An easy way to add dual-monitor support to a single DVI output PC or a DisplayPort laptop, but it's pretty expensive
Sapphire’s Vid-2X Display Expander is designed to bring dual-monitor capability to PCs or laptops which only have a single display output. It comes in two versions; one with a DVI input and one with DisplayPort.
It’s mainly useful for when a PC doesn’t have a PCI Express slot for a graphics card upgrade; at £125, it’s more expensive than buying a new graphics card with dual outputs. Similarly, few laptops come with DVI or DisplayPort outputs – Apple’s are the exception. Another option is to use a USB-to-HDMI adaptor such as StarTech’s USB32HDE, but this won’t support a frame rate high enough to play video or games, while the Vid-2X is as fast as your computer’s graphics card.
The Vid-2X needs no drivers to get running. You can choose to power the unit either using the included AC adaptor, or via USB – you’ll need two free USB ports to supply enough power. You can choose between stretch mode, in which your desktop is stretched across both monitors giving you a resolution of up to 3,840×1,080, or clone mode, in which both monitors display the same output. A series of small switches on the front of the unit can also be used to correct for your monitors’ bezels, removing pixels from the edges of each screen to make the two screens seem like one big display and stopping windows placed on the gap from looking distorted.
In stretched mode, it’s worth remembering that Windows treats the two monitors as a single display, so if you maximise a window, it’ll stretch across both monitors rather than filling one. You’ll have to get used to resizing your windows manually. Your task bar will also stretch across both monitors, so your Start menu will be on the left monitor and your clock on the far right – this does give you lots more room for programs, but you may not like things being so far apart.
The Vid-2X is a niche product, but if you only have a single graphics output and want two monitors without the compromises of USB monitor adaptors, it works well.