Hardware

What Is Nvidia Surround Spanning?

Playing games on a flat or curved monitor may not be immersive enough for most gamers. If you want to take your gaming experience to the next level, surrounding your viewing angle with the gaming scene might be a satisfying idea. Nvidia makes this possible with Nvidia Surround. Nvidia’s game-ready driver features Nvidia Surround, where multiple monitors, usually two to three, are combined to form a panoramic view of the gaming scene. The whole view is spanned to two or three monitors without compromising the image quality. This is also suitable for driving and flight simulations, where a wider view provides better visuals and enhances the viewing experience. Nvidia Surround can be used with computer displays, televisions, and projectors.

Nvidia Surround Prerequisites

Nvidia Surround is a great feature, but it is not supported by all operating systems and is not compatible with all games and Nvidia GPUs. Check out the following requirements to see whether your system or your favorite games can work with this feature:

Operating System
Windows 7 and later versions support Nvidia Surround, but this feature will not work in Windows XP and Vista.

Driver
Nvidia constantly updates its drivers for enhancements. To fully optimize Nvidia Surround’s new features, download and install the latest driver for the GeForce experience from Nvidia’s website.

Supported GPU
Nvidia Surround is available on Maxwell 700 series GPU or later for desktops and Maxwell 900 series GPU or later for laptops.

Display Outputs for Computers
Nvidia Surround works with different computer display ports, such as HDMI, DisplayPort, VGA, or DVI inputs. For optimal performance, combining identical displays with the same size, refresh rate, and resolution is recommended. Nvidia Surround supports the combination of displays that are not identical, but the driver will select only the common specs among the displays. For instance, if you are connecting a 4K display and an FHD display, the driver will select the refresh rate, resolution, and other specs of the FHD display when rendering the images. Therefore some features of the 4K display will be disabled, and its full potential will not be optimized.

Display Outputs for Televisions
Some televisions only have HDMI inputs, while some Nvidia Surround-compatible GPUs only have DisplayPort outputs. It is recommended to use televisions with HDMI 2.0 or later for the lowest latency. For Surround to work with HDMI-capable TV, use a DisplayPort to HDMI adapter. Although this is supported, this is still not recommended as active DisplayPort to HDMI adapters may change the timing reported to the GPU, which will result in incompatibility with the native ports. In addition, it is advised to use identical adapters for all televisions to be combined. Avoid mixing adapters on one television and using the native HDMI ports on others, which results in incompatibility issues. Mixing passive and active adapters can also cause incompatibility. Ensure to use either all active or passive adapters when connecting the televisions.

Display Orientations
Nvidia Surround will not work on displays with different orientations, such as a mix of portrait and landscape views. Thus, all displays must have the same orientation to utilize this feature.

Supported Games
Nvidia Surround is compatible with games that support wide-screen formats, multiple displays, and higher aspect ratio resolutions. Games that allow the configuration of on-screen menu elements to ultrawide or higher formats are also compatible with Nvidia Surround. If you’re not sure if your games are supported, there are online communities and forums that allow testing games with wide-screen formats and multiple displays.

Setting Up Nvidia Surround

Nvidia Surround’s configuration sits within Nvidia’s Control Panel. To configure this feature, open the Nvidia Control Panel and navigate to 3D Settings → Configure Sound. This will open the Configuration Pane. Tick the checkbox for Span displays with Surround and click Configure. This will open the Nvidia Setup Surround window. Here, you can select the displays you want to use, the display topology and grid area, the Surround resolution, and refresh rate.

Bezel Correction
You can also find the Bezel Correction Section from the setup window. This section allows you to adjust the bezel gaps so that the displays are aligned with each other for a continuous image across all screens. You can choose to enable or disable this setting. If it is enabled, bezel-corrected surround resolutions will be added to the list of resolutions both in-game and in the Nvidia Control Panel. For a continuous view, part of the image is hidden behind the bezels to make the bezel look like it’s part of the game. If you do not wish to use bezel correction, clear the checkbox for Bezels in this section.

Keyboard Shortcuts
There is also a Keyboard Shortcuts section where you can create hot keys to enable/disable surround and perform other functions, such as switching from multiple to single display. The hot keys can also be edited from the same section.

Display Views
Here are several viewing options for Nvidia Surround, which you can set from the Surround Setup window:

Single display. The video is supposed to play on the center display. However, there are times that the video plays on another display. If this happens, switch the video cables of the center display and the active display.

Surround. The video is displayed on all screens. Make sure to choose the highest Surround resolution for a wide display configuration when this is enabled.

Surround with bezel correction. This is similar to the Surround viewing option but with bezel correction enabled.

Conclusion

Nvidia Surround provides a wider view of your games, videos, or even just your desktop through the panoramic spanning of the image on multiple displays. Nvidia makes sure that you have the best experience by maintaining the image’s quality despite the multiple-display spanning. For a fully immersive experience, Nvidia included a bezel correction feature where you can set the bezel settings for proper alignment of images across all screens resulting in a continuous image. However, Nvidia Surround is not supported by all systems. To fully optimize Nvidia Surround’s features, check first if your system and displays meet all the requirements and if you have all the right equipment.

About the author

Glynis Navarrete

A freelance blogger who loves to write about anything related to technology. Born and raised in the Philippines and worked in Singapore for eight years as Technical Support for a wide range of IT equipment. Took a dive into the world of freelancing and now enjoying doing what I’m passionate about while not losing touch with technology.