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ATI and Dell 2709W displayport/eyefinity problems and solutions

No display during boot?, No eyefinity in XP?, Can't run three screens in XP? Me too.

So, a while back I got a Power Color 4850 card with a displayport port and connected it up to my Dell 2709W monitor and it didn't work right.  'Stupid new technology' I thought.
The symptoms of it's failure to work were:
1) no display during bootup
2) 640x480 max resolution that the monitor would display once in Windows
3) selecting higher resolutions resulted in a 640x480 display that you could pan around.
4) sometimes the ATI drivers would report a "The system has detected a link failure and cannot set the requested resolution and refresh rate on your DisplayPortTM display. Your display might not support the requested resolution or there may be an issue with the cable connecting the display to your computer"

At the time I just sent the card back and got one with two DVI ports instead, thinking it was the graphics card at fault and not my shiny new monitor.

Fast forward to October 2009, ATI Releases the 5870 card with Eyefinity.

To use Eyefinity you need 3 monitors, one with a displayport port.

I rushed out and bought one to replace my two 8800GT for the following reasons:
1) I was sick of having to enable/disable SLI and reboot all the time to switch between high performance and multi-monitor modes
2) The power draw of my main rig was very high at idle (350W!).
3) The heat generated by an ATI 5870 should be less than my two 8800GTs at idle.
4) My Cooler-Master Cosmos suffers from bad airflow and using a single card would improve things.
5) I've fallen out of favour with NVidia since they used almost identical chips in three graphics cards (8800gt, 9800gt, 250gtx) and sold them to consumers as upgrades. That, and they keep over emphasizing their proprietary technologies like physx, cuda, etc instead of working towards open standards that would make developers lives easier and would encourage developers to use the power of gpu's in everyday applications.
6) And lastly, higher performance.

Anyway, moving on, I got back from the shops, installed the card, plugged in three monitors (2x 2407W via DVI and 1x 2709W via Displayport) and turned on my pc.

Nothing appeared on the 2709W display.

The machine booted up into windows and again I had the same problems as I did with my 4850 card.

"Nuts" I thought, new monitor time.  Well, at this point it was either the monitor or the cable and since display port is so new I didn't have a spare displayport cable hanging around.

My 2709W was an A00 revision, and fortunately it came with a 3 year warranty.

I called up Dell and they sent me a new monitor the next day and collected the old one - nice service!

The new monitor was an A02 revision and this one has none of the issues that the previous monitor did.

So, if you're in the same situation just get your monitor replaced as there's nothing else you can do about it.

If you're in the market for a monitor to use with Eyefinity and want a Dell 2709W check the revision number before purchasing it.  If you're buying one second hand then get the current owner to have it replaced by dell first.

When i called Dell all I said was "the displayport port is not working and I've tried two different graphics cards", that was it.

Also, if you're on Windows XP (like me) then you're out of luck with Eyefinity as it's not supported.  Not only that but it's also impossible to even run three displays from the card, even though all three displays show up in device manager.

Guess I have to wait for Windows 7 on October 22nd for some serious 3 screen action...  Mhh.

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