AMD released the Cypress as part of their Evergreen series launch, termed the 5000 series. One of the features that premiered with this card was Eyefinity. The performance cards of interest are Cypress (base chip), AMD Hemlock (2 Cypress chips), and AMD Juniper (a Cypress sliced in half). There are mainstream level cards (AMD Redwood and AMD Cedar) as well. Juniper was released on September 22nd as the HD5870, and a week later as the HD5850 - what we have been calling a "HD5870 Eyefinity6" card (along with various other nicknames) is still to come which possesses 6 mini-DisplayPort outputs.
The HD5850 hardware is very similar to the HD5870, with a few shaders and texture units crippled, running at a somewhat slower speed on less power, with a shorter card. The backplate and multimonitor capabilties are identical on the AMD-manufactured units we've seen so far.
- 2x DVI
- 1x DisplayPort
- 1x HDMI
The physical DisplayPort socket can support what's known at the DP+ specification, which bundles the DP signal with a single-link DVI signal running along other wires. Unfortunately, AMD only decided to put two hardware support for two DVI-frequency signals on the card. HDMI, which is simply a convenient connector for DVI with sound & data included on other wires (and HDCP mandatory), uses the signals as well. The DisplayPort silicon is separate. So the HD5870 can output to the DisplayPort and any two of the other ports at once.
Most people have monitors that support DVI and HDMI - DisplayPort hasn't existed for as long, and hasn't fully penetrated the market yet. This has led to gamers using Active DVI-DisplayPort Adapters, which are really externally-powered electronic signal converters that convert a DP signal to a dual-link DVI signal, to get the benefit of their third monitor. These typically run $80-$120, and not all work perfectly. The much cheaper passive adapters, which are used with ports featuring DP+ signals, are dumb wires which just re-arrange the parts of the DP+ port which carry a DVI signal into a single-channel male DVI plug.
HD5870 Eyefinity6 Edit
On September 10, several gaming websites were offered trips to the USS Hornet to demo the Eyefinity technology in 3, 6, and 24-monitor configurations. A 6-output graphics card was necessary. A miniature version of Displayport was the only type of output that could easily fit, without dramatically raising the price in HDMI patent dues. Since then, photos have leaked in several places, and at least one foreign-language website has jumped the gun and posted a full review.
PC Pop, a Chinese website, published a preview of the "HD5870 6DP Edition" on November 4.
XTreview mostly republished their shots on November 20, but added a diagram showing slot output. The HD5870 Eyefinity6 will have only 2 DP+ ports in a mini format, and four mini-DP-only ports.