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Geminus is multi-display driver

By Chris Williams. Published: 23rd Oct 2004, 10:02:37 | Permalink | Printable

For your Iyonix only

We've learnt that Geminus, as hyped earlier, is software that enables Iyonix users to use multiple monitors at the same time on the same desktop, to create an ultra-wide screen work area. Developed by the Aemulor team and revealed today at the Guildford show, presumably it's aimed at power users who want to work in one display while watching DVDs or TV in another other.

So, for example, you could have a desktop that's 4096 x 1536 in 16 million colours, by using two monitors. To get a better idea of Geminus, here's a screenshot:
Screenshot of Geminus
Click for full size view

According to the Aemulor team, Geminus "allows several PCI graphics cards to be installed (upto the maximum number of free PCI slots-3 in current models) and your desktop can be split across several screens in various configurations."

Screens can be arranged horizontally and vertically, and also rotated by 90 degrees. Hardware acceleration is used to ensure scrolling and rendering is done efficiently, and the project is poised to enable Iyonix users to benefit from graphics cards with digital DVI outputs and further hardware acceleration of desktop graphics operations.

The Aemulor team have pencilled in an expected release to end users in 3 to 4 weeks time, although (skeptically speaking) sibling products Aemulor Pro and CinoDVD haven't really conformed to any of their suggested release schedules. As far as we can tell, Geminus is not related to the recently announced SIMON, resulting in both projects represeting a sudden surge of activity in the RISC OS graphics arena.


Geminus announcement - further details, information South East show

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That screenshot is pretty weird... to make the desktop "look" bigger, they've chosen a large, but low resolution mode... not something I'd like to use for any amount of time.

Interesting, though. :-)

 is a RISC OS Userimj on 23/10/04 11:16AM
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All the screenshots I've seen with Cino in them have been low-res. ICBW but I suspect Cino currently outputs only in low-res screenmodes.

This is a fantastic development, and with a reasonable price tag as well. Wasn't this one of the features requested on the Merlin wishlist a few months ago?

 is a RISC OS Usertamias on 23/10/04 11:31AM
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Joy joy joy. Can't wait for DVI :) Does anyone know of a suitable card with DVI out?

 is a RISC OS Usersenduran on 23/10/04 11:46AM
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I plugged a second monitor into my XP laptop at work the other week, and have been absolutely amazed at how useful its proven to be. I can't wait!!!!

 is a RISC OS Userjtemple on 23/10/04 12:51PM
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I plugged a 2nd monitor into my PC but it won't recognise it until I reset, lame. You could always run VRPC on one of the monitors.

It's taken a while but there's finally some stuff around that takes advantage of the Iyonix's capabilities. Watch TV on one screen, use the computer on the other, code on one, run app on the other. Maybe some kind of modification to the many virtual desktop apps could be used to help organise it all.

Can the monitors be at different resolutions?

Now people will want it for Viewfinder, either a dual head card, or card+VIDC output

 is a RISC OS Usermavhc on 23/10/04 1:55PM
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Most of the screenshots you see of Aemulor and Cino are low res because Adrian prefers to use a low res mode! See this thread [link]

 is a RISC OS Usermonkeyson on 23/10/04 2:17PM
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Big question for me is, how usable is RISC OS in wide resolutions (2560x960) or (2048x768), I've always thought that for larger and larger work areas the way most things in RISC OS can be done using drag and drop would be vastly superiour to that of other windowing systems.

 is a RISC OS UserNoMercy on 23/10/04 6:37PM
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Interesting that tamias thinks it's a reasonable price. What about the price of the extra graphics cards and monitors? What *will* be good is if ATi cards are supported, so you only need one card for two monitors and a TV. I expect RISC OS would have no trouble with TVs though - most of the screen modes were designed for TVs (or TV like monitors!). So then you can actually watch those DVDs on a widescreen (???) TV while working on another monitor, all with one ATi graphics card (fingers crossed).

PS. While I say RISC OS supports TV modes, that doesn't mean graphics cards do (although they should if they have a TV out!)

 is a RISC OS UserSmiler on 23/10/04 7:30PM
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I saw the foto's form the show an noticed that the screens can become huge. It would be nice if the iconbar doesn't run from one screen to the other but is identical on all screens.

 is a RISC OS UserPeter on 23/10/04 7:54PM
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Yeah it looks awful, is that just really 1024x768 x2 then? I notice the absence of Zap and of Oregano, both of which don't handle non standard modes as one would expect (Oregano really badly, zap just wrong size)

DVI would be good as I have a LCD monitor which works better with DVI :)

 is a RISC OS Userjohn on 23/10/04 9:40PM
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mavhc - ViewFinder did have this IIRC - for the 128Mb Radeon version. I may be wrong though. I've got one, but I haven't tested multiple monitors on it.

 is a RISC OS Usermd0u80c9 on 23/10/04 10:11PM
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I had the opportunity to have a long chat to both Neil and Adrian (thanks guys) and the display was shown at both higher resolution (or get this) rotated (like an A4 sheet with the long axis verticle).

Both monitors don't even have to be at the same resolution, and you don't even have to replace your existing video card - just add an additional one. Adrian showed an example of how they've used DMA to improve display performance which when you see it speaks for itself (ultra-smooth sideway scrolling with the image rotated through 90 degrees). Windows could be dragged from one "screen" streight onto the other. I've had used the Matrox G-450 Twin head before and this is very similar to what Geminus acchieves - in short no minor success.

Nice one lads !

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 23/10/04 11:40PM
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I have a video projector set up with a 3.3 X 2.5 metre screen wired up to my RISC OS, Data Projectors are becoming much cheaper nowadays since I got the Video Projector back in '98. Because I still prefer not to dull the lights to get the best projector image, I resort to mostly showing 30 class students the task for the day on my computer. Now having the ability for RISC OS to use BIG monitors would be very useful in my school environment. In a "Set" (portable setup not required) classroom situation, most teachers as I understand prefer not to bother with Data Projectors and is why I see this new feature (for RISC OS) a good move.

 is a RISC OS UserSawadee on 24/10/04 2:55AM
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monkeyson> My ancient AKF60 is likely to be usurped by a couple of nice LCDs very soon! ;)

john> That's just because I don't use Zap or O2 very often.

 is a RISC OS Useradrianl on 24/10/04 10:47PM
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i have a matrox g200 capable of four head operation. it's a single pci card. much is said about additional pci cards, but not of native card dual monitor support ? what are my chances then of this as my extra pci card to get 4 more monitors connected ? ;o) (have matrox g450 dual head agp and matrox millenium 2 pci in my pc for flight-sim, but only use 2 monitors when in desktop - is sooo useful). nobody has mentioned what sort of driver support for pci graphics cards is needed to support this, or if specific cards have to be used. i look forward to a full review some time soon guys.

 is a RISC OS Userlostamarble on 25/10/04 8:00AM
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lost: No, Matrox millenium (sic) cards will not work. Because of the complexities of graphics cards, you will need to use an nVidia card that's supported by RISC OS 5.

 is a RISC OS Usermrchocky on 25/10/04 8:54AM
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Ahh, just when the UK government have placed an extra 15% tax on devices with DVI connectors on it!

 is a RISC OS Userquatermass on 25/10/04 3:02PM
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Really? Why did they do that? Surely they should be encouraging it, it doesn't hurt the environment surely?

 is a RISC OS Userjohn on 25/10/04 8:55PM
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Some people in europe who really arn't inteligent enough to know that even if DVI is 'Digital Video Interface' it has absolutely no Video applications and is used for PC displays. But since it's a video display not a PC display it gets the 15% tax levied on video display equipment.

Politicans prove once again they really shouln't be let loose on the public :)

 is a RISC OS UserNoMercy on 26/10/04 4:47PM
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Ah seems to be the EU, not the UK government, that sort of thing is what europe is good at :) I'm sure there's a bit more to it than the fact it's got "video" in the title. Unless you've been reading the Sun recently.

 is a RISC OS Userjohn on 26/10/04 8:51PM
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NoMercy: DVI is used for HDTV video equipment. My DVD player connects to my TV via a DVI lead. I don't see why PC monitors should carry the tax, though. Anyone know why the tax exists? Also, can Adrian explain if R/B swapping has any processor overhead and if dual-head cards can be used to drive multiple monitors?

 is a RISC OS Userksattic on 26/10/04 10:49PM
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ksattic>"can dual-head cards can be used to drive multiple monitors?"

Adrian demoed two normal Iyonix compatible nVidia cards (one being the one already installed the other being an extra one fitted for Geminus' benefit). These cards are *not* dual-head (like a Matrox G-450) but do together (thanks to Geminus) give the impression that you have a dual head card fitted. You get an extended desktop and can willy-nilly drag windows from one monitor to the other... it's quite impressive really.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 27/10/04 1:31PM
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Do dual head ones simplify doing what geminus does, i.e. supply one framebuffer and maybe synchronise vsyncs if possible?

 is a RISC OS Userjohn on 27/10/04 3:20PM
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My understanding is that Castle wish to support the GeForce4 chipset which provides dual head capability, though I don't know how it presents those two outputs to the software.

I'd expect it to look like one screen to Geminus which will still be able to provide rotation on that screen, and further outputs via other cards. Geminus doesn't care what type of card is fitted; if it has a driver that will work with RO5 then Geminus should be able to use it.

 is a RISC OS Useradrianl on 27/10/04 4:22PM
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