We don't have dates, prices, or benchmark scores yet, but after a demo in our offices Thursday, we can at least report on our brief experience with AMD's forthcoming Eyefinity graphics card technology. By enabling you to connect up to six monitors to a single PC, Eyefinity opens a wide array of display possibilities with appeal for a number of different kinds of users.
Even before we saw Eyefinity in person, it was clear that this is a niche technology aimed at those willing to spend a lot of money. By way of example, AMD brought in six, 22-inch Dell Professional P2210H displays and a pair of Adtec vertical mounts to support them, for a retail total cost of around $1,650.
We'll guess and say AMD's Eyefinity-capable graphics card will cost between $500 and $600 (again, a guess). Even if AMD charges $400 for the card, adding no premium to the standard Radeon HD 5870's on which Eyefinity is built, you're looking at a $2,000 investment for a six-display Eyefinity setup, assuming you already own a fast-enough desktop to run it.
Once you make the investment, you'll need to go through the cumbersome installation process. That means mounting each display, aligning the bezels properly, and then connecting the Mini DisplayPort cable and the appropriate adapter to each of the Eyefinity card's six Mini DP outputs.
With the hardware set up, you then need to go through AMD's driver software to configure the panels in your desired layout. Eyefinity supports both extended desktop and clone display modes, and with six monitors to play with you can operate a variety of configurations. You can extend the display across all monitors in a 3x2 arrangement. You can also stack two, 3x1 extended desktops on top of each other, or run three banks of adjacent 1x2 extended desktops. The maximum resolution of the desktop extended across six monitors comes in at 5,760x2,160 pixels.
Such high-resolution output obviously has appeal to the PC gaming crowd, and AMD spent most of our demo showing off the Eyefinity's gaming chops. We saw demos of Dirt 2, Supreme Commander 2, and Tom Clancy's HAWX running across all six screens at full 5,760x2,160, all with smooth frame rates. Not every game out there will scale to such high-resolution output, but AMD is working with various game developers and publishers to ensure that as many games as possible will take advantage of Eyefinity.
As you might imagine, running six displays has some unexpected quirks.… Read more