We should also add that monitor bezels are more of an issue with entertainment than productivity. We’ve been using multi-monitor configs in the office for years with no bezel complaints. Sometimes, the bezels even help with organizing apps. In gaming and media playback, bezels often become something your brain sort of filters out, just like the support frame separating your windshield from the side windows.
Then again, there are times when bezels really do intrude. As some forum posters noted, first-person shooter gaming on an Eyefinity array with an even number of monitors just doesn’t work because the targeting reticle sits smack in the middle of the display between two bezels where you can’t see it. In racing games, diagonal lines, like the edge of a track, don’t line up smoothly between screens. Objects moving from one screen to the next appear to jump suddenly. To remedy these issues, AMD built “bezel compensation” into its Catalyst driver set.
Bezels are only really an issue for entertainment.
“When we compensate, we hide pixels behind where the bezel should be,” says AMD’s Parfitt. “We don’t display them. When objects move behind the bezel, they disappear for a bit then come out the other side. It delivers a much smoother experience within the game. Edges look a lot more natural because they line up.”
When you enable bezel compensation, a handful of new resolution modes get added to applications and the Windows desktop. The driver adds pixels to the resolution so you don’t have to scrunch things in to hide pixels or have black bars on the outer edges. Enabling and disabling these compensated modes entails nothing more than selecting a new resolution. If you’re doing a media wall and want to span a very large TV image across several panels, not having bezel compensation is going to result in a lot of edge jumping. Bezel compensation remedies than in just a few clicks.
Bezel compensation was a high-priority target for the Catalyst team. As forum poster Snipe3000 noted in our last Eyefinity piece, the technology’s utility for some users will be limited until a portrait-landscape-portrait mode is supported. We asked AMD about this and got an honest answer: In the present generation, Eyefinity groups are largely based on cloning. Rotation would have “added a lot more work” to an already intensive effort, and there just wasn’t enough engineering bandwidth to squeeze the feature into the launch.
This author's non-Eyefinity, triple-screen setup on an Ergotron stand.
“We know people who have that configuration for productivity and agree that it can be useful in gaming,” says AMD’s Roger Quero. “So yes, we do have people looking into it.”