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I am looking to purchase a new video card and I want to run three LCDs side-by-side. I normally would buy NVidia, but from what I have read, ATI is the leader in multi-monitor with their Eyefinity technology.

My Hardware

  • My motherboard is a ASRock P67 EXTREME4 GEN3.
  • The Dell UltraSharp U2412M monitors I'm looking to buy have DVI, DisplayPort, but no HDMI.
  • My current video card is a GeForce 8800 GTS. It has 2 DVI ports. It would be nice to just add a second card, but I'm willing to replace it entirely.

My Software

  • Currently running Ubuntu 11.10 amd64, but I will probably install 12.04 soon.
  • I'm running Gnome 3, but I'd be willing to switch to unity to make this work.

Requirements

  • I play games, so 3d acceleration must work. I may be okay with 3d acceleration only working on a single monitor.
  • The video card(s) must be able to push 1920x1200 across 3 screens.
  • I need a large, continuous desktop. I need to be able to drag windows between all three screens.

What video card, or pair of cards, will support three monitors in Ubuntu?

  • I'm willing to edit xorg.conf (and I've been around long enough to remember when you had to hand-edit it).
  • If I have to patch and/or compile some package, it's not a deal-breaker.
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closed as primarily opinion-based by Eric Carvalho, Braiam, chaskes, Avinash Raj, falconer Jan 9 at 6:24

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

    
"The Dell UltraSharp U2412M monitors I'm looking to buy have DVI, DisplayPort, but no HDMI." HDMI and DVI are pin-Compatible. wikipedia: Because HDMI is electrically compatible with the CEA-861 signals used by digital visual interface (DVI), no signal conversion is necessary, nor is there a loss of video quality when a DVI-to-HDMI adapter is used.[5] –  miceterminator Dec 9 '12 at 14:13
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1 Answer 1

  1. To pull off that sort of trickery it really needs to be rendering on 1 video card, and then cutting that video apart and sending it to different monitors. The game would be running similiar to 5760x780 with 1280x780 of that being sent to the 3 different video displays.

  2. ATI Doesn't actually give any details about eyefinity. So it's hard to say if it supports linux, or if it even supports openGL.

Set up: ( ask ubuntu wont let me post more than 2 links, look on amd for eyefinity then find set up link )

Faq: http://www.amd.com/us/products/technologies/amd-eyefinity-technology/how-to/Pages/faqs.aspx

  1. I just read through their stuff (I'd kind of like this too) linux isn't supported by eyefinity yet. Windows XP isn't supported, just windows 7

  2. Check out Xinerama Wiki about: ( can't post more than 2 links - wikipedia xinerama basically ) Ubuntu Xinerama page: https://help.ubuntu.com/community/XineramaHowTo

I'd say give Xinerama a go, but apparently the performance is horrible. Which is .. really not surprising, considering what has to be done to get an image that has been rendered to 1 surface, split into two and sent to different screens. (The good news is that the performance penalty should be linear, and shouldn't scale with what you're doing, surfing the web or playing a game, the bad news is the penalty is probably pretty significant which means you loose a bunch of milliseconds off your render time which would mean you have to run the game in lower settings to get a good frame rate. )

Hopefully that helps your purchase decision, which should probably be: neither nvidia's surround system or ATI's eyefinity have linux support yet. Both have win7 support, the eyefinity has win vista support. So if you're dual booting - go for it. Just make sure you get a card that's in ATI's faq supported hardware list with enough output ports for your needs. Send ATI an email asking if you need the two cards or not, looking at their set up guide, seems so.

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I've read that Xinerama is slow because it's software rendering, not hardware accelerated. –  Eric Lathrop Apr 28 '12 at 5:44
    
Also, it shouldn't be trickery to make this work. It's 2012! –  Eric Lathrop Apr 28 '12 at 5:47
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