With the launch of the 600 series GPUs we saw NVIDIA cards supporting the Surround feature with only a single GPU, in the past NVIDIA surround required multiple cards however any 600 series card with 3 or more digital connections such as HDMI, DVI-D and DisplayPort will support NVIDIA Surround.
NVIDIA state that you don’t require identical monitors but for this guide I’m going to be using 3 x BenQ XL2420s – Why? Because I can that’s why.
I’ve been doing some research online and I’ve read multiple reports of people struggling to configure the NVIDIA surround due to their monitors having different synch polarities there is a work around which I will mention at the bottom of this guide, however I cannot recommend it and we cannot support you with it.
The first thing we need to check prior to trying to configure NVIDIA Surround is that our graphics card has enough digital outputs, although all 600 series chipsets support NVIDIA Surround the PCB must have enough digital outputs to enable you to configure NVIDIA surround on a single card, an example card would have at least 3 digital interfaces (i.e. DVI – HDMI – Display Port).
For my first configuration I’m using a GTX 670 and have opted to connect two DVI cables and a HDMI to DVI for the third monitor.
Once connected I booted into desktop to find Windows 7 had identified that I have 3 monitors connected (so far so good), but had only opted to enable one. If you weren’t planning on gaming on all three monitors you can just enable the other two and extend the desktop.
However as we’re gaming we need to create one fixed resolution that spans all 3 screens instead of having 3 individual screens running at 1920 x 1080, we need all three monitors to be combined into one long resolution of 5760 x 1080 (or 6000 x 1080 with bezel compensation).
To do this simply right click on a blank part of the desktop and select the NVIDIA Control Panel.
Once we have the NVIDIA Control Panel open, select Configure Surround, Physx in the left hand side to open the configuration options.
Put a tick in the Span displays with Surround box and hit apply.
If for any reason you need to modify the configuration of your connected monitors this screen will show us how exactly we need to connect the displays to the graphics card. Once everything is connected as it should be click Apply to finalise the configuration. Your screens may flick on and off for a moment as it configures the initial resolution.
Once it’s done we’re presented with something like the above, now it’s not quite easy to see but monitor number 3 has the following window open:
In the window to the right we can see that the NVIDIA Control Panel thinks our monitors go in the sequence of 3,2 and 1 (working left to right), however as you can see from the above image of the monitors on the desk they’re identified as 1,3 and 2 (working left to right).
To fix this issue simply drag and move each numbered screen within the window to its actual position on your desk (as pictured above) and click Apply.
Your screens will probably flick on and off again as it re-configures the resolution and monitor position.
We should then be presented with this screen which lets us choose how we want to configure our resolution and bezel correction, for me personally I like windows to be perfectly split between screens so I opted to choose “Yes choose special resolutions”.
We should then see the Configure Displays for Surround window, this will create a picture of a road going diagonally across the left and middle monitors, due to bezel thickness this will appear offset on your monitor but in our print screen it shows it straight.
Above is how the exact same image looks on the physical displays, this is obviously because as far as Windows is concerned there isn’t an inch gap between the pixels.
You then need to adjust the width options until the road appears straight on your monitors (although it appears offset on our print screen).
Once you’re happy with the width adjustment click on the Create Resolutions button to save the configuration.
If we now right click on the desktop and choose screen resolution we’ll see that we now have one large span, which our games should identify as one big monitor and enable such resolutions in Battle Field 3 and Call of Duty etc.
That’s it, you’re ready to get in the game with a more immersive and if nothing else wider view of things.
To work around the synch polarity issues you’re going to need to trick the NVIDIA drivers into thinking that all monitors are identical by forcing a monitor driver taken from one of the screens onto the other two.
DISCLAIMER: This workaround can cause problems or worse it could shorten the lifespan of your monitor. CCL take no responsibility for any potentially unwanted outcome as a result of this work around. If you do not agree to take responsibility for any outcome do NOT follow this guide.
The work around can be found in the following forum post by user Asacolips on hardforum.com.