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.
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.