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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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  • Flatscreen TV (Score:2, Insightful)

    Why not just use one big-ass flatscreen TV?
    • by Jurily ( 900488 ) <<moc.liamg> <ta> <yliruj>> on Thursday February 25, 2010 @01:25PM (#31274138)

      Because then you'd be able to see the middle of the screen, and nobody wants that.

    • by sakdoctor ( 1087155 ) on Thursday February 25, 2010 @01:26PM (#31274148) Homepage

      A big-ass flat-screen TV would not have a resolution of 5760 x 2160, and therefore would have a smaller e-penis.

      • 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 Anpheus ( 908711 )

          Higher resolution displays just often tend to be better quality. They're more likely to be used by consumers for watching movies and such and so they have a target to shoot for there. Not that you can't still buy low res displays, but they're almost always disappointing in comparison to bigger, brighter, higher resolution ones.

      • Man, shit, where’s your imagination??

        Just put up a couple of HD beamers! On a concave screen. And you’re good. You can even fill all of your viewing area that way.

      • by leptons ( 891340 )
        I love my 6 screens. [] I'm glad ATI is promoting this setup. It will be much easier for me to upgrade if there is a pre-made solution for this, especially if they can make the bezel as thin as possible and fix the 3d acceleration. Right now I have to drive it with two quad-output video cards, but the current ATI card setup I have suffers from crap drivers mostly, so I hope they are working on that aspect of the set
    • Yeah, I dunno. My present solution is a 60" tv with a Ps-3 hooked to it. All this seems...excessive.

      (hypocrisy, thy name is em emalb)

      • Loser.. I am a "secret" Illegitimate child of the owner of the Dallas Cowboys.. I play halo on their 70 yard wide screen.. Daddy makes Tony Romo play me, and makes it clear he better let me win... :)

        • You win the prize! ;-)

          You must have one hell of a walk down to the reset button on the console.

          That screen is insane. Over 11.500 sq ft of viewing space. Unreal.

      • by toastar ( 573882 )

        Yeah, I dunno. My present solution is a 60" tv with a Ps-3 hooked to it. All this seems...excessive.

        (hypocrisy, thy name is em emalb)

        My Ps3 is hooked up to a 10' projector :P

    • Why not just use one big-ass flatscreen TV?

      That's a fair question.

      HDMI 1.4 delivers a single cable solution for 4Kx2K video, Ethernet over HDMI, 3D over HDMI, etc.

      The tech for affordable 4Kx2K projection isn't that far off. Epson Develops World's First 4K Compatible HTPS TFT Liquid Crystal Panel for 3LCD Projectors []

      • That's a fair question. HDMI 1.4 delivers a single cable solution for 4Kx2K video, Ethernet over HDMI, 3D over HDMI, etc.

        And here's a fair answer: Because this solution is available today, which is more than you can say for "a big-ass flatscreen TV" that does 4kx2k video.

    • by toastar ( 573882 )

      Why not just use one big-ass flatscreen TV?

      Less pixels is better, um right?

      • Why not just use one big-ass flatscreen TV?

        Less pixels is better, um right?

        If you sit at a reasonable distance, yes?

        • by Cecil ( 37810 )

          If you want peripheral vision immersion at reasonable distances, then you're going to need, oh, let's say, 6 big-ass flatscreen TVs.

    • It's the goal of Carrell Killebrew from ATI to make a holodeck.

      His desire to do this wasn’t born out of pure lunacy, Carrell does have a goal in mind. Within the next 6 years he wants to have a first generation holodeck operational. A first generation holodeck would be composed of a 180 degree hemispherical display with both positionally and phase accurate sound. We’ll also need the pixel pushing power to make it all seem lifelike. That amounts to at least 100 million pixels (7 million pixels fo

    • No... But you do bring up a good point... Why not just take SIX big-ass flatscreen TVs?
  • If you're going to have multi-screens with the unavoidable 4-8cm of bezel between them, and a DELL logo right in the middle, you might as well get a projector.

    • by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Thursday February 25, 2010 @01:40PM (#31274386)

      One of the reasons that people are interested in this is higher rez. I mean you can just buy a big 42" HDTV or something if you want a large display. Fine, but that's just 1920x1080. Same sort of deal with a projector. Getting one that does HD resolutions isn't hard. However you really don't want to know what a high rez one costs.

      • by characterZer0 ( 138196 ) on Thursday February 25, 2010 @01:58PM (#31274766)

        How about 6 projectors aimed properly?

        • Just ask your neighbors to cover the side of their house in white plywood for the right screen size

          • Uuum, are you... dumb?

            Just put the projectors closer!!
            You can even use less powerful ones, since there is less surface to light on.

            • place them so close to the screen that I have 6 projectors between me and my display, or just far enough away that I am in between my projectors and their destination ?

              • by Qu4Z ( 1402097 )

                Put them above/below you, and turn on keystone correction. Hell, you can put all six on the floor and point them up if you can't afford to hang them from the ceiling (although if you can afford six projectors, you probably can...)

        • I'm not saying it can't be done, but it would be a hell of a task. It would be fairly expensive to start with, HD projectors cost a good deal more than computer monitors. Then you'd have to get some array to hold them all for proper aiming. The power and heat problems wouldn't be trivial, you'd need a dedicated circuit, maybe two, and some way of dealing with all the heat from the lights. The noise would be pretty high too, if they weren't isolated.

          Once you've got that all take care of, the calibration woul

      • by toastar ( 573882 )

        One of the reasons that people are interested in this is higher rez. I mean you can just buy a big 42" HDTV or something if you want a large display. Fine, but that's just 1920x1080. Same sort of deal with a projector. Getting one that does HD resolutions isn't hard. However you really don't want to know what a high rez one costs.

        This is why a 30" monitor looks so much better then a 42" TV.

  • 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.

    • by RMingin ( 985478 )

      For the less-observant, Mr. Tippett speaks from a position of some authority on ATI's Linux doings.

      Mr. Tippett: You still have #ati on Freenode? I've been meaning to jump on and check out my channel (humor), but Freenode dumped my registrations.

    • by Ant P. ( 974313 )

      I noticed some pretty visible lag in that video between the top left and the rest of the screens. Is that going to be fixed?

    • by Ihmhi ( 1206036 )

      I have never opened up a monitor - the Great Sages who taught me the Way of the Computer warned of deadly capicators and to never attempt such a thing - but what's to stop an ingenious individual from removing the frames on monitors and just sticking them next to one another?

      I'd much rather have a 1/16th inch gap over a 1 inch gap between multiple monitors...

      • by adolf ( 21054 )

        There's not much deadly voltage to worry about in an LCD. The only thing high-voltage is the inverter for the backlight, and it's got so little capacitance that there's just not much of anything there. (And even then, by "high voltage" I mean "a couple of hundred volts," not "a couple thousand volts.")

        But it's not like the bezels are there just for show. The LCD panel assemblies themselves, with backlighting, circuitry, a supporting frame, and the other fun stuff that lets them work, extend a fair bit be

  • 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.

  • Use multiple video projectors - no bezels.

    • How about making monitors with pure white bezels and a custom projector that projects the missing information on the bezels? That's the ticket!
    • 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.
      • My local pub has a setup like this. I imagine it was fairly expensive to setup as it's 6-7 projectors, each with their own slave computer controlled by a server running a bit of software called watchout,( by dataton). It doesn't use cameras to calibrate, it was done manually (or so I'm told), but since the projectors have been installed for at least 5-6 years the time spent calibrating them isn't such a big deal. And the software allows for making minor adjustments (via sliders) in case you bump one of the
  • by Yvan256 ( 722131 ) on Thursday February 25, 2010 @01:45PM (#31274474) Homepage Journal

    To eliminate the unequal bezels problem you only have to use 12 441 600 monitors of 1x1 pixel resolution.

    • Let's see. RGB LEDs are usually 5,000 units/reel. The distributor would probably cut you some sort of deal if you were ordering 2,500 reels...

      Driver circuitry is left as an exercise for the reader.

      Cabling is left as an exercise for anybody who isn't me.
    • They are called LEDs. And “There’s a driver for that!”! (Can I coin that as a new motto for Linux? ^^)

  • by Havokmon ( 89874 ) <rick AT havokmon DOT com> on Thursday February 25, 2010 @01:47PM (#31274520) Homepage Journal
    This is Da Shizzle. []
  • Keyboard ? FAIL !
    • he is also sitting back 8 or 10 feet from the screens. If the idea is for immersion and peripheral vision, then you need to be up close and surrounded. Sitting back there just means you have very high resolution with shit in the way, and you cant really see the resolution at that distance anyhow ... or at least you wouldnt notice lower res.

  • 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 MORB ( 793798 )

      What kind of game would require entire screens of statistics and graphs? I mean, other than EVE online?

      • hmm, moving all the UI to other screens, and the market screen, items, cargo containers would be nice.

      • by mayko ( 1630637 )
        I doubt any would _require_ multiple screens, but reducing clutter on the main screen would make any almost game better. And as the technology, and multi-screen set ups become more common, game developers will find ways to use the extra space.

        Most MMORPG's could take advantage for things like inventory, abilities, chat logs, damage statistics, group party members... I can think of some bad-ass things you could do with simulator games too. Like mimicking the cockpit of a military vehicle, ect.
  • 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.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by idontgno ( 624372 )

      ^^ 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

    • Look into Supreme Commander, it supports multiple monitors

    • by Samah ( 729132 )

      For instance, I would definitively love to play starcraft with several view point on multiple screens.

      That would be awesome, though probably tricky to control. The main problem with that is that it would never be allowed in tournaments - too much of an unfair advantage. Even your friends would probably rage at you. :)

  • 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.

    • That's actually what I do with my dual monitor setups both at home and at my research office. My advisor keeps wondering why I do it, but from my chair, it really does cut the width of the bezel in half, making it a much more seamless experience. Of course, if you sit in a variety of positions, it doesn't work as well, but if you favor one particular way of sitting, it's great.
  • Multiple monitors as display area extenders seem to be used when a cost effective single monitor doesn't exist to do the job. A couple of Darius games, The Ninja Warriors and Konami's X-Men used multiple monitors in arcades since a single wider screen monitor didn't exist. But then cheap rear projection technology came along and made this setup obsolete. Soon enough a cheap, single screen solution will come along to replace Eyefinity. Then we'll need another multimonitor setup when that resolution proves to
    • by Hatta ( 162192 )

      At the normal distances you sit from a computer monitor, there's only so big you can make the monitor and keep the stuff on the edges readable.

  • ...even old fighter planes had cockpits with lots of support to hold the plexiglass panels (think of the Messerchmitt ME 109 or Mitsubsihi Zero). IF you think of it in these terms bezels are no big deal.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      thanks to parallax, pillars in a car or plane only block the view to the extent that they exceed the distance between your eyes. on top of that you can just move your head side to side a little bit and see if anything is in your pillar-induced blind spot.

      this doesn't work with monitors because the pixels are about the same distance from your eye as the bezels. a head-tracking display would help, but that wasn't mentioned in the article.

    • Big difference: In the car or airplane, you can shift your head slightly to see what may have been blocked by the roof pillar or window frame.

      You cannot do this with the computer display. Its image is 2-dimensional, so there is no parallax possible.

    • Yes, but they did not have to navigate menus or HUDs with a line missing in the middle.
    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      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 ver

  • Anyone who would like to play with this kind of tech should have a look at SoftTH, all you need is 3 monitors and 2 pcie vid cards. Works nicely in some cases and is a lot cheaper than hardware solutions []
  • MacOS 6.X

    It's been possible to do this on Apple's 'open slot' machines since NuBus was the sh*t....


Logic is the chastity belt of the mind!