Sometimes, there’s more to a multiple monitor setup than just buying two or more displays and hooking them up. Having the Operating System (Windows or Mac) detect dual screens would be enough for many, but if your needs require uninterrupted response and bigger aspirations the Mini DisplayPort 1.2 to 3 DisplayPort Multi-Display MST Hub is an uncomplicated solution.
Accell and a few other companies have long known that DisplayPort is far more useful than just a royalty-free alternative to HDMI, it offers the same features but is more flexible for monitor bridging. In that respect, there’s nothing distinctive here except for the Mini DisplayPort input behind, three DisplayPort outputs in the front and Accell label on top, while the unit itself is AC powered; basically everything you’d need and nothing more.
All you need to do is power up the hub, connect it to your DisplayPort system, and connect your DisplayPort monitors to the hub itself. But what really makes the hub relatively idiot-proof is the plug-and-play approach requiring no additional software to install, and starts working (or should) the moment you turn on your monitors and/or press the sync button.
With a trio that included the BenQ RL2460HT, AOC i2367fh, and a ASUS VE248Q monitor connected to an AMD HD7870 GPU we found out to see if the hub did work as advertised. The initial run wasn’t perfect as it took some time to get itself in order; when left to their vices all monitors and were endlessly searching for a picture until a press of the sync button quickly resolved the issue. Admittedly, the hub works best for displays of identical specs with the same native resolution and refresh rates, or at least similarly configured at close as possible to each other.
Despite that, a small box like the DP MST Hub does a lot without a fuss and gave us near-zero latency, DisplayPort 1.2 VESA compliancy, and the ability to recognized non-DisplayPort monitors through DVI or HDMI adapters and converter cables (we used a cheap HDMI/DP cable for the AOC 12367fh). Not only that, but the hub is capable of producing a 4Kx2K @ 30Hz (3840×2160) image for a single monitor or 2560×1600 from three separate ones.
We tried a couple of games at 1920×1080 @ 60Hz from Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes to Far Cry 4, and found that the ultra-wide experience greatly changed the perception and immersion factor. It really is convenient as we automatically got an extended view that actively provided more area and scale, while a dual view (i.e. clone) could be had by simply changing the output resolution of any monitor to less than its recommended default.
However, if you take some time and have some patience, you can get the same result through the existing Windows or OSX system settings, but another point of the DP MST Hub is to provide additional ports for larger setups or laptops (Microsoft Surface Pro 2) where connectivity is sparse. You can even pick up a second one for a maximum of six connected monitors between two units.
No matter what the reason, the Accell Mini DisplayPort 1.2 to 3 DisplayPort Multi-Display MST Hub is simplistic and effective. But for those without identical monitors there is some effort involved to operate, incompatibility for Thunderbolt I/O ports, and knowing what type of DP port your system has is necessary beforehand (both regular-sized DisplayPort and Mini DisplayPort are also available from Accell). But considering its function, I doubt PC and Mac power users will have trouble making this switcher work for them.