MPDD Desktop Doubler

Almost every Web design, video and graphics package these days seems to have a multitude of palettes and panels, so it’s good sense to increase your cluttered workspace. Village Tronic has come up with the MPDD Desktop Doubler. Much cheaper than a new 21-inch CRT or Apple Cinema Display, the MPDD is used in conjunction with another graphics card to extend the video signal across two screens. This allows you to access all your palettes on one screen, while leaving the other free to use as a canvas. Installation is fairly simple, merely a case of slotting the card into a spare PCI slot and attaching your second display to one of the MPDD’s inputs. Village Tronic recommends that the biggest monitor and best graphic-card combination should be assigned as the main display, leaving its card to power the secondary screen. The card itself has no 3D acceleration, but can support millions of colours at resolutions up to 1,024-x-768 pixels at 75Hz and thousands of colours up to 1,600-x-1,200 at 60Hz. There’s no paper manual, but the installer on the CD places a PDF version, and Village Tronic’s Help Centre in HTML form on your hard disk, as well as drivers and a control panel. The Monitors and MP control panel provides control over the form and function of the two displays. Here you select which is to be the main display, the arrangement of the screens, the TV controls, and the usual monitor functions. The MPDD supports all Apple monitors and VGA monitors without an adaptor, and can be connected to a TV using an optional Mac-Scart cable. Initially, dragging icons and windows across to the second display is weird, but it’s tough to stop once you’re used to it.

OUR VERDICT

Village Tronic makes a great deal about this being a Mac product designed from the ROM up, with only one extension installed to reduce system conflicts. However, I had problems with a PCI-card conflict, so make sure you have only the MPDD and one other graphics card installed. If you have a monitor doing nothing, MPDD could save it from the tip.

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