The Job

Whether you are a harried systems administrator or analyst programmer scrambling to meet a deadline for a multitier Web application, there are times when ALT-TAB no longer cuts it for navigating the half dozen or more application windows you have in use. Typically, this problem is solved simply by switching over to a multi-monitor setup. Indeed, it is normally a trivial matter to slot in additional video cards for a desktop.

But what if you’re dealing with a small form-factor PC that doesn’t have the slot for more video cards? Or maybe you’re dealing with a laptop and you need to add two or more external monitors. That’s where the Matrox TripleHead2Go enters the picture.

The Tool

The Matrox TripleHead2Go is an external box that harnesses your system’s existing graphics solution for native hardware rendering of all 2D, 3D and video via multiple monitors. The TripleHead2Go works by appearing to your system as an ultra-widescreen (up to) 3840 x 1024 monitor via a standard analog VGA connector. Internally, it splits the 3840 x 1024 Windows desktop into separate 1280 x 1024 screens output to three independent ports. Because the TripleHead2Go does not manipulate the video output in any way except for splitting it up, there is no image distortion and no scaling to the original raw pixels generated from the existing graphics accelerator.

Note that the TripleHead2Go Digital edition outputs only to LCD monitors via three DVI connectors. It does not support displaying to monitors via the VGA interface.

TripleHead2Go’s strengths

  • Light-weight and ultra-compact
  • A single analog (VGA) input to drive up to three digital (DVI) LCD monitors
  • Harness existing graphic hardware’s native rendering speed for both 2D, 3D and video — more than 200 game titles compatible with TripleHead2Go
  • Powerful driver software provides intuitive management of application windows as well as ability to account for monitor bezel
  • Intuitive and stable

TripleHead2Go’s weaknesses

  • Rather pricey (approximately $300, depending on the vendor)
  • Not all video cards are able to support its full capabilities
  • Availability of increasingly affordable high resolution LCD panels reduces product’s appeal

The Right Tool for the Job?

If you need to work with two or more monitors on your laptop, then this is definitely the right tool for you. Setup is simple and intuitive, and its stability and performance is rock solid. Its software driver also ensures that application windows behave correct by snapping them to the right monitor when you attempt to “maximize” them. Overall, TripleHead2Go is something I would definitely consider getting for my laptop if Santa Claus were to drop two or three LCD monitors at my doorstep this Christmas.

View a screenshot gallery of TripleHead2Go in action.