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Nov
6
2012

PC Gaming 101: Multiple Monitors

Triple monitor gaming is getting a lot of attention from serious gamers. Not only does the expanded real estate on a gaming pc create a better sense of immersion for single player games, it can actually give a player a real advantage in online play. The increased perspective that comes from multi-screen gaming is so impressive that some people consider it to be cheating. Whether that’s true or not, seeing so much more of the game environment can certainly change the entire experience.

How It Works

Multi-monitor configurations are actually fairly easy to set up. NVIDIA and AMD have made the entire procedure relatively painless. The added screen real estate does mean that it will require table space for three displays, but the benefits can outweigh the cons as multiple monitors can provide a more immersive and much higher resolution.

AMD was the first company to really get into multi-monitor support when they released their Eyefinity technology. This allowed a user to connect 3 or 6 monitors to a single graphics card, and through SLS (Single Large Surface) the computer would recognize them as a single monitor with an amazingly high resolution.

Depending on the size of the monitors in question, you can get an effective resolution somewhere between 5040x1050 (for three 22” monitors) and 7680x1600 (for three 30” monitors). Of course, it’s also important to note that by utilizing three monitors, your games will put three times as much of a demand on your graphic card(s). In other words: make sure you have your configuration has the graphical power and cooling for your setup.

Advantages of a Multi-monitor Setup

A triple-monitor setup gives you what can only be called “peripheral vision.” As your gaming world expands upwards of 300%, you won’t even need to look directly at the side monitors to experience a difference. Simply having a larger field of vision will help you feel greater immersion, and you will see a lot more of your surroundings than ever before. If you’re playing at a competitive level, this kind of advantage can be critical

The most obvious benefit for this kind of setup is in first person shooters, where spotting some movement out of the corner of your eye can alert you to approaching enemies, but the simple fact is that almost any genre can benefit from extra screen space. Flight sims, racing games, and even real time strategy games are being developed to take advantage of a wider perspective.

Tips

If you choose this setup, try to get monitors that are all the same size and type. You should also go with monitors with the smallest bezel possible so it won’t interfere with the overall experience. Next, make sure that your current graphics cards actually allow this kind of configuration (most modern cards do).

You also need to take a look at each individual game to determine whether or not it actually supports multiple monitors. While the multi-screen trend is taking off, there are still many game developers that simply don’t include this feature. Then, after you’ve installed the game, take some time to customize the Field of View (FOV) settings to avoid stretched images and a fish-eyed view of the world. When it all comes together, you may find it hard to believe you ever got along with just a single monitor for your gaming desktop (or even gaming laptop).

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