Most desktop systems sold today come with only a single display port, usually VGA or DVI. In the past, if you had one of these desktop computers and wanted your system to use multiple displays, you would probably need to install a new video card. And if you had a laptop and wanted to connect more than one monitor, you were basically out of luck. But a company called DisplayLink is changing all that with their DVI display adapter and connecting multiple displays is now easier than ever. DisplayLink has developed a technology that allows displays to connect to computers through a USB 2.0 connection.
I was pleasantly surprised by how easy it was to use the DisplayLink USB to DVI adapter. After installing the setup software, I plugged the dvi display adapter into one of the USB ports on my PC. Then I plugged a second monitor into the adapter, and that was it.
In Windows XP, a small icon of a monitor appeared in the system tray in the lower-right corner. Right-clicking on the icon allowed me to choose settings for my second monitor. I could select to either mirror the same view on both monitors or extend my desktop to the other monitor so I could drag windows from one screen to the other. (In Windows Vista there was no icon in the system tray, so I had to do this from the display properties menu of the control panel.) In both operating systems, performance was good and screen resolutions went up to 1600 x 1200 (except for viewing DVDs, which required setting the second monitor at a lower resolution).
For now the DisplayLink USB to DVI display adapter only works on PCs running Windows XP and Vista. I was, however, able to get mirror mode to work on Windows XP running using Parallels on a MacBook Pro. It’s still early for this technology, and there are plenty of possibilities. Because most desktop computers have 4-6 USB ports, this makes it possible for 3 or more monitors to be plugged into a single computer. Unfortunately, I only had a single DisplayLink adapter to test so I was not able to test using multiple USB adapters. This is an area that would really be exciting for people who want to connect even more monitors. (Just make sure that all your monitors use the DVI plug, and not the older VGA plug as this isn’t a DVI VGA display adapter.)
Overall, I was impressed by the ease of use and display quality of the DisplayLink DVI to USB adapter. I would recommend it to anyone looking for an easy way to set up multiple monitors.