Performance and test setup notes
Performance and test setup
Before we begin actual visual testing, we obviously need to address performance. If you create a multi-monitor setup you need to be aware of the fact that you'll need a beefy graphics card as well.
Let's say you are connecting three 24" monitors with a screen resolution of 1920x1200 and place them horizontally next to each other. Now you will end up with a 5760x1200 pixels screen resolution. That my friends is 6912000 pixels thus nearly 7 Mpixels of resolution that need to be refreshed at least 35 times per second.
With our six monitors in 3x2 Landscape display mode we are pushing the limit further ... over 10.5 MPixels. You understand the dynamics now right?
With modern game titles this immediately already poses a threat to the 5870 as we have increased the load on our graphics card three to five times more than usual. So yes, in the end you should consider and opt CrossfireX if you plan a project like this for gaming with modern titles.
The 10.3 Catalyst drivers and higher have pretty good support for CrossfireX. A lot of games (but not all) are now supported. We'll obviously put that to the test today.
To grasp what we are doing, we recorded video's showing Eyefinity with six monitors setup in Landscape mode.
Since we are using such a high resolution, we should not at all be too CPU bound and to demonstrate this very point I've been evangelizing I will use a mid-range system (with exception of the graphics cards) made out of the following items:
- Radeon HD 5870 Eyefinity6 2048MB x2
- MSI AMD 790FX motherboard
- Phenom II 955BE Processor @ 3400 MHz
- 2x2GB DDR3 memory 1066 MHz
- Samsung 500 GB HDD
- Dell P2210 (x6)
- Windows Vista 64-bit SP2
- DirectX 9/10 End User Runtime
- ATI Catalyst 10.3 beta
So yes really dog ... that's all we'll be using. A very affordable PC, remember we are GPU bound at a massive resolution of 5040x2100, not rather CPU or system bound.
So how does that relate to graphics performance you might wonder? Well, let's have a look at the frame rates of some of the tiles we are testing today, both on Single GPU and Multi-GPU setup.
Now we could measure performance of the card at normal resolutions like 1600x1200 etc and compare with other cards of course. But really, it's the six monitor double whammy performance everybody is after, so we'll focus only on that.
Results are a bit of a mixed bag, with two cards you'll definitely have enough horsepower under the hood to play most of your games at decent frame rates and very good image quality settings.
In all the games above we have maximized image quality except for AA levels which we selected and altered manually to compensate the overall framerate. Though at 5040x2100, you really do not have a real need for Anti Aliasing whatsoever, my man.
All games scaled with the two R5870 Eyefinity6 cards setup in CrossfireX, except for whatever reason Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 was jinxed, we could not get it active with two GPU, we even tried renaming the executable. Ah well. With on card we still get near 40 FPS with 4xAA, perfectly fine.
As you can see, with some AA activated a single R5870 Eyefinity6 quickly runs out of juice unless you fiddle around with image quality of course. Anyway, the numbers are a little dry to look at, but they already show that we should get very decent performance. Let's watch some video's !