A $30 Adapter, a World of Eyefinity Possibilities
Even though it is the talk of the town these days, multi monitor gaming has been around for years. Adapters like Matroxís iconic TripleHead2Go led the industry towards a wider acceptance of surround setups but in all reality, the concept never really caught on all that quickly. Letís be honest, the road to surround gaming has long been paved with high prices, bulky adapters and insufficient driver support. Game support also just wasnít quite up to snuff due to limited developer interest in the possibility of spanning three or more displays. Even if you did get everything to work properly, there was still the matter of thick monitor bezels intruding into your field of vision to contend with.
With their HD 5000-seriesí Eyefinity technology, ATI turned over a brand new leaf in the book of display immersion and surround gaming in general. With it, users now have the means to span three to six displays directly from their graphics card without the need for any expensive connection adapters and from the comfort of the Catalyst Control Center. There was however one serious limitation to this wondrous new technology from ATI: the need for a DisplayPort connector.
DisplayPort in and of itself is simply billed as a direct replacement for the DVI connector we have all come to know and sometimes hate. Unfortunately, ATIís goals for running more than two displays off of a single card hinge on the use of this relatively new-to-market standard and this seems to have somewhat curtailed the initial excitement about Eyefinity. The reasoning behind this lack of enthusiasm was due to the fact that DisplayPort-equipped monitors were (and still are) more expensive than their DVI-totting brethren. Alternately, one could choose to go another route and buy an active DisplayPort to dual link DVI adapter but this also had one major drawback: a $120 price tag.
NVIDIAís own Surround solution burst onto the market without the need for next-generation display connectors but since their cards lack the ability to run three active display outputs, SLI was necessary. Crossfire setups on the other hand donít support more than two monitors without at least one DisplayPort connector feeding information to a display so in essence ATI needed something to compete with NVIDIA Surround that didnít involve a huge monetary investment. Enter the $30 DisplayPort to single link DVI adapter.
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