is DUAL monitors. I recall another study that tested how much people prefer 3 or 4 monitors over 2, and it was a very small percent (~10%). For a lot of tasks outside of gaming, you don't want your entire vision filled with pixels. You don't want to get dizzy constantly from moving your head back and forth. Of course eyefinity is great if you want to blow a ton of money for a wall of monitors and your career is a stock trader, CERN mission controller, etc, but I'd rather stick with 3 physical and use virtual desktops for 3+.
    0
  • Trueno07
    It all made sense to me, until I saw the picture of the kid playing a Racing game on that 6 monitor set up. It looked ridiculous. Why not just play on a big TV that has no lines and only requires 1 output?
    -5
  • Chris_TC
    Trueno07It all made sense to me, until I saw the picture of the kid playing a Racing game on that 6 monitor set up. It looked ridiculous. Why not just play on a big TV that has no lines and only requires 1 output?

    Absolutely, this one is quite ridiculous. Multiple displays only make sense for games if you sit closely and angle them. But the borders would still annoy the hell out of me.

    This may be a nice gimmick for some, but ultimately we'll be moving to curved screens.
    -4
  • hackmule
    I used to use two monitors but since I went to three CRT monitors 5+ yrs ago I can't go back to two. This bezel in the middle is aggravating. I use three monitors for work - presentations/writing/graphics and the extra real estate is very valuable there. For play, I have been waiting for the hardware to improve to the point where 3 monitor frame rates are good enough and this eyefinity article has got me thinking that the new ATI cards might be worth a try. I think the next generation will be the game changer when three monitor play frame rates are over 50 for the games we like to play. I would be surprised if there are many who once they get used to three monitors would willingly go back to two.
    1
  • falchard
    Big TV lacks the same resolution. Bezeless is hard to manufacture. I don't see the point in using Eye-finity in the method specified with multiple monitors in the front. I would rather setup like the Cave and Stereoscopic display. Borders wouldn't be much of an issue then. 4 x 55" display, 1 front, 1 on each side, and 1 above.
    1
  • SmarterChoice
    Eyefinity is amazing with three screens, you don't notice the bezels at all in most games.
    5
  • Wheat_Thins
    SmarterChoiceEyefinity is amazing with three screens, you don't notice the bezels at all in most games.


    How can you not notice .5" bezels?
    -6
  • SmarterChoice
    Because you aren't looking at the bezels, you are looking at the screen.

    Too many people comment on this without having the first idea about what it is like. In fps games, driving games, flight sims you DO NOT notice the bezels. The only games where the bezels are noticable is in flat 2d type board games ie empire total war campaign map.

    I have it so I know what it's like. Read some reviews and they will tell you the same thing.
    4
  • warmon6
    Wheat_ThinsHow can you not notice .5" bezels?


    It actually amazing how the human mind works......

    let me ask you this, have you ever done a dual screen setup? If so then how many times have you payed attention to different resolutions, bezels/ bezels thicknesses, and different makers of monitors? My guess would probably be no.

    Now i haven't used eyefinity although i have used dual screen setups, but i can understand how people don't notice thing when your that focus on something. In this case, most peoples don't looking for the unlit bezels, there eyes are going to jump to the next bright screen that they need to see and there minds will just filter the bezels out, giving the full clean picture.
    6
  • dkapke
    Having switched over to 3 24" 1080P monitors in December...I can't imagine going back. Honestly, like Smarter Choice and Warmon said...you don't notice the bezels. Admittedly, I did it originally for the desktop space, but after playing Dragon Age, Crysis and Bioshock, and wondering about the bezel space, I can tell you in 5760x1080 eyefinity that you honestly don't even notice it. It's an absolute joy and my gaming will never be the same. I think some people are just a little a.r. and WANT to see the bezels and WANT to make it an issue, but if you give it a chance you'll be surprised.

    I actually arranged mine so the side two overlap the middle one to reduce some of the bezel space but still...it's really not noticeable. The 10.3 drivers will introduce a "hide" option where instead of having a gap between monitors (half of a building on one monitor and the other half on the other monitor) it will actually hide the image behind the bezel so you get, maybe, 1/3 of the building on each monitor and the other 1/3 hidden by the bezel (think tall thin building, obviously). Sort of like wearing a pair of sunglasses with bigger rims. The image is there, but will be hidden by the rims. You'll specify how wide your bezels are and the driver will handle it from there. That, actually, will make things a bit more interesting. Of course, I'm not so sure in FPS it would be good as you could, theoretically, have someone hiding in that bezel area as they approach instead of definitely seeing them on a monitor somewhere.

    Bottom line - don't knock it before you at least try it. See if you can borrow some friends' monitors and hook 'em up to your 58xx card and try it out. I promise it'll be your next expense to budget for.
    7
  • shaoran lee
    I have a question... how much hardware is required to deal with such resolutions or the amount of windows displayed... (gamming and productivity) I mean if i have to upgrade from 3 to 6 gb of ram or 4 to 8 for example or even change processor.
    0
  • erikstarcher
    SmarterChoiceEyefinity is amazing with three screens, you don't notice the bezels at all in most games.


    Just like you don't notice the pillars between the windshield and side windows of your car. Your brain just ignores the parts that it doesn't want to see.
    6
  • JohnnyLucky
    Great Article. Looking forward to the next article.

    Man Cave! Six large screens! I need a larger apartment. I may even have to rent a large house.
    0
  • andrewcutter
    i dont know if i am an idiot but i still dont understand the difference between hooking up 3 monitors to a 48 series and eyeinfinity.
    i meant 3 because i saw 3 outputs on my graphics card never tried it thought.....
    can someone explain..... the article just said you cant have speed and size....(scratching head)
    0
  • ksenter
    So, if I read it correctly you can't mix portrait and landscape for eyefinity, is that right? I have two 23" monitors that I was thinking about using for the left and right and I was going to get a larger monitor (or TV probably), for the middle and I was thinking of getting a middle one whose height would be the same as the 23" monitors width so I could use them in portrait on the sides. Then again you probably can't really mix monitors/tvs with different resolutions either...
    0
  • Snipe3000
    Useless for us 30" monitor users until the drivers support Portrait+Landscape+portrait in eyefinity. You would think it would naturally support this. What a shame. If you want this setup you need to use SoftTH, biggest problem with that is you can only utilize the power of one GPU.
    0