On Saturday 24 January 2009, alex stone wrote:
I've been using on Apple 30" LCD for a little over three years now,
for pretty much everything; games, racing simulators, programming,
and the usual web, email etc stuff.
The first issue I ran into was the fact that 2560x1600 requires dual
link DVI, and that basically wasn't available on anything but high
end workstation video cards at the time. That caused me some
ATI/Linux related headaches at first, and forced me to go for a
top-of-the-line 512 MB gamer card at twice the cost of any normal
GF6800 card - but that card worked flawlessly with the 30", and (as
of course) performed very well.
You won't need dual link for any lower resolutions, but if you go for
a 2560x1600 display, you should be fine with any reasonably serious
gamer card. I think pretty much any GF 8800 GT or better should have
dual link DVI, but beware of "cripled" variants like 8400, 8600
etc... Don't know about the later generation cards.
Anyway, depending on what you want to do, you may have to consider
that these large, high resolution screens have a lot of pixels to
move around! Several times as many as any "sensible" size display...
This severely impacts dragging large windows, playing fullscreen
video and things like that.
I'm currently using a dual GF 8800 GT SLI setup with 1 GB VRAM per
card (rougly equivalent to one of the latest generation nVidia cards,
according to benchmarks), and that's just about sufficient for
playing Half-life 2, Doom 3, Quake 4 and similar at the native
display resolution without dropping below 60 fps too frequently.
(That is with "everything maxed out", except for FSAA, which doesn't
really add all that much in these resolutions.)
You certainly won't need a multi-GPU setup for normal desktop work,
but you should probably stay away from the budget models with some
disabled pipelines, slow VRAM and stuff.
If you're going to use these new OpenGL rendered desktop environments,
I'm not quite sure what you need, actually... I've not exactly been
impressed so far, but OTOH, the HL2 GUI (translucent windows and
stuff over rather complex real time animated 3D scenes) is perfectly
nice and smooth, so I strongly doubt it's a raw performance issue.
Finally, from a user POV, it might be worth noting that a display this
large doesn't really work like a bigger single display. At a normal
working distance (close enough that you don't need 20+ pixels tall
letters to be able to read), you can't see that MSN client flashing
in the corner if you're reading something over at the other side of
the display! It's more like working with a multihead setup, only
cleaner, more efficient and more flexible. I totally loved it from
the start, but apparently, some people just never seem to get used to
//David Olofson - Programmer, Composer, Open Source Advocate
.------- http://olofson.net - Games, SDL examples -------.
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