This will probably be quite a long conclusion so buckle up and get comfortable. I want to discuss a few things about the Club3D MST hub. What do I imagine the uses for this product might be? Well it is quite obvious where Club3D are going with this product, and that is towards to the multi-display market – namely with affordable 1080p panels. It is much more affordable to buy three/six 1080p displays with an MST hub than it is to buy one/two 1600p or 1440p monitors. The main advantage of the MST Hub is the ability to take a DisplayPort 1.2 HBR2 or 1.1 HBR output from any GPU and turn it into up to three displays. Of course what you do with that ability is up to your imagination. You could use it to power more displays off an Apple MacBook, or off an AMD HD 7970 or even off at GTX 780 if you just want to use DisplayPort monitors for better image clarity. The options are numerous so a lot of thinking is required to see if the MST Hub could be useful to you.
The main benefits I see with MST Hub come with AMD graphics cards, notably the HD 7000 and 6000 series as these both support DisplayPort 1.2 HBR2 MST. With the Club3D MST Hub you can drive up to 6 displays on these AMD graphics cards – which is hugely impressive if you want to have six 1080p displays, of course you would need two MST hubs and two DP outputs on your graphics card. Another thing that is worth noting is that the MST Hub uses the DP++ standard meaning you can use either passive or active adapters to connect your three monitors to the MST Hub which saves endless hassle from the equation of whether your adapters will work or not. The DP++ processing is done on-chip hence why the unit needs an external power source. The MST Hub opens up the possibility to “Eyefinity 6” which was previously limited to graphics cards that had only the right connectors for Eyefinity 6. Of course you are very much limited by the bandwidth so there won’t by any 2560 by 1600 3-way Eyefinity off a single MST Hub, however, if you have enough money to afford three of those screens then you’ll end up using enough graphics cards to give each of them their own ports.
I do have a few negatives to discuss about the Club3D MST. Firstly, the solution is not “fool proof” nor will it ever be until AMD and Nvidia get working on proper support in terms of drivers and UI software (aka Nvidia Control Panel and AMD Catalyst Control Centre) that makes the process fool-proof. Of course Club3D have done their best to make it plug and play but not all users will find it that simple and some will spend a while playing round with drivers to get a working solution. AMD drivers will work and give full functionality but you’re going to need a clean install. Nvidia drivers will work but will not provide you with Nvidia surround functionality. My second concern is the external power source which feels like a bit of an annoyance. Sure it needs extra power so there is no obvious way around it but an alternative power source like USB may have been nice as it would give you one less plug and no need for a bulky power brick. Club3D are working on alternative power sources so this may change in the future. My final niggling concern is the lack of a DP to mini-DP adapter which should be essential as most AMD graphics cards (that this product is mainly aimed at) use mini-DP outputs.
- Allows you to Support up to Eyefinity Six on AMD HD 6000 or newer with two MST Hubs
- Low power – 3.5 watts maximum, 2.5 watts typical
- Discrete size and aesthetics
- Affordable compared to existing solutions
- Offers full functionality on AMD HD 6000 or newer graphics cards
- DP++ makes finding adapters easy – no guess work required
- Plug and Play if you have a fresh driver installation
- We did encounter some driver issues with AMD, driver reinstalls required
- Power brick is a bit bulky
- No DP to mini-DP adapter provided
UK – Aria – £94.99 – Available Now
UK – Scan – £93.96 – Available Now
USA – Amazon – $160.65 – Available Now
“The MST Hub has been a long time coming and we’re delighted to finally see it arrive. It is the solution many multi-screen users have been so desperately looking for and it is a bargain compared to what is currently available. Mobile workstation users will find this device unquestionably valuable and Eyefinity 6 users will finally be able to get up and running in a simple way. Club3D have really hit the nail on the head with pricing and proven that when it comes to multi-screen set ups of more than 3 screens AMD really does offer unmatched and unparalleled functionality and value thanks to MST Hub support. That said Nvidia users can still benefit from the multiple displays this can offer, particularly in notebooks. The DP++ really takes the guess work out of the multi-screen set-up. The only thing worth considering is that this isn’t for the faint-hearted and you will need a reasonable amount of technical knowledge to get on the road.”
Thanks to Club3D for providing this review sample.