Setting Up Six Displays

Getting three displays lined up and perfect is enough trouble, setting up six is beyond frustrating. Ahead of its visit to me in NC, AMD shipped down six Dell P2210H 1080p displays and a pair of stands from Atdec. One stand supports four monitors, while the other supports two.

AMD had been flying around the country setting these Eyefinity 6 systems up for reviewers and thus had a bit of experience in doing this.  I yielded to their expertise, which recommended putting double sided foam mounting tape along the edges of the monitors.  We did so on the first four displays:

Meanwhile, we assembled the mount for the four displays. While this might sound simple, it's not.  You have to figure out the right distance each display will be from one another as well as the right height. Adjusting these variables is easier said than done.  Each display mount has two opposite facing hex screws that must be loosened and tightened by the same amount.  There's one adjustable mount per arm that holds two displays, and then one mount per display.  Oh and each of the four display mounts is on a ball that can be loosened and adjusted to make sure the displays are all square with the user.

Each one of these variables must be adjusted independently. Incorrectly positioning even one of these mounts will prevent your Eyefinity 6 setup from looking flawless (and at this point, you should just conceded that it is going to be flawed).

At this point AMD recommended sticking the four panels together before mounting them to the arms:

By sticking them together first, it would make the mounting process a bit easier...at least that was the hope. Next we mounted these four displays to the first stand and assembled it:

And we have 2/3 of our Eyefinity 6 setup complete:

Er...so maybe it's sort of slanted, and has a handful of gaps in between the panels. The sticky tape did help, but it's not magical sticky tape. According to AMD, this was one of their better achievements on the trip and believe me when I say that this wasn't rushed. Setting up a cohesive group of six displays takes a great deal of patience and precision. If you get frustrated easily, you may want to just buy a projector instead to fulfill your large gaming needs.

With four setup, it was on to the next two.

The Radeon HD 5870 Eyefinity 6 Edition Completing the Eyefinity 6 Build
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  • fernando.gomes@ydreams.com - Wednesday, March 31, 2010 - link

    Hi, Anand.

    Did you have a chance to try (or ask the AMD guys) about 12 screens? Crossfiring 2 E6 cards makes you wonder about that chance.

    I once had a chance to put up a 4x3 screen, 2 years ago, with absolutely no bezel whatsoever, but that set up cost my company an insane amount of money. Each screen cost 7.000$, for starters.

    I see this E6 as an alternative to keep an eye on. I couldn't care less about the bezel problems, as my company usually sets up multiscreen displays either with projectors or with bezelless LCD's, but 6 displays might not be enough for our line of work.

    So, can it be crossfired to a 12 screen 3D accelerated output ? (I'm not concerned about performance, as our apps usually don't stress GPU's much)
    Reply
  • fernando.gomes@ydreams.com - Wednesday, March 31, 2010 - link



    When I wrote "a 4x3 screen", I meant "a 4x3 multi-screen display, as per 12 x 720p displays arranged in a 4x3 grid"


    PS: damn, we should be able to edit our own posts!
    Reply
  • Ryan Smith - Wednesday, March 31, 2010 - link

    It can be done. They had it working under Linux using X-Plane back at their September launch. However it's not even close to being in a shipping state, and I don't have the foggiest idea when it would be. Reply
  • fernando.gomes@ydreams.com - Wednesday, March 31, 2010 - link

    Thanks for the quick reply, Ryan.

    Can you tell me how that works, in practice. Now that Windows 7 (and Vista) ditched horizontal spanning, I can't just set my company's apps to 3072x768 (3 screens), because that resolution is not even made available by the driver anymore.

    From my previous experiente, I can say that as long I have the taskbar spanned through 3 screens, it is safe to assume that I will be able to accelerate 3D apps at the same resolution as the desktop, at least.

    Eyefinity must be somewhat different. If the Catalyst 10.3 is still compliant with WDDM 1.1, then I'm guessing our 3D engine must be 'approved' or at least able to aknowledge the availability of Eyefinity.

    Back in the XP days, spanning throug 2 screens was transparent - the 3D app didn't even know it was outputting to 2 or more screens, but with eyefinity, compatibility must be achieved at a much lower level. Is that right?

    I'm sorry to bother you, but I don't have access to a hands-on approach.

    Thanks,

    Fernando
    Reply
  • fernando.gomes@ydreams.com - Wednesday, March 31, 2010 - link

    I'm sorry for the long post, guys.

    Shorter version:

    - Does the desktop look like XP in Span mode ?(I think I see a taskbar streched along 3 screens, in Anand's video)
    - when you run a 3D app (one that is NOT oficially compatible), will 'awkward' resolution (say 5760x2160) be availabe as a choice?

    If you answer YES to these 2, then I'm saved, and I'm in trouble aswell, as my company only supports Nvidia (and changing this standard will cost a lot, testing in Quality Assurance will be havoc. Time for a change, I guess. :)

    Fernando

    Reply
  • Ryan Smith - Wednesday, March 31, 2010 - link

    Background info: Eyefinity is the trade name for what AMD calls Single Large Surface technology. SLS operates pretty much as how the name implies: the drivers provide a very large resolution option for applications to work with, and then AMD's hardware takes care of chopping up the image for multiple monitors. Providing the OS/software with a very large resolution is the fundamental aspect behind Eyefinity.

    So to answer your questions, yes, 3D games see the large resolution. As for the desktop I've never tried it (and Anand currently has all of our Eyefinity gear). To applications/games at least, this is completely transparent. Eyefinity support basically amounts to being able to handle the oddball aspect ratios and the higher resolutions.in the case where resolutions are hard-coded in.
    Reply
  • vgdarkstar - Wednesday, March 31, 2010 - link

    I would like to point out to all the naysayers of multimon, you stop seeing the bezels after using it for a bit. Do you notice your nose? it's the same effect. Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Wednesday, March 31, 2010 - link

    I agree with that completely which is why I said it wasn't an issue in a 3x1 setup. However in the case of a 3x2 configuration you always notice the bezels in the center of your screen because they often occlude important information (e.g. dialog boxes, crosshairs, etc...).

    Take care,
    Anand
    Reply
  • Zstream - Wednesday, March 31, 2010 - link

    Why is it that people believe this setup is meant just for gaming? What about people who can have six LCD screens monitoring all sort of devices in a corporate world? What about those who use photoshop and can use other multi-monitor software?

    Just a thought, not all geeks are gamers you know ;)
    Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Wednesday, March 31, 2010 - link

    Oh I agree, and that's why I mentioned dialog boxes as being a problem. Honestly I think the biggest application for a 6-display setup right now is for more than just gaming. It's just a shame that you have to buy a $479 gaming card to enable it :)

    Take care,
    Anand
    Reply

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