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Village Tronic ViBook: Multi-Monitor For Your Netbook

The ViBook In Use

The installation process is self-explanatory. As is often the case for USB-based hardware, you first install the software and driver, then connect the device itself to your computer. The ViBook appears in the Device Manager as a USB Graphics Extender and is immidiately available to the system. It does not require an external power supply as it draws enough juice from the USB interface. The actual power usage of ViBook is within the USB specifications, so it can be used with all standard USB connections.

Monitor Control With VT MultiDisplay

The VT MultiDisplay program takes over control of monitor configuration once the ViBook is attached and automatically extends the Windows Desktop to the screen attached to the ViBook. Software installation is not necessary for the second display's configuration settings, since resolution, position, and color depth can still be managed using standard Windows tools.

Useful Functions

Should you choose to install the VT MultiDisplay software, however, you'll pick up some notable features for managing multiple monitors. For instance, VT MultiDisplay places a task border on the second monitor for the programs that are running on it. Additional icons enable program windows to be shifted at the push of a button. Windows can also be clicked and dragged from one monitor to another. The software also enables different background pictures to be selected for each monitor, a capability that could not be done through Windows previously. The VT MultiDisplay software also proves useful if you changes frequently back and forth between different monitor configurations, as the app stores monitor profiles for use down the line.

Sufficient Performance for Office Work

The performance of the USB graphics extender is more than sufficient for working in a productivity environment. Even Flash-based videos on YouTube played back with sufficient responsiveness on our Samsung Aura R70 notebook, equipped with a Core 2 Duo T7300 processor (2.0 GHz) and 2 GB of RAM. What was somewhat disturbing, however, was the high processor load as soon as there was movement taking place on the monitor. When playing videos, the load increased within the range of 90-95% and slowed the remaining system down accordingly and noticeably. Apparently, this is due to the technology that transmits the video signals from the computer to the ViBook over USB.  

Compression of Graphics Data

The graphics data is compressed, sent over the USB connection and then decompressed by the ViBook to provide the picture on the additional monitor. This procedure can be very CPU-intensive depending on the resolution and degree of change going on. As you might imagine, in a video, there's often a lot of fast changes going on over much of the screen. If the notebook is just running on battery power, this will have a big impact on runtime. On the other hand, this procedure is still efficient, as it uses power over USB 2.0 exclusively.

  • Limited specifications, but it could still be handy. USB 3.0 and 1920x1080, write an OS X driver and bump the price to $199, I'll take one.

    Adam
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  • I'm looking for a similar product but instead of DVI/VGA output I'd like SD TV-out.
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  • $129 is way way to expensive, add that to your budget and scrap getting a netbook, go for a notebook with display out option included if you really need a second monitor, and you will benefit in the speed increase of the notebook hardware over Atoms performance!
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  • what about using this as a diagnostic tool, in the event of having no working video on a PC? Is it capable of doing this?
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  • aspireonelover
    Honestly, I don't get the point in using multiple monitors on netbooks. Like seriously, it's just a netbook. Simple stuff :)
    I would've bought that adapter, but only if the price was set at around 20-30 bucks. BTW, I don't wanna carry too much wires around, I've already gotten my mouse, charging adapter, and a pair of headphones.
    IMHO, it's much better to use it on a laptop/notebook.
    Reply
  • IronRyan21
    DragonSMPwhat about using this as a diagnostic tool, in the event of having no working video on a PC? Is it capable of doing this?
    I don't think so. Unless you already installed the drivers before your normal video went dead.
    Reply
  • I'm baffled as to why the article states that netbooks don't have the ability to attach an external display. My MSI Wind, and most of the others, have VGA out, and I use a 22" external monitor at the same time as my internal display all the time.

    Note to author: try using a netbook first before making false claims about it's abilities.
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  • nine3o
    I remember this company, they used to make Video cards for the Commodore Amiga.

    Their products were expensive then, seems not much has changed over the past 20 years.
    Reply
  • mcnuggetofdeath
    Ive run a second monitor on an eee PC 900a, doesnt work particularly well as the IGP sucks and the CPU is a joke. But it was very functional. Ended up removing my accelerated graphics driver in Ubuntu 9.04, think it had something to do with my having overwritten default display settings.( Note not editing the .xorg, just using ubuntu's "display" settings) Anyway, only real disadvantage was that Compiz no longer worked despite my on and off again attempts to get it working. So no wobbly windows, but lots of space.
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  • Someone else pointed it out, but most netbooks, at least these days, have a VGA out, and most monitors still have a VGA in, so, we're kind of lacking a problem to solve here. Also, the non-solution is half the price of the netbook it's not solving the problem for.

    How about instead of "Multi-Monitor For Your Netbook", the title be changed to "Multi-Monitor For Your Very Old Laptop/Macbook Air."
    Reply