Wanna see what 24.5 million pixels looks like?

That's six Dell 30" displays, each with an individual resolution of 2560 x 1600. The game is World of Warcraft and the man crouched in front of the setup is Carrell Killebrew, his name may sound familiar.

Driving all of this is AMD's next-generation GPU, which will be announced later this month. I didn't leave out any letters, there's a single GPU driving all of these panels. The actual resolution being rendered at is 7680 x 3200; WoW got over 80 fps with the details maxed. This is the successor to the RV770. We can't talk specs but at today's AMD press conference two details are public: 2.15 billion transistors and over 2.5 TFLOPs of performance. As expected, but nice to know regardless.

The technology being demonstrated here is called Eyefinity and it actually all started in notebooks.

Not Multi-Monitor, but Single Large Surface

DisplayPort is gaining popularity. It's a very simple interface and you can expect to see mini-DisplayPort on notebooks and desktops alike in the very near future. Apple was the first to embrace it but others will follow.

The OEMs asked AMD for six possible outputs for DisplayPort from their notebook GPUs: up to two internally for notebook panels, up to two externally for conncetors on the side of the notebook and up to two for use via a docking station. In order to fulfill these needs AMD had to build in 6 lanes of DisplayPort outputs into its GPUs, driven by a single display engine. A single display engine could drive any two outputs, similar to how graphics cards work today.

Eventually someone looked at all of the outputs and realized that without too much effort you could drive six displays off of a single card - you just needed more display engines on the chip. AMD's DX11 GPU family does just that.

At the bare minimum, the lowest end AMD DX11 GPU can support up to 3 displays. At the high end? A single GPU will be able to drive up to 6 displays.


AMD's software makes the displays appear as one. This will work in Vista, Windows 7 as well as Linux.

The software layer makes it all seamless. The displays appear independent until you turn on SLS mode (Single Large Surface). When on, they'll appear to Windows and its applications as one large, high resolution display. There's no multimonitor mess to deal with, it just works. This is the way to do multi-monitor, both for work and games.


Note the desktop resolution of the 3x2 display setup

 

I played Dirt 2, a DX11 title at 7680 x 3200 and saw definitely playable frame rates. I played Left 4 Dead and the experience was much better. Obviously this new GPU is powerful, although I wouldn't expect it to run everything at super high frame rates at 7680 x 3200.


Left 4 Dead in a 3 monitor configuration, 7680 x 1600


If a game pulls its resolution list from Windows, it'll work perfectly with Eyefinity.

With six 30" panels you're looking at several thousand dollars worth of displays. That was never the ultimate intention of Eyefinity, despite its overwhelming sweetness. Instead the idea was to provide gamers (and others in need of a single, high resolution display) the ability to piece together a display that offered more resolution and was more immersive than anything on the market today. The idea isn't to pick up six 30" displays but perhaps add a third 20" panel to your existing setup, or buy five $150 displays to build the ultimate gaming setup. Even using 1680 x 1050 displays in a 5x1 arrangement (ideal for first person shooters apparently, since you get a nice wrap around effect) still nets you a 8400 x 1050 display. If you want more vertical real estate, switch over to a 3x2 setup and then you're at 5040 x 2100. That's more resolution for less than most high end 30" panels.

Any configuration is supported, you can even group displays together. So you could turn a set of six displays into a group of 4 and a group of 2.

It all just seems to work, which is arguably the most impressive part of it all. AMD has partnered up with at least one display manufacturer to sell displays with thinner bezels and without distracting LEDs on the front:


A render of what the Samsung Eyefinity optimized displays will look like

We can expect brackets and support from more monitor makers in the future. Building a wall of displays isn't exactly easy.

The First Generation Holodeck by 2016
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  • Zool - Friday, September 11, 2009 - link

    7680 x 3200 is nice but the DPI is praticaly same. And if u sit right before them like the guy in the wow picture its even confusing. To hawe much higher dpi u would need to watch the display from much greater distance (and than u couldnt read the chat). Of course it doesnt aply to panoramatic wiew in simulators or racing games where the 3 display setup can hawe use (arcades maybe) and in fps games for extra space for maybe map or fps wiew from other squad members like in old hired guns on amiga and pc. Reply
  • kekewons - Friday, September 11, 2009 - link

    The big attraction for me here is the possibility to run these outputs through projectors, rather than flatscreen monitors.

    I DO spend most of my PC gaming time driving racing simulators (primarily "rFactor"), and do use a projector to throw up a LARGE, CLOSE image. Pixelation is an issue, but, IMO, the rest of the tradeoffs make it worthwhile to go this route.

    What intrigues me about this new card/system are two things: (1) The possibility of running this card output thru two or three-projector rigs, in which one or two "widescreen" projections (covering most or all of a full-surround 180 degree "dome/planetarium" space) are overlaid in the center with a smaller and more highly detailed/higher resolution third projection. If such a rig could be melded with realtime headtracking/eyetracking inside a projection CAVE *or better yet, a dome*, it seems to me we might finally realize the holy-grail: A full-surround, simulation space, at fairly nominal cost.

    (2) The possibility of enabling at least that smaller, central region for 3D (stereo) imaging. Obviously, since this is an AMD card, any stereo output would necessarily depend on alternative solutions to Nvidia 3D...but there is at least one of those solutions that might work: TI's "DLP-link," which apparently can be used to enable some new projectors (ViewSonic) with the new Crystal Eyes-5 shuttterglasses to allow 3D output (all without using Nvidia's cards and 3D specific drivers)....

    ...so let's amend that ^ to read: "A surround, 3D simulation space, at fairly nominal cost."

    Could it be we are finally getting close?
    Reply
  • marc1000 - Friday, September 11, 2009 - link

    why is everyone whinning about the monitors??? the interesting part is the new GPU. when will you guys get your hands on these new boards to dissecate them for us?

    win7 is about to launch retail in less than a month, so it is about time to see those new DX 11 boards hit the market!
    Reply
  • coffeehousejam - Friday, September 11, 2009 - link

    Sigh. And here I thought Anandtech readers were a brighter group of people. A 6 monitor setup pumped out of one video card is incredible, no doubt about it. But to the average consumer it's not even close to practical. Everyone is talking about the six display setup capabilities, issues with bezel and LEDs as though they are considering taking advantage of this. Guys, read between the lines: the real story is a GPU that can play DX11 titles so well that even 6 monitors at 4 times the typical person's resolution aren't even enough to bring it to its knees. Reply
  • jimhsu - Friday, September 11, 2009 - link

    No, I'm pretty sure the optimization is resolution scaling (largely memory bound) and not necessarily raw throughput (GPU bound). Unless they have more surprises.

    They would show a demo of WoW on ultra-high resolutions for that reason. Using FSAA or Pixel Shaders will be much more stressful.
    Reply
  • papapapapapapapababy - Friday, September 11, 2009 - link

    copy paste from neogaf

    My $85 4770 laughs at this news. Hell my 9800GT and even the 8600GTS sit here unused and laugh at this fuking news. BASICALLY...

    FUCK YOU ATI. FUCK YOU NVIDIA. FUCK YOU AMD. AND FUCK YOUR ASS INTEL. OH AND MICROSOFT. FUCK YOU TOO, YOU STUPID FUCKS. LET ME ASK YOU THIS...

    Where the hell is my KZ2 caliber game, exclusive for the PC? MY GT5 CALIBER GAME? AH?

    Crysis? Fuck that. YES, It was funny game for like a few days, but basically that's just throwing shit at my PC, so you FUCKS can justify selling your ridiculous hardware. That doesn't strike me as a good, intelligent, and honest effort. That's not efficient. That doesn't wow me. KZ2 does. GT5 does ( For the record, im no ps3 fan) And those games are running on a super piece of shit notebook gpu from 2005!!

    So enough of this bullshit. ENOUGH! YOU WANT ME TO BUY YOUR STUPID HARDWARE? WOW ME. USE WHAT I HAVE FOR A FUKING CHANGE. PUT SOME FUCKING EFFORT ON IT. HIGHER ANTI ALIASING AND HIGHER RESOLUTION IS NOT GOING TO CUT IT ANYMORE. IM NOT ASKING FOR MUCH. 720P AND 30FPS IS GOOD ENOUGH FOR ME.
    JUST TAKE WHATS LEFT AND SQUEEZE REALLY HARD. YOU KNOW? LIKE YOU FUCKS DO WITH THE CONSOLES. UNTIL THEN, FUCK YOU.
    Reply
  • papapapapapapapababy - Friday, September 11, 2009 - link

    http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?t=37255...">http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?t=37255... Reply
  • papapapapapapapababy - Friday, September 11, 2009 - link

    sometimes less is more. thats why i love my hdtv, less resolution (720p), more screen (42) and thats why i hate desktop lcds, to much fuking resolution + tinny screens. ATI this shit does not appeal to me at all. Give me a gpu that renders at low res and then scales my games ( not movies) at 1080p lcd resolution so i can play crysis on a cheap desktop lcd. This Eyegyimmicky? > stupid.
    Reply
  • Wererat - Friday, September 11, 2009 - link

    In reading through the first page of comments, bezel issues were mentioned.

    I personally wouldn't want a 2x3 panel setup because of those; any even number of panels puts the center of view in the middle of a bezel.

    1x3 is great though, as race and flight simmers will attest. With that setup, most games (including shooters and RPGs) will give a dramatic peripheral view.

    Unfortunately for Matrox, this more or less kills their $300 "TripleHead2Go" product.
    Reply
  • justaviking - Friday, September 11, 2009 - link

    Yes, that is indeed a cool demonstration.

    My question is "Can you mix resolutions?"

    Something I cannot do today is to have two displays of a cloned desktop, one being a different resolution than the other.

    Why would I want to do that? Sometimes I would like to display a game on the television. It accepts VGA input (yes, yes, it's old tech), but I have to change the monitor to the same resolution as the TV in order to do that. You would think it would be so simple to display the same desktop on two monitors, but you can't do it if the resolutions aren't the same.

    Obviously this card (and a hundred others) has the power to do that simple setup. I wonder if it lets you.
    Reply

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