ATI Helping to Bring Eyefinity to the Masses

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Last week, we were invited to a conference call with representatives of ATI and some other media outlets. To start with, they outlined their successes over the first three-quarters of this year, shipping “more than 16 million ATI Eyefinity enabled GPUs” while holding “51% of the discrete GPU market share” (source).

Their current generation is a bit longer in the tooth than NVIDIA’s, but it definitely goes to show they are still keeping the competition on their toes.

After getting that out of the way they cut to the chase. In the past, there were two options for running Eyefinity:  1. have at least one monitor with a DisplayPort (DP) interface – often requiring a new purchase, or 2. buy a rather expensive, powered, active DP -to-DVI adapter (usually in excess of $100).

No longer.

DP-to-DVI Adapter - Image Courtesy ATI

DP-to-DVI Adapter - Image Courtesy ATI

DP-to-DVI Adapter - Image Courtesy ATI

DP-to-DVI Adapter - Image Courtesy ATI

ATI has partnered up with several manufacturers to bring to market a non-powered, active DP-to-DVI converter that works with Eyefinity. They are supposed to enter the market at a $29.99 price point, less than a third of what you’ll find powered adapters for.

Active is the key term here. Passive, non-powered adapters on the market now will not allow you to use the DP output on your card for a third monitor (which is required – see fine print #1 here). Like the active, powered adapters already on the market, using one of these will convince your GPU that the attached monitor has a native DP input.

One important thing to note is that the DVI end of these adapters do not have the four analog pins (denoted C1-C4 in this pinout from Wikipedia) required to convert DVI to VGA, so don’t buy one of these thinking you can adapt the adapter for a monitor with only a VGA input.

These adapters work up to a 1920 x 1200 resolution, so those of you with larger monitors and higher resolutions will still have to go the powered route. They say this was simply because the vast majority of users in the market for such an adapter are going to have monitors with that resolution or smaller.

One good question answered during the conference call involved the inclusion of these with new GPUs – will it affect price? They said that, while it is up to the partner, they would expect models including the adapter to be at a higher price point than ones that do not. Whether it is the full $30 is unknown, but they seem to doubt it.

Also, there are reports of flickering with some active, powered adapters on the market presently. With these new adapters, they said that should not be a problem; meaning it may even behoove some people to replace their existing adapters.

Another question involved a rumor that has been floating around recently – Are we calling this ATI Eyefinity or AMD Eyefinity? There seems to be no change, as we’re still calling it ATI Eyefinity. There wasn’t even a ‘for now’ caveat.

Anyway, be on the lookout for these adapters to hit the market this week. If anyone is sitting on a two-monitor setup with a third DVI monitor sitting around and wants add a third to their setup, this is great news!

Jeremy Vaughan (hokiealumnus)

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Discussion
  1. Psycogeec
    i dont get it, wouldnt it be easier and no bezels in the way to just use a single 42" HDTV monitor with DVI connections?

    or is that to simple ?

    i dont get them solving completly the flickering when it had nothing to do with adaption, and is 2 possibly different issues for different people.

    i dont get it, 3x 1920 resolution and thier best card cant run descent antialising ON 3 FULL resolution monitors in full resolution at good frame rates with the primo games that people want to fork over 400-700 for cards and 1500 if they want descent monitors even without Display port.

    I want it :-) i just dont get it .

    hey when will they add in Stereoscopic 3d at 240FPs , TOO.


    Think about the way your eyes work. When you're looking forward, you can still see whats on your left and right, even though you're not directly looking at it. It's called Peripheral Vision. A 50" single screen still has the same field of view as a 22" screen, it's just bigger. 1 50" has a rez of 1920x1080, 1 22" has a rez of 1920x1080. 3 monitors of any size have a rez anywhere from 3840x1024 to 7680x1200. With 3 monitors your field of view is expanded and you get more real estate, you can actually see more than a single screen user. Read this, it goes into more depth more on why the bezels are not of a concern and also the common comparison to an HDTV. It's something that needs to be experienced first hand. Once you go with multiple monitors, everything else just doesn't cut it. Not even my 50" 120hz plasma. ;)
    Yep, that's about the gist of it. You are the ideal person - he (or she) who has monitors that already have the proper inputs. But for those out there that don't, this is a strong, cheap ($30) fix.
    Already commented on this on another thread... I guess if someone already has a GPU with the normal output layout (1xDP + 2xDVI + 1HDMI) and they wanted to do 3 way Eyefinity, getting one of these for $40 wouldn't be such a bad thing.

    But as far as I am concerned (since I'm building a new rig right now); I've decided to go with the Saphire 6xmDP Eyefinity 6 2GB GPU and 3 IPS Displays from Dell which have DP inputs. That way I can just buy mDP to DP cables (male to male) and be done with it. No need for Active adapters, no risk of flickering screens, no resolution limitation to 1920x1200. And since the cables sell for about $15, the expense vs getting the active mDP to DVI adapter would be just about the same, but the value in return is greater.
    As I understand it from reading about the internet, in current Eyefinity cards there are only two clockgens for DVI/VGA/HDMI signals. Using a passive adapter on a DP output would require a third. Using the active adapter gets around that issue and allows the use of a DVI monitor as the third in a three-monitor Eyefinity setup.
    the point of this is it's an active adapter without an external power source needed. the only benefit i can see of this adapter over the similar passive adapters is that it enables HDCP/DPCP, which isn't really a benefit in my eyes. So i'm just going to keep using the passive adapters I already have. If these are bundled with new cards, then great, but I'm certainly not going to put these as a 'must have' feature when considering my next purchase, and i'm certainly not rushing out to buy any on their own.
    i dont get it, wouldnt it be easier and no bezels in the way to just use a single 42" HDTV monitor with DVI connections?

    or is that to simple ?

    i dont get them solving completly the flickering when it had nothing to do with adaption, and is 2 possibly different issues for different people.

    i dont get it, 3x 1920 resolution and thier best card cant run descent antialising ON 3 FULL resolution monitors in full resolution at good frame rates with the primo games that people want to fork over 400-700 for cards and 1500 if they want descent monitors even without Display port.

    I want it :-) i just dont get it .

    hey when will they add in Stereoscopic 3d at 240FPs , TOO.