Dual Display Comparison - February 2001by Matthew Witheiler on February 21, 2001 3:59 AM EST
- Posted in
Why Budget Dual Displays
There is no question that the dual display idea, one that hopes to finally allow 3D gaming on a workstation system, is quickly being adopted. Judging by the cards, however, one may being to wonder why begin the release of a dual monitor solution at a low price? The answer is relatively easy to understand.
The first non-Matrox dual display card to hit the market was the GeForce2 MX, priced at the time around $140 with the dual display feature. The reason that this price point was hit was to compete directly with Matrox's G400 DualHead card, and the only way NVIDIA could meet this price was by using a budget version of the processor.
By attacking Matrox's market head on, NVIDIA was not only looking to take some of Matrox's business, they were also looking to test the water in the dual display market. Since no other dual display card out there currently offers more 3D performance than the GeForce2 MX, NVIDIA wanted to see just how many users TwinView could attract.
ATI, upon developing their multiple monitor solution, went about it the same way. When considering what to put in a dual display solution, ATI choose to incorporate a cheaper version of the core in order to get the card price down in the area that both NVIDIA as well as Matrox were hitting. By doing so, and actually producing a card that is even less expensive, ATI was able to test the selling point of a dual display capable video card.
The other main reason to introduce dual display functionality on budget video cards was to expand to markets both NVIDIA and ATI had previously not touched. The dual display consumer workstation market had consisted mainly of Matrox and other specialty manufacturers' products. Due to the lack of dual display functions on ATI and NVIDIA products, workstation owners looking to spend from $100 to $200 for a very good 2D video card were forced to turn away from ATI and NVIDIA.
Since people looking for the fastest 3D gaming card out there would end up buying the top of the line card from NVIDIA or ATI regardless of a dual display feature or not, initially incorporating dual display functions on high end video cards did not make sense. At the budget level, however, the dual display solution becomes a strong selling point, especially for workstation users who may have been considering a slower 3D accelerator card in order to gain dual display capabilities. By giving these users adequate 3D performance while at the same time giving them the dual display 2D solution they want, ATI and NVIDIA could expand their product lines to new levels.
With these facts in mind, ATI and NVIDIA's decision to enter the dual display market at the budget level makes sense. By not only grabbing some untouched market but also testing out dual display on the market, both ATI and NVIDIA choose to leave dual display capabilities off their upper end products and focus on the budget market for now. There is absolutely no question that in a matter of time dual display functionality will spread its way throughout the whole product line, from budget to high end. In fact, it is safe to assume that the next major video card releases from these manufacturers will include some sort of dual display capability now that the product has begun to run its course in the workstation market.