No room for another monitor? Use the desktop side panel instead
Adding a secondary screen to setup is easy office hack to increase productivity. But not every desk or office has space for another display, even if it is small portable screen. That’s why we’re intrigued by the new ASRock range, as much as you might be.
in ASRock 13.3 inch side panel kitspotted before Tom’s devices Tuesday, includes 13.3 inches IPS Dedicated display to attach to the inside of the side panel of a desktop computer. This is a suitable design for people who do not have enough space but still keep their tower on the desk. The range offers a 1920 x 1080 screen with a 60Hz refresh rate, 300 nits brightness, and an 800:1 contrast ratio, making its specifications comparable to dedicated portable monitors in the $200 range, such as Lenovo ThinkVision M14 (Although when we tested the M14, we scored a significantly higher contrast ratio, 1064:1, than the ASRock panel claims).
However, there are some major caveats.
First, the ASRock product page states that you must attach the display to a clear glass side panel.
The Taiwan-based company, which is best known for selling PC parts, says the 13.3-inch side plate assembly will work on “most” ATX, Mini-ITX and Micro-ATX PC cases. As any PC builder will assure you, compatibility with “most” PC cases doesn’t mean compatibility with all of them.
Furthermore, for power and data, the ASRock display must connect to the motherboard via Embedded DisplayPort (eDP), which is a rarity among desktop computers, since it was made for embedded displays, such as those found in laptops. According to Tom’s Hardware, this limits supply to people with an ASRock motherboard, and there are fewer than 10 ASRock motherboards with eDP. And since the connector also includes power, there are no adapters readily available either.
These are enough caveats to make this product impractical for most users, but it’s still a great idea. The set provides a secondary screen without the need for additional space, providing a convenient place to view things like Slack chat or to stream video while you work. On its product page, ASRock says the screen can be used to watch video guides or live streams of gamers.
The set also offers flexibility. In theory, you could use it on multiple monitors, assuming everything is still compatible. This is different from iBuyPower’s Snowblind S case, which has a 19-inch, 1280 x 1024 transparent LCD screen View on the side. However, the transparent panel does not appear to have the strongest image quality, and it is also intended to display computer components, which are encouraged to be white or silver, to aid the images on the screen.
Today, options for desktop side panel monitors are limited, and the products available carry many caveats. ASRock 13.3″ board set is not suitable for most people. But it’s good to see companies exploring creative ways to bring more pixels into tight spaces.
Laptop users already have more options. take NexPad, for example. Announced in October, it’s a 12-inch IPS screen that’s meant to be positioned on top of a laptop screen to provide more vertical screen space. While not as simple as the NexPad’s, the ASRock suite may help pave the way for more diverse solutions for desktop users.
We have contacted ASRock regarding availability and pricing.
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