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ATI Eyefinity hands-on: we played with the ultimate PC rig, and we're giving it away on the Engadget Show!

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ATI's Eyefinity has a real corner on the market when it comes to speedy, gamer-friendly multi-display setups for "real people," and while plenty of ink has already been spilled on the HD 5870 card and the six-display experiences it can power, we just had a gander at possibly the most elite setup yet. The real key here are the Samsung SyncMaster MD230 displays we saw it demo'd with, which sport razor slim screen bezels and an easy-to-build, flexible 3 x 2 grid. Less in-your-face but equally as sexy is that BMW-designed Thermaltake Level 10 chassis (OK, it's still pretty in-your-face). It's a custom-configured iBuyPower system, which in addition to the $2k-ish display setup (an official price hasn't been announced by Samsung) should swipe a few months of your salary without any trouble.

Too rich for you? Well, maybe you'd like to win one for free! That's right, we're going to be demonstrating this system on the Engadget Show this Saturday, and one lucky attendee is going to win their very own Eyefinity setup! You have to be there to win, of course.

Not convinced? Follow after the break for some of our hands-on impressions and a quick video.

Gallery: ATI Eyefinity hands-on: we played with the ultimate PC rig | 34 Photos



In practice, we experienced many of the pitfalls of the setup that have been highlighted in reviews, but not without catching some of the unadulterated joy inherent in this sort extravagance. First off, you really can't play FPS games right now, something which AMD freely admits. They're working with companies right now in creating a standardized way of offsetting the crosshairs, but for now your primary targeting spot is right smack between two screens. The other big issue we found was that with a game running at highest quality at 5760 x 2160, you either have to step down the graphical quality or you have to sit through less-than-optimal frames per second. Of course, you could pick a lower resolution like 4800 x 1800 or (gasp!) 2397 x 1200, the last of which smoothed out Battlefield: Bad Company 2's frame rate into pure butter, but also negated some of the point of the setup in the first place. Those negatives aside, we were still really just blown away by the "immersiveness," choosing to sit too close to the displays and let the edges fade into our peripheral vision.

It's probably not worth the price for Crysis -- your money would be better spent on a nice big 1080p TV to play on -- but it's still a blast, and for any other application that benefits from the extra pixels (real time strategy, productivity apps) or the slight flex of the edge displays (racing games, flight sims) it's about the best thing money can buy. Once we can get that aiming reticle down into the bottom center display, we could imagine having a lot of fun with shooters as well, but in the meantime we can always just run a few desktop apps on the top screens while the shooter spans the lower three. You know, that just how we roll.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
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