Sapphire VID-2X Review

formerstaff - 2011-12-26 10:23:10 in Gadgets
Category: Gadgets
Reviewed by: formerstaff   
Reviewed on: February 7, 2012
Price: $179.00

Introduction:

I don’t know about you guys, but I am getting used to seeing the Sapphire brand on things other than graphics cards. In addition to VGAs, we have seen a product line that includes add-in cards, motherboards, mini PCs, and other multimedia products. Today Sapphire has sent us a little black box called the ‘VID-2X', and the idea behind it is very simple. It is a stand-alone unit that allows two full-HD monitors to be connected to a single DisplyPort, Thunderbolt, or Dual-link-DVI port, thus doubling the horizontal resolution of up to two 1920x1200 or 1920x1080 displays. The two monitors then have the capability to act as a single resolution or cloned monitor to increase and enhance productivity. The Sapphire VID-2X comes in two models. A display port model, (PSEDP4196) and the Dual-Link DVI model (PSEDV12185)  I have here today.

While there are other ways to stretch or clone monitors, such as AMD's Eyefinity, the convenience of the Sapphire VID-2X is that it is a completely external solution with no software to purchase or install. The VID-2X can be disconnected and moved across the office to a different pair of monitors, or across town for another meeting or workstation space. Sapphire is stating that this is the perfect self-contained solution for those who are uncomfortable removing the left side panel of the computer, or who are restricted from doing so by company regulations. Sapphire also touts the VID-2X as the solution for expanding monitor space for laptops and netbooks.

Closer Look:

The Sapphire VID-2X arrived in a high-gloss box, about the size that a mid-range graphics card might be packaged in. I won’t bore you with a lengthy description of the packaging other than to say that it is securely packaged, and that it does seem to have the feel of an electronic device that would be more likely to be found in the board room than in the game room.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Popping the top off the box inside the retail sleeve, it initially appears that setting up the VID-2X is as simple as Sapphire is claiming. We find The DV2185 controller unit, a 12” DVI Dual-link cable, and a dual option power cable. The DIV 2X can be powered by either an open USB port on your computer, or with the mains adapter. Both power solutions are included and are on the same provided cord. The unit sent to us had a variety of modular slide/clip-on wall outlet adapters that seem to cover wall outlet configurations from around the world. We, of course, are also provided with the VID-2X User manual which will have you up and running in a matter of minutes.

 

 

 

The Sapphire VID-2X is compatible with Windows, Linux, and OS X thanks to its driver-less design, and is not limited to one device per system. It is only limited by the available outputs of the systems graphics card being used. For high-end graphics cards of today, that would imply that walls of 10-12 monitors can be created with multiple VID-2X being used in unison. One of the aspects of the Sapphire VID-2X is that it being a completely external and driver-less solution.  The operating system is unaware of the resolution change/cloning that the VID-2X is carrying out, and makes no adjustments or settings in response to the VID-2X being implemented. In other words, it creates nothing more in the way of setup for the user.

Closer Look:

The VID-2X unit itself is straightforward. A single Dual-link DVI connection cable (included) is plugged into your graphics card and then into a DVI connection on one side of the PSEDV12185 unit along with the mini USB power connection. A pair of DVI connections from your monitors are then connected to the Dual-Link connections on the opposite side of the VID-2X unit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The front of the DV2185 unit has 8 two-way switches on the face of the unit. My initial thought was that "well here is the rub", and where it gets not so simple to set up. This is not the case however. Switches 1&2 are used to set the mode of the screens; switch 1 is set for either Stretch or Clone mode, while switch 2 controls the monitor blanking time. The remaining six switches are used to set the bezel correction feature of the DV2185. Simply consult the bezel adjustment chart on page 6 of the manual and choose pixel removal from 0-186/ (372) pixels in total. Simply choose the bezel correction that leaves nothing hiding behind your bezels, move the corresponding combination of switches 3-6, and you are done.

 

Closer Look:

As advertised, setup is indeed quick and painless. I had this one set up in a grand total of around two minutes and was immediately met with the setup status on the unit’s OLED display. The display is a check of how it is configured and a port status check. The display also shows the resolution you are currently in and what bezel correction mode is running. Once you have the connection enabled, you just simply right click on your desktop and go into your resolution options. There you will now find that  twice your usual horizontal resolution is available. If you happen to be using two monitors that are of different resolutions, choose the smaller of the two monitors resolution and enable.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Specifications:

Input Format
VESA Dual-Link DVI with max 24-bit Colour Depth
Output Format
2 x Single Link (max 1920 x 1200) DVI
2 x HDMI also supported via adapters (not included)
Connection Diagram
DV2185 (Download)
Power Requirements
Mini USB Power DC +5V
Display Mode Table @ 50Hz/60Hz, 24 bpp
Stretch-Mode : 3840x1200 / 3840x1080
Display Mode Table @ 60Hz, 24 bpp
Stretch-Mode : 3360x1050 / 3200x1200 / 3200x900 / 2880x1050 / 2880x900 / 2732x768 / 2560x1024 / 1920x1200
Stretch/Clone-Mode:1920x1080 / 1600x1200 / 1600x900 / 1440x1050 / 1440x900 / 1366x768 / 1360x768 / 1280x1024 / 1280x800 /1280x768 / 1024x768 / 800x600
Dimensions
(WxHxD): 114 x 32 x 107 mm
Weight
Net Weight: 210 g
Regulatory Approvals
CE, FCC, IECS, MCC, WEEE, RoHS
Ambient Operating Temperature
0 – 55°C (Min/Max)
Storage Temperature
-40 to 75°C (Min/Max)
Operating Humidity
20 – 80% relative humidity (Non-Condensing)
Storage Humidity
5 to 95% relative humidty (Non-Condensing)

 

Features:

 

 

All information courtesy of Sapphire Technology @  http://www.sapphiretech.com/presentation/product/?psn=000101&pid=1412#

Testing:

Testing for this unit simply amounted to opting for the USB power option to begin. I then switched and used the wall main option. Both options functioned equally well with no interruptions or problems. The balance of the setup was plugging in two 1080P 25" monitors into the DIV-2X 2185 control unit.

Test System:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The unit performed exactly as advertised. Switching between Clone and Stretch mode was done by moving switch #1 to on or off, with switch # 2 being the blanking-time adjustment. Switches 3-8  each remove an increasing amount of pixels for the bezel compensation feature. Not much to add here as it is a simple concept, executed simply, and that is its intention. I did note that the included DVI cable could stand to be another 6-12" longer to afford a few more placement options for the unit when in use.

Conclusion:

Who is this product aimed at then? As far as home use goes, It is really for people who are strictly users of the machines and have no desire to interact with the inside of the PC or multi-monitor GUI setup software. It can also appeal to mobile gamers to a degree. However, a two screen setup with the bezel in the middle can be very limiting and distracting for gaming, and I believe this application is listed as an ‘also ran’ to be blunt about things. With many in the industry projecting a sharp decline of desktop PC sales over the next few years, an external portable solution for laptop and netbook users on the go may find it a product that will handily fit into their carrying case and very useful for sales presentations, or to just make their tasks easier with increased screen estate. The idea of  reduced toggling between multiple open programs and applications is also very appealing as well. As an avid user of a multiscreen desktop setup, I can attest to how much more easy and enjoyable the access is in day to day computing, project management, and content creation software settings.This product would also seem to hit its stride in board rooms and businesses. The cloning mode would be very useful in large presentation settings when monitors facing in different directions for viewing coverage are needed, such as in classrooms and seminars. The pivot feature that affords best viewing for documents and spreadsheets that are best viewed in portrait or landscape mode also point to its usefulness in a ‘board room/classroom’ setting. The cloning mode for opposite facing monitors can also be useful in a setting where a business might be using monitor for a signage or kiosk-type applications.

The Sapphire VID-2X seems to be a well-functioning product for those wanting a completely plug-n-play external solution for expanding productivity via having more screen space to work with. As I mentioned earlier in the review, price-wise It seems to be aimed more towards professionals and the corporate board room than home use. It does its job well with a very negligible footprint on system resources, an ultra low power requirement, and great ease of use.

Pros:

 

Cons: