A $30 Adapter, a World of Eyefinity Possibilities

Author: Michael "SKYMTL" Hoenig
Date: August 29, 2010
Product Name: ATI Eyefinity Adapter
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The DisplayPort to Single Link DVI Adapter

Passive, Active; the Differences

When Eyefinity was first introduced, many were confused about exactly what type of DisplayPort adapter needed to be used in for systems configured with three DVI-equipped monitors. Some sites were advertising products which converted a DisplayPort signal to DVI for a little as $10 while others advertised “active” adapters for more than $100 a pop. Is there a difference? You betcha.

Even though DisplayPort is supposed to replace DVI, the signals produced by these two connection types are very much different from one another. A few devices have the ability to natively pass a DVI signal directly through the DisplayPort connector and all they need is a simple, inexpensive pass-through (or passive) adapter. On the other hand, ATI’s HD 5000-series produce a native DisplayPort signal without DVI attributes and as such the signal needs to be actively converted. This naturally leads to the price premium on active, dual link adapters.

Single Link for the Masses

One of the main reasons for the high price of many active adapters is their compatibility with the high bandwidth, high resolution dual link DVI standard. However, a single-link DVI connection still allows for resolutions up to 1920 x 1200 at 60Hz which encompasses the vast majority of monitors currently on the market. Even the soon to be standard 1080P computer display resolution falls well within the limits of a single link DVI. If you want higher resolutions you will still need to go with the dual link connection though.

Make no mistake about it, active single link DisplayPort to DVI adapters haven’t been seen on the market as of yet but things are about to change. AMD is aiming to satisfy the vast majority of the gamers out there by pushing several manufacturers to begin distributing both the standard and mini DisplayPort versions more widely. Board partners will also be including them as part of their standard packaging for some ATI GPUs. The price if bought separately will be a svelte $30 and retailers should begin stocking them over the course of the next week or so.

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