A Reason to Buy a Netbook With Standard Video-Out

Simply put: You’ll have to rely on expensive “solutions” which create more problems than they solve.

Courtesy Village Tronic

Courtesy Village Tronic

A review of the Village Tronic ViBook mysteriously calls the USB graphics extender “a good option” for those who want to power a secondary display with their PC, laptop, or netbook. To the reviewer’s credit though, he realizes that there are ways to do this for less than the ViBook’s $129 price, including just getting a PCI or PCIe graphics card for a desktop.

It’s clear that the ViBook is perfect for owners of portable computers that don’t feature VGA-out, specifically netbooks like the HP Mini 1000. Unfortunately, like other USB graphics extenders, Village Tronic’s product is very demanding on the CPU. Granted, some netbook processors are powerful enough to handle the load—which, according to the review, can go as high as 95% on a Core 2 Duo laptop. But guess what a constantly high load does for battery life? (Answer: cut it down significantly)

These realities limit the ViBook to a very niche market—netbooks that don’t support an extra monitor out-of-the-box—and makes it an impractical solution for even this market, as a USB graphics extender would put too much strain on a netbook’s limited capabilites. In short, just avoid all the trouble, and support netbooks that come with its own VGA-out port. Nothing sends a better message to manufacturers than ignoring portables that require you to purchase a separate adapter just to get it working with a second display or projector.