If all of the above applies to the L206WU running over a conventional DVI interface, what happens when you switch to the USB-powered DisplayLink option?
Well the setup is a breeze. The driver installation in Vista is simple and painless - by simply plugging an ordinary USB cable, the driver prompt automatically loads and you just follow the instructions. It is also compatible with XP, while a beta driver for Apple OSX is available from displaylink.com.
It all results in a handy little taskbar icon that gives you full control over the panel, and the screen also appears as normal in the Windows display properties dialog box. However, don't be confused that it does not appear in GPU / graphics control panel, be that ATI, NVIDIA or other. Remember, this is handled by the CPU, not the GPU. Hence, calibration using those (sometimes handy) interfaces is not an option.
In terms of static image quality, for the most part there are no obvious differences and little evidence of compression. Occasionally, minor compression artifacts do appear, but it's not something you'll ever become overly frustrated with. Seemingly, they stick around until the next key frame is transmitted. But that is an infrequent and ultimately tolerable side effect of the greater flexibility.
However, add motion into the equation and the harsh truth is that the wheels start to come off. For the record, we ran the L206WU on a 3.2GHz quad-core Intel system and by the power of taskmanager (as opposed to the power of GreySkull - Ed), we were able to note that it consumed approximately 30 to 40 per cent of the resources of a single core.
That's significant, but well within the capabilities of any vaguely modern dual or quad-core processor. However it will notably slow down anything intensive you try to run on top.