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NOTE: THIS POST IS OUTDATED. OUR ACCELERATED DRIVER IS NO LONGER IN BETA. See this more recent post for details.
Air Display is now compatible with Aero and Direct X, and is GPU-accelerated by screaming performance and hardware-quality visual effects.
Version 1.6.4 of the Air Display Connect software for Windows includes an optional beta installer for the new patent-pending accelerated video driver.
OBTUSE TECHNICAL DETAILS
Let’s introduce some concepts here:
XPDM Mirror Drivers: This is the Windows XP Driver Model. The regular install of Air Display Connect for Windows implements a mirror driver. This is how most virtual-display products extend your desktop. One advantage of these is that they work on Windows XP, which still sports a large installed base in the Windows world.
WDDM Drivers: Modern Windows video drivers use the Windows Display Driver Model, which was introduced in Windows Vista. These drivers talk directly with the video hardware to use the GPU for special effects.
WDDM Filter Drivers: Some other products implement “WDDM filter drivers.” Filter drivers fools a real WDDM driver into thinking that a hardware video display is connected to a video card’s secondary video output, and then redirect the pixels to the virtual frame buffer. These drivers offer some of the benefits of real WDDM drivers—they do support Aero and Direct X—but they come with some serious limitations, which is why we didn’t go this route. For example:
- WDDM filter drivers are deprecated by Microsoft as unsafe
- They aren’t reliable on cards with only one output
- They can’t be used as a third or fourth display
- They don’t work on SLI configurations (multiple video cards on one machine)
- They don’t work in virtual environments like VMWare and Parallels
- They are not very resilient to changes in the physical video drivers, and often require emergency updates when those drivers are updated.
Virtual WDDM Drivers: The new beta Air Display Connect implements real WDDM Drivers, using patent-pending virtualization methods. None of those limitations of WDDM filter drivers apply to the Air Display Connect accelerated drivers. Since this is still in beta, it is an optional install. But so far feedback for the new drivers has been great!
HOW TO PARTICIPATE IN THE BETA
Everybody on Windows 7 or later can try the new accelerated video drivers in Air Display Connect. But please understand that this is beta software. As such, you should be sure to exercise caution. Back up before installing the beta. Back up frequently while trying it. And please send lots of feedback (good and bad) to email@example.com.
Here’s how to install the beta:
- First, make sure you’ve updated to at least Air Display Connect 1.6.4
- Select Start menu > All Programs > Air Display > Install Accelerated Beta Drivers
- Install and reboot
If you decide you don’t want to use the beta any more, you can select Start menu > All Programs > Air Display > Uninstall Accelerated Beta Drivers. If you encounter serious issues, reboot in safe mode and then uninstall.