The version of the Extio that I got my paws on could only drive four 1,600 x 1,200 monitors, but Matrox assured me that the production model that is going out to customers can drive four 1,920 x 1,200 monitors, which gives you a massive amount of desktop space.
Another advantage of having the PC remote from the end user, is that the end user never has direct access to the computer. Of course the plethora of USB ports mean that the end user can still copy data to and from the host PC easily, and you can’t simply disable the USB ports, since you need at least two of them active for the keyboard and mouse. A system administrator could however, limit the devices that can use the USB ports, or simply disable write access, so that no data can be removed from the host. If a company is really paranoid about its staff though (and if it is, you have to wonder why it hired them in the first place), you could simply put the Extio in a locking cage that prevents access to any of the ports. A bit excessive one might say, but if you’re data really is that sensitive, perhaps quite prudent.
Of course if you aren’t completely paranoid about your data, the USB ports on the Extio really add to the seamless experience – even though the PC could be hundreds of metres away, you can still plug in an external hard disk, a webcam or even synchronise your smartphone.
At £1,645 the Matrox Extio doesn’t come cheap, but then solutions like this rarely do – ultimately, if you need this type of solution, then cost is unlikely to be the defining factor. If ambient noise is a major enemy to your business, the Extio provides the solution. If you want all your PCs in a secure room instead of on your employees’ desks, the Extio provides the solution. If you have a floor full of users that need high-end PCs, but don’t have the space, the Extio provides the solution.
The Matrox Extio is a very targeted product that addresses very specific users. If however you or your company falls into that target area, you’ll probably see the Extio as a revelation – a solution to a problem that you thought was insurmountable. Yes it’s expensive, and yes it requires considerable infrastructure groundwork at rollout, but if your company is short on space, obsessive about ambient noise or just paranoid about data security, the effort of installing Extio systems could be well worth it.