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Displays Graphics

Game Testing ATI's Six-Screen Eyefinity System 105

Barence writes "ATI has carted its monstrous six-monitor Eyefinity gaming system to the offices of PC Pro for an extensive hands-on session. The game was Race Driver: GRID, the resolution was a mighty 5,760 x 2,160, and the overall effect was ... a bit hit and miss. There's no denying it has potential, and the level of immersion sounds impressive, but this report complains of problems with bezel correction that currently tarnish the overall effect."
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Game Testing ATI's Six-Screen Eyefinity System

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  • by mtippett ( 110279 ) on Thursday February 25, 2010 @01:33PM (#31274284) Homepage

    From the launch activities for the 5800 family. []

    24 monitors, 4 cards, 1 PC. All consumer grade. All running Linux. And yes, there is bezel correction.

    Yes, there are black lines for the monitors. I couldn't get the budget to do 24 50" Plasmas. But think beyond the demo part of the tech and think about the possibilities.

  • Why have a bezel? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by inKubus ( 199753 ) on Thursday February 25, 2010 @01:42PM (#31274412) Homepage Journal

    Seems like the bezels could be modular caps so you could snap the monitors together. You could have a flexible joint under the bezel cap or have some sort of adapter that would plug the monitors together at a fixed angle. I don't know why no one's done this yet.. The bezel is really not necessary in the middle of the screen. Someone could probably mock this up with a few flat panels and a dremel and a hot glue gun, any takers?

    Once that's done, you could further enhance it with a mesh network bus for video and audio. Audio would be especially cool coming out of the center of the monitor panel. You could address it geometrically in 3d space and it could just come out of the right monitor speaker.

  • by Havokmon ( 89874 ) <> on Thursday February 25, 2010 @01:47PM (#31274520) Homepage Journal
    This is Da Shizzle. []
  • Advanced UI (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mayko ( 1630637 ) on Thursday February 25, 2010 @01:49PM (#31274594)
    I can see this being used for advanced user interfaces, where one monitor displays the game action or whatever graphics in full screen. The additional screens would be used for tool bars, statistics, messaging, or whatever else would useful for the game.

    Until monitors without bezels are ubiquitous, and affordable, I can't see someone enjoying a game played like this.
  • by godrik ( 1287354 ) on Thursday February 25, 2010 @01:51PM (#31274632)

    but not to display a higher resolution, but to display more information. For instance, I would definitively love to play starcraft with several view point on multiple screens. Or display detailled city/empire statistic on a secondary screen in civilization. Or a tactical RPG display character statistics (as in FireEmblem DS). Having game that allow you to do this kind of things would really be AWESOME to me.

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Thursday February 25, 2010 @01:57PM (#31274744) Journal
    You have to deal with projector image overlap. Doable; but not trivial [].

    The commercially available setups all tend to require specialized software and one or more cameras(for automatic feedback and correction). This raises the cost substantially above that of the projectors alone. Always a bad sign about the price when you can't find a price sheet []...

    Hopefully, things like Eyefinity, and the falling costs of projectors and webcams, will drag this stuff down into the realm of the affordable at some point in the fairly near future. The software required for edge and geometry correction, particularly automatic machine-vision based stuff, isn't trivial; but it really only has to be written once(the core logic, probably a lot of nasty platform-specific glue that will need doing repeatedly) and the cost of decent projectors and cameras good enough for automatic calibration purposes has been falling over time. If it can go from niche to mass-market, it could become fairly cheap.
  • by characterZer0 ( 138196 ) on Thursday February 25, 2010 @01:58PM (#31274766)

    How about 6 projectors aimed properly?

  • Re:Projector (Score:5, Interesting)

    by billcopc ( 196330 ) <> on Thursday February 25, 2010 @02:11PM (#31274992) Homepage

    The problem with multiple displays, and specifically Matrox' business model, is that it is utterly trivial to add more displays to a card. The most difficult part, and I say this facetiously, is to come up with a break-out connector since the PCI backplate can only fit two full-sized DVI or VGA ports. Mash a bunch of pins into a tiny form-factor, make a cable that splits them back out into regular DVI, and you have yourself an N-way display card. The electronics are just more of the same. If you can make a dual-DVI card, then you can mash eight of those chipsets together on one board and have a 16 DVI card.

    What Matrox used to excel at was their RAMDACs, which resulted in better output quality on the VGA. In this age of all-digital interconnects, there is no need for a RAMDAC anymore. It's all digital to digital, the graphics card simply acts as a frame buffer with accelerated drawing routines, all the heavy lifting has been moved to the display itself. With an act like Matrox, the "GPU" component is an underpowered 2D engine designed for low cost, not high performance.

    ATI's Eyefinity is a non-starter for gaming, but it is a slap in the face of all these shitty companies that have been selling glorified garbage to multi-display fetishists for so long.

  • by idontgno ( 624372 ) on Thursday February 25, 2010 @02:20PM (#31275152) Journal

    ^^ This.

    I play a bit of WoW. I raid a little, playing a ranged damage class. Raid-support information is a humongous source of screen clutter. With full raid displays enabled, over 50% of my display is raid-related information graphics, not combat scene. If I have to engage a target off my visual centerline, it probably formed under the raid graphics and I have to repoint to look at and select it.

    It would be massively nicer if the raid-support info-graphics could be well off to the side, off the battlefield view.

    Ah well.

    BTW, I'm surprised no one has proposed this: if 6 screens puts a big nasty bezel seam right across your field of view... use 9 screens. A 3x3 array puts dead-center of field of view dead-center in the central monitor. Win.

  • suggestion (Score:4, Interesting)

    by fred fleenblat ( 463628 ) on Thursday February 25, 2010 @02:32PM (#31275306) Homepage

    stagger the monitors depthwise so that adjacent bezels overlap from the point of view of the user. this will cut your bezel problem in half.

  • Re:Flatscreen TV (Score:4, Interesting)

    by HTH NE1 ( 675604 ) on Thursday February 25, 2010 @02:35PM (#31275360)

    But what if instead of six 1920x1080 displays, I hook up six Matrox TripleHead2Go boxes each with three inexpensive 1280x1024 displays, for nearly 23.6 megapixels of display instead of 12.4 MP (assuming the card can handle 23.6 MP). The digital Matrox boxes have their own bezel adjustments, though they do it by exaggerating the outermost bezel, so you're limited in useful arrangements to six-by-three portrait. 5760x2160 vs. 6144x3840.

    But then I think you need the bandwidth of six dual-link DVI ports, one for each Matrox box. Their analog VGA version last I checked didn't have bezel adjustments.

    Also, I wonder if they considered using only 5 screens with a single portrait-oriented display in the center to get rid of the center horizon bezel issue. 4920x2160 (10 MP usable) isn't bad and for driving games you don't need as much vertical resolution in the center. Maybe five 16:10 displays instead (5040x2400, 11.52 MP usable)? Or some 2048x1152 displays (5248x2304, just under 11.8 MP usable)?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 25, 2010 @04:39PM (#31277282)

    Nobody is complaining of roof pillars in cars...

    Actually, the front pillars on cars are implicated as a major cause of motorcycle accidents []. I can't dig up the original article I remember reading, but there are restrictions on the width of the front pillars of cars sold in the UK, except if there's a window in it. Modern car designs now often feature extremely wide pillars for rigidity and to hold side-impact airbags, so small token windows to get around the law are pretty much the norm.

    The top picture in the article I linked demonstrates the problem very well. The small window serves no legitimate purpose.

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