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).
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)