Matrox TripleHead2Go Digital Edition Review - Conclusions

Submitted by skipclarke on 1 November, 2007 - 18:53

Article Type: 

Opportunities for Improvement

Matrox PowerDesk

While I would go so far as to say that I love Surround Gaming, the DTH2Go is not a perfect product. Truth be told, I'm not a fan of the Matrox PowerDesk (MPD) utility. I honestly don't understand what many of its features (such as desktop divider) are, as honestly I've never needed them. I first ran into issues attempting to run Guild Wars while the MPD software was loaded. When selecting the 3840x1024 resolution, it simply stretched my 1280x1024 image across the three screens. I was surprised the first time this happened, as I run the game perfectly before I had installed the MPD. I actually thought that the firmware update might have caused it, but that ended up not being the case. The issue only happened in Guild Wars, and I ended up contacting Matrox. They quickly reproduced the issue and sent me a solution, which involved a making a change to the Desktop Divider setting in the MPD.

Also, I don't like how the MPD handles the Windows login screen. With the MPD uninstalled, the Windows login spans all three screens. The image looks both massive and expansive. With the MPD installed, the login screen initially spans all three monitors, but quickly adjusts to fill just the left-most screen (even with the firmware update to make the center monitor the "primary"). It's not a show-stopper, and it's only an issue with logging in or shutting down. But, it's annoying.

Additionally, I am annoyed at how "responsive" the MPD is when I try to open it. After right clicking on the System Tray icon, it can take an average of 10-15 seconds for the first menu to appear. It may only be a handful of seconds, but it feels like an eternity when compared to the instant response of other items in my System Tray. I checked Windows Task Manager to see if it was hogging resources, but it always showed as consuming 0% CPU.

Unfortunately, the MPD is used for Bezel Management, so you are required to at least install the program to use that feature. And, this brings me to an issue I have with MPD regarding the Bezel Management feature. The hotkey assigned for Bezel Management doesn't always work when you are in-game. And, the issues with it not responding are not always consistent. I'm certain it worked at one time in LOTRO, but it didn't the last time I played. In one or two other games, it would never respond. I don't know if it's an issue of the game also having a function mapped to the F-Key (Ctrl-F12). By contrast, FRAPS never has that issue (Alt-F12). I prefer to use Bezel Management, so I leave it turned on. You can make your selection for Bezel Management, and then close the MPD program if you choose. Bezel Management will remain active if it had been turned on. This is what I initially did with my Guild Wars issues.

Resolution Limits & DirectX

This issue isn't with Matrox or the DTH2Go (or even the original TH2Go), it is with DirectX 9 (DX9). DX9 has a limitation of 4k (4,096) pixels in the horizontal row. Due to this limitation, the largest "non-widescreen" resolution allowed is 3840x1024 (3x1280). Attempting to use 3x1600x1200 hits 4,800 pixels in each row, and exceeds the DX9 limit. Surround with widescreens allows for up to 1360x768 (and an even wider FOV); but these resolutions are only found on smaller panels, and thus a smaller physical image.

DirectX 10 (DX10) shatters this limit with an 8k (8,192) limit. This would allow for 3x2560x1600, if any video card could ever handle that. My preference for future support would be 5040x1050 (3x1680x1050). This would allow 3x 20" widescreen panels to be used. In this configuration the users would have a decent size widescreen panel, for when a game didn't support Surround, or the video card couldn't handle the ultra high resolution. A resolution of 5760x1200 (3x1920x1200) would also be feasible, though I believe the physical limitations of fitting three 24" monitors on a desk would be daunting for most people.

I'm not sure if either of these resolutions exceeds the bandwidth in Dual-Link DVI. If not, maybe a firmware update might come our way one day, even for 3x1440x900.

HDCP Support

I really wish the DTH2Go had HDCP support. Chances are, if you are running a DTH2Go setup, you have a high-end rig, and the triple monitors are your only display. And, I would be willing to bet that a DTH2Go owner would be considered an "early adopter" and someone who would be interested in an HD-DVD or Blu-Ray drive for their machine. My guess is that the most common DTH2GO setup is 3x1280x1024 monitors. This would allow a user to watch an HD movie at 1280x800 on one panel, while still working or surfing on the other two.

My NVIDIA 7950GX2, and my HP LP1965s are all HDCP compliant; but because the DTH2Go isn't HDCP compliant, it wouldn't do me any good to hook up my XBox360 HD-DVD drive to my PC. With HD drives becoming more prevalent, and becoming more affordable each month, I see the lack of HDCP support as the largest failing of the DTH2Go.


I love Surround Gaming. I've been enthralled with the idea since I first read about the Parhelia. Now that I have a Surround Rig, it's hard to go back even to "just" widescreen. The MPD software could use some work, but it's nowhere near enough of an issue to steer someone away from the DTH2Go and Surround Gaming. The Digital TripleHead2Go is great hardware, and it performs exactly as it's advertised. The DTH2Go offers significant improvements over the original analog version, with its digital connections, USB interface and Bezel Management option. I would highly recommend the DTH2Go to gamers new to Surround Gaming, and to existing owners of the original TH2Go.