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I can still remember when Matrox represented the pinnacle of PC graphics. There was a time when any PC without a Matrox Millennium graphics card was considered substandard, and pretty much every other graphics manufacturer struggled to keep up. But then 3D arrived, and things became more difficult for Matrox. Despite the evolution of the Millennium and the introduction of the Mystique, other companies started dropping huge amounts of cash into the 3D graphics market, as games became more and more demanding. Eventually Matrox pulled out of the mainstream 3D graphics market completely and went in search of a niche market.
Thankfully for Matrox it managed to successfully find that niche, and pretty much rules the multi-monitor market. Ok, so almost all graphics cards can drive two monitors these days, but Matrox has been producing four-head cards for years, which are ideal for financial institutions and medical facilities, where multiple displays are imperative but 3D graphics are unnecessary. Never a company to sit back on its laurels, Matrox has now evolved its multi monitor solution to a secure remote access system.
I spent many years working in the high performance computing arena, so I’m all too aware that in many cases data can be the most important commodity. Therefore keeping data safe is often the number one priority in the modern corporate world. Back in my day data was backed up every night and the tapes were stored in a fire-proof / bomb-proof safe – the idea being that even if the computer centre was razed to the ground, all the data would still be intact, bar a maximum of a day’s worth. But things have moved on since then and just keeping backups safe isn’t enough. Now companies want to keep the data and the systems that it’s stored on safe at all times.
This is where Matrox comes in with the Extio, which offers secure remote access, complete with multi-screen display options. The Extio itself is a small metal box that sits on your desk – it’s completely silent, with no fans or moving parts and even the amount of heat it generates is minimal. At it’s most basic level the Extio is an external version of one of Martox’s quad-head graphics cards, but there’s a little more too it than that – I did say that the Extio offered remote access after all.
What makes the Extio really interesting is that the box on your desk is connected to a workstation that can be up to 250m away from you, using fibre optic cabling. This means that a company can have a secure, disaster proof data room, where all the important hardware is kept safe, but the users can still access their machines seamlessly, as if the PC was sitting on their desk.