|ATI Radeon HD5770 Juniper GPU Video Card|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Video Cards|
|Written by Bruce Normann|
|Tuesday, 13 October 2009|
Page 6 of 18
ATI Eyefinity Multi-Monitors
ATI Eyefinity advanced multiple-display technology launches a new era of panoramic computing, helping to boost productivity and multitasking with innovative graphics display capabilities supporting massive desktop workspaces, creating ultra-immersive computing environments with superhigh resolution gaming and entertainment, and enabling easy configuration. High end editions will support up to six independent display outputs simultaneously.
In the past, multi-display systems catered to professionals in specific industries. Financial, energy, and medical are just some industries where multi-display systems are a necessity. Today, more and more graphic designers, CAD engineers and programmers are attaching more than one display to their workstation. A major benefit of a multi-display system is simple and universal - it enables increased productivity. This has been confirmed in industry studies which show that attaching more than one display device to a PC can signficantly increase user productivity.
Early multi-display solutions were non-ideal. Bulky CRT monitors claimed too much desk space; thinner LCD monitors were very expensive; and external multidisplay hardware were inconvenient and also very expensive. These issues are much less of a concern today. LCD monitors are very affordable and current generation GPUs can drive multiple display devices independently and simultaneously, without the need for external hardware. Despite the advancements in multi-display technology, AMD engineers still felt there was room for improvement, especially regarding the display interfaces. VGA carries analog signals and needs a dedicated DAC per display output, which consumes power and ASIC space. Dual-Link DVI is digital, but requires a dedicated clock source per display output and uses too many I/O pins from the GPU. It was clear that a superior display interface was needed.
In 2004, a group of PC companies collaborated to define and develop DisplayPort, a powerful and robust digital display interface. At that time, engineers working for the former ATI Technologies Inc. were already thinking about a more elegant solution to drive more than two display devices per GPU, and it was clear that DisplayPort was the interface of choice for this task. In contrast to other digital display interfaces, DisplayPort does not require a dedicated clock signal for each display output. In fact, the data link is fixed at 1.62Gbps or 2.7Gbps per lane, irrespective of the timing of the attached display device. The benefit of this design is that one reference clock source provides the clock signal needed to drive as many DisplayPort display devices as there are display pipelines in the GPU. In addition, with the same number of I/O pins used for Single-Link DVI, a full speed DisplayPort link can be driven which provides more bandwidth and translates to higher resolutions, refresh rates and color depths. All these benefits perfectly complement ATI Eyefinity Multi-Display Technology.
ATI Eyefinity Technology from AMD provides advanced multiple monitor technology delivering an immersive graphics and computing experience, supporting massive virtual workspaces and super-high resolution gaming environments. Legacy GPUs have supported up to two display outputs simultaneously and independently for more than a decade. Until now graphics solutions have supported more than two monitors by combining multiple GPUs on a single graphics card. With the introduction of AMD's next-generation graphics product series supporting DirectX 11, a single GPU now has the advanced capability of simultaneously supporting up to six independent display outputs.
ATI Eyefinity Technology is closely aligned with AMD's DisplayPort implementation providing the flexibility and upgradability modern user's demand. Up to two DVI, HDMI, or VGA display outputs can be combined with DisplayPort outputs for a total of up to six monitors, depending on the graphics card configuration. The initial AMD graphics products with ATI Eyefinity technology will support a maximum of three independent display outputs via a combination of two DVI, HDMI or VGA with one DisplayPort monitor. AMD has a future product planned to support up to six DisplayPort outputs. Wider display connectivity is possible by using display output adapters that support active translation from DisplayPort to DVI or VGA.
The DisplayPort 1.2 specification is currently being developed by the same group of companies who designed the original DisplayPort specification. Its feature set includes higher bandwidth, enhanced audio and multi-stream support. Multi-stream, commonly referred to as daisy-chaining, is the ability to address and drive multiple display devices through one connector. This technology, coupled with ATI Eyefinity Technology, will be a key enabler for multi-display technology, and AMD will be at the forefront of this transition.