Sport & Auto
- About Future
- Digital Future
- Cookies Policy
- Terms & Conditions
- Investor Relations
- Contact Future
There are some things that just shouldn’t be attempted: SATA ISA adapters and x16 PCI-E modems, for example. To that list, we add the USB 2.0-to-SVGA adapter! No fooling, someone has made a graphics adapter that plugs into your USB 2.0 port.
We had the adapter up and running on our zero-point system in a couple of minutes. What we could do with it, however, is limited by the low 480Mb/s bandwidth of USB 2.0. Displaying a web page or static image worked fine, but trying to run video of any quality was impossible. The device let us run up to 1024x768 resolution, but only at 16-bit—32-bit sucked too much bandwidth. At lower resolutions, the adapter performed a little better, but not great. When a window is moved around the desktop, the card redraws it at speeds just slightly better than a graphics card without drivers.
The actual utility for this device is difficult to fathom. Modern PCs support a minimum of two monitors, as do most notebooks. Dual-card rigs can run up to four monitors. So adding an additional, non-accelerated screen that really shouldn’t be running a resolution higher than 800x600 is kinda goofy.
Does that make it useless? Not quite. We actually found a couple of handy functions. Because SLI takes over both cards during 3D gaming, the adapter allows us to run a second monitor to watch our CPU utilization or temperatures. And folks looking for an easy way to power a small LCD mounted in the front of a case can use the USB adapter to power the graphics. Besides those specific instances, however, the USB to VGA adapter isn’t too useful.
Month Reviewed: July 2006