You guys must have noticed that the new 6800 series cards have a plethora of monitor connectors. Quite a bit has changed. The reference design cards will carry two mini Displayport (v1.2) connectors, one HDMI 1.4a connector and two DVI connectors of one of which is single link, the other dual-link.
Display ports are now up-to snuff at revision v1.2 and that allows for a lot of extra bandwidth, in fact per connector, you could drive up-to three monitors, so if you use both DP 1.2 connectors, up-to 6 monitors will be supported. Unfortunately that isn't all, connecting six monitors to two display port connectors will require an external breakout-box or monitors that supports daisy chaining them. (very expensive). The external breakout-box I mentioned will be called a MST HUB (Multi Stream Transport) and to date pricing and availability for that is unknown.
Of course you can configure Eyefinity as you please, through multiple monitors per DP connector, or one at a time with the help of the DVI connectors.
DP 1.2 can support six monitors per two connectors, but will require a breakout box or daisy chain compatible monitors. So really you are back to three easy to connect monitors. We advise three monitors as maximum for Eyefinity anyway.
An exciting feature that started in the Radeon series 5000, and now continued on the 6000 series graphics cards is Eyefinity. You will have no problem connecting say, three 30" monitors at 2560x1600. The graphics card can take that resolution and in fact combine the screen resolution and play in it.
ATI's Series 6000 graphics cards will be able to drive one to six monitors per graphics card depending on the limitations we just mentioned in the previous chapter about monitor connectivity. We've tested this live in action, and Eyefinity works really nicely. You can combine monitors and get your groove on up-to say 7680x3200 pixels separated over several monitors -- multiple monitors to be used as a single display.
So some examples of what you can do here:
Single monitor setup at 2560x1600
Dual monitor setup at 2560x1600 per monitor
Three monitors setup at 2560x1600 per monitor
Six monitors setup at 1920x1080 per monitor
Eyefinity is a really nice feature, and sure we also understand that 99% of you guys will never use more than two monitors. That other 1% definitely matches the Guru3D audience. Personally I like to game on three screens. It's really immersive. If you are bold enough to go for a multi-monitor setup, it really is ideal to get three screens for flight sims, racing games, role playing games, real-time strategy (Huge maps!), first-person shooters and sure, even multimedia apps.
We have two reviews available on Eyefinity:
Radeon HD 5870 Eyefinity (three monitors) review - click here.
Radeon HD 5870 Eyefinity6 (six monitors) review - click here.
Eyefinity is modular and thus allows users to rearrange the number of discrete images created in addition to their shape according to your liking. Guru3D users and gamers will no doubt find this setup to their liking. It will be interesting to learn just what kind of living room you have if you were to employ such a configuration. Please post your setups in our forums, we'd love to hear from you.
Now since monitor Bezels are a little icky I have created the above video to show you how you could do it as well :)
Watching 1080P DXVA videos post-processed by your GPU
The x.264 format is often a synonym with Matroska MKV, a media file container which often embeds that x.264 content, a much admired container format for media files. Especially the 1920x1080P movies often have some form of h.264 encoding dropped within the x.264 format. As a result, you'll need a very beefy PC with powerful processor to be able to playback such movies, error free without frames dropping and nasty stutters as PowerDVD or other PureVideo HD supporting software by itself will not support it.
Any popular file-format (XVID/DIVX/MPEG2/MPEG4/h.264/MKV/VC1/AVC) movie can be played on this little piece of software, without the need to install codecs and filters, and where it can, it will DXVA enable the playback. DXVA is short for Direct X Video Acceleration, and as you can tell from those four words alone, it'll try wherever it can to accelerate content over the GPU, offloading the CPU. Which is what we are after.
There's more to this software though:
A much missed feature with NVIDIA's PureVideo and ATI's UVD is the lack of a very simple function, yet massively important, pixel (image) sharpening.
If you watch a movie on a regular monitor, Purevideo playback is brilliant. But if you display the movie on a larger HD TV, you'll quickly wish you could enable little extras like sharpening. I remember GeForce series 7 having this native supported from within the Forceware drivers. After GeForce series 8 was released, that feature was stripped away, and to date it has to be the most missed HTPC feature ever.
Media Player Classic has yet another advantage, as not only it tries to enable DXVA where possible through the video processor, it also can utilize the shader processors of your graphics cards and use it to post-process content. A lot of shaders (small pieces of pixel shader code) can be executed within the GPU to enhance the image quality. MCP has this feature built in, you can even select several shaders like image sharpening, de-interlacing, combine them and thus run multiple shaders (enhancement) simultaneously. Fantastic features for high quality content playback.
Here you see (right) MPC HT edition accelerating an x.264 version of a movie @ 1080P. Mind you that the one spike in CPU cycles is me starting up the actual capture software.
The Radeon 6000 series will completely accelerate (DXVA) this movie without any issues. Complex Image sharpening is handled by the shader processors and we have PC 0-255 Color profile activated over the shaders as well to get nicer black levels. Even if we expand this window to a resolution of 2560x1600 the CPU load will remain low and the graphics card manages that resolution fine.
The GPU is doing all the work as you can see, the h.264 content within the x.264 file container is not even a slight bit accelerated over the CPU. Read more about this feature right here in this article.
In the current day and age, there is more to graphics cards than just playing games. More and more non-gaming related features can and are being offloaded to the GPU. ATI at first introduced ATI Stream, this is now renamed to AMD Accelerate. This is a software layer that allows software developers to 'speak' with the GPU and have it process data using your graphics card. This really is the most simple & basic description I can give it.
Currently AMD simply follows and believes strongly in open standards as OpenCL or, for the easiest path to add compute capabilities, Microsoft's DirectX 11 DirectCompute. OpenCL is what AMD believes in the most and allows any developer to use code that scales well on both CPUs and GPUs.
To make things a little more clear for the end user, AMD Accelerated is used in software like Cyberlink MediaShow and power director, ArcSoft MediaConverter 4, SimHD (upscaling, H.264 encoding), Total media Theatre (HW accelerated MPEG4/MVC ), Roxio Creator 2010, Adobe Photoshop CS4 and so on... where the GPU assists the software in certain functions, offloading the processor.
Of course among it also falls... folding...
Folding@Home using the ATI Radeon series 6000 GPU Folding at home is a project where you can have your GPU or CPU (when the PC is not used) help out solving diseases which involves protein folding. Over the past years, a lot of progress has been made between the two parties involved. And right now there is a GPU folding client available that works with Radeon series graphics processors. It is ATI Accelerate based, meaning that all Stream/accelerate ready GPUs can start folding.
Guru3D team is ranking in the Folding@Home top 70, yes... I'm very proud of our guys crunching these numbers, especially since there are tens of thousands of other teams. The client is out, if possible please join team Guru3D and let's fold away some nasty stuff. The good thing is, you won't even notice that it's running.
Our Guru3D team number is 69411 and if you decide to purchase a 6800 series product, guys, promise me you'll use it to fold for us. By making this move my dear friends, there are now 90 million GPUs available to compute the biggest mysteries in diseases and illnesses. Again, let's make Team Guru3D the biggest one available guys, join our team.
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