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Matrix Orbital MX212 PC-Bay Insert Review

 Matrix Orbital MX212 PC-Bay Insert Review - PCSTATS
Abstract: Most interestingly, the Matrix Orbital can report on a long list of programs with its back lit LCD screen.
Filed under: Peripherals Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: Matrix Orbital Mar 13 2004   Colin Sun  
Home > Reviews > Peripherals > Matrix Orbital MX212

The Software Side

What good is a piece of hardware if there is no software support right? When you first turn on the PC after installing the MX212 WindowsXP will prompt you for a driver installation. Remember it is a USB device... Insert the small 80mm CD into your CD-ROM and then point to the appropriate location for the driver. If everything is done properly the Matrix Orbital logo should appear on the display itself.

Once that's done you'll have to install the LCDC software that's on the CD in order to manipulate the MX212. While it looks like you only get yourself a shareware version of LCDC, there's actually a registration form you must fill out at LCDC's website and in turn they will e-mail you an activation code to unlock LCDC software.

You must keep the LCDC software loaded into memory if you plan to use the Matrix Orbital. If the LCDC software is closed the Matrix Orbital will just display the last display setting or default logo. There are plenty of third party plugins for LCDC which can allow you to greatly enhance the Matrix Orbital MX212's useability.

As you can see the LCDC software is very customizable, wouldn't it be great to know what FPS's you're getting in a game in real time? Thanks to LCDC supporting FRAPS you can. The software can also report, via the MX212 a whole bunch of other information about your PC via the Motherboard Monitor plug-in.

After LCDC is installed it places an icon in the system tray and from there you can open up various menu's programs. Specifically, the MX212 can display the time, calender, monitor HDD usage, memory load, network load and the weather.

If the appropriate plug-ins are installed you can also use the MX212 to control Winamp (including volume and track controls) through the buttons on the unit. Other plug-ins allow you to monitor Motherboard Monitor reports, Fraps FPS figures and even to check how many unanswered e-mails you have.

Screen Image

Description

Customize the message you want to display...
You can see how much bandwidth is going up and down your network...
Here the Matrix Orbital shows you the total bandwidth transferred up and down.
Shows you your current screen resolution...
Date and system up time....
The size of all the memory on your system and how much is free..
The actual percentage of free memory...
Size of HDD and how much free space is available....
The current time....
Probably the neatest feature, being able to tell the weather outside.

Those are just some of the screens that the Matrix Orbital can display, with other plug-ins you can further customize what the LCD will show.

Definitely very cool but not for everyone

There has never been a better time to be a computer enthusiast, just look at all the toys that are available now that one could only dream about a few years ago! The Matrix Orbital MX212 is easily one of the neatest bits of kit in the modders toolbag, and unlike a bunch of blue LEDs, actually offers some rather useful functionality.

The Matrix Orbital MX212 is more than just a pretty face, it can control many aspects of your PC; from changing the volume within Winamp, to checking your e-mail and even the weather just outside! If that's not enough you can also control the speed of your case fans, or even monitor your computer's network traffic/load without even touching your keyboard!

At the heart of the Matrix Orbital MX212 is the powerful LCDC software. By default it's already plenty powerful and can monitor things as trivial as memory load or how much HDD space you have used. If you get compatible software with LCDC plugins like FRAPS, MBM, etc. you can greatly improve the MX212's functionality.

Installation of the MX212 is very straightforward, but given the different pieces of software, and menu screens, it may not be entirely suitable for users with minimum computer experience. If you're not comfortable digging around the inside of your computer already, you may find the vast number of options and connections on teh back of the Matrix orbital a little overwhelming. With a retail price of $144 CDN ($109 US) , the Matrix Orbital MX212 is definitely one of the coolest things you can add onto your PC, but it won't be for everyone. If you're a case modder who's looking to ensure there are plenty of people drooling over your creation, the Matrix Orbital is certainly a must!

Big thanks to the folks at Canada Computers for lending us the Matrix Orbital MX212 for review.

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Contents of Article: Matrix Orbital MX212
 Pg 1.  Matrix Orbital MX212 PC-Bay Insert Review
 Pg 2.  — The Software Side

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