Eyefinity and games

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Eyefinity and games

Postposted on Mon Jun 25, 2012 10:21 pm

So, I'm curious for those of you that have had hands on experience. How do games handle Eyefinity or the Nvidia equivalent (I don't know what it's called or if they even have it) in terms of display output? Like does it increase your FoV? Does it simply trim the top and bottom of the screen then stretch the normal aspect across the entire three monitor range? Do games natively support Eyefinity (I know there were a lot of growing pains when widescreen first came out)? When you're outside of a game does windows use it as three seperate monitors or one big display?
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Re: Eyefinity and games

Postposted on Mon Jun 25, 2012 11:52 pm

There doesn't seem to be a lot of documentation on this. TR hasn't done anything with Eyefinity since 2010... Overclock3D did a review, but explains absolutely none of their methodology.

http://www.overclock3d.net/reviews/gpu_ ... y_review/1

I mean it'd be pretty sweet if TR did a revisit to this topic considering most of the information in the review is pretty old and doesn't take into account revisions to the technology.
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Re: Eyefinity and games

Postposted on Tue Jun 26, 2012 1:33 am

I've had an eyefinty setup for almost a couple of years now with a 6950 and the default support for most A+++ titles is pretty good unless its clearly a console developer which has ported the title, for instance 2k games, in which case there can be problems. I'm at 5760x1080. It was more of a productivity effort for me at the time and I tossed up between a single 27" or 30" dell or the tri- IPS 1080p dells I eventually got. Screen real estate was what I was after and I was used to working with dual screens so three seemed the logical step up and its what I went with.
Recently I got another mini dp to dp cable and connected another of the dells through dp so I could use the HDMI port at the same time as one of the DVIs on the card shares its port with the HDMI so you can't use them at the same time. Moving the third monitor to the second mini dp solved this so now my monitors can display at the same time as my PJ which is nice.
For the most part newer games will offer some support naively but as you say they will often do this by narrowing the FOV rather than extending it. As an example NBA 2k12 is guilty of cropping into the 16x9 native frame so heads and feet are cut off, making the game near unplayable in eyefinity. There are some tweaks but none are satisfactory (that I've found) mostly its a let down. Some just don't work right (Gratuitous Space battles I'm looking at you!) but theres nothing preventing you from just playing in 1920X1080 mode on the central screen.
When the title has full support (say BF3) its very good. The HUD and the FOV are re-sized to make sense on the full span of the monitors and its as simple as changing it in options if you want to go to a non-native display size ( say 4800X900) for performance or what have you. Totally seamless, flits between them without issue and re-sizes when you return to the desktop.
Updates seem to fix issues with eyefinty such as misplaced HUD or funky menus spanning across screens but you have to wait for an update so you're in the hands of the developer but this has improved in the last year. As an example as to why the HUD position can be an issue I've had difficulty getting into CIV 5 because the HUD sits left and right on the screen and this can make interacting with the game a bit of a chore as you're constantly moving from extreme left to extreme right during the course of a turn. It really depends on the game and its a mixed bag. A+++ titles are usually pretty good at supporting it but YMMV. Dirt games run very very well even on my card and really look good.
As far as the desktop goes there are a number of different ways for the span to behave once its all plugged in and its pretty much what you would expect with a few downsides. In CCC you must first setup the display span in the eyefinity section turning the three monitors into what will be registered as a triple width single display. Using the Hydra grid tool you can then set window behaviors so the three monitors can behave independently as single displays without the entire width span but this can be a bit buggy and not all my software supports it. As in they behave oddly like they dont resize themselves to the single display and continue to render themselves at 5760X1080 with a horizontal scroll or worse with nothing at all. Again its only an issue some of the time and is usually resolved by full spanning the window but its something to watch out for.
You can also get the three monitors to behave independently (As in not a span) but the trick here is that if you want then to play a game in eyefinity you will have to change the desktop back to your eyefinity span before you launch the game. It wont automatically engage eyefinty. This is frustrating.
Finally, the biggest frustration is that CCC can be a bit buggy. I have hotkeys setup to engage and disengage the eyefinity setup as I don't use all my software (or it doesn't work) in eyefinity. But flicking between eyefinity and normal mode will often crash CCC requiring a restart. Even when it does work it can leave your start menu bar (which I keep attached far right) and your desktop icons strewn everywhere or other wee bugs which popup almost always requiring a restart. This can be pretty lame. Otherwise when it works it works pretty fluidly. Gold star for Just Cause 2 which plays great on my card, looks fantastic and has worked since day 1 (more games on that engine please?).
I dig it to be honest, if you're used to dual displays it can be much the same if you want. And hell IPS monitors are so cheap now, well...
I haven't tried the NVIDIA surround or whatever, I imagine its the same mixed bag but who knows. Its taken ATI quite a while to roll out some of these fixes and support tweaks so NVIDIA may be behind in developing that stuff but I don't know. Obviously this can use all the GPU horsepower you can throw at it in a modern game.
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Re: Eyefinity and games

Postposted on Tue Jun 26, 2012 2:42 am

Definitely could use the enter key and some paragraphs, but very informative write up. Sounds like a few of the issues from TRs review in '10 still are around, unfortunately.

Does AMD include default profiles for games that work? So the monitors set themselves up in a configuration that works with the games, sort of like Crossfire profiles?
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Re: Eyefinity and games

Postposted on Tue Jun 26, 2012 3:22 am

Sorry, forgot about formatting, looks a mess but I'm glad the info was useful.

Eyefinity profiles? No, not in the same way that game profiles behave but I think (I'm not sure) some games have improved after a CCC update in terms of some of the FOV issues and HUD positioning. It may in part be related to fixing things in CCC but off the top of my head I can't think of a game which was improved through CCC, I'm just not sure. Mostly its waiting for developer upgrades. BF3 when moving from beta to release improved these issues (for instance) and performance but performance seems more affected by CCC upgrades when dealing in raw FPS numbers.

Some games just don't support it on purpose which is kind of lame. I used to play a lot of SC2 and they just won't allow it. 4:3 sure, 16:10 no problem but eyefinity is seen as an unfair advantage so they disallow it even though you can edit an ini to get it to work. They will dump your account if you play SC2 MP in eyefinity. Lame. I wonder whether a six screen 2X3 array would work better as it maintains the same ratio? They're a bit pedantic.

Sadly some games just don't work. Period. Wide screen gaming forum is a good community to find out what works and some tweaks and work arounds.

On another note, it takes up more space on your desk than you're expecting. Mines tip to tip almost 2 meters long. You'll physically need the space.

Also, this is a little disappointing, windows behaves oddly when trying to get a desktop wallpaper to span a non eyefinity triple display. Won't do it without tripling the image with a crop or displaying it repeated full image pillar boxed or letter boxed. When you can find some good 5760x1080 wallpapers it behaves disappointingly unless in eyefinity. Third party software can make it work but that's inconvenient.

These small things will bug you but again when it works it works great. Pretty amazing to sit in front of I think. CF or SLI are probably required if you don't like turning down settings but its pretty cool what you get with a decent single card. The first Batman game ran great pretty much maxed out. Again on a 6950 2gb. I can't complain. There are some newer reviews in 5760X1080 on websites but few of them discuss the practicality of working in eyefinity or the experience.

Oh also most video playing aps default to full screen across the span so a 2.35 movie gets extended over the bezel 'humps'. Again less than ideal but this hasn't really been an issue for me.

The logical thing I would like them to include is a form of dissimilar display spanning. Say for instance portrait 22 - landscape 30- portrait 22. This is what I want ultimately but Ill have to wait until they get that integrated into CCC somehow. Would suit me for work and games. Just doesn't exist yet. If anyone has some experience with the Nvidia alternative let me know.
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Re: Eyefinity and games

Postposted on Tue Jun 26, 2012 8:34 pm

So it's still a mixed bag. I thought they would've refined things quite a bit since 2010, but it seems like it's one of those things people don't use, so they don't put mroe work into it. It's sorta a shame too because graphics cards are becoming so powerful you can drive three monitors pretty fluidly without having a crossfire setup.

I agree about a article centered around the technology itself. I would like to know how it changed and improved. TRs first look was great, but that's outdated now. It still sounds really cool, but the technology seems to have a lot of caveats. This is coming from someone that loathes 3D. I still think it's gimmicky and never will be a 3D system. But a increased FoV and a more immersive surround style gaming would be cool. Just having monitors come around the sides of your peripheral is pretty sweet. Personally I see too many downsides with the 6x2 array though, but the 3x1 is on the spot.

How do you deal with the bezels? Do you use bezel compensation or go without it?
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Re: Eyefinity and games

Postposted on Wed Jun 27, 2012 2:18 am

I can't be bothered with the bezel, I overlap the left and right screens between the edges of the middle one. Then I bring them forward and let the far edges wrap around slightly. I lose a few pixel rows probably from my seated position for games but it wouldn't have to if I was picky about it. Desk space is an issue. I've been tempted to try three in portrait. Looks good for third person games. If you youtube eyefinity there's some pretty odd european rigs with 9-15 screens. Not practical but impressive its coming from a desktop computer.
Don't be to disappointed most of the time its not support that's the issue its the amount of horsepower you can throw at the task. Most of the time it works and works fine but the game just isn't layed out in a way which makes it practical. And even then I'll still choose to use eyefinity because it just feels fun playing on that much screen. Dawn of War 2 was a bit buggy in eyefinity, nothing too bad but the menus were a bit funky but I played all the way through three screen because it ran great and was fun.

If you can justify it, its pretty fun. And uniquely something done solely by pcs outside of the arcade. Wish I had time to play games more to be honest.
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Re: Eyefinity and games

Postposted on Thu Jun 28, 2012 6:51 am

Hmm... it still piques my interest. I'll have to try it out when I get more disposable income.
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