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  • Questions about Eyefinity + 3 monitors

    This is a cross post from the windows-centric forums.amd.com. I figured I might have better luck asking here.

    I have some general questions about the performance and configuration of a setup with a 3 monitor eyefinity setup under linux.

    I was wondering if anyone has configured such a setup, and what their experience has been like. I CANNOT WAIT to jump ship from nvidia to AMD provided everything will work the way I suspect that it will, but I have several questions before I can. If anyone can answer any/some/all of these, or even provide some insight, I would much appreciate it.
    1. First of all, I am wondering how 2d performance is under X. I'm running xinerama now with some 1 generation old nvidia cards, and the performance is awful under xinerama, running it with 1 monitor or 2 monitors with twinview is quite snappy. Can anyone make a comparison between 3 monitor xinerama performance and 3 monitor eyefinity performance?

    2. is compiz supported with a 3 monitor eyefinity setup? [edit: i come to understand that it is] Is gaming supported while compiz is tured on, or will I need to start a separate X server to run games?

    3. Does eyefinity make the window manager aware of screen borders, or will I have to use a package like fakexinerama to make it maximize normal windows to only one screen?

    4. all 3 of my monitors have a different rotation than the next, the center one has no rotation, and the two sides are rotated 90 degrees clockwise and counterclockwise, respectively. can eyefinity support this?

    5. my two side monitors have a different resolution than the center monitor, further, their vertical resolutions are not equal to the center. (i.e. center is 1920x1200, left and right are 1024x1280) is this a problem?

    6. and last, I was not able to find any information about how to configure the driver in xorg.conf. I assume this means that there is a configuration utility for it? is this correct? could someone point me in the direction of some documentation about configuring a multihead setup in linux via eyefinity?
    ok... sorry for posting a laundry list of questions, but I have been waiting for a good solution to the more-than-2-monitors-under-linux problem for quite some time, and just want to make sure this is it before I go spend my money.

    Thanks all!

    Sam

  • #2
    I can say that the answers to these questions depends on what distro you choose to run.

    I for example uses RHEL 5.5 and CentOS 5.5 and Eyefinity does not work at all on these supported distros. The same goes for rotation. It corrupts screen or freezes computer.

    Eyefinity has been tested with a HD5770 and rotation has also been tested with a HD4670.

    Comment


    • #3
      I don't think that RHEL5.5 is the best option given these questions. More likely Fedora 13.

      1) no idea, but xinerama is obsolete.
      2) compiz should work.
      3) eyefinity knows screen borders.
      4/5) no problem.
      6) amdcccle is the config program for it.

      Note: I believe that eyefinity is only supported by the blob driver at this time. Support for it should eventually be coming to open source, but the open source evergreen driver is very very new.
      http://www.phoronix.com/forums/showthread.php?t=19010

      Comment


      • #4
        Thanks for the information!

        I'm running Ubuntu 10.04 LTS 2.6.31-21-generic. I assume it runs well enough on Ubuntu, is that true?
        Does it matter about the bittedness of my kernel? Does x64 or x86 get better, worse, or the same performance?

        Comment


        • #5
          There's no sense wasting a 64bit chip on 32bit software.

          Comment


          • #6
            Which drivers are you planning to use? fglrx (the proprietary one) or the open source drivers?

            If you don't know which suits you best, what are you using the computer for?
            The OSS drivers for evergreen are a bit beta'ish, but should be ready for most work-related tasks soon enough.


            the following relates to fglrx:

            >> First of all, I am wondering how 2d performance is under X.

            using the 2d acceleration code AMD developed a few months ago, it's been more snappy on my 5770 than on the nvidia chip in my notebook. (yes, there's a difference in GPU speeds, but that's not very relevant for 2d performance).

            Getting rid of Xinerama will help a lot when it comes to speed.

            >> is compiz supported with a 3 monitor eyefinity setup? [edit: i come to understand that it is] Is gaming supported while compiz is tured on, or will I need to start a separate X server to run games?

            unless your combined screen space exceeds the texture limit of the card (IIRC 8192x8192 for everything since r600) it doesn't matter how many outputs are attached to your framebuffer.

            >> Does eyefinity make the window manager aware of screen borders

            yes. Eyefinity is not a special piece of software (at least not on linux), it's "just" the ability to configure more than two monitors. You can configure them with XrandR, just like you would in a dual-screen setup.

            >> all 3 of my monitors have a different rotation than the next, the center one has no rotation, and the two sides are rotated 90 degrees clockwise and counterclockwise, respectively. can eyefinity support this?

            Yes, iff your Xorg supports this. As fluggo said, RHEL 5.5 ships with an ancient version of XRandR that doesn't support rotation and the driver cannot cope with that.
            On my gentoo box, rotation works fine.

            >> my two side monitors have a different resolution than the center monitor, further, their vertical resolutions are not equal to the center. (i.e. center is 1920x1200, left and right are 1024x1280) is this a problem?

            not for the drivers. Maybe for your window manager (kde4 is known to be stupid around multi-screen setups), so you may need some tweaking. It may be helpful to issue the needed XRandR commands *before* starting your desktop environment, by xdm init scripts or something.

            >> could someone point me in the direction of some documentation about configuring a multihead setup in linux via eyefinity?

            as said, I simply use XRandR and it works fine.

            >> Does it matter about the bittedness of my kernel?

            64 bit linux has been stable for what, 6-7 years now? I can't imagine any good reason to stick to 32bit any more, unless you depend on a binary driver that's unavailable for 64 bit (e.g. ndiswrapper).


            if you need further help with the setup, just ask.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by rohcQaH View Post
              Which drivers are you planning to use? fglrx (the proprietary one) or the open source drivers?

              If you don't know which suits you best, what are you using the computer for?
              The OSS drivers for evergreen are a bit beta'ish, but should be ready for most work-related tasks soon enough.


              the following relates to fglrx:

              >> First of all, I am wondering how 2d performance is under X.

              using the 2d acceleration code AMD developed a few months ago, it's been more snappy on my 5770 than on the nvidia chip in my notebook. (yes, there's a difference in GPU speeds, but that's not very relevant for 2d performance).

              Getting rid of Xinerama will help a lot when it comes to speed.

              >> is compiz supported with a 3 monitor eyefinity setup? [edit: i come to understand that it is] Is gaming supported while compiz is tured on, or will I need to start a separate X server to run games?

              unless your combined screen space exceeds the texture limit of the card (IIRC 8192x8192 for everything since r600) it doesn't matter how many outputs are attached to your framebuffer.

              >> Does eyefinity make the window manager aware of screen borders

              yes. Eyefinity is not a special piece of software (at least not on linux), it's "just" the ability to configure more than two monitors. You can configure them with XrandR, just like you would in a dual-screen setup.

              >> all 3 of my monitors have a different rotation than the next, the center one has no rotation, and the two sides are rotated 90 degrees clockwise and counterclockwise, respectively. can eyefinity support this?

              Yes, iff your Xorg supports this. As fluggo said, RHEL 5.5 ships with an ancient version of XRandR that doesn't support rotation and the driver cannot cope with that.
              On my gentoo box, rotation works fine.

              >> my two side monitors have a different resolution than the center monitor, further, their vertical resolutions are not equal to the center. (i.e. center is 1920x1200, left and right are 1024x1280) is this a problem?

              not for the drivers. Maybe for your window manager (kde4 is known to be stupid around multi-screen setups), so you may need some tweaking. It may be helpful to issue the needed XRandR commands *before* starting your desktop environment, by xdm init scripts or something.

              >> could someone point me in the direction of some documentation about configuring a multihead setup in linux via eyefinity?

              as said, I simply use XRandR and it works fine.

              >> Does it matter about the bittedness of my kernel?

              64 bit linux has been stable for what, 6-7 years now? I can't imagine any good reason to stick to 32bit any more, unless you depend on a binary driver that's unavailable for 64 bit (e.g. ndiswrapper).


              if you need further help with the setup, just ask.
              Awesome! Great information. I think that answers all of my questions, and have ordered a Sapphire 5770 card with a G9857C219-013T-H eyefinity certified displayport to dvi adapter.

              I'm looking forward to getting it all setup.

              Comment


              • #8
                A Sapphire 5770 Flex would have been cheaper than the "ordinary" 5770 + DP->DVI adapter...
                http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16814102906

                Comment


                • #9
                  Well, got it all setup, and it is sweet!

                  Fixed all of my problems and complaints about using xinerama and 2 video cards except that I still can't fullscreen a flash video to the center monitor (it kinda halfway shows up bigger on the left monitor) ... any ideas?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    That's just flash being stupid. It calculates the dimensions of your *whole desktop*, then uses that ratio for a smaller window on your primary screen.

                    Feel free to file a bug report with adobe if you like a lesson in futility. I've resorted to youtube-dl + mplayer.


                    Uhm, I kinda like drooling over multi-monitor setups. Would you mind posting a photo?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by rohcQaH View Post
                      Uhm, I kinda like drooling over multi-monitor setups. Would you mind posting a photo?
                      No pics for mine yet, just wanted to add to this thread that I've been using eyefinity comfortably with fglrx and 3+ monitors for a while now in ubuntu 10.04/10.10.

                      I'm still having issues getting multiseat to work, though.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        For proper multiseat with a single GPU, you need KMS. It won't work with fglrx or nvidia, no matter what you do.

                        You could resort to Xnest / Xephyr hacks, but those suck.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I've been using multiple GPUs to get around that, but the motherboard isn't reporting all card's VBIOS info.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by voltaicsca View Post
                            This is a cross post from the windows-centric forums.amd.com. I figured I might have better luck asking here.

                            I have some general questions about the performance and configuration of a setup with a 3 monitor eyefinity setup under linux.

                            I was wondering if anyone has configured such a setup, and what their experience has been like. I CANNOT WAIT to jump ship from nvidia to AMD provided everything will work the way I suspect that it will, but I have several questions before I can. If anyone can answer any/some/all of these, or even provide some insight, I would much appreciate it.
                            I jumped from nVidia to AMD as I wanted to use three monitors and had been told by some people here that most of the reports of problems with the ATI closed driver were mostly due to end user error or some such.

                            Unfortunately that wasn't to be the case and up to and including the 10.9 release I would regard the nVidia option as a much better beast if you only need two screens. Some say that the 10.10beta is a thing of beauty but I wont know myself until later today.

                            I should say that I'm running Ubuntu on a Q6600 CPU and an ATI 5870.
                            The ATI hardware is beutiful, fast, quiet and efficient and nicely priced but now onto the software aspects.

                            Originally posted by voltaicsca View Post
                            • First of all, I am wondering how 2d performance is under X. I'm running xinerama now with some 1 generation old nvidia cards, and the performance is awful under xinerama, running it with 1 monitor or 2 monitors with twinview is quite snappy. Can anyone make a comparison between 3 monitor xinerama performance and 3 monitor eyefinity performance?
                            2D performance I find quite good with some exceptions.
                            Window resizing becomes terribly slow, as in two seconds between redraws once you go beyond a certain window size and sometimes this becomes more evident depending on how much video RAM is consumed via other windows.

                            I don't miss Xinerama at all and when ATI's drivers mature the best way to avoid it for a triple head setup will be via an ATI card.

                            Originally posted by voltaicsca View Post
                            • is compiz supported with a 3 monitor eyefinity setup? [edit: i come to understand that it is] Is gaming supported while compiz is tured on, or will I need to start a separate X server to run games?
                            Up until the 10.8 release I was playing games and had no issues while Compiz was enabled. Compiz works mostly well with Eyefinity. At lease no worse than with only two monitors. At the moment I'm not playing games but I still use the Blender 3D modelling app and when it is it's working it's very fast. Depending what other apps are open sometimes Blender wont be rendered correctly unfortunately. I can fix that by shutting down other apps and then restarting Blender. I have Compiz resize the Blender window across two monitors leaving the third open for other tasks such as email, browser, video playback, etc. I could achieve this via two nVidia cards without Xinerama and would only mean I wouldn't be able to drag windows from the double monitor desktop to the single one which isn't a problem on the ATI card, but there are rendering issues though with ATI.

                            Originally posted by voltaicsca View Post
                            • Does eyefinity make the window manager aware of screen borders, or will I have to use a package like fakexinerama to make it maximize normal windows to only one screen?
                            The closed driver makes Compiz aware of the screens and there's no need for the "fake xinerama" hacks with ATI. Window positioning isn't one of the problems fglrx has. It deals with that completely automagically.

                            Originally posted by voltaicsca View Post
                            • all 3 of my monitors have a different rotation than the next, the center one has no rotation, and the two sides are rotated 90 degrees clockwise and counterclockwise, respectively. can eyefinity support this?
                            I currently don't have my monitors layed out this way so haven't tested that myself. I just have three 24" Acers, each at 1920x1200 in normal landscape orientation for a single desktop of 5760x1200.

                            Originally posted by voltaicsca View Post
                            • my two side monitors have a different resolution than the center monitor, further, their vertical resolutions are not equal to the center. (i.e. center is 1920x1200, left and right are 1024x1280) is this a problem?
                            As above, I haven't tested this.

                            Originally posted by voltaicsca View Post
                            • and last, I was not able to find any information about how to configure the driver in xorg.conf. I assume this means that there is a configuration utility for it? is this correct? could someone point me in the direction of some documentation about configuring a multihead setup in linux via eyefinity?
                            I didn't find manual editing of xorg.conf necessary at any stage with ATI's fglrx. I simply used the command "sudo aticonfig --initial -f" to initialise xorg.conf after installing the driver and all other configuration including the enablement of the monitor layout and Eyefinity was done via ATI's graphics config utility.

                            Originally posted by voltaicsca View Post
                            ok... sorry for posting a laundry list of questions, but I have been waiting for a good solution to the more-than-2-monitors-under-linux problem for quite some time, and just want to make sure this is it before I go spend my money.

                            Thanks all!

                            Sam

                            I should add that the more windows and open the greater the chance of odd behaviour rearing its ugly head from fglrx.

                            Over time performance degrades the longer my uptime. I get the feeling there might be some quirks in the drivers memory management perhaps. But after a couple of days up a reboot brings back the spritelyness.

                            I drive my third monitor via an active DisplayPort to DVI adapter. When staring video playback via some software (it'll be because the the playback mode the software's using), the DisplayPort gets re-initialised in some way causing that monitor to become black momentary. Annoying but not a real problem in itself.

                            Over time I've seen some improvements here and there in the driver so bottom line is ATI/AMD are making progress.

                            Lets hope the 10.10 release fixes the dodgy behaviour issues and then Linux can provide a great triple head experience via ATI.

                            Remember that these are the kinds of things you can expect with the current release driver on a 5000 series card under Ubuntu. Some are saying the beta release of 10.10 is great for them so there's definite hope on the horizon. I'll know myself later in the day.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by voltaicsca View Post
                              Thanks for the information!

                              I'm running Ubuntu 10.04 LTS 2.6.31-21-generic. I assume it runs well enough on Ubuntu, is that true?
                              Does it matter about the bittedness of my kernel? Does x64 or x86 get better, worse, or the same performance?
                              I should say I'm running the stock current 64bit kernel. I've not needed to touch this in anyway. The only thing that updates it is the normal update utility.

                              Comment

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