The Matrox TripleHead2Go monitor extender is a great way to display large single images or as many as three separate applications using a simple and relatively inexpensive piece of hardware.
During tests, I used the TripleHead2Go with three monitors to display a large area map from Google. Aside from the "ooh, ahh!" factor, it was very handy to be able to literally see the lay of the land around various locations. For example, the device made it possible to clearly see where our San Francisco lab (located at 101 Second Street) is in relation to beautiful Park Presidio and the Pacific Ocean.
On a more practical bent, I was able to work very effectively with multiple monitors showing different apps. For example, I could see my page proofs (eWEEK pages that are given the once- and twice-over before they ship to the printer), e-mail and Web browser at the same time. And because I was testing the TripleHead2Go with a laptop, I was actually able to have four screens active—all with different applications open.
The TripleHead2Go, which became available in April, officially supports only a narrow range of graphics cards. The ATI Mobility Radeon card in my ThinkPad isnt supported, for example, but I was still able to use the card to get 3,072-by-768-pixel display mode. (The ATI card is supported with the two-monitor DualHead2Go.)
With a suggested retail price of $299, the triple-monitor Matrox device may be a little pricey for power home users or gamers. However, for business users who will benefit from the increased screen real estate and accompanying increase in productivity, the cost is reasonable.
For many potential corporate users, the hardest part of implementing the TripleHead2Go will be persuading their business managers to shell out the money for extra monitors. And there is the question of getting enough desk space to line the monitors up for best effect. I spent an hour clearing a spot on my desk and lining up an extra power strip. (Three monitors means three power cords; with the TripleHead2Go plugged in, thats a total of four outlets needed.)
Once everything was in place, however, the drastically increased screen space seemed positively luxurious. It will be hard to go back to one monitor now that the test is over.
Technical Director Cameron Sturdevant can be reached at email@example.com.