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One Video Card, 12 Monitors

CmdrTaco posted more than 4 years ago | from the now-this-is-ridiculous dept.

Graphics 262

Jamie found a story that might make your jaw drop if you happen to have some need to put 12 video cards in your machine. Although if that isn't enough, you can always install two of these. I don't think I'm kidding.

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Sounds good. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32485106)

I never understood what seems to be an arbitrary restriction: Only two video outs per card.

Re:Sounds good. (1)

FatRichie (1456467) | more than 4 years ago | (#32485130)

I always assumed it was for performance reasons. Though 12 seems a bit ridiculous (and awesome), I've always wanted to put four together with a little more convenience.

Re:Sounds good. (3, Insightful)

Cylix (55374) | more than 4 years ago | (#32485300)

I haven't really checked modern chipsets, but some older nvidia models definitely had a performance drop.

My preferred setup is one larger horizontal display for environments which require directx/opengl. That is paired with a second vertical display which usually has non-interactive statistic and monitoring applications running.

There was a significant drop in performance regarding the accelerated output and unless there is a specific chip driving each display I suspect this will always be true. However, given the advancement of video controllers today it will likely be less of an impact as performance increases. Specifically, I don't recall noticing an impact on my now defunct GT 290. However, being defunct and sitting on my coffee table I can no longer confirm.

Re:Sounds good. (3, Interesting)

rcpitt (711863) | more than 4 years ago | (#32485330)

I currently run 4 monitors - used to run 6 but that was before I got the 1920x1280 units I currently have.

IMHO - you will never come close to having a paperless office until the screen real estate comes at least close to (or over) the desk real estate.

I write articles and code - and find that having the reference stuff up at the same time on another screen, with graphics on another, makes writing a LOT faster!!!

i have two of these 26" suckers: (4, Interesting)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 4 years ago | (#32485836)

http://www.newegg.com/product/product.aspx?item=N82E16824255011 [newegg.com]

each is 1920x1200

i put one in landscape mode, then i bought an articulating monitor arm, and i put the other one in portrait mode. the setup looks schizophrenic, but listen up folks:

browsing the internet on a 16:9 monitor in portrait mode is a dream

try it some day. you capture so much of a webpage you are usually peering at through a slit you are constantly scrolling through with lots of unused screen real estate on either side

as a web developer, it helps too, believe me: the landscape mode screen for code/ packet inspection/ debugging/ email, etc... the other screen for a really good 10,000 foot overview of what you are actually putting up in the browser in terms of page layout

trust me folks: get a 16:9 monitor and put it in portrait mode if you browse a lot on the internet. it is about as good as it gets in terms of ui experience

Re:i have two of these 26" suckers: (1)

FatRichie (1456467) | more than 4 years ago | (#32486052)

This is EXACTLY what I've wanted to do for a long time! I can't justify the cost of nice LCDs right now while I've got a pile of CRTs to use. But someday... someday!!!

Re:i have two of these 26" suckers: (1)

Michael Kristopeit (1751814) | more than 4 years ago | (#32486266)

or get a 4:3 monitor and put it in landscape mode and have everything you've described, and 33% more width.

the aspect ratio doesn't matter nearly as much as diagonal screen size and resolution.

Re:i have two of these 26" suckers: (1)

Michael Kristopeit (1751814) | more than 4 years ago | (#32486282)

...get a 4:3 monitor and put it in portrait mode....

Re:i have two of these 26" suckers: (1)

toastar (573882) | more than 4 years ago | (#32486318)

Pfft... 26"

IMQHO Nothing Beats 2-3 30"s Sure it might take up a bit of desk space, But you get 8-12million pixels. To get the same number of pixels on your 26" you literally need twice as many Screens.

Re:Sounds good. (2, Interesting)

tinkerghost (944862) | more than 4 years ago | (#32486256)

I write articles and code - and find that having the reference stuff up at the same time on another screen, with graphics on another, makes writing a LOT faster!!!

My preference is 3 monitors:

  • Coding - the IDE or Nedit windows.
  • Reference - Usually both language reference windows for rarely used commands and the project reference on the same window.
  • Testing - Web browser or testing script windows depending on the project.

With that setup, I don't have to flip between desktops to work & doing reference checks is as simple as looking between the monitors. No flipping back & forth between the project reference & the test results you just compare the 2 windows & be done with it.

That said, I can't even think of what I would do with 12 monitors other than running a kiosk with each K/V/M setup dedicated to it's own OS image.

Re:Sounds good. (1)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 4 years ago | (#32485580)

Though 12 seems a bit ridiculous (and awesome), I've always wanted to put four together with a little more convenience.

I used to run two screens on my home Linux desktop box (via xinerama), but those were CRT devices. In an attempt to cut down on power usage, I have now replaced them with a single, large LCD display. I still have the multiple nVidia cards linked together in the computer housing, but I believe that's probably drawing far more power than is actually useful.

I used to do a lot of graphics-intensive molecular modelling and rendering, but now that I've digressed into other fields, I can afford to be a little less "cool".

Re:Sounds good. (3, Insightful)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 4 years ago | (#32485210)

Realistically how many different displays can the average consumer use at a time? Gamers might want 3 or 4 and then they are landscaping them so that they can see left, center, and right. Given that and the cost (both monetary and performance) of adding more displays to a card, means that I think 2 is about right. For specialized applications like store displays, etc, more displays is better but it is not a high volume market.

Users per computer (2, Interesting)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#32485358)

Realistically how many different displays can the average consumer use at a time?

Consumer, singular, or consumers, plural? If mainstream operating systems didn't have a problem recognizing multiple keyboards and mice and separating their input, then one could share a desktop computer among multiple users that way. Then a personal computer could become a family computer,* and school computer labs could get away with using less hardware.

* Even if you aren't running an NES emulator.

Re:Users per computer (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#32485522)

But its a whole lot cheaper to buy cheap-as-free hardware and a lot easier to set up.

How many people realistically want to share a desktop with their parents? And how? I don't know about you but I really wouldn't want to be sitting next to my parents while using the computer. Unless we have insanely long cables running to each person's room, I just don't see that as feasible.

Lets just assume that each card costs ~$600 for the time being. Now, you can get several thin clients for that price, 2 decent desktops, or one really good desktop. Why would a school want to use a system that requires lots of maintenance, relies on a single, fail-able system, and isn't exactly cheap.

If one computer worth $300 completely fails, you are out $300 and one workstation. If this card fails you are out ~$600 with no salvageable parts (even on a totally broken motherboard you can usually salvage a HDD, any PCI cards and optical drives) and multiple workstations down.

Really, thin clients are the way to go, cheaper, replaceable hardware wins out over expensive, maintenance-prone hardware.

Plus, if the average person can't even get a network set up, how do you expect them to configure multi-user support?

What brand of thin client? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#32485752)

But its a whole lot cheaper to buy cheap-as-free hardware

I'm not familiar with "cheap-as-free", or how the first result from Google [hrwiki.org] relates to computer hardware. Are you talking about buying broken PCs and seeing what you can salvage? That's not cheap as free; that's labor-intensive.

If this card fails you are out ~$600 with no salvageable parts (even on a totally broken motherboard you can usually salvage a HDD, any PCI cards and optical drives) and multiple workstations down.

That's why you buy either the extended replacement plan (for home use) or a spare card (for school or Internet cafe use), and you put in a 2-monitor video card to regain the use of two workstations until your replacement comes in the mail.

Really, thin clients are the way to go

What brand of thin client do you recommend? I tried an NComputing thin client box; Flash video was a smurfing slideshow. I imagine that anything using OpenGL or DirectX graphics would go slideshow as well. But the card in the article is a Radeon.

Re:Users per computer (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 4 years ago | (#32485732)

Consumer, singular, or consumers, plural? If mainstream operating systems didn't have a problem recognizing multiple keyboards and mice and separating their input, then one could share a desktop computer among multiple users that way. Then a personal computer could become a family computer,* and school computer labs could get away with using less hardware.

I think what you propose while theoretically simple is not practically easy to implement. Up until this generation of multi-core desktops could desktops handle more than one user at once? Then the comes the question whether the OS could handle it. Windows (unless running Citrix) would not have been able to. Linux would but most consumers don't use Linux at home for their desktops. After all that, then comes the practical matter of implementing/administrating such an environment. Consumers are at the point where they can network multiple computers. It is far easier to get another desktop than implement some sort of display/input sharing like in the old TimeSharing days.

Re:Users per computer (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#32486264)

It is far easier to get another desktop than implement some sort of display/input sharing like in the old TimeSharing days.

Then why do so many people still game on consoles? In part it's because the multiplayer environment on video game consoles, especially Wii, encourages a split or otherwise shared screen, not a LAN of machines.

Re:Sounds good. (3, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | more than 4 years ago | (#32485436)

As a person more or less forced to use two at work, I hate it with a vengeance because it's all one big virtual desktop because of citrix and every application feels like popping up dialogs across the middle. Three would be infinitely much better than two, at least there no "#%5%%%#"# bar dead center. I know you can do that with a regular Radeon 5xxx if you have DP displays or an active converter, but I'd love to see it become standard like double DVI ports have been for a while.

Re:Sounds good. (1)

dave420 (699308) | more than 4 years ago | (#32485678)

What O/S are you using? If it's Windows, are you using the ATI drivers? Native multiple-display configuration in Windows will never put a pop-up across the centre of your screens. I've been running multiple displays for years, and I've yet to see one.

Re:Sounds good. (1)

pnutjam (523990) | more than 4 years ago | (#32486124)

Hahaha...

Ask me how I know you don't use citrix...

Re:Sounds good. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32485532)

Not just that. Who's going to pay for that? Even if you were financially able to buy the displays in the first place, the cost of keeping that rig going could pay down you second mortgage.

Re:Sounds good. (1)

Klinky (636952) | more than 4 years ago | (#32485634)

Meh, one of my LCDs takes 1/3rd the power of my old 21" CRT. The card itself is large because of the ports, it will probably not use much more power than it's 2/3 output sibling.

Re:Sounds good. (1)

sco08y (615665) | more than 4 years ago | (#32485808)

Realistically how many different displays can the average consumer use at a time?

Not the average consumer, but at Fort Knox, the Armor School has a huge building full of tank simulators that are laid out (on the inside) pretty closely to the real thing. Each little periscope gets its own little display, and you have screens all around the turret, so you could definitely use a card that had a dozen outputs.

I'm not at all sure what the volume of the market is. The military is pretty big by itself, and when you add in law enforcement training, you've gotten pretty huge. The key to working with vehicles is rehearsal, and simulators make that pretty cheap.

Re:Sounds good. (1)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | more than 4 years ago | (#32485914)

I'm an Electrical Engineer. I do a fair bit of spec writing and drafting.

I have 2 monitors right now, and I could easily have two more and replace one of mine with a much bigger monitor. (The seams really mess up the visuals when working with large drafts.)

I would anticipate that most people who use their computers for the same kind of work would want:
1. One big monitor. The bigger the better. 36" would be about right.
2. One communications monitor.
3. One datasheet monitor.
4. Once spec monitor.

The last three could be normal sized, e.g. 22".

Re:Sounds good. (2, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#32485508)

Not really arbitrary: Historically, with analog outputs, you needed one RAMDAC, plus associated passives and connector, per video output. For cost reasons, one or two RAMDACs got folded pretty quickly into common display controller chipsets, just to save on the number of packages on the card. This area was where the massive economies of scale lived. If you didn't mind paying more, people like Matrox have always been willing to sell you cards with more heads.

With the newer digital interconnects, you need a TMDS out, plus associated passives and connector, per video output. Again, deviating from the mass-market-friendly 1 or 2 outs configuration has always been possible; but pricey.

The only really novel aspect of this ATI "Eyefinity" stuff is that ATI decided to crank up the number of outputs supported, by default, right in their silicon, so sharply and thus brought lots and lots of heads into the realm of "commodity gamer cards" rather than "underperforming, yet strikingly expensive, niche cards".

Can You Install Three? (2, Interesting)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 4 years ago | (#32485118)

I know that motherboards only support two but I seem to recall a story of someone who might be interested in that [slashdot.org] .

Also, in the article, they call this behemoth "Powercolor innovation." I'd rather we called it "Powercolor scaling" unless they actually tackled the problem in some way other than slapping to cards together into one.

Re:Can You Install Three? (1)

UninformedCoward (1738488) | more than 4 years ago | (#32485192)

Only 2? What about Tri-SLi.

Re:Can You Install Three? (1)

TheThiefMaster (992038) | more than 4 years ago | (#32485510)

It's an ATI card, therefore uses crossfire and not SLi.

It's also a 3-backplate card, good luck finding a motherboard with three pci-e x16 slots spaced far enough apart.

Re:Can You Install Three? (3, Informative)

dave420 (699308) | more than 4 years ago | (#32485740)

Like this one [techreport.com] ? It supports 4-way CrossFire (or SLI), and has enough PCIe x16 slots to cope with three of these cards.

Re:Can You Install Three? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32486078)

From the article you linked: "The GA-X58A-UD9 has seven physical PCIe x16 slots." That's "only" enough for two of these - they take three slots, not just two.

Re:Can You Install Three? (1)

TheThiefMaster (992038) | more than 4 years ago | (#32486178)

Only just, and you'd need a case that has backplates for two more slots than the height of a full ATX motherboard.

On the other hand, can you imagine a PC with a 36-monitor display?

Re:Can You Install Three? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32486210)

How about the ASUS Crosshair IV Formula coupled with a set of three HIS Radeon HD 5550 1GB DDR2 (H555HS1G).. it should work, no? These cards are low-profile and passively cooled. Wouldn't be ideal for gaming but you'd get a working, low-noise triple-head setup. On Linux you would be limited to Xinerama for the foreseeable future but work is underway to support multiple cards with XRandr, this would pave the way for hardware accelerated graphics on multiple heads.

My own setup is a dual-head Radeon HD4850 (passively cooled). These cards are clunky but descent for gaming. I'm stuck with Xinerama for now but I'm hoping that'll change eventually.

Your point is valid, it isn't easy to find 3xPCI-e board with good spacing but I don't think you ever will unless you change the ATX standard. The more cards you have the more cramped you'll be - thus limiting your selection of "good" cards. High-end cards run hot, they need cooling and they will be thicker.

You can always install HOW many? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32485120)

From 12 to 2 is an increase of -10.

Re:You can always install HOW many? (5, Informative)

DeadDecoy (877617) | more than 4 years ago | (#32485224)

The summary is poorly worded. ATI's Powercolor HD5970 video card supports 12 display outputs. If you have two, you go up to 24 display outputs. At that point, you could monitor the whole of the matrix.

Re:You can always install HOW many? (1)

kj_kabaje (1241696) | more than 4 years ago | (#32485724)

Not to start a UID fight, but you must be new here. ;-)

Re:You can always install HOW many? (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 4 years ago | (#32486292)

The summary is poorly worded. ATI's Powercolor HD5970 video card supports 12 display outputs. If you have two, you go up to 24 display outputs.

I don't think you're correct (but I'm not going to say it very firmly because I don't know that you're not. ;-)
The article appears to say ...

As one HD5870 Eyefinity GPU card has six Displayport outputs for, yes, six displays in parallel, it shouldn't be too difficult to get twelve Displayport outputs from a hypothetical HD5970 Eyefinity, if it existed.

I think the HD5970 supports six, and the HD5970 is a non-existent device postulated by the author -- one assumes that would be consistent with the model numbering.

The 12-monitor version may not exist yet. Six monitors ought to be enough for anybody. ;-)

Re:You can always install HOW many? (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 4 years ago | (#32486306)

However, since the picture shows an HD5970 that has 12-ports, I'm obviously wrong. :-P

Re:You can always install HOW many? (1)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 4 years ago | (#32485232)

From 12 to 2 is an increase of -10.

The single video card has twelve outputs. On a Crossfire capable motherboard, you could possibly install two of these (pending room on your motherboard and inside your case). This would bring your grand total output to 24 monitors. RTFA next time before attempting math.

Re:You can always install HOW many? (1)

dave420 (699308) | more than 4 years ago | (#32485768)

You can install 3 of these cards, for 36 displays, if you use one of the more extreme motherboards (that are loaded with PCIe x16 slots). Heck, those motherboards support 4-way CrossFire (or SLI), so if they can get the cards down in size, 48 displays from one motherboard would be trivial to implement. Tasty.

The article is about a video card with 12 sockets (1)

FoolishOwl (1698506) | more than 4 years ago | (#32485260)

So, presumably, if you installed two of those cards, you could hook up twenty-four monitors.

Multi-seat Computing (4, Interesting)

timeOday (582209) | more than 4 years ago | (#32485136)

I think a 4 or 6 core CPU could support 12 users in many cases. I could see building a computer lab at a school this way to minimize administrative burden. But it's too bad multi-seat linux doesn't work better. I have struggled with it on and off over the years, and it just doesn't seem to have critical mass of interest to gain real distro support.

Re:Multi-seat Computing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32485370)

What you need is some sort of box specifically designed for "multi-seat computing". I think you could do better than 3 users per core. Of course, if you dropped the graphical requirements a bit, you could probably get even more...

Re:Multi-seat Computing (1, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 4 years ago | (#32485906)

Thing is I don't think you'd have any real gain over a thin client/server kind of model, and there's no possibility for scaling or redundancy with something like this.

So it is going to cost you a good bit to get a system with this. You have to have a reasonably powerful computer, of course, which you'd need with a server as well but then there's the card, which is not cheap. A regular 5970 is $600-800 depending on configuration, this one will easily break a grand I'm sure.

Because of that you'd save little, if any, money over cheap systems acting as thin clients (or dedicated thin client hardware) and a server.

The only advantage I can see is the 3D support. However, with 12 monitors, the card is going to be extremely heavily taxed if you are trying to do 3D on all of them. You won't get all that high a performance.

Now a thin client/server model has several advantages over the single system. For one, you can scale it easily. If clients aren't using the system much you can add more until it is loaded. There's no hard limit. Likewise servers can be added fairly transparent to the clients. Then there's the possibility for redundancy. You can have a group of servers on the back end and if one fails, there's no outage. With a multi-display system, a system failure takes out all the nodes it was running. Finally there's a placement advantage. DP has a fairly short range so all your nodes will be within a few meters of the system. With a client/server system you can have them pretty much anywhere, ethernet goes 100m per cable and switches can repeat it as necessary.

So I think that's why you don't see much interest for this sort of thing. If people want shared processing resources, having it on a server makes sense. If people want dedicated processing resources, well then they aren't going to want others on it.

Re:Multi-seat Computing (3, Interesting)

vlm (69642) | more than 4 years ago | (#32486082)

Because of that you'd save little, if any, money over cheap systems acting as thin clients

Good detailed technical analysis, but I can get an equally valid argument by working a different angle.

Unless you're doing something real weird/wrong, the cheapest part of a computer lab is the hard drive, video card, chassis, etc. Zero that out, and you've got something very unusual, rare, and complicated, yet remains at 99% of the total cost, that being mostly salary and indirect costs (health insurance, pension, etc) and stuff like HVAC, electric bill, fractional capital expense of the building, cost of electrical and LAN wiring and related hardware... If you want to save a whopping 1% of the total cost of ownership, the very superficial answer is just install 99 computers instead of 100.

If your 24 room school costs $12M to build, which seems believable, then your empty room cost $500K. You can pull your hair out to "save" $2500 worth of hard drives and $1250 worth of chassis/power supplies, but that's a false economy. And you'll never be able to piecewise upgrade.

Re:Multi-seat Computing (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 4 years ago | (#32486176)

If your 24 room school costs $12M to build, which seems believable, then your empty room cost $500K. You can pull your hair out to "save" $2500 worth of hard drives and $1250 worth of chassis/power supplies, but that's a false economy. And you'll never be able to piecewise upgrade.

I agree the multi-seat would probably only help IF it economized those things - real estate square footage and administrative cost. Unfortunately my own experience with multi-seat tells me that as things stand, it's easier just to maintain N computers. And PCs have gotten more power efficient with CPU speed scaling (for desktops too) and "green" hard drives etc, so consolidating several PCs doesn't save so much on energy anymore either.

Please start working on SR-IOV (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32486242)

If this card had SR-IOV, 12 virtual machines could has native graphics and displays on a single workstation. Add 12 USB hubs and you have your classroom. You can even make it a beowulf just to be cool.

The summary . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32485138)

. . . it needs some work . . .

Re:The summary . . . (5, Funny)

mujadaddy (1238164) | more than 4 years ago | (#32485396)

Indeed. The summary and title were so at odds... I had to RTFA!

...I'll be in the corner of shame.

Only one problem (3, Insightful)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#32485150)

Once you go past a three screen Eyefinity setup, Bezels become a real serious problem. With three displays it's no big deal, since the center monitor serves as your primary view while the other two monitors expand your peripheral vision...but with 6 monitors, you will have bezels crossing the center of your point of view, making things real wonky.

Yes, it's awesome having the size, but until someone releases a bezel-less six monitor system, it's kind of a waste of time. Besides, with how much a six monitor setup would cost, you may as well buy a good quality projector.

Re:Only one problem (1)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 4 years ago | (#32485216)

Unless you do a 4x3 setup.

Or you can get 6 users each with 2 monitors.

Re:Only one problem (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#32485244)

You just need to set them up all around you and play with the 360 view mod in Unreal Tournament.

Re:Only one problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32485254)

4 rows of 3 monitors seems, centered on one of the rows seems doable...

Re:Only one problem (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32485346)

Or...six good quality projectors. No more bezel issue, and six times the resolution!

Re:Only one problem (2, Insightful)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#32485496)

Good God I'd hate to be the one who has to set THAT up.

We can barely get our projectors to stay level, let alone line it up other screens.

Re:Only one problem (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#32485824)

Apparently, the really classy setups(in addition to just having decently rigid mounting hardware) will allow the images to overlap slightly, and then, using feedback provided by one or more cameras, tweak the brightness and color balance of each output until the whole image looks good.

Re:Only one problem (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 4 years ago | (#32486188)

And every 500 hours (aka 20.8 days at 24x7) all the projectors will time out and refuse to display anything but "time to change the bulb!" and of course, taking a page from the inkjet manufacturers, the bulb unit will be roughly 1/4 to 1/2 the cost of the projector. And of course you didn't budget for monthly bulb replacements. Even better if "only one guy" can fix the projectors but don't worry he's on call, all the freaking time he's on call, oh is he ever.

Something similar to this has happened at all three NOCs I've worked at.

F those projector guys and the horse they rode in on, I'll never voluntarily buy a projector again as long as I live.

Re:Only one problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32486112)

I currently administer a "multimedia presentation" that uses 13 precisely calibrated projectors to display the show. 3 for the main screen, 4 for the backgrounds on the stage, and another 5 reflecting off of mirrors and onto a special screen to give it a "ghostly" 3D effect.

If one projector is off by a half inch it throws the whole show out of alignment... I've had some fun days let me tell you... 6 projectors aligned to give 1 giant screen wouldn't be *too* bad, you just have to make sure you have proper grids to help with initial alignment.

I've setup a Eyefinity card to 3 of these projectors to make a massive 3x1 screen. Good times :)

Re:Only one problem (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#32485660)

The rule is you need an odd number of monitors in each direction, so 3x3 should also be fine. Agreed, anything past 3 monitors per person is just fucking ridiculous.

Re:Only one problem (1)

mrops (927562) | more than 4 years ago | (#32485868)

...you may as well buy a good quality projector.

or get 6 relatively low quality (as in not too bright) high resolution projectors and solve the bezel problem by carefully aligning the 6 projectors.

Project small and bright, get a crispy, high resolution display.

Re:Only one problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32486208)

I think more likely this may reduce the cost of syncing up a true 3d display device (those display devices with multiple layers of actual displays stacked on top of each other). You know, those multilayered LCD gems that are dropping in price. One of the problems years ago when I read about them is getting the information in them to sync up, since the display output was limited; those video solutions were usually slow, showing fixed nondynamic display information (the object shown really didn't move much), and expensive.

I'm not sure how much this video card costs, but now you just need a display device where each layer is an HDMI port, and it sounds like you can actually go up to about 48 outputs (Crossfire supposedly can communicate across 4 cards, and each card has 12 devices, so if you can find a motherboard that supports 4 with the slots spaced accordingly, it's conceivable). For conventional monitors, yeah, 12 may be too much, but for 3d, I could see using 48 easily--decent laptop resolution 1600x900 15" monitors x 6 per layer (3x2), 8 layers deep, so that would translate (16:9 dimensions, 15" actual display diagonal) to a start in a decent sized truer 3d consumer display.

In fact, this is cool enough that maybe some other company may start thinking about stacked multilayered LCDs with truer 3d, the kind that don't need glasses, for the general consumer. HDMI, if I recall, can also be reduced in size too substantially, so the bulk of the card output in supporting 12 HDMI outputs could be customized into a cable (they're doing it this way for the 12 regular HDMI cable setup).

Re:Only one problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32486254)

Just use 9 (center monitor with 8 peripherals).

Dont have to use all 12 at once if you dont want to.

Porn... (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32485156)

an immersive 3D 'cave' environment with a giant dome of two dozen 3D enabled monitors truly surrounding you

just got a hell lot better.

Wish I Could Afford That Many Monitors (2, Interesting)

ATestR (1060586) | more than 4 years ago | (#32485240)

This is a cool card, but how many of us would ever buy one? Even if the cost of this unit is equivalent to another high end video card, putting a dozen or so on my desk is more cash that I budget in a year for toys.

Admittedly, I find the idea of having many monitors attractive. I use a dual monitor setup at work, and I find it restrictive to go back to one monitor on my home laptop. What I'd like to have is a 2(h) x 3(w) array of monitors... someday.

Re:Wish I Could Afford That Many Monitors (2, Funny)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#32485454)

I'd like to have a full 1080p with 4:3 aspect ratio, with each pixel having its own dedicated 32" LCD monitor. They'd be all on the ground and I'd have to use it from my glass helicopter up above, but I'd essentially have the biggest screen there is, at approximately 34560 inches. ... Someday...

Wish I Could Afford That Many Desks (1)

b4k3d b34nz (900066) | more than 4 years ago | (#32485540)

I have dual 24" monitors on my desk. Add in the laptop, a lamp, and the pictures of my cat and I could maybe fit one more monitor without having to buy another desk. 3 more desks would run me around $10000. $1000 for the desks, and $9000 for the addition that I would have to build onto my house to support my desk fantasy.

Re:Wish I Could Afford That Many Desks (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 4 years ago | (#32485894)

Add in the laptop, a lamp, and the pictures of my cat and I could maybe fit one more monitor without having to buy another desk.

The picture of the cat goes on as a background image. 12 monitors emit enough light that you don't need a lamp, in fact, you'll probably need suntan oil.

How high's your ceiling? Sounds like you can go three across, so thats only four monitors tall. Given the current fad of that stupid extra wide HDTV form factor, four monitors probably stacks up to about four feet tall. Put the picture of the cat, a weather radar, and a pic of your significant other on the top row, and its all very manageable. With some custom desk work, which you can apparently afford, you can put one row somewhat below eye level, one at eye level, one somewhat above eye level and the very tippy toppy row holding the aforementioned cat picture, radar, family pixs, etc. You can blog about your cat on the lower nine monitors, top three just for show.

3 more desks would run me around $10000.

Holy crap. That's over $3K per desk. The slashdot stereotype is a dude with a $500 computer containing a $2000 video card but no money for furniture meaning he sits on an overturned 5 gallon bucket and uses a bare 60 watt incandescent bulb for light hanging from his moms basement ceiling. And I thought I was a little metro-whatever-ual because I have a $800 oak veneer armoire and a $400 chair. For $3K that desk must be made out of solid panels of pure sterling silver or be at least 400 years old.

Re:Wish I Could Afford That Many Desks (1)

karnal (22275) | more than 4 years ago | (#32486284)

You could dedicate one monitor to pictures of your cat. Blam. Problem solved for one monitor.

Also, I forsee a stacked-pipes arrangement - similar to some drum sets - to where you have the monitors stacked above the current ones with mounting brackets. I would love to do this at work with my 2 sets of 2 monitors (2 monitors on laptop, 2 on the desktop) because my current setup of 4 wide means the one on the far right side doesn't get used at all.....

Re:Wish I Could Afford That Many Monitors (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32485682)

Just the monitors would be 1600-2500 depending on what you got plus the 500-1000 for the cards and cables. NEVER mind your powerbill...

Thinking of doing this to my laptop...
http://hackaday.com/2010/05/19/cramming-more-pixels-into-a-thinkpad/ [hackaday.com]

Matrox? (3, Insightful)

strayant (789108) | more than 4 years ago | (#32485248)

Hasn't Matrox been producing multi-output cards for years? How is this any different? http://www.matrox.com/graphics/en/products/ [matrox.com]

Re:Matrox? (1)

ZERO1ZERO (948669) | more than 4 years ago | (#32485712)

Yeah. Matrox alway get forgotten when it come to these things. What this does offer, is some 'power' with your multiple screens, matrox lost the 'framerate/3d tech' battle a long time ago to the likes of nvidia, ati, and probably even 3dfx. They then seemed to specialise in video editing, multi monitor and all that sort of thing, ideal for traders etc.

This card looks to be aimed squarely at gameers looking for an eyefinity setup, and/or internet e-epeen enlargement.

Re:Matrox? (3, Informative)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#32485746)

In terms of number of outputs, Matrox has indeed been doing it for years. The difference is that their gear tends to be fairly expensive(particularly when you consider its brutally tepid performance) niche stuff. According to their price sheet [matrox.com] , their 8-head will run you $2K. Their cheapest quad-head is $330. And these are for display controllers that are basically suited for 2D applications.

By contrast, the ATI stuff, with vastly superior GPU peformance, and typically more RAM, is cheaper. 5-heads will run you $220 [newegg.com] . 6 will run about $500; because you can't seem to get 6 without a 5870, which isn't a cheap chip.

This 12-head monster, since it is probably a relatively short-run enthusiast catcher, may well land in the ~$1000-~$1500 zone; but that will still make it cheaper, faster, and with more heads and RAM than the Matrox equivalent.

Re:Matrox? (1)

dave420 (699308) | more than 4 years ago | (#32485800)

These don't cost thousands, the outputs are all digital, and these can play games.

12 outputs, not 12 cards (1)

halivar (535827) | more than 4 years ago | (#32485290)

The title is correct while the summary is false.

Can you imagine (2, Funny)

thijsh (910751) | more than 4 years ago | (#32485320)

a Beowulf cluster of those?

But seriously wouldn't it be possible to hack a displayport as high-speed interconnect and use this for computation?

Re:Can you imagine (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#32486000)

Not usefully. Since Displayport is designed as a video interconnect, it is largely uni-directional(not entirely, but the bi-directional aux channel is 1Mb/s in 1.1 and 720Mb/s in 1.2, while the uni-directional graphics channels are up to 8.64 Gb/s or 17.28Gb/s respectively).

Displayport framegrabbers, which would allow a PC to receive the displayport signal(so you could implement a full duplex interconnect by having 1 video card and 1 grabber in each PC, and running two cables), do exist; but they are very pricey specialty hardware, mostly designed for testing purposes.

You might be able to do something with just the aux channel; but GigE would be both faster and cheaper.

A cave (1)

UninformedCoward (1738488) | more than 4 years ago | (#32485354)

In this respect the Powercolor innovation is great, as everyone can have a true immersive 3D cave even at home

How is this a selling point? Can you get anymore true 3D cave immersion than my mom's basement?

Re:A cave (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32485466)

In this respect the Powercolor innovation is great, as everyone can have a true immersive 3D cave even at home

How is this a selling point? Can you get anymore true 3D cave immersion than my mom's basement?

your mom's vajayjay.

Slashdotted (2, Funny)

RobinEggs (1453925) | more than 4 years ago | (#32485366)

Apparently it's so overwhelming in its power and beauty my current graphics card can't bear to render it! It just gets halfway through, and then after the third set of HDMI ports comes into view it chokes up and halts, too depressed and intimidated to go further.

Seriously, though, either my connection sucks or the pictures are all slashdotted.

Obligatory (1)

COMON$ (806135) | more than 4 years ago | (#32485376)

Finally, a tool that will allow me to watch all my porn subscriptions simultaneously...

Laughable or inevitable? (1)

sarysa (1089739) | more than 4 years ago | (#32485380)

I've been doing two at work for years now -- up to three because sometimes I need to work on a mac, and look at code for an iPhone port when working with another platform.

I've hit 4 a few times, as I may bring in my home PC for Linux use, but currently only three at once ever get any significant attention. Still, the notion of 3-6 monitor gaming has always appealed to me. If they can thin the borders of monitors for cheap, I'd seriously consider a 6 setup...

Great Idea (2, Funny)

Reason58 (775044) | more than 4 years ago | (#32485444)

I just had a great idea, you guys. "Virtual Monitors".

Ok, ok, hear me out.

Through software your computer will generate virtual monitors which can be used to contain an application in a little box on your screen. You can then have several applications open at the same time on the same screen simply by arranging those boxes so that you can see them all. This is especially easy since monitors are larger than ever now.

I am going to be seriously rich. Maybe I will buy some new windows.

Re:Great Idea (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32485470)

Sounds a lot like unix/linux to me.....

Re:Great Idea (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#32485616)

I kinda think the guy was going for a +5 funny mod though....

Re:Great Idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32485860)

Unix and linux look more like a typewriter.

It sounds like those totally ghey OS's like Amiga and Mac.

Welcome to news of yesterday (0)

Khenke (710763) | more than 4 years ago | (#32485468)

A quick google show that this so called "news" is at least a month old:
http://www.guru3d.com/news/powercolor-radeon-hd-5970-with-12-displayport-outputs/ [guru3d.com]

/. start to feel like looking in last year diary. I honesty don't know why I bother to visit /. any more.

Re:Welcome to news of yesterday (1)

aicrules (819392) | more than 4 years ago | (#32485854)

Why? Because Slashdot, while often somewhat current (within days) is NOT a late breaking news site. It is a place where news from around the tech world is brought into the discussion forum of this site's readership. The value is NOT as an RSS aggregator, but in the bringing together of geographically dispersed IT minded people who can read a story (or at least the summary or title) and discuss it. While the release of this particular video card may not have happened yesterday, the /. discussion of it is just a valid today as it was 30 days ago.

Multimonitor output not for home use (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32485494)

I assume that this card is designed for commercial display systems. IE, Jumbotrons or other large scale displays.

Make companies make video systems that interlace 9+ monitors to create one "screen", but, they can also make it so each monitor has a dedicated display.

Uses include Vegas style gambling sports books, jumbotrons, side-line display boards, etc.

By adding in the 3d computing, they can now do a lot more on-the-fly transformations and also provide some fun 3d displays. IE, how about when a horse moves up, a well formed 3d object "flips" and creates a visually appealing (and exciting) transition, thus hooking people into watching.

Just my two anonymous cents.

Thanks for the Retard Summary taco! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32485530)

The headline and the summary don't even match. I didn't even RTFA and its obvious that they didn't put 12 video cards in one machine.

Why not send all of the slashdot editors on an exchange program to the local McDonalds? They could make themselves useful by flipping burgers, and meanwhile some teenage losers could take over the editing jobs and vastly improve the quality of the summaries!

flightsim anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32485614)

For the ultimate flight simulator.... I wonder if flightgear can drive this?

24 girls, 12 cups? (2, Funny)

DeskLazer (699263) | more than 4 years ago | (#32485618)

thanks but no thanks!

Simultaneous blog monitoring (1)

QuincyDurant (943157) | more than 4 years ago | (#32485674)

Back in the day, political spin doctors and crisis managers kept three televisions going at all types to see how the networks were treating their candidate, cause, product, or company. Now that media is interactive and diffuse, 24 monitors doesn't seem like too many for a single spokesperson to use on a revolving office year to quite literally spin real-time news and comment.

revolving office chair not year (1)

QuincyDurant (943157) | more than 4 years ago | (#32485706)

Oops. For some of us, even a single monitor is too many.

One Dozen picture frames? (4, Interesting)

vlm (69642) | more than 4 years ago | (#32485720)

Would this card drive one dozen monitors set up as digital picture frames?

I have a linux based file server in the basement that does not really do anything with its video output.

If I could hook up 12 picture frame monitors in various rooms of my house, that would be fun.

I don't want the extreme headache of manually updating 12 SDHC or CF cards. I don't want 12 individual stupid yearly subscriptions to some internet ripoff company that'll probably go out of business and make my investment obsolete the week after I buy them.

I just want to drop .jpgs into certain folders on my pre-existing file server and have the pictures randomly displayed thru the house, shuffling perhaps every 10 minutes. Also I'll have certain webcams periodically downloaded and added to the mix. And a cron job to display certain pictures at certain times, etc. A couple lines of perl, bash, and wget, thats what I'm talking about.

Re:One Dozen picture frames? (4, Interesting)

Zerth (26112) | more than 4 years ago | (#32486122)

How about 12 USB mini-monitors, with USB->network adapters.

A fair bit cheaper, unless you want 15"+ frames.

Re:One Dozen picture frames? (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#32486192)

In principle? Sure. In practice, it would be unlikely to be economic. Your basic copper displayport connection is only specced for a 15 meter run, less if you need full bandwidth. Fiber is supported, for longer runs; but the price sheet for that is, as they say, Not In Kansas Anymore... Combine this with the fact that displayport monitors tend to command a modest premium over your basic VGA/DVI jobbies, and you end up in a situation where you would actually save money by buying 12 all-in-one PCs(or, if you don't mind small screens, a batch of the upcoming android tablets, or some higher-end digiframe that somebody has hacked linux onto), and just having them grab the pictures over a wireless network.

Unless you have a rather small house, and don't mind running wires, you'll definitely spend more on displayport cable extenders than you will on all that redundant computing power. Economies of scale...

Possible inspiration (1)

jamie (78724) | more than 4 years ago | (#32485812)

reminds me of the onion [theonion.com]

Displayport is a pain in the ass (1)

billcopc (196330) | more than 4 years ago | (#32486196)

I have a few beefs (beeves?) about this product:

1. Displayport is a pain in the ass, with its use of active vs passive adapters, both of which are still hard to find and confusing to the average consumer. Few displays ship with Displayport, and of those few, hardly any ship with a suitable cable, instead relying on HDMI or DVI. The cable isn't cheap.

2. Why did they spread to a 3rd slot ? Couldn't they have placed all 12 connectors in a single row, rotated 90 degrees ? Or at least split them off to a breakout cable. Motherboards are designed for double-wide cards, as they usually gap the two PCI-E 16x slots with a relatively puny 4x slot. A 3-slot card means no SLI/Crossfire in all but the most ridiculous boards e.g. Asus P6T6.

3. Everyone talks about LCD bezels getting thinner, but the average monitor is still a big clunky mess. Considering the exorbitant costs involved, and the fact that you still have bezels at least 1/2", I think the typical spendy gamer would be better served by a large LCD or Plasma TV. Sure, you will get better resolution out of 6 displays, but is 5760x2160 really worth the extra $3000 it will cost to pull off ?

4. Generally, the people who actually need (not just want) display matrices are those who couldn't care less about gaming performance. This is where Matrox comes in, because their GPUs suck but they are firmly entrenched in the pro multi-display market. Their M9188 card supports 8 displays on a single-slot card. Sure, it costs something like $2000, but if you're in the type of work that requires 8 displays (or 16), money is no object.

5. At some point, you need to consider the ratio of CPU/GPU to displays. At one point I had 7 displays, but they were fed via 3 PCs, linked together using Synergy. As a coder, it's really no big issue to have my IDE on one machine, my browser on a second, and a test environment (read: pr0n) on another. It's not like I'm going to maximize one window across 7 screens (not even pr0n).

So yeah, I think this product is a dead-end promo gimmick, as is most of the stuff at Computex. Just a bunch of tech firms showing off for bragging rights.

Why am I thinking of (1)

TheDarkener (198348) | more than 4 years ago | (#32486316)

2 girls one cup? 1 girl, 12 cups? 12 monitors, 2 girls, a USB hub and a can of whipped cream?

I need to stop smoking so much pot.

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