Installation, MDT Software and Configuration
Installing and setting up the hardware side of things is just as simple as installing any other graphics card. If you are running ONLY three displays then you will connect all three to the DVI-D ports on MDT X4 but if you are starting with just a single display then you can connect it to the DVI-D port if you want.
After installing the NVIDIA driver (we used 290.36 for our testing) you then need to set the proper resolution. If you’re running monitors that aren’t 1080p panels then you should have no problems as Windows should recognize the IDT chip configuration properly and offer up 5040×1050 or 4098×768, etc – whatever you should have. If you are going to be running this card on three 1080p monitors though you will have to setup a custom resolution in the NVIDIA control panel since 50 Hz solutions are non-standard.
In the NVIDIA control panel simply navigate to the resolutions tab and then select the button to create a custom resolution. The settings are pretty straight forward:
You can see we have configured it for 5760 horizontal pixels and 1080 vertical pixels with a refresh rate of 50 Hz. For your timing, Galaxy recommends you select the "CVT Reduced Blank" option though my monitors worked just fine leaving it on Auto.
After getting that correctly configured you should see a 5760×1080 @ 50 Hz custom resolution option in the NVIDIA control panel AND in the Windows display properties and you can begin your gaming goodness.
Galaxy did include a couple of pieces of software to help manage your life in Windows with such a large screen. The Winsplit Revolution software allows you do to things like tile windows and set hotkeys, but it is kind of clumsy to use. Another option is to use the Galaxy MDT software that simply changes the way the displays facilitate for "full screen" windows.
It couldn’t be a more simple and up-front solution – click the option at the bottom to merge the monitors into a single resolution or the option at top to have them act as separate displays. The change happens instantly and without flickering or flashing which is definitely a plus! As you can see below, the difference between the two modes is rather blunt:
As I mentioned before there are some games (and some monitors) that won’t want to work with you in the world of 50 Hz. Despite our best intentions we couldn’t get Batman: Arkham City to run at 5760×1080 nor do any of the Valve Source titles operate well in this configuration. Keep in mind that with NVIDIA Surround or AMD Eyefinity both of these games did function as expected. Other games like Dirt 3 didn’t work initially but were easy enough to configure using the XML files associated with the game.
Many games DID work though including Battlefield 3, Bad Company 2, Civilization V, Deus Ex: Human Revolution and more.
For our testing I broke it up into two short sections. First, with the overclocked settings of the card we wanted to see how it performed on a single display, compared to our normal graphics cards testing options. After that, I took a handful of games through the ringer at either 3840×720 or 5760×1080 to see how they played and what kind of settings we could run at comfortably.
- Testing Configuration
- ASUS P6X58D Premium Motherboard
- Intel Core i7-965 @ 3.33 GHz Processor
- 3 x 2GB Corsair DDR3-1333 MHz Memory
- Western Digital VelociRaptor 600GB HDD
- Corsair Professional Series 1200w PSU
- Benchmarks used: 3DMark Vantage, 3DMark11, Metro 2033, Lost Planet 2, Civilization V, Battlefield: Bad Company 2, Battlefield 3, DiRT3, Skyrim, Unigine Heaven
- NVIDIA Driver: 285.88
- AMD Driver: 11.11b
On to the testing!