Part 2: AMD's Eyefinity Technology Explained

Eyefinity, By The People

As important as DisplayPort may be to the overall Eyefinity effort, software may be the most important of all considerations for the end-user. If the software is buggy or doesn’t live up to end-user’s expectations, Eyefinity’s prospects will quickly dim. AMD is keenly aware of this, so the company took its development efforts out to the community it so much wanted to serve. The Eyefinity team went to the operator of Widescreen Gaming Forum, who set up for AMD a roundtable group of users—“his trusted cadre,” according to Shane Parfitt.

“We ran our Eyefinity software requirements around to a lot of insiders and got some really valuable feedback,” says Parfitt. “There was a lot of debate about the HUD. Where the HUD occurs in the game depends on the game itself. In a first-person shooter, you’ve got a targeting reticle somewhere in the center of the screen that hopefully maps where your bullets are going to go. With strategy, you may have HUD elements that include what you’re building, how many resources you have, and all that stuff. So I got some great feedback on where they want those elements to be. FPS shooters, they were very clear that they didn’t want the center screen clogged up. They want a clear field of view, because that center is what they’re focusing on. The real-time strategy players wanted elements spread across the entire array in locations that made sense to that type of gamer.”

Left 4 Dead HUD

Other hot topics included things like field of view and how much scaling or stretching should occur. Naturally, no one wants stretching on side panels, but AMD states that never having any stretching is “a bit of a mathematical impossibility,” depending on the field of view associated with the front and side panels. The question was how users want that stretching to be handled.

Another popular issue was the reticle (crosshairs), because some users wanting a two- or four-monitor Eyefinity array option. AMD took the request back to game developers but had no luck. 

“The crosshairs issue came up a great deal in our focus group,” says Parfitt. “But it turns out that moving that targeting reticle even a little bit affects the ballistics of the gun, where the bullets end up going, and so on. It requires a major rewriting of their engine and code.”

You can’t win ‘em all, but the upshot of this and similar roundtable groups allowed AMD to go back to vendors with a list of best practices to try and make Eyefinity into what the bulk of users kept asking for.

  • 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!