by Greg King on March 18, 2008 in Graphics & Displays
With the digital edition of the TripleHead2Go, hooking up three LCD’s via DVI and VGA is possible. This allows you to drastically increase your desktop space and/or improve your gaming. Best of all, you don’t need to add a second GPU, and not even an additional power outlet is required!
Taking a quick screen grab of an instance with the TH2Go, on one display I had Techgage’s home page loaded and beside it sits our forums. If I wanted to start writing a document, I could do that on the third display. During the process of working on my content, I will usually load up the manufacturer’s web page, the folder containing the pictures for the review and in between both windows; I will have my word document. This lets me reference details about the review unit from the manufacturer’s site as well as keep track of what picture is next in the review.
I can’t stress enough how much more productive one can be with three monitor’s worth of space at your disposal. It allows quick and easy window partitioning thanks to the PowerDesk SE software. It was with that in mind that I am sure Matrox first started designing the Dual and Triple Head2Go product lines.
Gaming – FPS & RTS
Like in the first review of the analog TH2Go, we took a few popular genres of gaming goodness and testing them out with the multiple monitors setup. For both the first person shooter and the real time strategy games, we used the same games from the previous review. Representing the shooter genre is the tried and true Counter Strike: Source as well as the fan favorite Half Life 2 and our RTS of choice for this review was Rise of Nations: Rise of Legends.
In Counter-Strike: Source, we loaded my personally favorite map, Office, for a few rounds of shoot ’em up action. While the wider screen offers a distinct advantage over the standard 4:3 or standard wide resolutions, there is a bit of fish eyed distortion on the sides of the screen that can be seen in the couches on either side. While not a deal breaker by any means, it is noticeable and should be pointed out. First off is the standard view of the screen and below it is the wide version. Notice how much more viewing area is available giving the user an advantage of more peripheral vision.
Moving onto Half-Life 2, we can see more of the same with fish eyed distortion on either side of the displays. There is something to be said for playing this masterpiece across three screens and this is coming from an owner of a Dell 24″ 2407WFP. While I enjoy the native resolution of the 24″, I prefer the three-screens-gaming that the TripleHead2Go provides in both Counter-Strike: Source and HL2. Three monitors for gaming is perfect as you have a center screen with a pair of peripheries on the side whereas when using a pair of screen, the center of the action is right in the middle of the bezels. The TH2Go addresses multiple screens gaming well.
Moving our attention to the RTS genre, it’s easy for me to say that this is by far the best way to enjoy these games. Three screens expands the viewable area by a factor of three (wide that is), making the overall enjoyment that much better. While I would rather have a single 30″, for ultra resolution gaming, the TH2Go is where it’s at. Rise of Legends looks spectacular and does so without any distortion on the sides at all.
Taking a step back, our experience with the digital version of the TripleHead2Go was almost identical to that of its analog brother. Spanning a Windows environment or a game across three screens is certainly something to behold. While the $330 that it will take to get your own Digital TripleHead2Go seems steep, the experience it provides more than justifies the price.
That’s only the beginning. You will need to have three monitors to enjoy the TH2Go to its fullest and while you can use only two, three is truly a great experience. The last time I checked, monitors, regardless of manufacturer, are not cheap. I priced out the Dell 19″ 1907FP monitor from Dell for over $200. That’s a lot of money when only one gets you a third of the way there. Getting three will set you back almost $700. That’s a lot of scratch. While you are still nowhere near the cost of a 30″ monitor, you can get a nice 24″ model for significantly cheaper and for all intents and purposes, will do just as good a job of offering a solid gaming experience as the TH2Go will.
All that in mind though, it doesn’t take anything away from the greatness of this product. It’s built well and offers a unique experience you’re not likely to find anywhere else. While I am not a fan of flight sims, this product has been completely embraced by the sim community and it’s understandable why.
At the end of the day, the Matrox TripleHead2Go Digital Edition earns a 9 out of 10. That’s the same score the analog version scored and this performs virtually identical once set up. The major difference, besides being digital, is the USB powered nature of the device. This eliminates one more cable that needs to be avoided behind the desk and frees up an outlet too. While I think I will stick to my 24″ monitor for gaming, the TripleHead2Go deserves to be in any office with multiple monitors and because of that, I will continue to use it when productivity is of the utmost importance.
- USB-powered – No power outlet required!
- Very sturdy design
- Supports both Analog and Digital
- Simple installation
- Matrox offers quick technical support
- Support in the sim community is great
- High cost of entry
- High end GPU required to game at such a large resolution
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