In the Lab: Nathan Edwards Flies the Friendly Skies

In the Lab: Nathan Edwards Flies the Friendly Skies

In my review of the Hypersonic Sonic Boom OCX on page 68, I focused on the PC’s performance and stability—crucial qualities in any gaming rig. But I’d be doing this machine a disservice if I didn’t talk a bit about its flight-simulator setup.

Hypersonic shipped the Sonic Boom with three 19-inch monitors controlled by a Matrox TripleHead2Go Digital Edition—enabling a resolution of 3840x1024 across a single desktop—as well as Saitek’s Pro Flight yoke and rudder pedals. The good news: Flight Simulator X looks fantastic with this panoramic view. But is it worth it? Are three relatively small monitors better than one huge one? For comparison, I also tested the Hypersonic with one 30-inch Gateway XHD3000 at 2560x1600.

The verdict? Although I and others here thought we’d prefer a large single-panel display, when it came to the flight sim, I actually preferred the smaller panels’ wraparound effect, which felt more lifelike. Once I returned to the desktop for real work, however, the happy feelings vanished. The triple monitors are especially irksome when you have to go into the BIOS. Instead of being confined to one panel, the BIOS screen is stretched across all three, which makes changing settings rather difficult. It was hard to tell if I was adjusting the CPU core voltage or RAM voltage with the TripleHead2Go enabled.

Given the choice, I’d go for the triple-panel display for racing, flying, or any other immersive sim—maybe even an MMO. But for most other purposes, I’ll take a single large panel any day.

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