Gaming

My Computer

Bought in December 2009, this computer was replacing my old first generation dual core Athlon, which was beginning to show its age.

The biggest difference in performance is without a doubt the solid-state disk. Windows boots up very quickly and is ready to use within seconds after the desktop appears. Everything in general is running much smoother since disk access latency is virtually eliminated.
The only downside is the price, which also made me stick with the 80 GB model. All games and rarely used applications are installed on a secondary regular harddisk.

Specs

CPU: Intel Core i7 860
Quad-core, HyperThreading, 2.8 GHz
CPU-Cooler: Scythe Zipang 2
140mm fan
RAM: 8GB Corsair DDR3
Motherboard: Asus P7P55D
Intel P55 Express Chipset
System disk: 80GB Intel X25-M SSD
Storage disk: 1TB Western Digital Caviar Black
32 MB Cache, 7200 RPM
PSU: 700 Watt OCZ ModXStream Pro
Modular design
Case: Coolermaster CM-690
Graphics: Asus Radeon 5870
DirectX 11, 1GB RAM, DisplayPort, HDMI
Monitors: 3x Dell P2310H
23", 1920x1080, DisplayPort
OS: Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit

EyeFinity

EyeFinity is a feature of AMD's 5800 series graphics cards, which allows you to merge multiple physical monitors into a single monitor in Windows. I am currently running three 23" monitors in a horizontal setup as illustrated below.


To use 3 monitors you must utilize the DisplayPort connector on the graphics card. This can be done by either using a monitor with DisplayPort input, or by using an active DP-to-DVI converter. I decided to go for monitors with native DisplayPort and the choice fell on the Dell P2310H.

Getting EyeFinity to work is pretty straightforward, but support for such extreme resolutions in games varies a lot:

Experiences

So far, I am enjoying gaming on 3 monitors. In general, you still only focus on the middle monitor, but you gain a great peripheral vision from the side-monitors. In first person shooters, this helps you to spot movement over a larger area more easily. In car games it adds to the immersion and the experience of speed.
In a game like Eve Online, the extra screen real-estate comes in handy, as you can have more windows open without cluttering everything up. A downside though, is that it is a long way for the mouse to travel to the menu in the left side.

In Windows, EyeFinity is pretty much useless when running it as a single large desktop. It is cumbersome to resize windows to fit on a single monitor and the start button gets thrown out all the way to the left. So when not gaming, I switch to a standard setup with the desktop on the middle screen, extending to each side on the side-monitors.
Being used to a dual-monitor setup, a third monitor does not add anything particular to the experience except for the extra space for applications.

Screenshots

Here's are few screenshots from games with EyeFinity:


World of Warcraft @ 5760x1080


EVE Online @ 5760x1080


EVE Online @ 5760x1080


EVE Online @ 5760x1080


Live For Speed @ 6016x1080