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Cutting Loose With Eyefinity 6

AMD Radeon HD 5870 Eyefinity 6 Edition: One Card, Six Screens
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With the list of “gotchas” out of the way, I can (in good conscience) break from my usual cynicism, kick back, and just enjoy some new technology.

Maybe this is just an automotive enthusiast thing, but have you ever owned a car you thought was so attractive that you caught yourself turning around to look at it every so often as you walked away? Six LCDs sitting on your desk has the same effect. I used four side-by-side displays for years, thinking nothing of it. I had to use a passively-cooled 2D only board to make it happen, and I had a second machine on my desk wired into one of the monitor’s secondary inputs for when I wanted to game.

The elegance of Eyefinity compared to my old multi-monitor setup continues to impress me. With one card, I’m able to realize desktop real estate that simply wasn’t possible before, and I’ve consolidated two PCs into one.

Behind The Scenes: Radeon HD 5870 Eyefinity6 Edition


Now, there’s only so much we can tell about AMD’s 2GB Radeon HD 5870 from benchmarks. In fact, a majority of what’s worth reporting here has to come from qualitative analysis, rather than hard numbers. Gaming on the Eyefinity 6 Edition card is what tells the tale. And the genre of game you’re playing will unquestionably determine how much enjoyment you derive from a six-screen array.

Getting Some Face Time

First things first. First-person shooters are almost definitely out. With crosshairs, scopes, and gun sights centering in the middle of your screen, by default, you’ll almost always lose the ability to aim with bezel compensation turned on. With the feature turned off, you’re still facing an awkward screen division.

Third-person shooters are conceivably-easier to navigate, since your avatar generally populates the bottom of the screen. You still risk losing accuracy for aiming and shooting, though.

Real-time strategy and simulator games are probably the most plausible titles to spread across six screens. I had good luck with DiRT 2, and I’ve seen H.A.W.X. splashed across six screens more times than I’d care to admit. When the focus of what appears in the game doesn’t necessarily gravitate toward the middle of your display surface, you stand the best chance of enjoying it on a 3x2 config. Otherwise, you’re probably going to bang your head against a wall when you realize you spent somewhere around three grand to not be able to play the latest action titles. Again, I'll reiterate my anticipation of LCDs with smaller bezels.

Who says you can't work and play at the same time?Who says you can't work and play at the same time?

With that said, AMD’s enabling of multiple display groups makes it possible to play across the bottom three monitors as your top three keep you tuned in to Twitter, Facebook, Skype, or whatever applications you need to keep an eye on to make it look like you’re actually getting work done on that hexa-display monster.

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Top Comments
  • 27 Hide
    phantomtrooper , March 31, 2010 4:11 AM
    I would hate playing with that much black area between screens. I will stick with my 1080p monitor thank you.
  • 26 Hide
    mtyermom , March 31, 2010 5:33 AM
    This begs the question: how long until we have zero-bezel displays?
  • 20 Hide
    magicbullet , March 31, 2010 4:47 AM
    wow......i feel so poor.
Other Comments
  • 27 Hide
    phantomtrooper , March 31, 2010 4:11 AM
    I would hate playing with that much black area between screens. I will stick with my 1080p monitor thank you.
  • 11 Hide
    megamanx00 , March 31, 2010 4:22 AM
    :o  They got two of those cards!! Lucky punks.
  • 2 Hide
    megamanx00 , March 31, 2010 4:38 AM
    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.
  • 2 Hide
    duk3 , March 31, 2010 4:40 AM
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814125322&cm_re=5870-_-14-125-322-_-Product
    Immediate availability? Yes.
    Even in stock! (When linked :p  )
  • 20 Hide
    magicbullet , March 31, 2010 4:47 AM
    wow......i feel so poor.
  • 3 Hide
    Anonymous , March 31, 2010 4:52 AM
    Should have just made the 5970 the eyefinity edition
  • 0 Hide
    ltcommander_data , March 31, 2010 5:27 AM
    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.
  • 26 Hide
    mtyermom , March 31, 2010 5:33 AM
    This begs the question: how long until we have zero-bezel displays?
  • 8 Hide
    oldscotch , March 31, 2010 5:47 AM
    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 ;) 
  • 5 Hide
    Anonymous , March 31, 2010 5:52 AM
    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.
  • -4 Hide
    N.Broekhuijsen , March 31, 2010 5:58 AM
    you made my FullHD 22inch screen look like nothing.... I did not know such a thing was possible.... :( 
  • -3 Hide
    SpadeM , March 31, 2010 6:36 AM
    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.
  • 4 Hide
    husker , March 31, 2010 6:45 AM
    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.
  • 8 Hide
    welshmousepk , March 31, 2010 6:48 AM
    6x 1080p projectors would be nice.

    now i just need to win the lottery.
  • 5 Hide
    lutel , March 31, 2010 7:03 AM
    now it is time for bezelless LCDs
  • 2 Hide
    cangelini , March 31, 2010 7:09 AM
    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.
  • 1 Hide
    anamaniac , March 31, 2010 7:26 AM
    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.
  • 1 Hide
    anamaniac , March 31, 2010 7:28 AM
    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.
  • 17 Hide
    gti88 , March 31, 2010 7:41 AM
    I don't think I could enjoy a game with these black bezels.
  • -3 Hide
    yyk71200 , March 31, 2010 8:19 AM
    Me want to play Crysis at 7680x3200 max quality, AA, and AF.
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