Left 4 Dead and Closing Thoughts
Though I do not have any before and after performance results for Left 4 Dead, I did have some screenshots on hand so I thought I would share the Eyefinity video once again with those images below.  I’m sure we have some curious folks for this title…

AMD Radeon HD 5870 Eyefinity Performance Testing - Graphics Cards 38
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AMD Radeon HD 5870 Eyefinity Performance Testing - Graphics Cards 39
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AMD Radeon HD 5870 Eyefinity Performance Testing - Graphics Cards 40
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Full Resolution Image

And our final Eyefinity testing title, “Portal.”  An oldie but a goodie.

Portal – Expand to full screen for best experience

Closing Thoughts

Keeping this article short and to the point, what can we derive from the added information provided by these performance metrics in addition to our real-world testing experiences?  First, we saw that performance scaling was dramatically different depending on the title and likely in each particular section of each game.  In both Far Cry 2 and Resident Evil 5, the Eyefinity performance results were 2.5-3.5x SLOWER than our results using a single panel.  Considering we are tripling the number of pixels that the single Radeon HD 5870 had to process, those numbers seem to make the most sense to us. 

However, titles like HAWX and Batman were much easier on the system – the performance was cut in half essentially.  Why the difference?  Take a look at the Batman and HAWX screenshots: what is in the MAJORITY of the pixels on the two side monitors?  In Batman it is walls and scenery while in HAWX it is static ground or horizon.  The point is that in these two games at least the action is very much centered on the gamer’s focal point, the center monitor.  Considering that nearly all users today are gaming on a single monitor it just makes sense that developers would create games in that way.  In Far Cry 2 and RE5, the games had enough going on along the side screens to really make those extra pixels add pressure to the GPU, taking about as much work to crunch through as the pixels on the primary 30-in display. 

This tells us that scaling on Eyefinity is really going to be on a case-by-case basis and that simply assuming a 3x performance drop is both wrong and foolish.  As we said, even with just a single Radeon HD 5870, Batman and HAWX were completely playable at 7680×1600 with 4xAA enabled!  That is an impressive feat even though we are talking about frame rates in the 30s rather than the 60s that I know a lot of our readers will want.  To that point, AMD is still committed to bringing CrossFire to Eyefinity in the future, just not soon enough for me.

AMD Radeon HD 5870 Eyefinity Performance Testing - Graphics Cards 41
Hey AMD, we really want this to work…so, uh, get to it?

That brings up the Radeon HD 5870 X2 card, or Hemlock as it is codenamed.  AMD has already shown it on the roadmap as a 2009 part but this graphics card will REQUIRE CrossFire to be working with Eyefinity technology since it is essentially “CrossFire-on-a-card” with a pair of Cyprus GPUs.  Logic would follow then that AMD will not be able to release this high-end part until they get the software working for the rest of us too.  Oh, there is still that matter of Lucid and its HYDRA technology; it is definitely on my radar and I have a feeling that we’ll be able to get better Eyefinity results more quickly through this option than waiting on AMD.  Deciding which solution will be BETTER though will take a lot of testing that I am willing to sacrifice and do for our readers!

Finally, as I said on the first page, I am planning on taking another look at Eyefinity with a set of 24-in 1920×1200 panels in the near future and I’ll be sure to post the results right here on PC Perspective.  If you have any questions, suggestions for future testing or want to see what others are saying about this article and Eyefinity technology, head into the Graphics section of the PC Perspective Forums to contribute!

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