AMD Radeon HD 5870 Eyefinity 6 Edition: One Card, Six Screens

Frame Buffer: 2GB Versus 1GB

Were you to buy a 2GB Radeon HD 5870 for three-monitor gaming, using the other three displays in a separate display group, you’d probably be curious about the benefits of a 2GB card versus a 1GB board, especially given the price premium.

We ran the same benchmarks at the same settings and 5760x1080 resolution and discovered that simply increasing the capacity of your frame buffer isn’t a guarantee of additional performance. We’ve seen this before, where the overhead of implementing a larger frame buffer causes a small performance hit in certain situations, so it’s hardly a surprise.

To the contrary, this is good news for folks running Radeon HD 5870 1GB boards, because it means they already have the rendering muscle needed to drive three 1920x1080 displays at playable frame rates.

Of course, there is a reason to step up from 1GB to 2GB (beside the obvious output connectivity increase). I picked a couple of the games that were running plenty-fast in the previous CrossFire chart and added 8xAA to them. As you can see, Far Cry 2 is significantly more playable, and Battlefield: Bad Company 2 goes from being a slide show to cranking along fairly smoothly. The key here is that you’ll have to exceed the limits of a 1GB card at settings that’d still otherwise be playable on a 2GB board. The rendering muscle of a second board in CrossFire is instrumental in delivering that extra “oomph.”

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  • I would hate playing with that much black area between screens. I will stick with my 1080p monitor thank you.
    27
  • This begs the question: how long until we have zero-bezel displays?
    26
  • wow......i feel so poor.
    20
  • Other Comments
  • I would hate playing with that much black area between screens. I will stick with my 1080p monitor thank you.
    27
  • :O They got two of those cards!! Lucky punks.
    11
  • Glad they compared the 1GB and 2GB cards in a 3x1 setup. Glad I got my 5870 instead of waiting for a 2GB card :D. Even so, I want some thin bezel monitors before I hook up three of them. The bezel on my HP LCD is just to think so I'm not keen on buying another two.
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  • wow......i feel so poor.
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  • Should have just made the 5970 the eyefinity edition
    3
  • So I guess Apple's miniDP connector is quite useful after-all and is now seeing adoption outside of Macs.

    It's too bad you didn't test GTA IV like you used to do. I believe GTA IV at max settings exceeds 1GB of VRAM usage so perhaps 2GB graphics cards may be of some use assuming the game isn't still CPU limited despite 12 threads with the Core i7 980X. At the very least, I'm guessing Liberty City at 6048x2276 would be amazing.
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  • This begs the question: how long until we have zero-bezel displays?
    26
  • Obviously, the best solution is a 3x3 grid of displays to make sure your centre focus is not interfered with.

    Lesse, that'd be 5760 x 3240.
    No sweat ;)
    8
  • So, I guess if you already have a 1GB 5870 and 3x1 Eyefinity setup, the only advantage of the 2GB version is being able to pile on the AA/AF effects and still have a playable frame rate.
    5
  • you made my FullHD 22inch screen look like nothing.... I did not know such a thing was possible.... :(
    -4
  • On a personal note, i'd buy Alienware's curved lcd .. maybe 2 of them .. i mean it's not the same resolution output but still, less bezel problems and it looks, in my opinion, way cooler.
    -3
  • Does the card require the configuration of 6 displays in landscape? I'm thinking maybe 5 displays side-by-side rotated in portrait would make a better option to avoid the center bezel. This would give a resolution of something like 5864 x 1920 (allowing for bezel correction). The ratio of width to height would then be about 3 to 1, which would be close to ideal, imo. Then use the other single monitor for live chats, twitter, etc.

    This would also avoid the requirement for the specialized hardware to hold the monitors, assuming they have the capability of being rotated 90 degrees on their standard base.

    Great article, thanks.
    4
  • 6x 1080p projectors would be nice.

    now i just need to win the lottery.
    8
  • now it is time for bezelless LCDs
    5
  • huskerDoes the card require the configuration of 6 displays in landscape? I'm thinking maybe 5 displays side-by-side rotated in a portrait would make a better option to avoid the center bezel. Then use the other single monitor for live chats, twitter, etc.This would also avoid the requirement for the specialized hardware to hold the monitors.Great article, thanks.


    Nope, you can move them around, if you have the physical mounting hardware to support your desired config. The actual display groups do need to be in arrays of some sort, though.
    2
  • Excellent article Chris.
    What sexy cards. I think the GTX 480/470 look ugly, and believe that reference ATi cards always win for looks. =D

    huskerDoes the card require the configuration of 6 displays in landscape? I'm thinking maybe 5 displays side-by-side rotated in a portrait would make a better option to avoid the center bezel. Then use the other single monitor for live chats, twitter, etc.This would also avoid the requirement for the specialized hardware to hold the monitors.Great article, thanks.

    I run a 3x1 setup with all monitors in portrait mode. I couldn't stand in the insane stretching at the edge of every monitor due to the insane aspect ratio.
    welshmousepk6x 1080p projectors would be nice. now i just need to win the lottery.

    I considered a 5x1 projector setup, but I eventually gave up on the thought realizing at some point I need to buy a car...

    I honestly believe a 5x1 all portrait oriented setup would be superior. This also gives you a reasonable aspect ratio (as games don't do well with insane aspect ratios).
    The only problem with running monitors in portait mode is the viewing angle. If you're like me and use cheappy TN panels, it can be horrible if you move your head even just a few inches.

    The active DP to DVI adaptors cost $150 in Canada. =(
    I tried using a passive (which still cost $50), and it worked (2048x1152), for 15 minutes. After that, it decided to no longer work, and so I dropped way too much money for the active (which had its own issues).
    Why not miniDVI or miniHDMI instead? (other than the ridiculous HDMI licensing fees, but really, we're paying $200+ for these cards, deal with it).

    At 3456x2048 a 5770 1GB is more than enough for most games still, and I can add a little AA to a few.
    Now only if all games natively supported any resolution and were hort+. I can only use my triple display configuration on about half of my library. I shouldn't have to be doing .ini, registry and hex hacks.
    ATi should give us some software equivalent to one Matrox gave it's TH2G/DH2G users (instantly modified game .ini's etc.). Or at least include the address http://widescreengamingforum.com/ with the card...

    What about a triple slot card? There was a 2GB 4870x2 (Gainward Rampage700 2048MB) triple slot card, and it was a beast, while offering a extra display output. I would be comfortable with a triple slot 5970 or 5990 (5890x2 or whatever they want to call it, IF they ever make it).
    How about some 3GB (6GB for x2) cards?
    A 5970 8GB (with a 384bit bus) triple slot with six miniDP (with 6 RAMDACS and includes 6 miniDP to DVI and HDMI adaptors) with a massive air cooled copper block and both GPU's are handpicked is something easily worth well over $1000. Run three 4K projectors on that (in all portrait, running at 6480x3840 @ 24.9MP) watch as people go change their pants. =D
    Anyone remember the Asus Mars GTX 285x2 4GB that almost soldout on preorders alone? There is a market for it.
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  • cangeliniNope, you can move them around, if you have the physical mounting hardware to support your desired config. The actual display groups do need to be in arrays of some sort, though.

    I used a hardware store for my needs. I bought a hammer, a bag of nails, and five feet of wood. No way in hell was I going to spend hundreds on proper mounts, when $25 would achieve the same result, albeit ugly as hell.
    1
  • I don't think I could enjoy a game with these black bezels.
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  • Me want to play Crysis at 7680x3200 max quality, AA, and AF.
    -3