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Valid Impressions

Part 2: AMD's Eyefinity Technology Explained

As with dongles and (soon) monitors, AMD also has a two-tier Eyefinity validation program for software. You can check out the growing list of approved applications here. As of this writing, 16 titles appear on the Validated list, and another 20 are officially Eyefinity Ready.

What’s the difference? The answers might be hard to spot. One of the biggest differences is that a Validated app is guaranteed to have all resolutions appear as available in the software from the moment it’s installed. With a Ready app, you may have to force the title into a certain resolution by editing an INI or configuration file. The resolution setting is supported in both cases, and neither will stretch or contort at that resolution. However, the odds of that setting being easier to access is assured a Validated program. Before the Eyefinity validation program was in place, AMD reports having seen software that would crop the top and bottom of some content while stretching the remainder across the large surface.

AMD also works with ISVs on things like HUD elements, making sure that the gauges, dials, and such needed during play are properly rendered (not stretched) and visible where you’d expect them to be. At the same time, you don’t want the middle screen of your shooter cluttered with HUD readouts, so AMD sends its criteria list to developers to help guide them toward popular layout principles.

“We have internal teams checking software for this sort of thing,” says AMD’s Gasson, “even on titles we don’t have any arrangements with. We don’t want our relationships to impact anyone’s Eyefinity experience.”

Triple-screen gamingTriple-screen gaming

As with any major first-gen technology, AMD’s Eyefinity has had a few kinks to iron out, but we’ve been glad to see that the company is listening to user issues and suggestions. Above all else, we’re excited to see real innovation happening in the graphics space. Eyefinity leverages the excellent developments in the DisplayPort standard, but we hope this is only the beginning. After all, the vision of a media-saturated man cave still sizzles the imagination. And then? It’s a long way from here to the holodeck...but not quite as far as it was before Eyefinity.

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