By Anthony J. Lockwood
Dear Desktop Engineering Reader:
Dual displays have been common in certain design, engineering, financial, and medical circles for years. They are also increasingly common in everyday design and engineering workstation environments. Often, however, you don’t leverage dual monitors because your graphics card just doesn’t have the horsepower to run a pair of graphics-intensive applications on both screens simultaneously. Or, if it can, it’s a struggle. And your boss has zero inclination to expense the bucks for a dozen donuts for Monday’s status meeting, never mind authorize the purchase of an ultra high-end workstation that could solve some of your issues. So, your productivity suffers, driving up those hidden costs CFOs fret about.
The possibility of a solution to that all too common scenario is what intrigued me about AMD’s recent announcement of a pair of new graphics cards, the AMD FirePro 2270 and ATI FirePro V5800 DVI. Both these products seem to offer the horsepower you need to efficiently support multiple 30-in. monitors and run graphics-intensive applications at the same time without busting the bank.
The AMD FirePro 2270 is a low-profile, passively cooled, dual-display capable graphics card. "Passively cooled" means fan-less – that is, quiet – and "low-profile" means it fits pretty much anywhere. It averages 10W power consumption and 15W max, so it should not stress out your power supply. It supports DisplayPort, DVI and VGA connectivity, so installation should be a piece of cake.
Now, since the ATI FirePro V5800 DVI supports the most common digital interface, DVI, setting up dual-link DVI displays configurations should be easy. With the ATI FirePro V5800 DVI, you can drive two high-resolution dual link DVI displays, separately or together. You can stretch an image or application across both screens for expanded field of view, or you can do a different thing on each screen. Resolution is 2560×2048 at 60Hz with packed pixel mode.
Now, when I said these boards will not bust the bank here’s what I meant: AMD says pricing for the AMD FirePro 2270 starts at $149 and ATI FirePro V5800 DVI kicks in at $469. Your boss will like that because the cards could give you a "new" workstation environment awfully inexpensively. As a bonus, the cards are simple to install, so the IT guys shouldn’t grumble beyond normal at you either.
You can learn more about AMD’s new AMD FirePro 2270 and ATI FirePro V5800 DVI graphics cards from today’s Pick of the Week write-up. There are tons of links for you to get the full skinny.
Thanks, Pal. — Lockwood
Anthony J. Lockwood
Editor at Large, Desktop Engineering