Using two monitors on a PC or a laptop is easy enough with most modern videocards compared to how things were several years ago. Most all of your AMD and Nvidia cards do this out of the box with little to no setup involved. Accell’s UltraAV multi-monitor adapters allow you to connect two or three displays to a single DisplayPort source. In my case, I have the 2 port version of the Accell UltraAV. One thing to note up front is that this device has a big limitation: Reliance on DisplayPort on the host side, and maximum resolution of 3840×1024 (supporting three 1280×1024 displays). I of course won’t be having issues since I’m only using 2 ports and displaying 2 screens.
Connecting And Using The Accell UltraAV
It doesn’t take much of anything to setup the Accell UltraAV. Connect its built-in 45-inch locking DisplayPort 1.1a cable to your source and use two or three DVI cables to connect the monitors. Accell recommends using displays with the same native resolution and refresh rate; otherwise, the adapter will use a resolution that’s common to both. Fortunately for me both of my monitors are identically the same so there won’t be any issues. DVI connector 1 drives the left-hand monitor, DVI connector 2 drives the right monitor. If you’re using the 3-port version, then the second DVI connection would drive the center monitor and the third one would drive the right monitor. The box draws power over a USB connector that splits from DisplayPort cable, eliminating the need for a brick, additional software or anything else. The Accell UltraAV is simply a plug and play device which makes it that much more worth it.
The Accell UltraAV adapter uses an IDT PanelPort VMM1300 chip and reports itself to your GPU as a single output device via EDID (Extended Display Identification Data) that supports a variety of resolutions, including 3840×1024, 3840×720, 2400×600, 1280×1024, and 1440×900. Whichever resolution you choose, that number of pixels image gets stretched over the three-screen combo; unlike Matrox’s pricier TripleHead2Go product, you can’t set up three independent desktops. And while there’s nothing stopping you from using higher-resolution displays that support at least one of those lower resolutions, you won’t want to because you’ll get either black bars (if the monitor can display the correct aspect ratio) or a stretched, distorted image. While this might not be something major that should keep you from getting the Accell UltraAV, it is indeed something to consider and to note ahead of time.
Using The Accell UltraAV
I decided to use the Accell UltraAV on my desktop computer using a Nvidia graphics card and using two 19″ monitors that have a resolution of 1920 x 1080. Using this inside of a Windows system made the dual display appear as one big display on the TV, so things were a bit stretched. This was the case when opening up any applications such as Chrome, Paint and other things that I tested out to see how they would display across the Accell UltraAV. Even games would appear as one big desktop, though they appeared to run without any issues as far as playability or anything like that.
For me personally, this is a pretty cool thing to do, but not something I’d do often. I prefer to sit at my desktop PC in my comfy computer chair and use my desktop there. I also have my ways of how things are setup on separate monitors and the idea that the Accell UltraAV makes everything into a single, very large desktop is just something I’m not used to. For the price of $79.99 for the 2-port version or $99.99 for the 3-port version, you really can’t go wrong. You can pick one of these Accell UltraAV’s up from the link below. Let us know your thoughts if you grab one and what kind of experiences you have with yours.