Matrox TripleHead2Go £256

7th Mar 2008 | 09:04

Matrox TripleHead2Go

Three screens from one VGA cable and a graphics card?

TechRadar rating:

4 stars

A very clever little box, but can you afford this and those monitors?

Like:

It's simple, and works well

Dislike:

Some games not suited to tri-monitor setup

This is, as far as we can discern, an enchanted black box that takes a single VGA cable from your graphics card or laptop, performs witchcraft upon it, and allows you to increase and divide the output to a frankly ridiculous 3,840x1,024 across three 1,280x1,024 monitors.

With the TripleHead2Go you can either utilise more desktop space than you've ever seen, or play a game in what can only be described as 'surround-ovision'. After using it, you should promptly bury it by the light of the moon before it turns into a cat.

The results are pretty impressive, and, heretical ravings aside, it's actually an extremely simple system. The TripleHead2Go does the job of a monitor's video controller, fooling Windows into thinking it is dealing with a single enormo-screen.

Even on a laptop with an average mobile GeForce 6800, the performance was surprisingly stable. Clearly shifting 3D across nearly four million pixels is not as strenuous as we'd been led to believe.

We tested the setup with a variety of titles, from our preview copy of hardcore driving sim GTR2 to office stalwart Quake IV, and most were entirely playable. The game that suffered most was Oblivion, but playing Bethesda's epic is a bit of a compromise on most systems anyway, and with a decent SLI rig everything barrels along nicely.

Peripheral vision

Also, some games are more suited to an increased field of view than others - GTR2 was hugely enhanced by the added peripheral awareness, whereas Quake IV left us feeling nauseous.

If you've completely lost your grip on reality, you can even use a laptop's existing panel as a fourth screen using XP's multiple monitor support, so you can play your super-widescreen game and have your MSN contacts and icons visible as well.

The only drawbacks are a lack of DVI and the financial one - few of us can afford two extra monitors, plus the cost of the unit itself.

With the included Surround Game Utility (which edits the config files of popular games so that they support the greater resolution) it's clearly aimed primarily at leisure rather than business use, but only the most ambitious flight sim fanatics will be able to justify the total outlay. Mike Channell

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