1. Computers
  2. Display Drivers
  3. Graphics Cards
  4. Memory
  5. Motherboards
  6. Processors
  7. Software
  8. Storage
  9. Operating Systems


Facebook RSS Twitter Twitter Google Plus


Phoronix Test Suite

OpenBenchmarking.org

Using Six Monitors With AMD's Open-Source Linux Driver

AMD

Published on 19 May 2013 02:40 PM EDT
Written by Michael Larabel in AMD
27 Comments

Linux graphics drivers have come a long way in recent years for both the open and closed-source solutions from AMD, NVIDIA, and Intel. In this Sunday article, a Phoronix reader has shared his experiences in going from failing to setup two monitors under Linux just a few years ago with NVIDIA to now successfully driving six monitors on a single system using the AMD Linux driver.

Niklas Andersson, a Swedish Phoronix reader, wrote in to share his AMD Linux six-monitor success story:

Last december I bought a AMD Radeon HD 7970-card with six outputs (4 hdmi, 2 dvi), six 23" monitors and a cool monitor rack from SMS Solutions. I have a two rows, three columns setup.

Unfortunately the drivers didn't work back then (yeah, back then is just some five months ago) The open drivers and even closed drivers with Ubuntu 12.04, Ubuntu 12.10 and now Ubuntu 13.04 (and I upgraded to kernel 3.9) was very sluggish and did not activate all displays. Very, very random behavior. Also bugs in Compiz made the CPU go bananas when using open driver and multiple screens. Constant load of some 50-60%. Lots of issues.

After I had some success with multiple screens on a Mac Mini 6,2 of mine with a pre-beta of Fedora 19 (KDE), I thought I might just install it on my workstation with my dysfunctional six monitors. It actually worked out-of-the-box! The six screens got detected in KDEs display settings, I could arrange them according to my 3x2 setup, click apply and voilá, I got my huge desktop with native resolution on all monitors (1920x1080)

Only problem is that the display settings does not save the setup permanently so I have to arrange the screens on each reboot. Think it is going to be solved in upcoming tool Kscreens, but I am happy for now.

I am no gamer so I am not that interested in 3d-graphics performance, but OpenGL works with the open driver, there is support for WebGL both in Konqueror (webkit-based) and in Chrome. WebGL-support broke down on some demos though and I had to restart the browser to regain the support, but in all it is a nice experience.

I just wanted to share the story. I remember some five years ago when I was struggling with a two monitor setup in Ubuntu 7.04 and Nvidia proprietary drivers... We have come a very long way since then.


It's great to see an AMD Radeon six monitor configuration working "out of the box" on the yet-to-be-released Fedora 19 for a Radeon HD 7970 "Southern Islands" graphics card! Also for those looking for affordable yet very reliable multi-monitor stands, I highly recommend the Tyke Supply monitor stands and use several of them in my office.

About The Author
Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the web-site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience and being the largest web-site devoted to Linux hardware reviews, particularly for products relevant to Linux gamers and enthusiasts but also commonly reviewing servers/workstations and embedded Linux devices. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics hardware drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated testing software. He can be followed via and or contacted via .
Latest Linux Hardware Reviews
  1. Intel Xeon E5-1680 v3 & E5-2687W v3 Compared To The Core i7 5960X On Linux
  2. Intel 120GB 530 Series SSD Linux Performance
  3. Btrfs/EXT4/XFS/F2FS RAID 0/1/5/6/10 Linux Benchmarks On Four SSDs
  4. AMD's Windows Catalyst Driver Remains Largely Faster Than Linux Drivers
Latest Linux Articles
  1. NVIDIA vs. Nouveau Drivers With Linux 3.18 + Mesa 10.4-devel
  2. Is The Open-Source NVIDIA Driver Fast Enough For Steam On Linux Gaming?
  3. Linux 3.18 File-System Performance Minimally Changed But Possible Regressions
  4. AMD Radeon Gallium3D Is Catching Up & Sometimes Beating Catalyst On Linux
Latest Linux News
  1. Linux 3.18 Kernel: Not Much Change With Intel Haswell Performance
  2. More File-System Tests Of The Linux 3.18 Kernel
  3. Using NVIDIA's NVENC On Linux With FFmpeg
  4. There's Talk Again About An "Open To The Core" Ubuntu Laptop
  5. PowerVR SGX Driver Code Gets Leaked
  6. V2 Of KDBUS Published For Linux Kernel Review
  7. VirtualBox 4.3.20 Arrives, Still No Sign Of VirtualBox 4.4
  8. Scientific Linux 6.6 vs. Scientific Linux 7.0 Benchmarks
  9. Qualcomm Looks To Get Into The ARM Server Business
  10. HHVM 3.4 Adds New Features, Support
Latest Forum Discussions
  1. Roadmap to Catalyst 14.10 ?
  2. Updated and Optimized Ubuntu Free Graphics Drivers
  3. Cant get working Kaveri APU - A10-7850k
  4. Debian Developer Resigns From The Systemd Maintainership Team
  5. Script for Fan Speed Control
  6. Debian Init System Coupling Vote Results
  7. The Slides Announcing The New "AMDGPU" Kernel Driver
  8. Ubuntu Developers Still Thinking What To Do About Adobe Flash Support