Normally, you have to rely on the graphics card--integrated or discrete--on your notebook if you want to add an external monitor, but what if you want to have two external monitors? That sounds like it would be monumentally more challenging, but it's actually quite simple with a product like the Diamond DV100 Dual View USB 3.0 Graphics Adapter. All you need is a single USB 3.0 connection and you can have two full HD external displays up and running, in addition to the actual display on your notebook PC.
Of course, while this will certainly also work for people with desktop computers, using the DV100 with an ultrabook is a much more likely application of this technology. We're going to put it to the test in this most likely scenario with my recent ultrabook purchase and a couple of full sized LCD monitors.
Features at a Glance
The main idea behind the Diamond Multimedia Dual View DV100 is quite simple, really. You have a compact device that is about the size of a deck of cards and it connects to your Windows PC via USB 3.0. There is no need for external power, as it is USB bus powered. From there, you have video cables running to your external monitors and suddenly you're running a triple monitor setup.
Each of the two outputs can support up to 1080p full HD. While it can work over USB 2.0, the video performance will naturally not be as good as what you'd get with the faster data speeds afforded by USB 3.0. This is similar in some ways to the Diamond WPCTVPRO VStream, except for two things: this has a wired connection rather than a wireless one and this supports two external monitors rather than just one. Aside from that, you still use the same DisplayLink technology and you get the same plug-and-play installation.
What's in the Box?
While you don't find any video cables included with the DualView, you do get everything else that you'll need to use this product. There is the DV100 graphics adapter, of course, as well as a provided USB 3.0 data cable, installation CD and instruction manual. There doesn't need to be anything else here, because you really don't need it. Realistically, the CD isn't completely necessary either, as the software and drivers can be freely downloaded from the Internet.
Inputs and Outputs
In sticking with the simplicity of this product, the available ports are also kept very straightforward. There is a DC power input on the far left, but this is not necessary and is being "reserved for future uses." As you can see from the blue, that's a USB 3.0 connection, which also serves to power this device.
Next to that is the DVI output and the HDMI output. While some people may have preferred two DVI outputs or two HDMI outputs, this combination is ultimately more versatile, especially if you only want to have one external monitor of either connection type. Of course, if you have two HDMI monitors--as may be the case if you're using a couple of LED HDTVs--you can just as easily use a DVI-to-HDMI cable and be ready to go.
Installation and Setup
If you've ever used other DisplayLink graphics adapters, then you'll feel right at home with the installation process on the Diamond DualView. It's exactly the same. With the provided CD, you'll install the necessary DisplayLink software and Windows will automatically detect the necessary drivers. The wizard easily walks you through the entire process.
After it's done, you'll notice the DisplayLink software in your Windows taskbar, but you don't have to use this either. When you connect a monitor through the Diamond USB 3.0 Dual Head Display Adapter, it will show up just like a regular external monitor that you'd plug directly into your laptop's HDMI-out. Go into your Windows display properties and you'll find the usual screen resolution options, including shifting alignment and arrangement. Of course, you can opt to mirror your desktop too.