Multi Screen Technology, Why NVIDIA will beat Eyefinity

Let me start by making a few things clear, the first is that I use Eyefinity technology in my day to day usage, the image you can see above is my desk and that’s three Dell U2410s hooked up to a HD 5970. Second I know that I really gave surround gaming a beating the other day, but the reasons in that post though are why NVIDIA is going to lose the battle.

Today though I’m going to tell you why ATI and the Eyefinity branding is going to lose the war when compared to NVIDIA. Multi Screen technology is the future for computing in many ways, the biggest problem at the moment though is that both companies are spending too much time focusing on the gaming aspects of the technology and not the productivity aspect.

NVIDIA concentrating on the gaming side I can understand, the bottom line is that the way they are implementing Multi Screen Technology is flawed, and the reason it’s flawed is because it was added at the last minute. When NVIDIA discovered the technology in ATIs new HD 5000 series Video Cards it became clear that this is going to be the future, for that reason NVIDIA found a way to offer the same kind of technology, because Fermi was so far along though going back to the drawing board wasn’t going to be an option which meant we were going to see limitations.

Now the information we have from NVIDIA about the Surround Gaming technology is a bit limited at the moment, it does give us most the information we need though and even if a few surprises do pop up it doesn’t look like the technology can beat out Eyefinity.

Eyefinity is fantastic, I use it daily and love every second of it, I moved to my 3x 24″ setup from a single 30″, at one point thought I was using a dual 30″ setup, on a whole that setup just felt kind of stupid, it was massive and when I wanted to game a giant bezel down the middle did nothing for me, so I ended up back at a single 30″ which I thought gave me the desktop real estate I needed.

Towards the end of December thought I got WOWed by Eyefinity, and not in person, of course ATI didn’t let me know of any events where I could see the technology in person, albeit I give them some of the most quotable lines in my reviews which have shown up in their meetings and the fact that I review probably more video cards in a given year than anyone else. We won’t worry about that though. I got WOWed by screen shots and YouTube videos of people playing HAWX, World of Warcraft, Call of Duty and more.

Thinking back now I don’t know why I let these videos persuade me because I barely have time for games, the bottom line is these videos and screenshots did persuade me. Since I have more Video Cards then I can poke a stick at getting into Eyefinity was only going to involve the cost of monitors (I don’t really review monitors and asking a company for three of anything is generally hard). When I finally set it up thought, fired up Sims 3 which seems to be the only game I have installed and realized that it looked completely crap at 5760 x 1200 I thought I had made a mistake with the purchase of these monitors.

The holidays came to an end and it was time to get back into work, feeling a bit bummed that I didn’t take full advantage of Eyefinity I was a bit concerned that $2,000AUD had been dropped for no reason. The launch of the HD 5670 changed this though, and in a big way since it was time to get back to work.

I consider myself a bit of a multi tasking master, I run two VNC windows on my machine, one to my server which has my MSN and all those useless programs that you don’t want clogging up your main PC and my laptop which runs my email so when I go away I don’t have to transfer files or that, I shut my laptop down and away I go. I have all past emails on my hand and when I get home I open it up, let it log onto the network and away I go again.

Not only do I have those two windows open all the time but when I’m benchmarking I have an excel spreadsheet for all my TweakTown graphs that takes up a whole monitor, along with that I will have a review or blog post open in word, folders to my main documents open, websites to double check pricing and specifications of models and images of the product I’m reviewing.

The nature of the three monitor setup opened me up to a new world of desktop real estate that I didn’t think existed. With Eyefinity this was done with one card and with ease. Productivity is at a new level, I’m more excited about all the windows I have open on my screen then I ever was about the gaming side of things.

The sad thing is thought that I had to discover this myself, sure ATI put how Eyefinity can expand productivity in between gaming and entertainment but every image you look at is about gaming, it’s Dragon Age on three screens and HAWX on six screens, it’s how this game works at 5760 x 1200 and that one at 7680 x 1600. Talking to editors after Eyefinity events they said, WOW it looks great, but it’s so gimmicky.

It’s true, and when you combine the fact that it’s expensive to get into an EyeFinity gaming setup it’s clear that the market is going to be a niche. You’re not catering to a market that is just gamers, you’re catering for a market that is for gamers who have serious cash to blow.

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