Soren Harward on 12 Apr 2014 18:33:40 -0700

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Re: [PLUG] Dreaming of Multi-4K Monitors

On Sat, Apr 12, 2014 at 2:56 PM, Casey Bralla <> wrote:
> I'm wondering about 2 major points:
> 1.  Wiring type (hdmi or displayport)
> 2.  Single or multiple graphics adapters.
> Of course, I also strongly prefer to use FOSS video drivers (which is easier
> since I won't be gaming).

If you want 3× 4K displays using the FOSS drivers, for the near
future, that pretty much narrows the field to five cards: the nVidia
NVS510, and the AMD FirePro W7000, W8000, W9000, and W9100.

With two separate cards, you'd need to use xinerama, which is
problematic (but not as bad as it once was). X is just much happier
when there's only one card to deal with.  Even though HDMI 2.0
supports 4K at 60Hz, there aren't any video cards with HDMI 2.0
connectors yet.  So you need a card with at least 3 DisplayPort 1.2
connectors.  The only nVidia-based card with more than 2 DisplayPort
connectors is the NVS510.  Of the handful of AMD cards with 3+
DisplayPort 1.2 connectors, only the AMD FirePro W7000, W8000, W9000
and W9100 support 4K resolutions.  And since you prefer the FOSS
drivers, it's going to take a while for them to catch up to supporting
a new generation of cards that supports HDMI 2.0 and 4K resolutions,
so even if you buy next year, you're better off buying something
that's available now for which the Linux drivers are being developed.

And speaking of preferring the FOSS drivers, I'd recommend AMD cards
anyway.  The radeon drivers are farther ahead than the nouveau drivers
in terms of feature parity with their proprietary counterparts.  Right
now, the biggest feature entirely missing from the radeon driver is
tessellation shaders, with OpenCL and dynamic power management being
the only other two features that are significantly behind (and by next
year, both of these probably will have caught up).  AMD's also said
that they're working on opening all the kernel code of their
proprietary driver so it can be integrated into the mainstream kernel;
with this, the only difference between open and proprietary will be in
userspace, improving the open drivers.  So if you're going to use open
drivers, I recommend an AMD workstation card; I have a V5900 in my
home workstation and an HD6xxx in my laptop, and both work very, very

Soren Harward
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