Get Away with the Matrox Extio F1220

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We’re certainly among the many who appreciate the power of desktop computers: solid graphics cards, rock ’em-sock ’em processing power, lots of drive bays, ports coming out the wazoo…but you know, come to think of it, we really aren’t fond of the noise. All those fans whirrrrr right into our microphones when we’re recording our hit singles. And on summer days…well, let’s just say having a portable space heater under the desk isn’t as pleasant as one might suspect.

If you feel a need to get away from it all—or at least away from that hot, noisy CPU—Matrox offers a solution in the form of its Extio F1220 Remote Graphics Unit, the latest addition to its Extio product line. The idea behind the Remote Graphics Units is to move a computer’s display and necessary input devices well away from a computer’s CPU – farther away than is normally allowed by monitor cables and USB extension hubs. And it turns out lots of people need to be able to do this: in addition to audio and video production professionals who need to keep computer noise out of their recordings, financial institutions, commodity traders, and other folks who need to put out public information displays love this sort of stuff. The same goes for folks who do digital singage, security applications, process control, and a heap of other tasks.

With that in mind, the Extio F1220 enables users to move up to two displays, audio output, two FireWire IEEE ports, and six USB ports up to 820 feet (250 meters) away from a CPU. The system works using a PCI card which connects to the Extro F1220 unit via fiber optic cabling: the two displays can each run at resolutions up to 1,920 by 1,200 pixels. The system also offers 128 MB of graphics memory powered by a Matrox graphics chip, plus integrated audio hardware as well as standard audio jacks. Four of the unit’s USB ports are in front; two in back. Even better, the Extio driver supports pivot capabilities on the displays, PowerRes for widescreen display support plys stretched and independent resolutions, along with other display management features.

Matrox hasn’t released pricing information, but Matrox says the Extio F1220 will hit North America in the second quarter of 2007—we’re hoping that means before the first serious blasts of mid-year heat.


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