Microsoft sets up three 4K PC monitors for 1,492,992,000 pixels of gaming

4K monitors are the new hot thing for PC owners to get, even if they are still highly expensive. Earlier this month we reported that the new PQ321Q 31.4 inch monitor from Asus could run 207 instances of Minesweeper inside its top resolution of 3840x2160. This week, Microsoft decided to have some fun in creating a PC rig designed to run three 4K monitors linked to form one large display via AMD's Eyefinity technology.

As described on the Extreme Windows blog, Microsoft got to play with three Sharp PN-K321 32-inch 4K monitors (on loan, unfortunately), each with a resolution of 3840x2160. They also cost close to $5,000 each. AMD brought in an ASUS HD 7970 DirectCU II graphics card to put in the PC rig that has six monitor ports (four DisplayPorts and two DVI ports).

After playing the recent Codemasters racing game Dirt 3 on Windows 8 on all three screens at 30 Hz and one screen at 60 Hz with some success, Microsoft decided to go all out and run the game at 60 Hz on all three monitors running as one display. AMD actually created a custom driver package for the rig and added two more graphics cards and a custom power system (needless to say, the blog insists that people reading the article not try this at home).

The final result was that they were able to run Dirt 3 on this $17,000 custom PC at around 62 to 67 FPS on all three Sharp 4K monitors at 60 Hz with all settings on “High” except for shadow detail and particles. That's a total display resolution of 11520x2160 with a whopping 1,492,992,000 pixels running. The catch? The PC rig was only able to run for a few minutes before it reset because the PSU was getting too much power.

Source: Microsoft | Image via Microsoft

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T1OOO said,
U could just as easily do the same billion pixels with 3x30" monitors running at a higher fps ........ Though if need 120mhz versions not 60mhz ones

milli Hertz?, Mega Hertz?
I think you mean Hz

T1OOO said,
U could just as easily do the same billion pixels with 3x30" monitors running at a higher fps ........ Though if need 120mhz versions not 60mhz ones
Except 60Hz is a pretty standard level. The point was that it could effectively render at 60 FPS.

Phouchg said,
My bad. Now it's not a mistake, now it's simply 5.375 trillion pixels per hour.

Imperial or SI trillions?
the confusion continues...

"the PSU was getting too much power" - huh? You mean too much current was being drawn (by the system) for the PSU to handle right?

By comparison, the iPad Retina displays resolution is 2048x1536.

I would also like to add that there probably wouldn't have been a difference on a Windows 7 setup...

Edited by 68k, Jul 26 2013, 1:09pm :

68k said,

By comparison, the iPad Retina displays resolution is 2048x1536.

displaying many pixels is not what is causing so much power usage.

but doing a complex render of 24 million pixels for each frame, 60 times per second, is the reason the 3 GPU are consuming so much power.

you can't compare the power usage with the iPad which has less GPU performance than a 2005 gaming PC.
cutting edge PC GPUs are not exactly energy efficient, but they are able to produce much more complex and detailed renders than embedded GPUs.

Would this work just as well with Win7 as with Win8?

So disappointing that he didn't show us how many Metro (or so-called and misnamed "modern") apps he could display at once on those rigs.

Why? They're only showing one app here. However you should be able to display 12 Modern apps on those three screens, which isn't an insignificant number I think.

Interesting that its 17k. I guess it's really 5k for the system and 12k for the monitors.

CPU sandy extreme 6 core 1k. 3x 7970. $1000. Psu. Ud prob have 2 decent ones that 1 monster. In any event a 1200ax or 1500 would be enough. Ram. Ssd. Ect.

They spent $17000 on the computer and opt to use a 750 Watt PSU to power 3 7970s...

So it wasn't just the fact the the system was drawing too much power. They just underestimated the power requirement needed to power 3 7970s to power those monitors at that resolution.

Pretty sure 4K doesn't make any perceivable difference for the two side monitors in that game, given that all they display is a fast moving blur and they're not going to be looked at directly. Still, it's an amazing achievement to drive that many pixels at that framerate on commodity (albeit expensive) hardware.

Show me a 120hz Lightboost 4K monitor under 1000$ and I'll be happy.

what a fail video. Monitors have 1" gap between them, plus 3/4-1" bezel...hardly seemless, and would seem really distracting. Monitors are nice but those gaps are annoying.

waste of time, resources, and money if you ask me, honestly I think 1080p is just fine and dandy, I dont think a movie could possibly get any more clear, and whats the point of 4k gaming? I mean does anyone REALLY need that high of resolution? I honestly think retina is a gimmick as well, resolution that high on a screen that small is pointless

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