Matrox DualHead2Go Digital SE External Multi-Display Adaptor Reviewajmatson - October 23, 2012
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With productivity being ever so important these days, who can afford to have only a single screen for their work? We are in a multi-tasking world, unlike the older days when CRT monitors were the standard. What if you are constrained to using a laptop? Of course, most laptops have a VGA output or, if you are lucky, an HDMI output. However, let's say you are in need of more than that. What if you are giving presentations or working on complex architecture designs? If you are like me you might like to watch movies or view stock quotes while working on a project on your portable computer. Matrox has developed products to enable you to be as productive as possible with multiple displays. Today we are taking a look at the Matrox DualHead2Go Digital SE DisplayPort adaptor.
The Matrox DualHead2Go Digital SE is a display multiplier for laptops and desktops designed to extend your viewing space. This particular model has a DisplayPort input and two DVI outputs supporting up to 3840x1200 resolutions, which is equivalent to a screen spanned across two 1920x1200 monitors. The DualHead2Go can also be combined with another adaptor for up to four additional monitors for your system, provided your graphics card or mobile computer supports the connections. The beauty of this unit is that it can work with multiple displays and even projectors for video presentations, movies, and more. This model only support Windows and Linux, however there are several models to choose from including a Mac compatible version as well as models with analog and digital connections. Some of the many uses for the DualHead2Go include presentations on projectors, expanding workspace displays, digital signage, and more.
The packaging of the Matrox DualHead2Go Digital SE is well made and will protect your investment during shipping. On the front of the packaging is a picture of the unit along with a list of some of its features. The back side of the package provides a diagram of the unit along with some setup instructions and additional features of what the unit offers. This diagram shows the adaptor being used with a PC-based laptop, which is what this unit is designed to target for expanding your mobile displays. Keep in mind that this unit can also work for DisplayPort enabled PC desktops. Included in the box is the Matrox DualHead2Go Digital SE unit itself, an installation CD and instruction book, a USB Power cable, and a DisplayPort cable.
The unit itself is quite small considering all that it is designed to do. Most single USB to DVI adaptors are almost the same size. The unit measures 3.8 inches wide, 2.5 inches deep and 1.1 inches tall. One side houses the input connections: one USB 2.0 port for powering the unit from the mobile device and one DisplayPort input for the video in connector. There is an optional power supply kit that can be purchased to power the unit from a wall jack if needed. On the reverse side there are two DVI connectors for up to two displays in either a single operation mode or a combined mode of up to 3840x1200 resolutions. Opening the unit allows us to view the internal components that power the DualHead2Go. There is not much going on inside, which is incredible considering what this adaptor can achieve. The adaptor is powered by a single IDT VMM1402 Multi-Monitor controller that is compliant with DisplayPort v1.1a, VESA DDM, HDCP V1.3, and EDID v1.4, has main line rates of 2.7Gbps and 1.62Gbps from the source, and supports up to two displays for output.
With everything hooked up, you can see just how small of a footprint the DualHead2Go leaves. It is not much bigger than the two DVI connectors themselves. The two DVI ports are labeled "1" and "2". These numbers will come into play when you look at the second picture below for identifying the monitors. The monitor on the left in that picture shows 2.1 and the one on the right shows 2.2, meaning the DualHead2Go is the second output, the first port is 2.1, and the second is 2.2. Below you can also see that, when connected to a laptop with a DisplayPort, you can use the DualHead2Go to extend your viewing space to have three monitors working in tandem. This feature is enabled when the 2x1 extension ability of the DualHead2Go is activated, which essentially makes the two external monitors act like a single display.
Now that we have seen the unit in action, we can take a look at the configuration software.