Matrox TripleHead2Go Digital Edition New Widescreen Modes Review - Hardware & Software

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DTH2Go Hardware

The new Widescreen Modes are an enhancement to the original DTH2Go, and thus it uses the same hardware and connections. One side has the three outputs from the DTH2Go to the individual monitors. The other side has the Dual-Link DVI input from the video card, and a USB connection. The USB connection provides power to the unit, and allows for firmware updates.

DTH2Go Box DTH2Go Connections

Selecting a Monitor

An area of utmost importance is the selection of a monitor. The DTH2Go runs 5040x1050 @57Hz. Due to bandwidth issues over a Dual-Link DVI, 60Hz was not possible. You will need to select a monitor that is capable of running 1680x1050 @57Hz. Not all monitors are capable of this. Users have even reported problems on monitors claiming to support 57Hz. Our recommendation is to pick a monitor from our "known working" list, or to purchase from a manufacturer or retail source with a good return policy. Even monitors that run at 1680x1050 @57Hz have seen problems with 5040x1050 @57Hz.

I would strongly recommend that you look into the warranty terms and service policy of your monitor maker. LCD panels have basically become a commodity, and the true differentiator is service. Take my ASUS experience to heart. Paying to return a DOA monitor for service, and then waiting 10 days for a repair, is a big kick in the pants. I would recommend a company that offers an "advanced exchange" warranty. This is where they send the replacement first to you, then you return the defective. Monitors with this type of warranty may be a bit more expensive, but it's well worth the investment.

Finally, I would pick a monitor with a three year warranty; and pick a company that doesn't rotate quickly through varied models. You want to having matching monitors in your Surround setup. Users who have mixed and matched different monitors have reported issues. If you purchase three matching monitors, you want to try and ensure that any needed replacements are the same model (or at least very close).

A company that sells one model for an extended period of time, and has a three year warranty is expecting to keep replacement stock of that monitor for about five years. During my ASUS experience, I was shocked to learn that the model I had purchased was already being discontinued (after a short time on the market), and was going EOL (End of Life). This meant that no exact replacements would ever be available.

Monitors are a long term investment. A Surround setup requires a level of forethought and planning not required in a single monitor rig. The short list of recommendations is: advanced exchange warranty, long lifespan, and slow model "churn." I am not recommending any one vendor over another. I am simply providing a set of criteria to help ensure a satisfied experience.

Matrox PowerDesk (GXM Suite)

Along with the new firmware, Matrox has provided a new software suite to support the DTH2Go. The PowerDesk software now provides a wizard environment for setup, and walks the user through a step-by-step process for validating the install and the hardware connections.

The new software enables the new widescreen modes by installing custom resolutions in the display properties and video card control panel. The PowerDesk software doesn't hold the resolutions itself, but only installs them within the existing Windows components. The custom resolution is assigned to the graphics card itself. If you upgrade graphics cards, you will need to re-run the wizard. I ran into this when upgrading my 9800GX2 to a GTX 295, and it all worked flawlessly. Below are screenshots of the new install wizard.

Th2Go GXM Wizard

Game Compatability

By and large, any game that will run properly in "normal" Surround will work in the new Widescreen Surround modes. There are a few exceptions to this rule, as there are a few games whose available resolutions are hardcoded to 60Hz. You can run these few games at 4320x900, but not at 5040x1050. Additionally, some games may require additional tweaking to run. For instance, Devil May Cry 4 will crash if your Windows desktop is set to anything below 60Hz. But, the game runs fine at 5040x1050 @57Hz. So, you have to change your Windows resolution to 4320x900, launch the game, and then select 5040x1050 from the options.

Problems unique to the widescreen modes are few and far between. If it works in Surround, it should work in Wide Surround. And if it doesn't work in Surround, at least you can play it in 1680x1050 widescreen. And, if you've opted for 24" panels, you can play in 1920x1200 in single monitor mode.