Big screen gaming

Playing your games on up to six screens in high definition is an enticing prospect for many an avid gamer. This month WINDOWS takes a closer look at the technology that drives gaming on bigger and more screens with the help of graphics technology such as AMD’s ATI Eyefinity. We also get advice from an expert about what it takes to play your games using high definition projectors.

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Big screen gaming AMD’s ATI Eyefinity setup on display.
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By  Gareth Van Zyl Published  March 2, 2010

AMD’s ATI Eyefinity technology is ‘banned’ at many gaming tournaments. The reason? Playing your games on up to six screens gives competitors a relatively unfair advantage because you can see your opponents approaching you from those indiscreet corners.

Playing your games on up to two screens has been easily achievable over the last few years, but playing games on up to six screens is a level up, and (however possibly unfair) a great gaming experience.

AMD have been a pioneer in this field with their ATI Eyefinity technology. Whether landscape or portrait, AMD’s Eyefinity technology allows you to lay out up to six monitors in such a way so as to suit the particular game that you’re playing.

Raed Hijer, Senior Field Engineer of AMD META, says, “In terms of resolution, the maximum resolution of 6X2560X1600 is reached by connecting up to 6 monitors on the special edition (Eyefinity6) card which will be available soon. Currently, the HD5000 cards can drive up to three monitors with resolution up to 3X2560X1600. There are many games that support the 3 monitor setup today and more in development for the higher resolution. To name few games available on this setup today; we already have Colin McRae: Dirt2, HAWX, Battle Forge, GRID, Stalker call of Pripyat and many others that should be available in 2010.”

So, the question is: How do you then setup this gaming experience?

Hijer elaborates: “For Eyefinity, you simply need any PC with the PCIe slot support and one of the Radeon HD5000 cards. In addition, up to three monitors; one with DisplayPort interface. The other two could be combinations of dvi/hdmi. In case all three monitors are dvi then one active adapter to convert DisplayPort to dvi is needed. It is also recommended to run Windows 7 as it will benefit from other features of the HD5000 cards such as DX11, tessellation, Multithreading, Stream etc.”

AMD confirms that you’ll need the following:

a) DirectX11 Eyefinity GPU: Between $60 - $ 400

b) 3 Monitors Price: Starting from $300 (Worldwide pricing starts from options will be available in market. One monitor has to support display port). natively or via active adapter. $300) however Display port technology will be much aggressive and more lower options will be available in market. One monitor has to support display port natively or via active adapter.

c) Windows 7 operating system

d) and (obviously) a desktop computer.

DX11 (mentioned above) is, of course, the industry standard API (Application Programming interface) that allows developers to exploit new features such as Tessellation, Multithreading and DirectCompute 11 to enhance the application performance and visual quality.

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