Peer review - Matrox Extio extender

Gunnar Gisli Gudnason, Head of Maintenance, Icelandic National Broadcasting Service, reviews Matrox's KVM and USB extension product

What we use it for

In professional broadcasting there are demands to eliminate all computer noise from studios, the noise increases with each computer and when you have a computer for the play list, one for recording and editing, a script PC and one for mail, internet and other common usage, there can be huge fan noise. Getting rid of the noise is best done by putting all computers into a separate room. But then you need to get all controls to the studio.


The extenders have all the same dimension 30.0cm x 2.9cm x 14.2cm. They have all the same maximum analog and digital resolution 1920 x 1200 except for one type F1240F it supports also 2560 x 1600 digital resolution. Maximum  fibre-optic cable length is, for 62.5/125µm = 150 meters and for 50/125µm = 250 meters.

What we like about it

It has passive cooling and therefore it is completely silent.  All units have six USB 2.0 ports, the F1220F has two display outputs and two FireWire ports. These units work on fibre-optic cable connections. They give crystal clear pictures, which is very important when you spend the whole day looking at displays. People don´t realise how much an out-of-focus picture wears you out. Even just a minor focus mismatch can make your eyes hurt in a short while. With the Extio it´s like having the computer by your side.

The Extio gives you full USB 2.0 support, an hardware controller works fine for editing recordings and CD/DVD writer for importing and exporting material. If you use two USB connectors for a mouse and keyboard you still have enough for connecting a USB stick or any other device you want to add to your system.

The next thing that makes the Extio so great is the fibre-optic card that goes directly into the computer. There’s no interface box on that end, which saves both space and cables. There are two types of fibre-optic cards available a 32-bit PCI card and also a card for the new PCI Express x1 slot, we are using both types and they work fine. Before we selected the Extio we tried a number of other extenders both for category and fibre-optic cables. There were always something irritating, such as manual adjustment of focus, which in most cases was impossible to adjust, or separate units for display and USB extension.

What we would change

At this point I don´t see any thing that needs to be changed. There one accessory I wish was available is rack mount kit for the unit, with one rack ear longer than the other and with a bracket to hold the external PSU.

In use

In most cases we have set up the units to show the same picture on all displays, though they can certainly be configured for multiscreen function. Almost every extender we use is located in the control room, we located one extender in the speaker room to give the speaker access to all options of the extender. The unit has three mini jack connectors for microphone in, line in and headphone out so the speaker can listen to files from mail or internet.

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