Red vs Green vs Blue - Software Reliability

Submitted by AussieTimmeh on 19 February, 2012 - 03:27

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So far, I have not had an issue with my Nvidia Surround setup. Setting up the surround configuration was super easy. I never had problems with monitor identification. It was a pleasure. Obviously this is not always the case for all people or else we wouldn't have a forum dedicated to issues surrounding this (no pun intended). But for me, with the same computer setups and just changing the graphical hardware, Nvidia was the simplest of the lot.

In my experience, the Matrox Triplehead2Go and PowerDesk / SGU software is reliable. I have built 5 systems for people using it with Nvidia cards and I have never had to reinstall a driver or anything. It just works.

However, the story is not so good on AMD systems. Although the PowerDesk would let me select 3x1680x1050, it would always fail on the required computer restart without telling me that the maximum resolution on AMD cards is actually 3x1280x1024. Either it should tell you this in the error, or better still, not let you select it to begin with. Once I had learned this limitation through some searching, it performed reliably for me after that.


If you look up the word Reliability in the dictionary, you won’t find the Eyefinity Catalyst Control Center. Especially early on when Eyefinity was new, I had driver issues - lots of them. I could not even choose the Restart option in Windows because my Eyefinity configuration would be all messed up after the reboot. I also could not change back to a single screen or it would Blue Screen Of Death. However, the drivers have come a long way. I can now Restart reliably, and once the Catalyst Control Center recognises my DisplayPort-to-DVI monitor (which has required hot-unplugging and replugging at times), I can setup up an Eyefinity group.

Lots of people have problems with the active adapters needed to make Eyefinity work. Some brand / combinations have screen flicker issues and the like. I know it's not really AMD's problem, but it's a little bit of hope and pray that it won't happen to you. It's something that you don't need to worry about with the other setups. Even during testing for this comparison, after swapping the rigs around, the Eyefinity rig booted with a corrupted display setup on the monitor using the active adapter. I also had great difficulties getting the Eyefinity 2.0 Catalyst Control Center to even run at all.

Another difficulty with Eyefinity is setting which monitor the system reverts to when you return to a single monitor mode (by using Windows-P and choosing Computer Only, for example). This is very easy on the Nvidia rig, just have the central monitor plugged into the first DVI connector on the first video card and you're set. Same with the Triplehead2Go, just plug it into the DVI connector with the Center monitor highlighted on the picture. With Eyefinity, you must battle the Catalyst Control Center - there don't seem to be any hard and fast rules that work for everyone. So while I love my Eyefinity rig dearly, the drivers are absymal. I don’t believe you should have to fear updating to a new driver.


Windows-P is a great trick for switching between Eyefinity or Nvidia Surround and a single monitor desktop. Press Windows-P to bring up the menu. Choose 'Computer Only' for a single monitor desktop or 'Duplicate' for Nvidia Surround and Eyefinity. I have found it to be reliable on all systems and drivers I have tried it on.

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