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AMD's Eyefinity Technology Explained

Tom’s Hardware readers should need no introduction to the idea of multi-monitor gaming. Whether you’re a racer, general, assassin, or anything else: the more you can see, the better you’ll play.

“You’re seeing more of the game,” says AMD’s Parfitt. “It renders to a wider field of view. Like in driving games, the center monitor is what you normally see, but with Eyefinity, the side monitors become like your side windows. In flying games, you don’t get as disoriented because you can see more of the ground. In strategy games, you can see more ground to see your enemy and what’s going on in other parts of the map. In FPSes, like Left 4 Dead, you now have peripheral vision. In almost every kind of game, it’s a new experience.”

We tend to be partial to FPS titles, and one of the inherent downsides in any shooter is the never-ending need to keep turning left and right to check what should otherwise be your peripheral vision. But with one monitor you’re essentially stuck with wearing blinders. Enemy AI can see you perfectly, but unless you’re looking right at your foe, you really don’t know what you’re dealing with. The ultra-wide field of view made possible by Eyefinity restores much of that lost peripheral vision.

“In Left 4 Dead 2,” says Parfitt, “it’s very co-op, so if you leave your pack of four, you don’t have a chance because zombies will swarm you from everywhere. You have to know where everybody is in order to survive. Having that peripheral vision is a huge advantage. In Call of Duty, if someone is trying to sneak up on you from the side, it’s easy to just turn and melee attack him. It’s almost an unfair advantage in multi-player.”

Admittedly, not every game is designed to handle Eyefinity at its finest. Games from smaller developers will sometimes stretch to fill all of that extra resolution, so content side monitors can look skewed and distorted. But games have to deal with small and jumbo panels alike, so developers have increasingly shifted to computing a complete 3D world and then render the content for however much of that world can be displayed in the established resolution. This has become the norm in major titles, which is why most games now look optimized for Eyefinity right off the bat.

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