ATI Eyefinity / DisplayPort

Hey all

So we’ve all heard of EyeFinity by now, and lots of people have tried it, noting:

There are still a few questions about how reliable an approach it really is.

Concerning performance, here’s a fairly good review of how much the extra pixels affect fps in games:,2595.html

Dongles / Adapters / Converters

This is a list of supported dongles:

active = some electronics converts the signal
passive = the card supplies the signal natively

EDIT: If your card has more than 2 (Mini-)DisplayPort outputs (i.e. 4,5,6). Then any 2 of them are classified as DP++, and the rest are classified as DP. DP++ signifies that the port is capable of producing a DVI signal, i.e. you can use a passive adapter with this port.

Any 2 ports can be used with passive adapters, the remainder must be used with active adapters.


All of the VGA dongles are listed as active (bit of a surprise, i thought that the one i’m using with my macbook is passive. When you cut one open, there’s some chips, but also 5 shielded lines leading to the PC, the same as a native VGA signal).

EDIT : After some time, there’s been no evidence to dispute that all VGA adapters are active. You can presume this to be true.

Max resolution is same as single link DVI (1920x1200), i.e. bandwidth for TH2G resolutions:

  • 2xWXGA
  • 2xXGA
  • 3xSVGA

DVI single link

The DVI-D single links come in passive and active (1920x1200)
(same TH2G resolutions as VGA)

These are approximately £20

DVI dual link

The DVI-D dual links are all active (as expected)
Max resolution 2560x1600, which of course supports all TH2G resolutions

(This is necessary for the highest TH2G resolutions

So far, these all require external power (i.e. power from USB)

These are approximately £100

TH2G = Matrox TripleHead2Go

Number of supported monitors

This comparison gives the number of outputs supported on the FirePro cards.
Of course none of us are stupid(ahem) to buy these, but generally they have equivalent models in the Radeon series
Note that:

  • Only 1 card supports 6 outputs
  • Many cards with 2 display port + 1 DVI only support 2 displays in use at one time
  • The cards which support 4 or 6 outputs are all on DisplayLink

Only one card in the 5xxx series supports 6 outputs, which is the “HD5870 Eyefinity 6” model (£400)

None of the cards (so far) in the 6xxx series natively support 6 outputs. They suggest you use the “DisplayPort 1.2 Multi-Stream Transport”. This is generally a daisy-chain features on monitors, so far I can’t find any VGA/DVI options for this.

In the 6xxx series, above model HD6870, they all have the specification:


But for HD6870 and below, they miss this specification

So the cheapest 4/6 card is the HD6950 at £200

Recently I had an exhibition which had multi-monitor issues with the 6870’s. so this is starting to make sense…

This image (and others) suggest that >2 displays are only supported through MST on 6xxx series cards (thereby meaning that the HD5870 Eyefinity 6 model is the only one of interest to us (?)
I think it’s likely that the new Apple Thunderbolt GPU outputs support this (as there’s been mention of daisy chaining displays, and they’re running on modern ATI)

The ATI 6970 DirectCU (triple height) looks quite scary tbh
There seems to effectively be 5 outputs:

  • DVI-I
  • 4 x DisplayPort (1 of which comes out on 2 ports, a DisplayPort and an adapted DVI-D)

So I’m not sure at all what we’re getting here with the DisplayPorts.

Why is only one of the outputs VGA compatible?
according to the other materials, any DisplayPort should be able to be converted to VGA.

Perhaps (and I have had an experience which backs this up), VGA adapters can only be used at the graphics card, and not after MST hubs(?), and that this here is really 1 DVI-D + 1 DisplayPort (with the DisplayPort fed into an MST hub).

there is one more option, kalle has previously suggested the use of the Radeon HD6970 DirectCU II that has 6 separate outputs.


@sunep, see previous post! :)
must have been writing at the same time!

hey, multiple displays setup only work on digital output, or RGB analog too ?

Tested two displays (HDMI-DVI, DP-DP) in group mode (span mode) yesterday - all works fine.

Will test some DP-DVI active dongles in next two days and report results.

@alg - looking forwards to the results!
Ideally post the model of the card you’re using, resolutions, which active dongles you’re using, ideally image of the card from google images.

I have some experience using 5830 and 5870 eyefinity6 editions.

and there are some issues to be aware of.

only two of the displays can be on passive non-displayport adapters or connectors. meaning that even though the 5830 has one displayport, one hdmi and two DVI-I you can not use HDMI + 2*DVI simultaneously.

on the 5870 I discovered that regular apple displayport -> VGA adaptors work, even though you use two passive DVI adapters simultaneously.

The setup ended up with 1 displaypport, 2 apple vga adaptors and 2 passive DVI connections.

I used individual renderers so I have no experience creating a group over this many displays.

on the 5830, I had one displayport display for patching, and used two vga’s (from the DVI-I connectors) to make one vertical span. here I had some problem with resolution which might come from not getting decent ddc info, pin missing from the cable.

So, this need confirmation elsewhere:

Displayport -> VGA adaptors should work with all outputs.

displayport -> DVI adapters work only at a maximum of 2 unless they are active (active ones are expensive, I have only seen them hover around 100€ a piece)

We used this adapters

and i tried them with six DVI Cables on regular Monitors. And it was all working, with a 5870 Eyefinity. We got some problems with the Particle Shader but I think it was a hardware issue, it was working well with the one of the 5870 but with the “same” from an other brand it wasn`t. In the end we used a boygroup.

edit: We tried out the group function of the eyefinity, and it was performing much better than to have 6 seperat “displays”

tested 5870 with 6 Hama VGA Adapters, it worked in spanmode (group) with all 6 screens at least in 800x600 each as i remember. but depends on displays - if they are same, ok, if not may be a problem, catalyst doesn’t see all 6 displays or cannot make a group.

sometimes i use it with 4 displays - 1 as control and 3 in group for rendering, works all right, but anyway with some displays can be unstable.

miniDP-VGA adapters get spoiled easily, i’ve burnt 2 of 6 already, and connectors are weak and get disconnected from time to time…

performance is nice but some particle stuff doesn’t work.
i solved one shader issue with changing ps shader model from 3.0 to 2.b (if i remember well, will check this and update), otherwise it showed black screen

needs nice cooling, in hot conditions got strange noise ~

hope it helps
but for future work i’d prefer boygroups

when you talk about “grouping” displays, is this spanmode? in a flexible way? and is this xp or something more recent?

ati catalyst’s groups are like spanmode, i mean 1 renderer = fullscreen on 3 displays for example. i’ve tested this on win 7

And from what we’ve seen (from Kalle’s link to, the span mode setup is fairly flexible (1 of these, 3 of these, 1 of them)

NB you won’t be able to span between graphics cards

Although do we have any positive experiences at all of teaming 2 ATI cards inside of 1 PC?

@@ain : Thanks for the detailed comments!

“i’ve burnt 2 of 6 already” - is this mechanically broken (snapped,torn,cracked), or electrically faulty (no visible reason why it wouldn’t work, but just doesn’t)?
Any idea what caused the failure?
This is going along with kalle’s criticism of the Mini-DisplayPort connector

Anybody else got confirmation on ain’s description of “catalyst doesn’t see all 6 displays”
This is the first real sign of EyeFinity being unworkable (intrinsically too risky to rely on)

  • people saying they’d prefer boy groups over EyeFinity is pretty worrying for me.

I got the “catalyst doesn`t see the displays” problem only when using passive connectors not with actives like i postet above

Here’s the adapters linked from @robi_h
With product description

XFX Adapter Mini-DisplayPort auf DVI-D (18+1)
(Aktiv, Single-Link, schwarz)

So we presume that these adapters on a 5860 EyeFinity 6, we can reliably detect single link DVI devices

@ain described a sporadic error with detecting VGA displays
any other experiences with VGA/5870?

(admittedly, VGA is still very prominent for myself, unless everything’s <5m apart, so DVI can be reliably selected)

The 5870 EyeFinity is now officially rare
0 stock results on Google Shopping for all manufacturers (Asus, XFX, Sapphire)
except for with dubious “send us a bank transfer to Malaysia” PC-Titan (with janky web design to match)

1 on eBay… anybody else interested? 6 days left w/9 bids (i think the rarity will bump the price)