Cutting Loose With Eyefinity 6
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.
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.
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.