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Trying Out The Modern Linux Desktops With 4 Monitors + AMD/NVIDIA Graphics

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  • #11
    Well linux systems begins to introduce open-source control panels. Next steps should be the Device CONTROL MANAGER.
    Last edited by Azrael5; 03-30-2015, 02:23 PM.

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    • #12
      I would like to see a test of a "Modern Linux Desktop with 4 monitors on AMD and NVIDIA Graphics" (both at the same time).

      My use case:
      • 6 Monitors
      • GPU #1 - AMD Radeon HD 7850
      • GPU #2 - AMD Radeon HD 6570
      • GPU #3 - NVIDIA Quadro NVS 290

      I ended up using Windows as a front-end for my Linux machines because of the horrible cross-framebuffer performance in X/Xinerama

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      • #13
        Originally posted by Ericg View Post
        I remember the AMD devs talking about it a year or two ago. IIRC (and i may not), it has to do with how the drivers handle PLL's for display management. If the card is given a situation that they can't support 'cleanly' (maybe some lag or maybe not at the same frequency or some other 'dirty' aspect of it) the closed source drivers say "Nope, sorry, not doing it." Meanwhile the open source drivers say "I'll do it, but you get to keep whatever I spit out."

        Again, that's me remembering from over a year ago, so take it with a giant grain of salt.
        The issue with multiple non-DisplayPort monitors is PLL sharing. Monitors that vary by vendor/model require an extra clock, which needs a PLL. Most video cards only have two PLLs so two monitors can be driven. But if two monitors use the same clock (ie. the monitors are identical, same vendor/model) then they can share a single PLL, so you can have more than two monitors on a regular card. The driver needs to enable clock sharing - the open source drivers do - but some closed ones apparently don't (e.g. the Intel drivers on OS X don't). It's not that the configuration is "dirty" or "laggy", clock sharing is allowed in the hardware, but the driver has to enable it.

        Originally posted by macemoneta View Post
        I'd rather use one 50+ inch 4K/60 display (TV), than 4x1080p displays. Same physical size, but seamless and more flexible.
        Personally I prefer multiple monitors; with a single huge monitor you end up with extreme angles at the sides and edges. With multiple monitors, you can turn the side monitors to directly face your head. For a triple monitor setup it's like:



        The combined image in my triple monitor setup is about 90cm x 48cm (almost 17:9) so 4320cm?. I'd be interested in trying a large curved monitor, though it would have to be 40" 16:9ish to match my current setup. 1:1 ratio would be interesting too, though more vertical space is useful for coding/web tasks.

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        • #14
          Originally posted by jarfil View Post
          I would like to see a test of a "Modern Linux Desktop with 4 monitors on AMD and NVIDIA Graphics" (both at the same time).

          My use case:
          • 6 Monitors
          • GPU #1 - AMD Radeon HD 7850
          • GPU #2 - AMD Radeon HD 6570
          • GPU #3 - NVIDIA Quadro NVS 290

          I ended up using Windows as a front-end for my Linux machines because of the horrible cross-framebuffer performance in X/Xinerama
          Why not just use a single Eyefinity 6 card? Using multiple GPUs for a single desktop is a pain, though you can do some interesting things:

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          • #15
            Originally posted by jarfil View Post
            I would like to see a test of a "Modern Linux Desktop with 4 monitors on AMD and NVIDIA Graphics" (both at the same time).

            My use case:
            • 6 Monitors
            • GPU #1 - AMD Radeon HD 7850
            • GPU #2 - AMD Radeon HD 6570
            • GPU #3 - NVIDIA Quadro NVS 290

            I ended up using Windows as a front-end for my Linux machines because of the horrible cross-framebuffer performance in X/Xinerama
            If what you want is a large single surface the best performance seems to come when you do all the rendering on one GPU (the big one ) into a big virtual screen then blit completed frames to the other GPUs for display. Frame-locking the GPUs helps, although I don't know if that is practical across different vendors HW yet.

            Graphics drivers used to intercept every drawing operation and split each one across GPUs as needed, but I think that is falling out of favour. The older approach might still be used in the professional workstation market, not sure.

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            • #16
              Hey, Michael, try this...

              As you would expect when using two or more displays it has long been the case that the mouse continues to work as expected. If these are touchscreen displays, however, you will have no such luck. All bets are off. And the X developers will have none of your suggestions that even the first touchscreen will continue working as it should. They'll simply dismiss your suggestion and remind you that you should deal with it on your own, something they would be castigated for if your mouse didn't work at all when adding a second display and you dared to suggest that it should.

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              • #17
                Originally posted by chrisb View Post
                The issue with multiple non-DisplayPort monitors is PLL sharing. Monitors that vary by vendor/model require an extra clock, which needs a PLL. Most video cards only have two PLLs so two monitors can be driven. But if two monitors use the same clock (ie. the monitors are identical, same vendor/model) then they can share a single PLL, so you can have more than two monitors on a regular card. The driver needs to enable clock sharing - the open source drivers do - but some closed ones apparently don't (e.g. the Intel drivers on OS X don't). It's not that the configuration is "dirty" or "laggy", clock sharing is allowed in the hardware, but the driver has to enable it.
                Ah ok. I'll know to use all the same monitors next time. Open source drivers perform about as good as proprietary drivers for most games so I just never bothered looking into it. Does it have anything to do with refresh rates? They all can do at least 60hz.

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                • #18
                  Originally posted by DIRT View Post
                  Ah ok. I'll know to use all the same monitors next time. Open source drivers perform about as good as proprietary drivers for most games so I just never bothered looking into it. Does it have anything to do with refresh rates? They all can do at least 60hz.
                  Refresh rate and resolution. If you do `xrandr --verbose` for each mode you will see something like:

                  Code:
                    1280x1024 (0xdd) 135.000MHz +HSync +VSync
                          h: width  1280 start 1296 end 1440 total 1688 skew    0 clock  79.98KHz
                          v: height 1024 start 1025 end 1028 total 1066           clock  75.02Hz
                  The pixel clock is the MHz number. It is one of the parameters included in the traditional Xorg Modeline.

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                  • #19
                    > but the packages used at the time from the Ubuntu Vivid archive were rather unstable
                    -- Michael Larabel

                    Maybe it's because it's a *beta* version? Michael Larabel already knew that before writing this article, and talking about a 15.04 release like it existed, not mentioning that is a *beta* version. Later, Phoronix readers are expected to say that the 15.04 version had problems, like they read there?

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                    • #20
                      I fail to see what was worse about Xfce's multimonitor setup from GNOME's. Unless you can't move those monitors to the left around freely it looks like everything you need is there. What am I missing?

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