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Matrox DualHead2Go Digital Edition

External dual display device for notebooks and desktops By John Virata

There are situations in computing when you need more display real estate than you can get out of your notebook or desktop display. For desktop users, you have more choices in finding solutions. Graphics cards that support dual displays are widely available in a range of price points. For notebook computer users, your choices are few.

Matrox has had a dual display device for several years called the DualHead2Go that enables you to connect two analog displays to your notebook or desktop computer, and it works pretty seamlessly. The company has just introduced an update to that with the DualHead2Go Digital Edition. What the device enables you to do is add two digital displays to your computer with support for a variety of configuration resolutions. It is a nifty device that enables you to span your desktop across two digital displays using a notebook or desktop computer. As such, there is no need to open up your PC or Mac, as everything is external, built into the Graphics Expansion Module that you plug your DVI cables into.

The Graphics eXpansion Module, what I like to call the black box.

What's in the box?
The DualHead2Go Digital Edition ships with the DualHead2Go Digital Edition Graphics Expansion Module (basically the black box with the display technology built in), a VGA cable, manual, USB cable, and installation CD. The DualHead2Go Digital Edition box features two labeled DVI ports at the rear of the unit, one for a single monitor hook up and the other for use with the second display.

System requirements
The DualHead2Go does not work with every graphics card or computer configuration. In fact, Matrox has a compatibility chart as well as a diagnostic tool on its website that will tell you if your system is compatible. It is located at It is designed to work with many Intel, NVIDIA and ATI graphics chipsets and add in boards. You also must have a VGA port on your computer in order for the DualHead2Go to work. I had originally intended to test the DualHead2Go on an Alienware MJ-12 8550 running an NVIDIA QuadroFX 3500, but that card is a dual DVI card. No VGA port was on the system, so I tested the DualHead2Go on a run of the mill Systemax notebook computer running the Intel 945GM/GU Express chipset. Matrox offers an optional DVI to HD15 adapter separately. The DualHead2Go requires a single VGA connection, a powered USB connection, Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows XP 64-bit, Windows Vista, or Mac OS X  v10.4.

In use
The beauty with the DualHead2Go is the pure productivity that you gain by running multiple displays, including the notebook computer display. In stretched mode, you can have three different applications running on your notebook computer, with an application dedicated to each display. You can be working on a video in your video editor on one display while working in your image editor on the second display, while editing audio on the third display. You can even configure your display for PowerPoint Slide shows via the Matrox PowerDesk SE desktop management utility. This utility is where you make configuration changes to the DualHead2Go.

Three display view.

The DualHead2Go at 60Hz supports the following resolutions: 2048x768, 2560x1024, 2720x768, 2880x900, 3200x1200, 3360x1050, 3840x1080, and at 59Hz, 3840x1200.

First Impressions
The Matrox DualHead2Go is an ideal solution for those who need more display real estate to create content, and that would be just about anyone creating content. It is especially ideal for notebook computer users, as you are able to take advantage of up to three displays (1 of which is the notebook display) at the same time. It is a boon to productivity to have access to that much display real estate, as you can have more applications open and not have to worry about toggling between applications in the Taskbar or Dock. And with today's processors, you can be editing video in one display, playing video back in another, and editing an image on the third display. The DualHead2Go is priced at $229 and ships with a two year warranty. Highly Recommended. For more information, visit

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John Virata is senior editor of Digital Media Online. You can email him at
Related Keywords:Dualhead2Go, dual display graphics, Graphics cards


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