This isn’t exactly related to SQL Server. I did effect my productivity. I am a monitor junkie. I love multi-monitor setups and have had them for a very long time. Today, having two monitors is trivial. Almost every video card on the market supports two displays. If you want more than that you have to ether step up to a professional graphics card, which can be very expensive, or add another video card to your system. On my rig at home two video cards isn’t a problem I’ve got multiple PCIe slots and run two cards for a four monitor setup. My workstation at work only has one PCIe slot and a PCI slot. Getting a modern card using PCI is harder and harder.
I did some digging and found a card that wouldn’t break the bank and should work with my primary card without having two sets of drivers so everything looked good. I slotted the card in and powered up the computer. Not only did I not have anything on my third display, my network card dropped out too! So, I tried several other older PCI cards to no avail. I knew there were other adaptors out that connected a display via USB. Last time I had checked they were very expensive and didn’t work all that well. I made a trip down to my local Fry’s store. There I saw something truly amazing. Not only did they have USB to VGA they had USB to DVI, and they were under 100 bucks! I settled on the UV Plus+ 16 since it would do 1650×1080 with 32 bit color. The price was right at 60 bucks.
The UV Plus+ 16 is based on the Display Link DL-160 chip. Several other manufacturers also have adaptors based on ether the DL-160 or DL-120 and should be similar in performance and installation. The DL-120 doesn’t support the higher resolutions that I needed to run my 22” monitors.
What You Get
Out of the box you get everything you need.
This thing is small! I was also expecting something that wasn’t in the package, a power supply. You know, one of those lovely wall warts that take up way to much space. To my surprise, the UV Plus gets its power directly from the USB port. They include a carry case for the adaptor but not the USB cable or the DVI to VGA adaptor. To me this makes the case useless. The unit is sturdy and shouldn’t have any issues floating around in my laptop bag when I travel. The name, why Plus+? One plus not good enough? It is going to be hard selling these on eBay. “I give the Plus+ an A+++++.”
Installing the adaptor is simple.
- Install the drivers
- Plug it in using the supplied USB cable
- Attach Monitor
- Adjust settings via windows display properties or tray utility.
Once installed changing the options is just like working with any other monitor attached to your system.
If you don’t want to go that route you can always use the try icon control application that comes with it.
I actually moved the UV Plus to power a monitor I have that rotates from portrait to landscape since the tray utility handles it so well.
There are other benefits to running these adaptors. You can have six, yes six attached to a single system. Unless you are running an Nvidia card then you are limited to four adaptors. This is going to allow me to move up to six displays and remove the second video card in my primary workstation at home. With the free PCIe slot I’m putting in a hardware RAID controller, you can never have enough IO!
Experience So Far
Has been pretty uneventful, generally it just works. I did have an issue with opening a PDF from inside adobe reader in full screen mode. The display became corrupted with blocks and color bands. I just used the tray tool to turn off the display then back on and it was fine again.
The UV Plus+ 16 is EXACTLY what I needed. It is cheap, easy to use, and small. All of these things add up to a solid little device with lots of possibilities. If you need a multi-monitor setup for work this is a great solution for you. If you need a multi-monitor setup for gaming then you need to go with the right PCIe video card setup.