11 Replies Latest reply on Jun 28, 2013 7:46 PM by UlfLaursen

    The quest for real estate (USB->monitor question)

    OsakaWebbie Level 1

      The short question:

      Any advice or gotchas regarding USB->External Monitor adaptors?  Especially, if the monitor accepts both VGA and DVI, which type of adaptor would be better for performance?  Advice about brands/models is also welcome, but I live in Japan, so I may not have easy access to the same stuff as you.

       

      The details:

      The need for more frequent travel is forcing me to transition from desktop to laptop life for the first time ever.  But when I'm at home or in one place for awhile I want to "pretend it's a desktop" - with an external mouse, keyboard, speakers, and two 19" monitors for video editing (in that situation I don't really care about the screen on the laptop itself - it doesn't match the shape, size, and color tone of the others anyway).  Unfortunately, the laptop I bought (this Acer) only has one HDMI port - no DVI or VGA.  The monitors I own can do either DVI or VGA.  I bought a cable to convert from HDMI to DVI for one of them - so far, so good (I haven't tried using it for PPro yet, but I assume it would be fine).  But the question is what to do about the second external monitor.  Apparently I can get an adaptor for around $50-80 to go from USB3.0 to either VGA or DVI with a driver to tell Windows what is going on, but some comments on the web say that video play is choppy - that would not bode well for editing work.  One guy said that he got a USB->DVI adaptor and had performance troubles, and traded it in for a USB->VGA one that worked better, but I would have assumed the opposite or no difference at all, so I'd like to know what you smart Adobe users think.

       

      I also considered getting a dual monitor docking station like this Kensington and have the convenience of everything on one connection.  But I don't know if having both monitors on one USB3.0 interface is asking too much of it, and the price tag is a bit high.  If it has some sort of performance boosting hardware in it, that would be great, but the specs don't seem to mention it.  But maybe it doesn't matter.  I am a novice regarding graphics hardware and its related interfaces, so any advice is appreciated.

        • 1. Re: The quest for real estate (USB->monitor question)
          UlfLaursen Level 2

          Not sure about a USB 3.0 dockingstation, but I tried a USB2.0 on just one single monitor and just for office applications, and it was slow.

           

          As far as I know, the best way is to get a "real" docking station at home, I think both Lenovo and Dell make some with dual monitor connections possible.

           

          But of ocurse if you already have the laptop, it might be worth a try with the USB 3.0 dock.

           

          Ulf

          • 2. Re: The quest for real estate (USB->monitor question)
            OsakaWebbie Level 1

            I'm not surprised that USB2.0 was not fast enough - I wouldn't even try that, since I do have 3.0 available.

             

            Anyone else have thoughts?  Particularly, any difference in performance between converting USB to DVI and converting USB to VGA?  I keep trying to find something on the web about that but can't.

            • 3. Re: The quest for real estate (USB->monitor question)
              JEShort01 Level 4

              I suspect that you will not find any USB to video solution that will suffice for work requiring critical video playback. However, by configuring your dual monitor setup with the USB monitor used for all of your Premiere Pro work panels that do not require high quality playback you will have the single high-quality video feed for video playback - clips and project playback.

               

              There are some really high quality laptop solutions that support dual external monitors well but they do cost way more than any Acer laptop.

               

              Regards,

               

              Jim

              • 4. Re: The quest for real estate (USB->monitor question)
                OsakaWebbie Level 1

                Well, although I'd naturally like my previews to run smoothly enough to see what I'm doing, video is not my all-day-every-day bread and butter (in fact, no one is paying me at all - I'm a missionary doing this as ministry), so the preview doesn't have to be pixel-perfect every time.  And I recently made the painful plunge to Creative Cloud, so I don't have much left to spend on hardware.

                 

                Thanks for the tip about arranging my panes - I hadn't thought about that.  Normally I would have thought of making the HDMI one my primary monitor (left side, the one with my Windows desktop) and putting the USB one on the right.  But since I'm used to having my PPro preview pane on the top right of my workspace, I'll try setting up the two monitors the other way.  If anything else has video bandwidth issues (playing a YouTube video fullscreen or something), I can just move its window to the HDMI monitor.

                 

                I guess no one on this forum has any opinions on DVI vs. VGA.  My gut thinks, "DVI is the newer technology so it should be better," though someone on the internet said that they had performance troubles with a USB-DVI adaptor whereas the same brand of SUB-VGA adaptor worked fine for them.  That was just one person, so perhaps it was a fluke.

                • 5. Re: The quest for real estate (USB->monitor question)
                  ECBowen Most Valuable Participant

                  If the DVI is digital then you have better specifications than DVI Analog. However the latency and software with the USB video adapters have not been great and all the experience I have had with clients has required them to remove the adapters when using an editing application. I would be very surprised if you get this to work well with Adobe CC. However the posts you have seen regarding VGA would be accurate since VGA is analog and doesn't require the digital hand shake. BTW why are you using 2 monitors instead of the laptop panel and 1 monitor?

                   

                  Eric

                  ADK

                  • 6. Re: The quest for real estate (USB->monitor question)
                    OsakaWebbie Level 1

                    why are you using 2 monitors instead of the laptop panel and 1 monitor?

                    Because the laptop display is smaller, a different aspect ratio, and a different color tone (I tried adjusting them to match each other to no avail - they are apparently completely different display technologies).  Also, I like having a long timeline in PPro that runs across the two displays, but that only makes sense if the two displays are the same height and resolution.  Currently I arrange the second monitor above the laptop, not beside it, because the widths are much more similar than the heights.

                    However the latency and software with the USB video adapters have not been great and all the experience I have had with clients has required them to remove the adapters when using an editing application.

                      Well, the whole point of doing this is for PPro (for other uses, mismatched displays work okay), so if latency kills me, I'll return the adaptor and hate laptop life, I guess... Seriously, if the latency is so bad that I can't use it even with PPro panels arranged per JEShort01's suggestion, I don't know what my next move would be.  I could try to arrange my PPro panels with this vertical inboard-external display combo, but I think the colors, resolution, etc. will forever be disorienting.  I know that many people use PPro on laptops, but having gotten used to my desktop with dual 19"-ers, I have trouble imaging how they survive...

                    If the DVI is digital then you have better specifications than DVI Analog.

                    I've never heard of DVI Analog (I thought the D in DVI stood for Digital) and have no idea which kind is in the back on my monitors.  But I have seen these monitors when connected via both types of connectors and there is not any perceptible visual difference, if that is what you are asking.

                    However the posts you have seen regarding VGA would be accurate since VGA is analog and doesn't require the digital hand shake.

                    Aha!  That's the sort of nuts-and-bolts info I didn't know and was hoping for.  To sum it up, you're saying that in your experience USB display adaptors in general have trouble with internal latency, but between the two interfaces, VGA has a bit less overhead.  Okay, I'll try VGA in a reputable brand and test thoroughly.  I'll buy it at my favorite huge chain store that has good return policies, and I'll report back.

                    • 7. Re: The quest for real estate (USB->monitor question)
                      ECBowen Most Valuable Participant

                      You might have better results than the previous client. There are factors such as drivers and hardware configurations that decide this. I was just warning that the latency causes issues with the hardware MPE engine. If you run software MPE you will have a much better chance.

                       

                      DVI-D is Digital only and DVI-I is analog or digital. There is also DVI-A which is analog only but that is not used. You can reference the different pin outs for each here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_Visual_Interface

                       

                      The visual quality at the same settings between analog or digital will not show a difference. DVI-D just has better better specifications. 

                       

                      VGA would give you the best chance of using the USB adapter without problems since the digital sync is not present.


                      Eric

                      ADK

                      • 8. Re: The quest for real estate (USB->monitor question)
                        OsakaWebbie Level 1

                        I learn something new every day - I didn't realize there were so many different types of DVI.

                         

                        But Wikipedia didn't help me with the acronym MPE - the most likely-sounding in the list of things Wikipedia thinks it could stand for is Multi-Processing Environment, but it sounds like it's only used by something called Message Passing Interface, which also I've never heard of.  Perhaps I don't have either software or hardware MPE at all - I don't know if that would be good news or bad in this case.

                         

                        But at any rate, when this heavy rain lets up (in urban Osaka I don't own a car, and in June it rains a lot) I'll go buy a VGA adaptor.

                        • 9. Re: The quest for real estate (USB->monitor question)
                          ECBowen Most Valuable Participant

                          MPE is the acronym for Adobe's Mercury engine.

                           

                          Eric

                          ADK

                          • 10. Re: The quest for real estate (USB->monitor question)
                            OsakaWebbie Level 1

                            Reporting back.  The store I went to had a lot of selection of USB3.0->HDMI or DVI, and a myriad of choices for doing multiple monitors on one USB port or supporting either USB 2 or 3, but only one model of dedicated USB3.0->VGA, by j5create (I had never heard of them, but that's not unusual - the world is spinning pretty fast these days!).  It's a solidly-built little guy, but it does seem to run a bit hot, so I hope its components will last (it cost about $80 - it would have been cheaper online, but I wanted to be able to return it easily if necessary).

                             

                            Although I haven't done any real editing work yet (been busy with other things), I did try to test it, and so far so, so good.  Someone told me that when I employ two external monitors without a docking station I wouldn't be able to use the laptop's internal one, but he was wrong - all three are working!  I made a new PPro workspace that uses the two big monitors, and then undocked the program panel and experimented with playing it on each monitor (even straddling the monitors and watching the halves of the single video to compare) - so far I can't tell any difference in timing to my naked eye.  (My current project is only a wedding, so the video content is not particularly demanding, but hey, it's what I have.)  I also played a DVD fullscreen, figuring that it might work the monitor itself even harder than my little wedding project.  I'm pretty happy.  I'll have to rethink my desk arrangement now that I know I can still use the laptop's own monitor, but that's a good problem to have!  I won't use the laptop monitor as part of my PPro workspace (because the color, resolution, etc. is so different), but it will come in handy for browser windows and such - for example, it'll be nice to be able to look up how to do something without covering up what I'm working on.

                             

                            Thanks again for your help!

                            • 11. Re: The quest for real estate (USB->monitor question)
                              UlfLaursen Level 2

                              Good news, OsakaWebbie.

                               

                              Ulf