Red vs Green vs Blue - How they handle 3 screens

Submitted by AussieTimmeh on 19 February, 2012 - 03:39

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Startup screens

Ok, so this is a very minor point here, but I do like attention to detail. To me, it's a quality thing. When the BIOS and Windows loading screens are shown, Nvidia Surround keep the outside monitors disabled so the screens only appear on the center monitor. The Triplehead2Go displays the BIOS and startup screens on just the center monitor, like Nvidia Surround, regardless of what brand GPU you use. This is the way I would expect it to be. Eyefinity duplicates it on two monitors for some reason, and leaves the third blank. This gets annoying when you are navigating around the BIOS during overclocking, I end up turning the second monitor off.

Single Monitor Fullscreen Applications

Another attention to detail issue is what happens when I choose to run a fullscreen program that is set to a single monitor resolution, while I am in a multi-monitor configuration.

Eyefinity simply duplicates the application on all 3 screens, forcing you to manually turn off the two outside monitors to avoid going crazy, especially if it's a game. It runs at full performance, however.

Nvidia Surround gets halfway there and then shoots itself in the foot. It disables the outside monitor connected to the second video card, which is great as the monitor turns off. But for the outside monitor that is connected to the second video output of the first card, the image is simply blanked. The result is that the monitor does not turn off, rather it stays backlit but black. Doesn't sound like a big deal, but when gaming at night in a dimmed room, it's distracting. I find I still turn that monitor off manually. However, that's not the killer. The worst part is that the performance of the system drops by about 1/3 when single monitor fullscreen applications are run from a multi-monitor desktop! Why!?!

The TH2G turns off both outside monitors and just runs the application in the center monitor. Gold.

Maximising windows

Matrox's PowerDesk software allows windows to be maximised to an individual screen, as the software divides the single large surface up into three sections on the desktop.


Unfortunately, Eyefinity and Nvidia Surround don't. Both see the whole desktop as a single large surface, and as such, when a window is maximised, it maximises across all 3 monitors. This is frustrating as you cannot maximise a window to just one screen, you must manually resize it yourself.

Now there are programs out there that can be configured to do what the Matrox software does, such as HydraGrid by AMD and Ultramon, but they are not native to the setup. Some people I know who use Eyefinity change to an extended desktop for working, and switch to Eyefinity just for gaming, to get around this problem.

This article has been superseded by Red vs Green vs Blue V2! Please refer to Version 2 for the latest information available.