Eyefinity 6 Advantages

Since we first saw the multi-monitor goodness that is Eyefinity last September, we have been promised a video card that can power up to six monitors off of a single GPU. Today we are finally getting that card – the Radeon HD 5870 Eyefinity 6 Edition! Stop and see how the 2GB card performs in testing and what we thought of the gaming experience it offered!

UPDATE: We finally got our video review of the AMD Radeon HD 5870 Eyefinity 6 Edition graphics card up and ready for you to view.  I apologize for the delay here but we had some major issues with our editing software, etc etc.  I think you’ll find the wait was well worth it! It is a bit longer than normal (about 20 minutes) but we take the time to walk you through how easy the hardware and software setup is, bezel correction, several positive and negative game play examples and more! 

We have become fans of the Eyefinity brand here at PC Perspective and in general, of the idea of multiple-monitor gaming.  Lord knows that millions of dedicated PC gamers need, no DEMAND, a way to stand out from the crowd of console elitists and throwing a set of three LCDs at their face is definitely a good way to do it.  But what if there was more?  What if you could actually throw more monitors at those very same faces?

This is what we have been promised since AMD first brought the media and a group of gamers from the Oakland bay area onto an aircraft carrier: six LCD panels being driven by a single graphics card for intense PC action.  Enter the AMD Radeon HD 5870 Eyefinity 6 Edition graphics card.

AMD Radeon HD 5870 Eyefinity 6 Edition Review: 6 monitor gaming! - Graphics Cards 101

Based on the name you could guess that the AMD Radeon HD 5870 Eyefinity 6 Edition card, which we are shortening to HD 5870 E6 from here on out, shares a lot in common with the currently existing Radeon HD 5870 – you’d be right.  In fact, in terms of performance specifications the HD 5870 E6 is nearly identical: it has the same 850 MHz base clock speed and the same 4.8 Gbps memory speed though we do find that this is the first single GPU HD 5870 to include 2GB of total frame buffer.  Yes the HD 5970 dual-GPU card does have 2GB of memory on it but only 1GB is allocated to each GPU. 

Both idle and maximum board power are up slightly over the standard HD 5870 due to the increase in memory modules as well as the power necessary to drive up to 6 displays.

AMD Radeon HD 5870 Eyefinity 6 Edition Review: 6 monitor gaming! - Graphics Cards 102

That’s right kids, the Radeon HD 5870 E6 card supports 6 monitors on this single GPU!  The connections for the displays are all mini-DisplayPort which will likely be a problem for most consumers so AMD is helping out by including a handful of adapters in the box.  There will be a pair of mini-DP to full-size DP adapters, a pair of mini-DP to single-link DVI adapters (up to 1920×1200 resolution) and a single mini-DP to HDMI dongle for TV output.  Obviously your mileage will vary on whether or not you need MORE adapters than this but I imagine a sensible gamer considering 6 LCD monitors will already know this.

If you are going to go for the whole enchilada and setup the a 6-panel configuration you are going to need either 4 more mini-DP to DP adapters to go with your new DisplayPort capable displays or more of the mini-DP to DVI connections for traditional monitors.  If you are doing really well for yourself and have some 30-in monitors that require dual-link DVI connections be prepared to shell out as much as $100 each for active adapters – more on that in our video above.

AMD Radeon HD 5870 Eyefinity 6 Edition Review: 6 monitor gaming! - Graphics Cards 103

As we go through our discussion (though more so in the video) about how and when you can use the Eyefinity 6 card to all its potential, we’ll see both gaming setups that use all 6 monitors and those that are using just three.  But what about those of us that want to feign productivity while gaming?  The image above should give you some hope then!

AMD Radeon HD 5870 Eyefinity 6 Edition Review: 6 monitor gaming! - Graphics Cards 104

And even though the premise of having 6 displays connected to a single graphics card is the key for this product, as we will continue to explore, having an extra 1GB of memory over the standard HD 5870 could be an advantage worth exploring too, even for three monitor Eyefinity gaming.  The graphic above from AMD shows performance advantages on a 5760×1200 resolution three monitor configuration with titles like UT3 and Crysis seeing big jumps.

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