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AMD Displays Graphics Upgrades Hardware Technology

AMD's DX11 Radeons Can Drive Six 30 Displays 439

J. Dzhugashvili writes "Whereas most current graphics cards can only drive a pair of displays, AMD has put some special sauce in its next-generation DirectX 11 GPUs to enable support for a whopping six monitors. There's no catch about supported resolutions, either. At an event yesterday, AMD demonstrated a single next-gen Radeon driving six 30" Dell monitors, each with a resolution of 2560x1600, hooked up via DisplayPort. Total resolution: 7680x3200 (or 24.6 megapixels). AMD's drivers present this setup as a single monitor to Windows, so in theory, games don't need to be updated to support it. AMD showed off Dead Space, Left 4 Dead, World of Warcraft, and DiRT 2 running at playable frame rates on the six displays."
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AMD's DX11 Radeons Can Drive Six 30" Displays

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    Can't wait to build a new computer in 2 years when prices go down and my computer becomes obsolete.

    PC gaming rocks.

    • by xOneca ( 1271886 ) on Thursday September 10, 2009 @05:58PM (#29383481) Homepage
      Will be a driver available for Linux?
    • by CarpetShark ( 865376 ) on Thursday September 10, 2009 @06:43PM (#29384007)

      Affordable, graphics on six 30-inch monitors, or playable framerates. Choose 2.

    • Re:gunna be great (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Draek ( 916851 ) on Thursday September 10, 2009 @06:48PM (#29384073)

      Can't wait to build a new computer in 2 years when prices go down and my computer becomes obsolete.

      Such is the life of graphics whores.

      Meanwhile, the rest of us are happy to play with our HD4350s and GF 6200s, and upgrading only once every five years or so, to the next bargain-bin card, whose R&D was paid by all of you :)

    • Re:gunna be great (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ILuvRamen ( 1026668 ) on Friday September 11, 2009 @02:54AM (#29386633)
      Don't get too jumpy about this. Think about it logically. What's the point in having 6 if it acts like one in Windows? You can't fullscreen an ap like a TV Tuner viewer or media player or game on just one monitor. Just get like an 80 inch LCD for cheaper and then you can actually play a game, which you really can't do with plastic frame gaps between each of the 6 monitors. I can't stand having my crosshair halved across two displays whose LCDs are like 4 inches apart and you get that issue with 2,4,and 6 displays. It'd really be 9 or 1 as your only real options.
  • by sznupi ( 719324 ) on Thursday September 10, 2009 @03:45PM (#29382045) Homepage

    Most games in multimon scenarios really need odd number of displays; 5 is better than 6 in this case (and you just know some people will say this is unusable, because of monitor bezel in the center)

    BTW...goodbye Matrox, last stronghold just went away.

  • by jeffb (2.718) ( 1189693 ) on Thursday September 10, 2009 @03:46PM (#29382053)

    I'll bet I can't get more than two of them into my machine, which means I'm still stuck with a maximum of 12 monitors. Dammit.

    • From TFA,

      I didn't snap a picture of it, but I checked the back of the PC accomplishing this feat, and all six of the DisplayPort connections were plugged into a single expansion slot.

      • by ColdWetDog ( 752185 ) on Thursday September 10, 2009 @04:03PM (#29382277) Homepage

        I didn't snap a picture of it, but I checked the back of the PC accomplishing this feat, and all six of the DisplayPort connections were plugged into a single expansion slot.

        But you missed the 220V 3 phase power connector and the freon pipes for cooling.

        • 3 phase 220 V? And here I was thinking 3 phase was generally 400 V.

          Of course, I suppose maybe there's some country out there that uses 220 V 3 phase.


          • by maino82 ( 851720 ) on Thursday September 10, 2009 @04:33PM (#29382633)
            3-phase 220V (or 240V, depending on if you're looking at the nameplate on the equipment or the voltage coming out of the plug) is not-so-commonly used in the US on commercial buildings in residential neighborhoods that are served by 240V transformers where the utility company is too lazy to upgrade their equipment and give you a proper voltage for a commercial building. It's called a high leg delta system where you have a neutral coming off of the mid-point of one of the transformer windings. This creates 120V for 2 of the phases to neutral, 208V for the third phase to neutral (this is the "high leg" part), 240V single phase when you connect line to line and 240V three phase when you connect line to line to line.

            Electricity is fun!
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward


        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by moosesocks ( 264553 )

          Nah. The power consumption would be high, but not that high. You might even be able to get it all on one circuit without blowing a fuse.

          According to the specs, a 30" Dell LCD consumes [dell.com] somewhere between 163 and 250W.

          This number is surprisingly high, considering a 27" CRT TV only uses [wordpress.com] approx. 100W, although the same guy measured a 30" Dell LCD to consume approx. 90W, which sounds much more believable. If your LCD is consuming 250W, it's either going to be blindingly bright, or throwing off a serious amount

    • Going by the previous generation 4890s, you can fit 4 of them in certain x58 motherboards, Most will support upto 3 however.

  • by BlindSpot ( 512363 ) on Thursday September 10, 2009 @03:48PM (#29382071)

    AMD has put some special sauce in its next-generation DirectX 11 GPUs to enable support for a whopping six monitors.

    Special Sauce for a Whopper, eh? I must have missed the merger announcement between AMD and Burger King.

  • Gaming on 6 screens seems a bit ridiculous. I mean for PC gaming you're at most 5 feet away from your screen, if that. When I first upgraded to a 22" LCD monitor from my 15" I felt a bit overwhelmed. It almost made me nauseous playing games on it at first. I got used to it, but it still takes up most of my field of view at my desk. Anything over 24" just seems to be over the top.
  • by MojoKid ( 1002251 ) * on Thursday September 10, 2009 @03:48PM (#29382097)
    Eyefinity is enabled through a combination of hardware and software being developed by AMD. On the hardware front, AMD's upcoming Radeons will sport between 3 and 6 display outputs of various types, DisplayPort, DVI, HDMI, etc. And those outputs will be managed by software currently dubbed SLS, or Single Large Surface. Using the SLS tool, users are able to configure a group of monitors to work with Eyefinity and essentially act as a single, large display.

    http://hothardware.com/News/AMD-Eyefinity-MultiDisplay-Technology-In-Action/ [hothardware.com]

    7680 x 3200 - that ought to increase your field of view just a tad!
  • by Acer500 ( 846698 ) on Thursday September 10, 2009 @03:50PM (#29382107) Journal
    This guy already had this set up for a while, it's pretty cool (now 12 screens):

    http://www.stefandidak.com/office/ [stefandidak.com]
    • by clone53421 ( 1310749 ) on Thursday September 10, 2009 @04:06PM (#29382311) Journal

      The significant difference between the Radeon multi-mon setup and what that guy did is that the Radeon presents all the displays as a single display to Windows. You don't have to arrange the monitor icons in the Settings tab of the Display Properties, they all show up as one big monitor. This can be significant sometimes. For instance, on a dual-monitor setup I've seen video players act strangely when split down the middle (the video only played on the left display until the window was moved so the entire video was on the right monitor, and then it appeared).

  • 6 screens or (Score:2, Interesting)

    by markringen ( 1501853 )
    6 screens or anti-alias the crap out of it :D in the near future an entire game could be running purely and alone off the GPU. i personally don't agree with John Carmack, i think it would eventually be smarter to not push anything trough the CPU and keep it purely all on the GPU and it's ram (in the future, not right now). but GPU ram does need to become upgradeable! as 2GB of video ram isn't going to cut it anymore (in 2 years).
  • Thats cool! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ohsmeguk ( 1048214 ) on Thursday September 10, 2009 @03:57PM (#29382209)
    But will there be decent Linux drivers, or will they be a second thought as usual?
    • Hmm... I don't know... DX11...
    • Re:Thats cool! (Score:4, Informative)

      by hansamurai ( 907719 ) <hansamurai@gmail.com> on Thursday September 10, 2009 @04:16PM (#29382429) Homepage Journal

      For one, it's ATI, they're awful with Linux drivers. Secondly, seems like anything is possible in xorg.conf, so it's probably possible.

      • Re:Thats cool! (Score:4, Interesting)

        by RotateLeftByte ( 797477 ) on Thursday September 10, 2009 @04:34PM (#29382649)

        With xrandr, xorg.conf is largely redundant.

        I can attach an extra monitor to my ATI GPU laptop running Fedora 11 and I don't have to fiddle with xorg.conf at all. The only thing I have to do is setup where I want the laptop screen to appear in relation to the larger LCD display.

      • Re:Thats cool! (Score:5, Informative)

        by PitaBred ( 632671 ) <slashdotNO@SPAMpitabred.dyndns.org> on Thursday September 10, 2009 @05:15PM (#29383049) Homepage
        ATI's fglrx driver is awful. I'm hearing very good things about the open source drivers, though. They're moving very quickly forward, and it's proper open-source. If you don't mind compiling a bit, you can get Quake 3 and more (up to OpenGL 1.4 I believe) running on the latest 4xxx Radeons. Next steps from what I hear are GLSL and Gallium3D support, now that KMS is merged into the kernel and mesa is supporting the Radeon DRI.

        Go check over at Phoronix [phoronix.com] if you're curious. The ATI employed open-source driver developers post and discuss things pretty much daily.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        No, they are great with Linux drivers. 2.6.32 will have r600/r700 KMS (including dri2, ttm/gem) and Mesa 7.6 (due very soon) has r600/r700 3D good enough for compiz. Mesa 7.7 will have the Gallium3D r600g driver (not sure what state it will be in).

        AMD/ATI has not said anything about a new arch for r800, so it is probably very similar to r600/r700 (r300/r400/r500 was another series of three that were very close) and adding it to the r600 driver shouldn't take too long/

      • Oblig (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Mr. Flibble ( 12943 )

        If the designers of X-Windows built cars, there would be no fewer than five steering wheels hidden about the cockpit, none of which followed the same principles -- but you'd be able to shift gears with your car stereo. Useful feature, that.

                - Marus J. Ranum, Digital Equipment Corporation

        (Stolen from: http://www.art.net/~hopkins/Don/unix-haters/x-windows/disaster.html)

        *Ducks and runs*

  • We were using X Windows and these fancy BARCO display servers that virtualized a single X-windows display over multiple video cards (everything was host:0, not host:0.1, host:0.2, etc...). This wasn't gamer performance, of course, and CERTAINLY not gamer prices, but we were building energy management control centers for electric utilities... our performance requirements and budget were quite different.

  • by Jackie_Chan_Fan ( 730745 ) on Thursday September 10, 2009 @04:09PM (#29382341)

    It sounds impressive but it also sounds like a stunt more than reality.

  • ATI's reply (Score:5, Funny)

    by Yvan256 ( 722131 ) on Thursday September 10, 2009 @04:18PM (#29382455) Homepage Journal

    nVidia: Our new DirectX 11 GPUs are able to support six monitors simultaneously.
    ATI: Well, the Jerk Store called, and they're running out of you.

  • I want my 4000x2400 21" display. I want to be able to have tiny letters in high quality anti-aliased fonts and have it look really good. Why hasn't it happened?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ceoyoyo ( 59147 )

      Because nobody else wants that. It's expensive to make higher resolution screens.

    • The tube monitor I had in the late 90s ran at 1600x1200. Now over 10 years later my 24" LCD is a paltry 1920x1200. It pisses me off that vertical resolution hasn't increased. There is a reason newspapers and now web pages put text into narrow columns -- readability. My eyes work fine so I don't give a crap that fonts look smaller as dots per inch increase.

      Now vendors are cheaping out further on 24" LCDs by using 1920x1080 panels as the default offering. A total lack of progress.

      Don't even get me starte

  • by Yvan256 ( 722131 ) on Thursday September 10, 2009 @04:28PM (#29382571) Homepage Journal

    Does this thing come with its own small nuclear power plant and liquid nitrogen cooling system?

  • Frameless monitors (Score:5, Interesting)

    by RevWaldo ( 1186281 ) * on Thursday September 10, 2009 @05:21PM (#29383107)
    How hard would it be to make frameless or very-minimally-framed monitors designed for stacking together like this? Or at least a set of monitors with the bulk of the framing only on particular edges?
    • by Monkeedude1212 ( 1560403 ) on Thursday September 10, 2009 @06:54PM (#29384147) Journal

      There are a few already designed like that (by LG I think?)

      And the full article mentions that they might make deals with manufacturers who want to produce Bevel-less monitors.

      • by morethanapapercert ( 749527 ) on Thursday September 10, 2009 @11:47PM (#29385879) Homepage
        There are what are known as open frame monitors by a wide variety of manufacturers. These usually come with very large and clunky metal brackets as they are intended for use by system integrators and kiosks. On most the bracket is removable, leaving you with what is known as a raw panel or raw module. Or you can also get raw panels yourself, but there are a couple of caveats: 1) Most I found are more expensive than simply buying a regular monitor at your local retailer and throwing the bezel away. (see 2) 2) These are usually models intended for mobile or rough duty use. (cars, kiosks etc) so they'll have heavier Plexiglas on them, be lower resolution/refresh/contrast versions and so on. 3) All LCD monitors are framed by a metal channel edging that acts as a clamp to hold the various layers together. In all the newer monitors I have seen disassembled, the metal channelling is pretty close to the same width as the plastic bezel that covers it. Removing it won't gain you much, unless you are prepared to replace the channelling on the connecting sides with something that clamps just as firmly but with less depth. (say 3mmx5mm H channel vs 5mmx5mm C channel) 4) if you do replace the channelling, that will leave you a dead zone. Panels are designed with the channel in mind, so there is a roughly 5mm zone that isn't "addressed" by the controller all the way around. I suppose a really hard core DIY type could file/sand down this dead area, but frankly I don't know what effect this would have on the rest of the panel and I wouldn't want to kill several panels finding out. (Would the liquid crystal goo leak?) I've been messing around with some designs for combining several monitors myself. (one 32" and two 19" monitors in portrait mode on the wings) The best I could come up with on my back of the envelope sketches was to replace the channel on the connecting edges with H profile channel acrylic channel to minimize the gap and the visual impact of the channelling.
  • by luvirini ( 753157 ) on Thursday September 10, 2009 @05:41PM (#29383297)

    On the problem of gaps between screens: Just get a big enough room, 6 full HD projectors and place them and the screens properly and you will not have to worry about all those gaps between screens.. ofcourse that does limit you to 5760*2160 resolution, but it is a small price to pay compared to the cost of the 6 HD projectors..

    A happy user of only one full HD projector for games. Though the reolution is less, the image size helps immersion tremendously.

Research is what I'm doing when I don't know what I'm doing. -- Wernher von Braun