A few weeks back we ran an article on the mighty ATI FirePro V9800. We promised you a look at our findings covering ATI's all singing and dancing Eyefinity technology. A variant has been with the consumer market for some months now and the professional market has finally caught up to a robust level. In April this year we saw a sneak peak of the professional variant and it showed exciting promise. TechEye takes a look.

3x1 Portrait Display Group. We can also have a 3x1 Landscape Display Group

 

3x2 Landscape Display Group 

3x1 Portrait display group

For this article we will focus on the array below:

 

Eyefinity is extremely easy to use as the guide is very self explanatory. The supported operating systems are: 

Microsoft Windows 7
Windows Vista
Linux
Windows XP
support for ATI Eyefinity technology is limited to two simultaneous displays at any time 

We pondered which system build to use and decided on the Single Socket Intel® Xeon 3.46GHz,  which has proved itself a winner. 

Component

Test  System

Mainboard

Supermicro X8SAX Workstation Board Rev 2

CPU

1 X 3.46GHz Intel® Xeon® X5677 Nehalem EP®, 12MB Shared Cache, 6.4GB/s QPI

HSF Coolers

Corsair H50-1 Hydro Series High-performance CPU Watercooler

Memory

6 X 2GB Crucial DDR3 (12GB Total) 1333MHz Unbuffered  ECC DIMMS  Memory Modules

Hard Drive

600GB Western Digital 10000RPM VelociRaptor

PCI Ex Graphics Card

ATI FirePro V9800

Operating System

Microsoft Windows 7 64-bit Professional

Setting out with our 6 X 24" monitors we wanted to see what the maximum performance hit was from the ATI FirePro V9800, at peak resolution, while under load of one of the more common professional applications.

Starting out using Solidworks and using one monitor with the ATI FirePro V9800 brought in a graphical score of 3.81. The next sequence was four monitors running the application and two showing just the windows desktop. To our surprise the actual graphical score of 3.67 had dropped only by 0.14. Finally we pushed the whole six displays into one 5760 x 2400 unit and the final run took us by surprise again, showing a fine drop of only 0.13 with a graphical result of 3.54. The overall monitor increase only saw a very minor decrease in the final graphical output, an exceptionally good result.

We ran the Bentley MicroStation Benchmark to double check. These backed up our initial findings - it has to be reiterated, watching professional tests which absolutely stretch the V9800 chip to the limits, we wondered if it would be too much. But the V9800 didn't falter once.

It goes without saying that this technology offers benefits to those wishing to use or currently using multi-monitor set-ups.

Displays are coming forward with thinner bezels, meaning better viewing, and the cost is dropping so it's an attractive idea to show off quality high screen outputs of finished models to clients.

 

We finished off the day with a 5760 x 2400 in 32 bit colour set-up. ATI claims a maximum resolution of 7680 x 3200 grouping three displays wide by two displays high with landscape orientation using 2560x1600 display resolution for each monitor (24.6 megapixel resolution), this would be something to behold witnessing this in action.

 

We have only shown what can be done with the maximum suite of six monitors. If you really wish to push the boat out, you can set up 12 x 24" monitors but you will need an additional ATI FirePro V9800. 

There are many ATI FirePro and FireGL cards that all support Eyefinity technology, though currently the top two high-end cards, the FirePro V9800 and FirePro V8800 support six and four monitors respectively and the remaining cards all supporting a standard two monitors.

One fundamental point of interest to all and most importantly to the finance and medical sectors is font clarity.

Sitting nine feet away from the compete display, the font reproduction was crystal clear and razor sharp. The actual picture quality was impeccably sharp too. Though if we carefully crawl back into the recruitment history of ATI it has to be noted some extremely very clever guys snaffled up from Matrox are to thank for this.

Overall this is an impressive piece of technology implementation within one graphics card. Eyefinity is simple to use and will have customers impressed when they see their final models on a massive landscape of displays.

Which ever way we look at things, ATI has released an exceptional piece of technology that is rapidly being taken up by the professional sectors.