Surround Gaming

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Surround Gaming is Matrox's push for widescreen taken to new widths. Surround Gaming uses three monitors to deliver an immersive experience on three screens at up to 3840x1024 resolution and a 45" total diagonal (three 19" LCDs). Surround setups run an aspect ratio of 16:4 (for 3x4:3 configurations) or 15:4 (for 3x5:4). Compare this to 4:3 for a "regular" monitor, and 16:10 for a widescreen. Surround Gaming fully engages your peripheral vision with games running at up to (and above) 135 degree wide-angle field of view. Compare this with a 90 degree FOV (with a 4:3 monitor) for most games, and a 105 degree FOV for those games in a single widescreen. To calculate the Surround FOV of your favorite game, use our FOV Calculator (recently updated for Surround).

How Does It Work?

TH2GoMatrox achieves Surround Gaming using its new TripleHead2Go. The TripleHead2Go is not a graphics card but an external palm-sized box that harnesses your system's existing graphics solution (including SLI™) for rendering of all 2D, 3D and video, and adds multi-monitor support. TripleHead2Go appears to your system as an ultra-widescreen (up to 3840x1024) monitor and simply connects to your computer via a standard analog VGA monitor cable. Using Matrox patent-pending technology, TripleHead2Go then splits the 3840 x 1024 Microsoft® Windows® desktop into three separate 1280 x 1024 screens of information, and displays across three independent 1280 x 1024 monitors. There is no image distortion and no scaling to the original raw pixels generated from the existing graphics accelerator.

The resolutions you can archive are 5040x1050 (@57Hz), 4500x900, 3840x1024, 3072x768, 2400x600, and 1920x480.

*A new firmware has been released for the Digital TripleHead2Go, There are some restrains on it, like 57Hz for the 5040x1050 and only new nvidia cards support it. Also the latest nvidia beta drives don't work.

Game Configuration

TripleHead2Go comes with Matrox Surround Gaming Utility software for automatically adding widescreen support to video games. Enjoy an extensive list of gaming titles across a wide variety of game genres including: first person shooters, racing and flight simulations, role playing games, real-time strategies, third person action and sports, as well as a host of massive multi-player online games. Matrox is continually working to add new games to the SGU, for easy configuration. In addition, most (if not all) of the widescreen solutions from the WSGF work to enable Surround.


TripleHead2Go supports over 250 popular games including id Valve's Half-Life 2™, Blizzard's World of Warcraft™, UbiSoft's Brother's in Arms: Earned in Blood™, Microsoft's Age of Empires III™, 10tacle studios AG's GTR™, Microsoft's Flight Simulator 2004: A Century of Flight and many more, and is compatible with many high end gaming GPU solutions including SLI.

Other Options for Surround Gaming

AMD Eyefinity

With the release of the Radeon HD 5870, AMD offered multi-monitor gaming from a single graphics card (and single GPU). The WSGF offers a wealth of resources and information regarding the Eyefinity technology from AMD.

NVIDIA 3D Surround

NVIDIA released a driver update in 2010 that allowed for multi-monitor gaming directly on its video cards. Two GPUs are required, through a single dual-GPU card will work. The feature works on the GTX 200 series and higher. NVIDIA has branded their offering "3D Surround", though it offers both 2D and 3D modes. While they are employing the "Surround" branding, it is a completely different technology than that of the Matrox TripleHead2Go.


Kegen Kotisivu created SoftTH (aka "Soft TripleHead"), a software application that attempts to duplicate the functionality of the Matrox TripleHead2Go. SoftTH requires that three monitors be attached to two PCI-e video cards. Please note, these cards are not run in SLI. Two cards are required, as three monitor connections are needed.

How it Works:

  1. The scene is rendered on the primary video card.
  2. The center frame is then displayed on the primary monitor.
  3. The side frames are combined to one buffer, and copied over to system RAM.
  4. The buffer is scaled and converted to another format if it is needed.
  5. The buffer is copied to the system memory, and there it will be split and displayed on secondary monitors.

One buffer is used because copying one large buffer is faster than copying two smaller ones. I diagram of the basic operation can be found on the SoftTH Site.

SoftTH works by rendering the whole scene on one display adapter, which then gets split into three parts to be displayed on each monitor. While it is technically possible to use it on a AGP/PCI card, only PCI Express has the required bandwidth to get good framerates. Since only the primary card does any rendering work, the secondary card can be a low end card. Also, only DirectX (Direct3D) is supported.



Faux TH2Go

With the proper aspect scaling support, you can try Surround Gaming on a single widescreen monitor. By setting custom resolutions in your video card drivers, you can simulate the super-wide aspect ratio and FOV of Surround Gaming. This allows you to experience the potential gameplay enhancements, before spending they money on a DTH2Go and additional monitors. On a 30" monitor you can simulate the original TH2Go modes of 3072x768 (4:1) and 3840x1024 (3.75:1), with custom resolutions of 2560x682 and 2560x640, respectively. You can see several examples in this forum thread.