Triple Monitor with ATI and a big headache!

Some people might say that working with triple display is a waste of money and that it should be spend elsewhere. And other might say that triple workspace directly mean triple the productivity as that it should be included in the Bill of Right. Whatever your preference maybe, that is entirely up to you to decide. But what I’m here to tell is experience with putting ATI Redeon HD 6850 and 6870 into usage. First these graphic cards have with them 2 DVI ports and some HDMI & DisplayPort. The 6850 has the full size DisplayPort and the 6870 has the mini-DisplayPort. Where ever your residence is, I believe that it will have a hard time finding Monitor with DisplayPort in order for ATI Display card to recognize your third monitor. HDMI would not work, and that if you are thinking of getting the passive adapter that convert your DisplayPort to DVI for your monitor to work. Nope, I must tell you from my experience that using any type of miniDP-2-DVI will not work. The only way for it to work, is that you will require to purchase ATI validated dongles, which I must tell you that there are really hard to find anywhere. These dongles are called active adapters and their main objective is to convert digital signal with the clock sync with it to DVI. ATI does not support HDMI as the third monitor (still HDMI monitors are still expensive). I have tried many type of adapter that I think would work, in some way their do be able to output to the monitor. But at all time, you will able to extend only two monitors from the three monitors. Meaning that you are required to disable 1 monitor at any given that you are going to extend to the other desktop, this make it impossible to have 3 screens at the same time. So with an active adapter you will be able to sync the clock signal from 3 monitor to the graphic card. Thus, making the possibility for you the enable Eyefinity, this technology make you be able to span your screens into one single huge display.

For real, I don’t know why I had to go and purchase this new card for my workstation for to do this feature of horizontal spanning across three monitor. Because my old setup with 2 graphic card combinations of 8800GT and 8600GT could already do extend desktop in windows 7 as native. Okie, so what was the real reason if it is not productive in my money generating scheme. Well, it’s just for me to play games panoramic view. I guy need a break from his work sometime you know. Some might say that it doesn’t give justification for my need for such a device. Thus, having no productivity reason, I still when for the kill. And finding my right setup was a headache and nightmare. I was back and fore to the store to correct above issue with the triple display output. Thus, settle with the ASUS Redeon HD6850 just because I find the full size active adapter DisplayPort to DVI for the monitor. Actually I wanted the 6870 just for the performance that it could produce when comparing with the 6850. Also I think that the 6870 would have a better heat sink, because the 6870 heat is totally pushed out of the case when 6850 is not (This doesn’t count the XFX 6850, but I couldn’t find it in Thailand).

Eyefinity would only provide you with the benefit of playing game and watch movie. But it is not limited to application that providing 3D surrounds simulations, which could make direct benefit from this setup. For business or developers, horizontal span would not make much benefit for you in actual usage. The scenario of using extended desktop, where each application can control each monitor and know the boundary of that monitor that it is utilizing as an output channel to the user would make much more productivity when comparing to span mode. Why is this? One reason is that you wouldn’t need to waste your time on resizing the application window to fix each monitor, you would just simple maximize it with one click of a button.

Oh, one thing more with ATI Eyefinity you can simply change from profile to use difference display settings. If I’m going to play Crysis, I would activate Eyefinity. While I’m developing for business, I would turn back on the extended mode. In the end, the way you are planning to use this technology is entirely up to you and what type of application that it is intended for.