Montreal (Canada) – Enthusiast gaming is all about speed and detail – and perhaps also about viewing in the not too distant future. A new black box from Matrox allows users to connect up to three monitors to one graphics card and extend the maximum screen resolution to a combined 3840 x 1024 pixels.
Multiple displays attached to one or multiple graphics cards have been around for a while, but they generally require a substantial investment into hardware. And even then the use of such an environment is typically limited to a small amount of specialized applications. Matrox’ new TripleHead2Go is the first approach to move multiple displays deeper into the mainstream and make the technology more available to a broader range of workstation users and the gaming community.
The TripleHead2Go, basically a palm-sized black box that splits one graphics input port into three output interfaces, is easily to install and allows users to continue using their current graphics cards in most cases and simply connect three screens to create a “surround” graphics environment. Depending on the graphics card and its horsepower, the maximum will range from 1920×480 (3x 640×480) to 3840×1024 (3x 1280×1024) pixels. The price for such a system typically involves additional 19″ screens, which currently retail from about $300 to $500 as well as the TripleHead2Go, which is offered for $300. “Most” ATI and Nvidia graphics are promised to be supported by the system.
Dan Wood, vice president of technical marketing at Matrox told TG Daily that the hardware comes with upgradeable software utility that adjust the resolution capability of Windows applications as well as more than 150 games to the TripleHead2Go. Games that are supported include Age of Empires III, Doom 3, FEAR, Flight Simulator 2004, Quake IV and Unreal Tournament 2004. Software that cannot be displayed on all three displays will be limited to the center screen, Wood said.
“Running 3D and animation applications fully accelerated across three screens provides a tremendous productivity benefit for many workstation users,” said Wood. “For gamers, three screens enable an immersive experience by engaging a player’s peripheral vision and allowing them to see the gaming environment as if they were looking through an extra wide-angle camera lens; it just makes games more fun.”
While dual-graphics systems were mainly in place to chase frame rates, Matrox believes that multiple displays may be “a good reason” to upgrade to technologies such as SLI. The additional horsepower of more graphics systems cannot be only applied to paint more pixels per second on one screen, but also to spread them out over a greater viewing area. In that respect, even a Quad-SLI system, which are expected to become available on 22 March, begins to make sense for more gamers. The TripleHead2Go will begin shipping in April.