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Matrox TripleHead2Go Digital EditionConnect three displays to a notebook and desktop PC or Mac
Creative professionals are becoming more attuned with the various suite of applications that it takes to make a great movie, DVD, or animation. More and more of these artists are being tasked to perform more functions as the needs arise, and more functions means more creative applications to learn to use. For some, there is nothing better than getting a suite of tools for just a few dollars more than the cost of one essential tool in the suite.
This has become apparent as the software manufacturers bundle and integrate diverse applications into a single box. This started with the professional toolsets, and has even trickled down to the consumer level, with one vendor offering a video editing tool, an audio tool, a DVD creation tool, and even a greenscreen with a special effects plugin, all in the same box for less than $150. With all these tools to learn, it makes sense that end users have the visual real estate to delve in and learn them.
But sometimes the computer can't always accommodate more than two displays. Matrox has provided a tool that enables you to connect up to three displays onto a single Mac or PC, provided your graphics adapter can handle it. Called the Matrox TripleHead2Go, the device is very similar to the Matrox DualHead2Go with one exception; you can hook up to three displays to it, so you could conceivably have three applications open on three different displays as you bask in all that liquid crystal glory.
The TripleHead2Go Digital Edition enables you to add up to three digital DVI displays to your computer with support for a variety of display (host graphics card supported) resolutions. The TripleHead2Go supports the following resolutions: 3840x1024, 3840x960, 3840x800, 3840x768, 3840x720, 3072x768, 2400x600, and 1920x480.
|TripleHead2Go front view|
The device is comprised of an external black box called the Graphics Expansion Module that features a VGA and a dual-link DVI port on the front that serves as your input to the host computer, and three DVI ports on the rear of the unit that serves as outputs. The TripleHead2Go is USB bus powered so there is no need for an external power brick. Just make sure you plug it into a USB 2.0 port on your computer. A unique feature that is ideal for race gamers, and others who wish to have a more seamless display experience across three displays is the Monitor Bezel Management technology. What this does is essentially hides part of the image behind the monitor bezel, giving you a continuous image with no interruptions or breaks.
|Windows Photo Gallery spanned across three displays using the bezel management feature.|
As with the Dualhead2Go, the TripleHead2Go does not work with every graphics card or computer configuration. In fact, Matrox has a compatibility chart as well as a diagnostic wizard on its website that will tell you if your system is compatible. It is located at http://www.matrox.com/graphics/en/corpo/support/compatibility/compatibility.php . The TripleHead2Go Digital Edition ships with the TripleHead2Go Digital Edition Graphics Expansion Module, a short DVI cable, a VGA cable, manual, USB cable, and installation CD.
I tested the TripleHead2Go on an Alienware MJ-12 8550 media workstation running the NVIDIA QuadroFX 3500, a mid-level, 256MB graphics adapter well equipped to handle the three displays. The trick with using the TripleHead2Go is to have three like displays, and more ideally, identical displays. That is not always the case in practical terms. At the very least, the three displays should be able to support the same resolutions. In my case, there was a dilemma, as I had two widescreen displays and a single non-widescreen display. In dual mode, the TripleHead2Go can take full advantage of the widescreen display resolutions. With the regular display hooked up, things don't look as good as they could if a third widescreen display was hooked into the TripleHead2Go. Matrox highly recommends identical displays.
|The center image represents the standard LCD display.The two images on each side are via 22-inch widescreen displays.|
The TripleHead2Go gives you essentially three times the display real estate from a single computer, making it ideal for having multiple applications and multiple toolsets on up to three displays, without having to minimize and maximize the applications. Or you can span a single application across the three displays for a bigger working environment.
If you need more than two displays running from a single computer, and your computer has a supported graphics card, the TripleHead2Go gives you the freedom to work on all three displays at the same time. The advantage with such a setup and a fast computer, is that you can be performing multiple tasks with multiple applications on three displays, without the disruption associated with opening and closing, or minimizing application windows. The TripleHead2Go is priced at $329 and ships with a standard two year warranty. For more information, visit www.matrox.com
John Virata is senior editor of Digital Media Online. You can email him at email@example.com
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