Part 2: AMD's Eyefinity Technology Explained


In the end, Eyefinity comes down to DisplayPort. You need the ports on the cards and on the monitors. Otherwise, all we’re having is a glorified VGA and TMDS discussion. AMD has placed its bets on the right technology. There’s no question that DisplayPort is the smart choice for monitor connectivity going forward. But the world doesn’t always lean toward smart, and when it does, that leaning doesn’t always come soon enough. So this is AMD’s big gamble. Right now, it has the obvious upper hand in multiple display technology, but whether that technical advantage can turn into a decisive competitive coup will depend on how quickly and enthusiastically monitor manufacturers and end-users alike embrace DisplayPort.

Dell's U2410 and its ports.

Price remains a common concern with DisplayPort. For example, just prior to publication, the DisplayPort-enabled Dell U2410 (24" widescreen, 1920x1200, 400 cd/m2, IPS technology) was selling on Amazon for $679.99. This is one of the flagship 24" DisplayPort panels available today. However, Samsung’s 24.6" SyncMaster P2570, which is a little faster, a bit less bright, most mostly similar except for being TN-based and omitting DisplayPort and VGA connectivity, is selling over on Newegg for $299.99. Why the disparity?

Samsung's output array

“It’s volume,” says AMD’s Parfitt. “As the volume of DisplayPort monitors increases, the price will decrease. But notice too that DisplayPort monitors have more connectors than just DisplayPort. They have VGA, DVI, HDMI. Some of the higher-end ones even have composite and component. All of those connectors add to the cost.”

Parfitt adds that the monitor controllers also have scalers for shifting low-res input up to the native resolution of the panel. A lot of these electronics can go away if people implement VESA’s Direct Drive Monitor (DDM) model. DDM is a set of design guidelines meant to help simplify DisplayPort monitors, lowering both their materials count and power consumption. A DDM display has a DisplayPort receiver and connects directly to the LCD panel, not a bunch of intermediary electronics. There’s no need for in-monitor scalers if you already have a good GPU handling scaling. Once vendors implement Direct Drive monitors, the overall price of the displays should drop significantly, but this brings us back to a chicken and egg problem. Until a sufficient number of DisplayPort adapters are being sold, monitor vendors won’t be able to hit the volume numbers they want to make those savings feasible.

  • akula2
    I use 3 LCDs with 5770 as well as 5850 cards to run many applications simultaneously. Eyefinity feature offers so much and one could easily avoid buying additional PCs by tapping the features from the processor and the graphics card.
  • akula2
    Could someone tell me what happened to the "Print" feature on Tom?
  • ckim2116
    It'd be nice if AMD had their own list of Eyefinity supported games. Some of the games on WGF don't work; in fact, the only games that have worked out perfectly for me have been TF2, Batman Arkham Asylum, Torchlight, and L4D2 (all you have to do is select your resolution in the options, in my case 5760x1080). In other games the menu screen just keeps blinking, and attempting to change the resolution just freezes the game.

    Can't wait until all the kinks are worked out!
  • cangelini
    akula2Could someone tell me what happened to the "Print" feature on Tom?
    It's right above the comments section, to the right of "Share," amongst a ton of tiny little icons :)
  • jsowoc
    I don't see DisplayPort costing that much more. If I look at 22-24" LCDs, the cheapest they come is around $200 for a TN panel or $300 for a PVA monitor, and about $450-500 for an IPS monitor. It's personal preference whether the quality difference is worth the cost.

    If you compare a $200 TN w/out DisplayPort to a $500 IPS w/ DisplayPort, you are comparing apples to oranges. The Amazon price of $220 for a TN w/ DisplayPort is more representative of pricing.
  • xrodney
    I am using 30" dell but only way i can use its native resolution is over DVI, on either HDMI or Displayport maximum of 1920x1200 is possible.
    I am not sure if this is limit on DELL only, but as far as I read neither ati 4xxx or 5xxx grapahic card and neither any widely available LCD supports more then that which is quite pitty.
    Even more disapointing is that DHCP working only over single DVI link (1920x1200 max) on DELLs and probably others as well.
  • 1898
    Very interesting read, thanks.

    From the article:
  • RazberyBandit
    Hmm. Landscape-landscape-landscape seems like it would just be sick for gaming. ASUS monitor bezels are actually angled at the top and bottom. When stacked tightly in such an arrangement, they actually wrap around the viewer nicely. Three 24" 16:9 ratio (1920x1080) monitors stacked sideways yields a HUGE 3:2 ratio (3240x1920 resolution) display. Three 16:10 (1920x1200) monitors end up at 3600x1920. I like this idea better than the far more panoramic view of 5760x1080 or 5760x1200 for most games.

    Alas, I'll be waiting on the next-gen cards and monitors in hopes that prices drop and availability increases. I'd also like to see the proposed standards mentioned within this article actually go into effect, as well as see adoption of display port grow and the technology itself mature.

    Lastly I hope stands adopt a standard that supports landscape-landscape-landscape, portrait-portrait-portrait, and any combination in-between. Having to go out and buy 3 cheap VESA mounts, some metal tubing and round-bar, then get to cutting, bending, and welding my own stand together sounds like a fun project, but I'd rather just buy a mass-produced one.

    Edit: I meant portrait-portrait-portrait...
  • gaborbarla
    Bought a 5870 HD the other day.
    Two questions remain for me that I couldnt filter out from these articles by skimming through them:

    1. Why do we need a display port again? I thought the whole point of HDMI was to introduce a digital standard that works with everything TVs Digital signal processors, PCs. Now that most monitors, graphics cards and even some motherboards are starting to support HDMI they come out with a new format... (dot dot dot)

    2. Why does the 5800 series need a display port? why couldn't it have 3 DVI-Ds? So far I haven't even seen a single monitor that has displayport.

  • ArgleBargle
    $749 for a dual 5970? I thought a single 5970 cost that much!