When ATI Launched its 5000 series graphics cards back in September 2009, it was more than just a performance marvel, it ushered in a new technology that promised PC gamers an experience unlike no other: true, no compromise, multi-monitor gaming.
Sure, some ambitious PC-centric titles such as Supreme Commander had dabbled with multiple display support in the past, but these limited attempts offered little more than a convenient way to separate the mini map from the action. Eyefinity, by comparison, promised to bring multi-display gaming to hundreds of titles that were never optimized to support it. This would turn out to be both its biggest strength, and its greatest obstacle. It was an ambitious and somewhat buggy undertaking when it was revealed back in 2009, but has over a year and a half of driver releases improved the situation?
Having lived with an Eyefinity setup now for the past twelve months, I feel uniquely qualified to talk about not just how the technology has evolved, but if it was worth the cost.
Does multi-monitor gaming in 2011 finally live up to all the marketing hype? Hit the jump to find out.
Widescreen monitors are, in a word, awesome, and not just because they offer some kind of enhanced quality over their four-by-three ratio brethren. Depending on what you're using them for, like movie-watching, you'll simply see more of a given scene than you otherwise would on a standard display. The increased screen real estate (on the horizontal plane) also allows you to make more effective use of your desktop... provided you have the right software tools to create this enhanced productivity.
In fact, one of the biggest complaints surrounding the use of widescreen monitors is just that--the elongated desktop space is just too hard to navigate, and applications frequently don't make the best use of this additional room. I can't promise that everything out-of-the-box (or out-of-the-browser window) will look great on your widescreen display. However, what I can do is offer you a suite of tools designed to make your 16-by-9 or 16-by-10 experience as great as it can be. I've been using widescreen monitors for quite some time now. I know how it feels. That extra background space on the sides of every Web page you load? Maddening.
Let's take care of that issue, and more, with some awesome widescreen monitor apps.
Alienware, a boutique OEM vendor who made a name for itself building high end gaming PCs offered in distinct looking cases, has just released its first monitor, the OptX AW2210, and it doesn't have any tentacles or other alienesque features protruding from the side.
"The ultimate gaming experience requires more than just a great PC," explained Frank Azor, Dell Gaming. "Alienware is building an ecosystem around our machines to give gamers the complete gaming experience."
It's not too surprising to see Alienware release a monitor, considering that Dell, an active player in the LCD display market, now owns the OEM.
The 21.5-inch widescreen TN panel boasts 1920x1080 full HD resolution, a 2ms response time, 16.7 million colors, an 80,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio, two HDMi ports, four USB ports, and a titl/swivel/height adjustable stand.
This week NEC announced a 43-inch, curved monitor that will sport a 2ms response time.
The CRV43 “ultra-widescreen” display will pack a native resolution of 2880x900, and thanks to LED backlighting, feature a response time of just 2ms. For those of you that are looking to get one of these for yourself, start saving now – it’ll cost you $7,999.
Though, for those of you that have gaming running through your blood, no length is too great in order to have the baddest rig on the net. And, adding this to your setup will without a doubt put you near the top of the stack.
Our initial impression of NEC’s widescreen 26-inch EA261WM LCD monitor was overwhelmingly positive, primarily due to the thought put into its ergonomics. What puzzles us most about monitor design is why—even with obscenely expensive panels—user comfort is so often overlooked. If you’re planning on shelling out a load of cash for a monitor, something as simple as height adjustment (rather than the default homebrew solution of piles of books) seems like an obvious feature. The EA261WM includes not only height adjustment but pivot, tilt, and swivel adjustments as well, making it easy to share information on your screen with coworkers or even switch to a portrait configuration, should the need arise.
The EA261WM is also one of only 26 monitors to achieve EPEAT’s gold rating, the highest standard for environmental friendliness. To further emphasize its green attributes, the monitor includes an ECO mode, which lowers power consumption, and a carbon-footprint reader tells you just how much you’re doing to save the planet by lowering the brightness on your monitor.
Don't want to trade power and and versatility for light, thin, portability? Lenovo says, 'Why should you?' with its new Y-series IdeaPad laptops. The new IdeaPad Y series features three different models, all of which include:
16x9 HD screens
Up to 500GB hard disks
Lenovo OneKey Theater display and sound effects settings to optimize gameplay or movie watching
Up to 4GB of DDR3 memory
VeriFace facial recognition technology
OneKey Rescue system recovery
Optional features include NVIDIA GFX graphics and Bluetooth wireless connectivity.
If you've logged into YouTube today, you may have noticed that the embedded video player looks wider. That's because it is. In a blog post, YouTube announced it has widened the width of the page to 960 pixels in response to customer feedback, but that might only be part of the story.
According to reports, YouTube is looking to offer feature films by as early as next month and has already convinced one major Hollywood movie studio to jump on board. By upgrading its video player to support widescreen content, YouTube puts itself in a better position to pitch its service to even more content producers and better compete with other video sites like Hulu. Hulu, despite trailing YouTube by a wide margin in the number of viewers, is on track to catch up to YouTube in advertising revenue next year.
In the meantime, for those that prefer to watch crappy amateur videos in the 4:3 aspect ratio, YouTube ensures they will play just fine in the new player.
Good move for YouTube? Hit the jump and post your thoughts.
Matrox's TripleHead2Go Digital Edition, which enables you to drive up to three digital monitors from a single DVI port, has just received a significant upgrade.
We last encountered TripleHead2Go Digital Edition in our January 2008 review of the Hypersonic Sonic Boom OCX flight simulator PC. Hypersonic used it to drive three 1280x1024 digital monitors for a 3840x1024 panoramic view of the wild blue virtual yonder.
So, what's new with TripleHead2Go Digital Edition? Now, you can run up to three widescreen displays at 1680x1050 or 1440x900 resolutions. 3x1680x150 gives you an eye-popping 5040x1050 desktop, while 3x1440x900 provides a slightly less stunning 4320x900 desktop (and, it also supports WXGA's 1366x768 resolution).
And, the best news is that you don't need to buy a new version of the external box: if your graphics card has an ATI or NVIDIA DirectX 10 GPU with the latest graphics driver and a dual-link DVI connector running on Windows XP or Vista, all you need to do is:
Upgrade your TripleHead2Go Digital Edition's firmware to version 6.52 or later
Install the GXM software suite 2.03.02 or later
Choose your monitors' resolution from the display.
If you're not sure you're ready for the upgrade, the upgrade page also offers a link to the GXM System Compatibility Tool.
Like the sound of TripleHead2Go Digital Edition? Already using one? Your chance to sound off comes after the jump.
With today's widescreen monitors and laptop panels providing 16:10 ratios, but tomorrow's monitors and laptop panels switching to the HDTV 16:9 standard, it's time to prepare for the future - now, warns market research company DisplaySearch. In the next 4 years, 16:9 panels will almost completely replace both conventional 4:3 and current 16:10 widescreen displays in both desktop and laptop applications. To learn more, see the report summary.