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Village Tronic ViBook: Multi-Monitor For Your Netbook

Summary And Results

More Performance with USB 3.0?

The bottleneck most affecting the ViBook is USB 2.0. This shouldn't be a problem once USB 3.0 is introduced (and of course, once devices like this are updated to support the new interface). With nominal transfer rates of 5 Gbit/s becoming available to the developers of external graphics solutions, it should even be possible to see hardware capable of delivering 3D rendering from certain applications. But, even if the manufacturer of the ViBooks is already stretching its feelers toward USB 3.0, there is no forecast when such devices would be available. Users can count on USB 3.0 standards starting to become generally available, at the earliest, in 2010.

Results

Until then, the Village Tronic ViBook represents a good option if users want to operate an external monitor on a PC, notebook, or netbook (though PC users will be better served by an inexpensive PCI or PCI Express card capable of enabling a pair of more responsive display outputs for less money). The graphical throughput of the external adapter is sufficient for productivity-oriented tasks, such as working on text documents, email, or surfing the Internet.

This is achieved by a compression of the graphics data before the information is transferred over USB to the additional monitor, bringing certain graphics speed advantages at a performance penalty to the CPU.  The frame rate of Flash videos is acceptable; however this is where the boundary of the external solution is reached.

At $129, the ViBook is not cheap. However, remember that this includes the costs of the VT MultiDisplay software that is separately available for $49. We do with the ViBook were available seperately (without the software) because not all users want or need to use the software, since the Windows-based controls work just fine. VT MultiDisplay offers many features, such profiles for fast switching between different monitor configurations and an additional task border for the extended desktop. But at a fundamental level, the USB component is completely useable without the extra application.

  • 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.
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  • 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.
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  • 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."
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