Personally I feel that the way ATI have done the 6 monitor card is wrong. For starters, you can see that when using only three monitors in a gaming environment we more often than not see the Eyefinity6 model not offering us playable frame rates at 5760 x 1200. Now, you throw another three monitors into the mix and double the amount of pixels the card has to push and most games are going to come down to a crawl.
I'll ignore the fact for just a moment that ATI seem to push Eyefinity as 99% gaming and 1% productivity and say from a productivity perspective that these cards now just seem overkill.
If you're in financing or any other area which requires a huge amount of desktop real estate it seems pointless to pay HD 5870 money when you're not ever going to make use of the graphical power on offer.
Today we should've been looking at two Eye6 cards; one based on the HD 5700 series and the other based on the HD 5970. One for business which will carry a cheaper cost and one for gamers which will offer a higher cost, but more performance.
It seems I'm not the only one who thinks this, though, because PowerColor recently released an Eyefinity 5 version of the HD 5770. It doesn't carry with it massive amounts of memory or anything too crazy; it carries with it what it needs to carry; 5 mini DisplayPorts. You can check out our news post on it here. You may find yourself wondering why the card only carries 5 connectors and not 6; our understanding is it's actually a limitation to the HD 5770. We're not sure if companies are going to be able to get around it, but the chances are probably not. It's still a good step up from the standard three monitor support seen on all other HD 5770s.
On the higher end front we saw pictures of a special Eyefinity Black Edition of the HD 5970 from XFX at Cebit here. The fact it's from XFX and is labeled as a Black Edition means you're going to pay more than you should for it, but more importantly it shows us that it's possible to have a Eyefinity6 version of the HD 5970.
So why didn't we see these models 6 months ago instead of this one based on the single GPU HD 5870? The chances are because it's probably extremely hard to make these cards. We're sure that for ATI it wasn't just a matter of replacing DVI and HDMI ports with Mini DisplayPorts. The biggest reason for delays seems to be drivers and it would've been no doubt easier to concentrate on one model instead of two. This is probably the same reason we didn't see the HD 5970 get the treatment initially; throwing a second GPU into the mix would make the job even harder for ATI.
What it seems is that now they've got the Eyefinity6 driver sorted, probably only small amounts of tweaking need to be done to get the 6 monitor setup working on other models; or in the case of the PowerColor HD 5770, 5 monitors.
On the topic of Eyefinity, I love this technology and for me it has been flawless. In saying that, there are plenty of people out there who have or are having issues, but it's clear that Eyefinity is a strong focus for ATI these days; and for good reason.
While initially I did very little gaming on my Eyefinity setup when I got it in December, a few months on I've played Counter Strike: Source, World of Warcraft, Napoleon Total War, Aliens vs Predator, MLB 2K10 and my favorite game at the moment, Battlefield Bad Company 2 and I've loved every minute of it.
The most common complaint I hear about Eyefinity setups from people who don't actually have or use the technology is that it would be such a pain constantly having to swing your head side to side looking at the side monitors.
After playing heaps of BF BC2 online, I have to say that you don't constantly look to the side of the monitors. So what I'm saying is that they're not used? Absolutely not; you use the side monitors with your peripheral vision; the amount of times I've been sitting there as a sniper and seen an enemy try to come flank me from the sides, I see that bit of movement of the corner of my eye and think to myself "Oh knowz! I can see youz on my side monitorz" before I turn to them and give them a bullet between the eyes.
We constantly see things in the corner of our eyes; it's just that little bit of movement we see in the corner of our eye on another monitor that let us know something is going on over there. Plus our eyes don't stay in one position; once you've noticed the enemy you can just roll your eyes to the sides as you move the mouse over to line them up on your middle monitor.
From a productivity perspective as well, don't even get me started; moving from a single 30" to a Eyefinity 24" setup has been fantastic. I even had a dual 30" setup at one stage, but the issue with that is as soon as you want to game, the bezel down the middle is impossible to work with and in turn you need to disable one of the monitors.
Eyefinity lets you have your cake and eat it, too. While it's not for everyone, if you've got the money and the room, it's a fantastic setup. To have a closer look at my own Eyefinity setup, I recommend checking out the Proluma Triple Monitor stand review here.
Once we've got an Active adapter as well, expect a full review on the Eyefinity6 card at 1680 x 1050 to 2560 x 1600 which will no doubt be soon.