Over the past few months the major manufacturers who sell Radeon cards have been slowly starting to focus on Eyefinity products. Some have released cards which were based on the 5700 series and therefore aimed at productivity and other manufacturers, like XFX and Sapphire, have used their high end cards to push the technology for gaming.
So what do we need in order to get Eyefinity up and running? Firstly it is best to go for three 1920x1080 capable screens. There are a number of models at the £120/$150 price point which have DVI connectivity and decent quality panels. These offer a far better user experience than three mismatched models and when we consider the LG version being used for this article has a 2ms refresh, VGA, DVI and HDMI connectors... even a touch sensitive bezel it is clear that high quality Eyefinity with matched screens is well within the reach of most consumers.
Currently, on all but one type of Radeon card, Eyefinity systems require us to use at least one DisplayPort output. This means we have two options. The first is to use an active DisplayPort to DVI convertor, along with a standard DVI monitor. The second is to use a DisplayPort capable monitor.
To help with the use of a DisplayPort connector manufacturers offer a new type of convertor which converts the output to DVI and has a low purchase price, allowing us to use 3 DVI based screens. These convertors are limited to 1920x1200 operation however that will satisfy most users and the cost will be approximately $30/£25.
So, in summary 3x DVI Monitors with DisplayPort convertor or 2x DVI Monitors and a DP monitor get us up and running.
With the screens attached to the card we install our Catalyst driver (no driver is required for the DisplayPort convertor) and following this we enter Catalyst Control Centre and open the Desktops and Displays section. From there we right-click the main display, select "Display Group" followed by "Create Group". This allows us to select the layout of the screens, most likely 3 side by side on our desk.
CCC then creates a desktop which spans the entire width of our three screens. There is a chance at this point that they may be out of order, for example the centre screen showing the left screens image but a handy wizard allows us to fix this in a couple of mouse clicks.
With the desktop spanning our three displays we then choose to tweak their layout to compensate for the bezel on each screen.
In no more than a couple of minutes the displays are up and running. It is a very simple process and the matched displays create a rather impressive user experience, even at the desktop. Of course gaming is one of the key aspects of Eyefinity and here are a few examples of a game running on a Radeon card across the three screens.